Transportation is one of the fundamental elements of a city. How we get around shapes how a city is shaped and how it grows. We have an opportunity to create a real alternative that is available to all Winnipeggers. We will squander that opportunity if we build the Southwest Corridor.
The financial commitment made by The City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba toward improving transit in Winnipeg is an extraordinary step forward. However, building a single roadway for fast buses is not the right way to spend that money. With just the $450 million committed by the Province and the City we could dramatically improve transit in every part of the city.
According to the Winnipeg Transit website, a new bus costs $400,000 and a top-earning bus driver makes about $50,000 per year. We could purchase 500 new buses and pay the salaries of 500 new bus drivers for 10 years for $450 million. That’s equivalent to 5 new buses per bus route in Winnipeg.
Obviously there are other costs associated with purchasing more buses, but this simple comparison of the price of BRT and the price of more buses demonstrates the significant improvement we could make to transit throughout the city simply by buying more buses.
Significantly improving public transit for everyone in Winnipeg is an achievable goal with the funding that has already been announced. By increasing frequency on routes throughout the city, we can create the most functional transit system Winnipeg has ever seen..