Saturday, February 16, 2008

Transit improvments on a shoestring

Dallas Hansen over at TRU Winnipeg came up with seven improvements for Winnipeg Transit: night owl service; increased frequency; tighter schedules; automated stop annoucements; shelters that work; lower fares; more emphasis on urban service.

These would go a long way in getting city dwellers to use public transit with greater regularity. Many don't right now, including most of the city's biggest transit advocates. Service in the city's traditional urban areas--where streetcar tracks were laid more than a century ago, is where ridership remains the the strongest--has been continually emaciated as more and more transit dollars are wasted so that empty buses can run on new bus routes in new subdivisions.

One example Hansen uses sums up clearly why a car (or walking) is still a better option than the bus, even in densly-populated urban neighborhoods:
"The Corydon-Main bus runs every 21 minutes at night—nearly the number of minutes it takes to walk downtown from, say, Corydon & Daly. Prior to cuts made by the Susan Thompson administration after 1993, the Corydon bus ran every 13 minutes in the late evening."

Were Winnipeg Transit to act upon any of these seven ideas, it would do much, not only boost ridership, but enhance the livability of Winnipeg's urban centre. Calls for the City to use common sense with regards to transit, however, can sometimes be harder to hear than calls for a "vision" for it.


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