What’s happening

Keep the 50-50 is a campaign to preserve provincial funding guarantees for municipal transit agencies in Manitoba. The funding guarantee requires the province to split the government contribution to public transit with any Manitoba municipality that runs such an agency.

Last May, the province put a bill before the legislature to end legislation guaranteeing provincial funding for municipal transit agencies in Manitoba. This 50-50 funding guarantee has been in place in Manitoba since the 1970s and is key to transit funding in Winnipeg. The province provides $50 million presently to our transit agency which amounts to just under one quarter of Winnipeg Transit’s budget.

If you’re a transit rider, you know that municipal transit agencies in Manitoba have a long way to go and they need the funding.

If you’re not a transit rider, funding for transit has benefits for you as well. Public transit reduces congestion and infrastructure costs. It helps the economy by connecting employees and employers. It helps reduce Manitoba’s overall environmental impact by getting more folks using a more carbon-efficient mode of transportation.

Click here to read our case for public transit.

How you can help


Use our online sign up form
and get a few extra signatures


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If public transit is important to a group or organization you’re involved with, we would love to be in touch.
Meetings take place bi-weekly on Thursday evenings. Check out our calendar


Learn a bit more about the issue

Main issue

The Government of Manitoba has put a bill before the legislature to end the decades-old legislation that
guarantees provincial funding for municipal transit agencies in Manitoba (Bill 36, The Budget Implementation
and Statutes Amendment Act, 2017). The legislation being eliminated required the Province to match
municipal contributions to their respective transit agencies, providing 50% of the total government
contribution to transit funding.

Bill 36 will be voted on in October.

As a result of ending this legislation, the Province has already announced it will not increase funding for
Winnipeg’s public transit system even to keep up with inflation and city growth. This will cost Winnipeg Transit
$5.1 million this year alone.The Manitoba Government provides $50 million toward our transit service. Every
year, the province has been increasing their contribution to transit to keep up with inflation and city growth. By not keeping up with city growth and
inflation we will see less service that will be more overcrowded during rush hour. It also
means buses will be less frequent leading to longer waits, especially at transfer points and an overall decrease
in reliability.

Why public transit is good

Public transit provides a key mode of transportation when families and individuals lack other options. Transit
connects people looking for employment with jobs.

Public transit is an economical way for families and individuals to get around.

Transit operates on a smaller amount of infrastructure, so a greater reliance on transit reduces the wear and
tear on our roads.

Public transit can help lower our carbon footprint because transit is less CO2-intensive.

Public transit promotes walkable neighbourhoods, which means less dependency on long-distance travel.
Public transit reduces the need for wide roadways in cities and sprawling parking lots, meaning cities can be
more compact.

Traveling around the city by transit is just more pleasant (if it’s not overcrowded). On a bus you can read, you
don’t have to worry about parking, you don’t have to get behind one of your most expensive assets and worry
about getting it wrecked.

If transit worked well – if buses came often, were reliable and got you where you wanted to go – it would be
the single best way to get around the city. To do that requires investment, not cuts.

Public transit ensures that cities are resilient (this is an urbanist buzzword). Resilient cities are ones that have a
capacity to confront challenges and thrive. A strong public transit network makes us more economically and
environmentally resilient.

What this bill will do

Make it possible to cut funding for transit (the Conservatives have already begun to cut even before this

Prevent the city from addressing safety concerns without cutting service

Make transit more overcrowded

Reduce secondary budgets – buses will be less clean, shelters will be less well-maintained, etc

Reduce transit coverage for those in the suburbs and reduce frequency in central neighbourhoods

What we need to do

We need to be moving in the opposite direction. We need:

  1. Cleaner buses
  2. Safer buses
  3. More frequent service
  4. Better access to transit
  5. High quality transit service available on the evenings and weekends


The bill that will remove the transit funding guarantee is Bill 36, The Budget Implementation and Tax Statutes
Amendment Act, 2017.

The Act being amended is called the Municipal Funding and Taxation Act.

Bills are called bills while they are before the legislature and not laws. Once bills have been voted on, they are
called acts.

Winnipeg Transit’s overall budget in 2017 is $189 million. The province is contributing $50 million and the City
is contributing $55 million. Fares cover $89 million.

The average subsidy per rider is $2.18. (That’s total subsidy ($105 million) divided by total passengers carried
(48 million)).

Ottawa’s subsidy is about $2.10 per rider (Ottawa’s subsidy is $200 million, total passengers carried is
97 million)

Edmonton’s subsidy is about $2.50 per rider (Edmonton’s subsidy is $217 million, total passengers
carried is 87 million)

All transportation is subsidized: roads, free parking, medical costs from car accidents and injuries etc.