Winnipeggers were shocked to learn today that 37 routes were having their service scaled back for the foreseeable future. During the last municipal election, Functional Transit Winnipeg raised concerns about the number of buses being operated by Winnipeg Transit. These concerns were also raised by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in the Alternative Municipal Budget Winnipeg 2014. Quoting from the CCPA publication: “there are indications that we are operating ‘too close to the bone’. For example, at 11 per cent, we have the lowest “bus spare ratio” in the country—almost all of our buses are always on the road.”

With the recent and sudden announcement that Winnipeg Transit does not have enough buses to meet its service schedule, this might be a good time to take a look at the amount of buses owned and operated by other jurisdictions.

Here is the bus per capita numbers for similarly sized cities in Canada:

Edmonton: 1022 buses.  794 people per bus[1].
Quebec City: 613 buses.  842 people per bus[2].
Ottawa: 936 buses.  943 people per bus[3].
Winnipeg: 595 buses.  1115 people per bus[4].

It is important for Winnipeg Transit to have the capacity to serve the citizens of Winnipeg reliably and efficiently. Owning and being able to maintain a substantial fleet is integral to that goal.

[1] Edmonton, City of. ETS Statistics. Website;

[2] Reseau de transport de la Capitale. L’enterprise. Website;

[3] OC Transpo. Bus Fleet. Website;

[4] Winnipeg Transit. “Bus Operator Career Overview;”

Buses per capita in other cities