Winnipeg Transit delays could last until December

WINNIPEG — The city has apologized for the short notice transit riders were given in a massive reduction in bus services that could now last several months.

At a press conference Thursday officials announced a back log of broken buses had left it with no choice but to reduce the number of available buses on certain routes until December.

The City first broke the news to the public in a tweet around 7 pm Wednesday night.

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“I would like to apologize to Winnipeg Transit users and customers for the short notice of these service changes,” CAO Doug McNeil said.  “We could have managed the impact to citizens…much better.”

Amanda Klassen says delays earlier this week left her behind schedule by more than two hours.

“Bus fees keep going up every year, and they keep cutting things on us,” the frustrated rider said.

Transit says a key issue is the city has one of the lowest number of available spare buses out of any transit service in the country.  But that they also went into this week “optimistic” they could handle it’s fall schedule.  On Tuesday, 15 buses broke down, some due to an emissions systems issue, and Transit says that’s when it became clear they could not handle the load.

“We decided instead of proceeding with unplanned service interruptions, to provide advance notice, as much as we could,” Dave Wardrop, Director of Winnipeg Transit, said.

But the union representing both drivers and mechanics said they’ve been warning this could happen for months, if not years.

“They are high maintenance coaches and we didn’t allow for that extra service requirement,” John Callahan, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said.

Routes with frequent or alternative transit service will have some service reduced in an effort to minimize overall disruption to the Transit system. No further solution was offered to solve the problem, beyond the reduction in services.

The city will release their revised fall transit service schedule Friday at 4 a.m. and the revised schedule will remain in effect until December.

Routes most likely to be affected include:

Morning rush hour:

17, 21, 22, 25, 29, 34, 44, 46, 54, 55, 58, 66, 75, 78, 137, 160, 162, 163

Afternoon rush hour:

11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 25, 26, 29, 41, 44, 46, 55, 58, 75, 77, 183

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