Yesterday Functional Transit Winnipeg came out against Brian Bowman’s strategy to complete all the Rapid Transit Corridors in Winnipeg. However, if we believed it was possible, we would support a completed BRT network.
The reason we are not supporting it is because we don’t believe it is possible to complete the network in a cost effective manner and we don’t want it to look like the current Southwest Corridor proposal.
We believe that ridership is too low in Winnipeg right now for a city run by a democratic government to undertake these projects. We think that there will always be the risk of a pro-sprawl candidate cancelling the expansion of the network — a network that will only be effective when every corridor is complete.
If we don’t work to significantly increase ridership across the whole city now, Winnipeg will not have an electorate that will consider voting for the ongoing investments needed to make transit work in Winnipeg.
Additionally, if every transitway is moved off of existing, well-serviced routes like the current Southwest Corridor plan, we cannot support it. Transit riders deserve access to necessities such as grocery stores. The current non-BRT routes along Pembina Highway provide access to necessities while the Southwest Corridor only promises access to amenities when the area is developed.
For the record, we do really like Bowman’s plan to equip all buses with wifi — it’s a great way for transit to compete with the personal automobile..