The Public Works Committee began its marathon meeting Tuesday as it set to hear from residents and other community stakeholders on the proposed Primary Transit Network Service Implementation Plan.

If approved by committee, and later council, it would see Winnipeg Transit undertake a modernization when it comes to its transit routes, establishing new rapid transit “spines” that are supported by smaller community “feeder” routes.

Chair of the Public Works Committee Janice Lukes said this is a big, but necessary, undertaking for the city, but says if the plan comes into effect, the city will need to keep an eye on where adjustments can be made to improve things.

“After the routes have been implemented in July of next year, in one year’s time the department will come back, they’ll gather feedback, ‘Do you like it, don’t you like it?’, then they can make changes,” Lukes said.

“So maybe it’s a year of no transit [in some areas], maybe it’s a year of transit on the greenway. It can change after a year.”

Opinions about the plan are relatively mixed, with some in favour and others opposed to the potential changes. For Wolseley residents, one of those changes is the removal of Route 10 from the neighbourhood.

The email you need for the day’s
top news stories from Canada and around the world.

Residents who advocated for the route to remain in the community say if the committee removes the route, the added distance in order to walk to Portage Avenue or Maryland and Sherbrook Street would make transit more difficult to access for those with mobility issues.

Brian Pincott, spokesperson with Functional Transit Winnipeg, is in favour of the plan, saying it’s necessary in order to best support the future of transit going forward. For him, the biggest challenge for the city is not getting bogged down with individual needs and wants, but focusing on how transit can best serve as many residents as possible, noting the city will need crystal-clear communication with transit riders when the changes come into effect.

“The level of engagement that’s required for when it’s rolled out, we need 40 summer students around the city as ‘transit ambassadors’ helping people understand the system.,” explained Pincott.

“That’s the level of commitment that’s required … to make sure this is successful.”

If approved at committee and council, the new transit plan would come into effect June 29, 2025.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg transit riders look forward to potential route system changes'