Coronavirus: Winnipeg Transit Union calls for return to full service

Winnipeg’s transit union is calling on the city to immediately restore service as the province gets set to move into Phase 3 of its reopening plan.

In a statement Tuesday, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 says the current level of service doesn’t allow for safe physical distancing, nor does it meet the needs of riders who are returning to work.

READ MORE: Bus driver layoffs announced during City of Winnipeg coronavirus update

“Our executive board has received an overwhelming number of calls from riders asking for better transit service,” said Romeo Ignacio, president of the ATU 1505, in a news release.

“Our operators are being called out by the public for continuing to pick up passengers while buses are already overcrowded.”

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Winnipeg Transit began scaling back service in late April due to the novel coronavirus pandemic as ridership plunged over 70 per cent, and began running what it called an “enhanced Sunday schedule” on weekdays.

READ MORE: New Winnipeg transit corridor opens despite drop in ridership, closure of University of Manitoba

When asked about the ATU’s demands, Jay Shaw, from the City’s Emergency Measures Centre, didn’t give any indication when service may be restored.

“We have no announcements on transit right now in terms of restoration of transit services. I can tell you we are still monitoring weekly transit use and we are still in that approximate 68 to 70 per cent reduction in transit ridership,” Shaw said.

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“I’ve been working with transit daily, at least this week and last week, to sort of discuss what our long-term plans are and trying to get information and looking at data so we can make good decisions moving forward.”

READ MORE: Winnipeg bus driver union calls for layoff halt as province slowly reopens amid COVID-19

The Transit Union says its members will take to the Graham Avenue bus corridor Wednesday between 6:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. to hand out masks and share a petition to have the city reinstate full Transit service.

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Winnipeg Transit layoffs going ahead despite reopening economy

Winnipeg Transit layoffs going ahead despite reopening economy

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