My name is Derek Koop and I am the Treasurer of Functional Transit Winnipeg and I am here to speak on behalf of its members and supporters.
Functional Transit Winnipeg is a local non-profit group of citizens. A group of citizens that are so concerned with transit in our city, that we spend our free time; evenings and weekends, coffee breaks, lunch hours fighting for a better transit system in our city. Our mission is to advocate for a viable public transit system that is frequent, accessible and affordable.
Today I would like to speak to the Public Transit Operating Budget.
And I am here today to urge this committee to recommend to council to;
Hold the line;
Maintain Winnipeg Transit’s operating budget;
No cuts to transit service, no extra fare increase
Weather the storm;
Be the hero in this story;
I am well aware of the end of the Provincial funding guarantee for municipal transit agencies. Functional Transit Winnipeg has and will continue to fight to reinstate guaranteed Provincial Funding for Transit service.
However, it is the City of Winnipeg’s responsibility to operate a functioning transit service, it is the City of Winnipeg’s responsibility to enable each person to feel a part of our community, to enable each person to contribute to our community. This is what makes transit service vital.
More simply put, Transit service is vital for maintaining and building our community; Building our communities economic capacity by increasing access to employment and employees; Building a foundation for our communities’ climate action plan by reducing the number of single occupancy vehicles on the road; building our communities social capacity by providing access to transportation to those who driving is not an option. For these reasons, it is the City of Winnipeg’s responsibility to maintain and grow our transit service.
This year is a hard year, but if service is being cut, there is a problem with the budget, the city isn’t meeting its responsibilities. We need to avoid a transit death spiral. A downward spiral where this year’s cuts, lead to reduced ridership, as already projected in this budget, which will lead to next years cuts, which leads to further reduced ridership, which leads to further cuts. Down that spiral we will go.
Stop the death spiral now. Winnipeg Transit has been at this tipping point for the past few years and I strongly believe this budget is the push over the edge.
The City of Winnipeg voted to elect this council and a growing voice in this city is saying; no extra fair increase, no cuts to transit service, transit service is my priority.
In 2015 we were discussing transit of the future and here we are today, barely keeping hold of the transit of the past. You have an opportunity with this budget; an opportunity to build our economic capacity; build our climate action plan; build our social capacity.
I am asking again;
Hold the line;
No fair extra fair increase, no cuts to Transit service.
Hold the line.
Thank you for your time
December 5, 2017