The Canadian city of Winnipeg, located in the province of Manitoba, attracts many newcomers due to its diversity and lower cost of living compared to other major Canadian cities. Upon moving to Winnipeg, all newcomers must figure out how to get around in their new city, especially if they don’t plan to drive a car. This article will explain everything newcomers will need to know about public transportation in Winnipeg to feel confident and at-ease while riding around the city.
Winnipeg Transit is the primary transit authority in Winnipeg. Transit information pertaining to all of their services is available on the Winnipeg Transit website.
Types of public transit available in Winnipeg
BLUE Rapid Transit Line
The BLUE Rapid Transit Line is a relatively new service providing frequent and reliable service between downtown Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba, and St. Norbert. The BLUE line runs most frequently at rush hour times on weekdays. There are many parking lots available for your vehicle at BLUE line stations to park and ride if you wish to take the BLUE line into the city.
The Winnipeg bus network is an extensive fixed-route bus service. Buses run 365 days a year, late into the evening. The Southwest Transitway is a new separated-lane reserved for buses to travel uninterrupted by traffic.
There are three main types of routes:
- Main line routes: Main line routes serve important transit corridors from the suburbs to downtown Winnipeg.
- Express routes: Express routes operate mainly during rush hour, observing few stops to cover long distances quickly.
- Suburban feeders: Feeder routes are typically less busy and less frequent routes in suburbs that connect to larger routes.
Paying transit fare with cash and peggo cards
How much does Winnipeg Transit cost?
A one-way transit trip costs $3.00 CAD in Winnipeg. There are plenty of pass options that will save you money in the long run, such as day passes, five-day passes, or monthly passes. There are fare discounts available for students, children, and seniors. You can pay your fares in exact change on any bus, or purchase a peggo card. Transit tokens are also used by some schools and non-profit organizations. However, the peggo card is the most advisable option for frequent riders.
Getting a peggo card
Winnipeg Transit has a reloadable fare card called peggo. You can purchase and load credit onto a peggo card at any 7-Eleven or Shoppers Drug Mart as well as several other locations, or order a peggo card online. You can load any pass or cash amount onto your peggo card for use on buses or the BLUE line by registering online. Registering your card is also a good idea to protect your card’s balance from theft or loss. Green peggo cards indicate a person eligible for a reduced fare (children, students, and seniors) and white peggo cards are for regular adult fare.
peggo cards can be used by simply tapping the chipped card against the card readers at the entrance to the BLUE line stations or on the bus. The cost of one fare will be deducted from your balance if you have loaded cash to your card.
Tip: Anytime you pay your fare, you have 75 minutes to make a transfer to any other form of transit without paying again. Your peggo card can calculate this, or if you pay with cash fare, you require a paper transfer from the bus driver.
How to plan your best transit route
Familiarize yourself with transit maps
For an overview of the full Winnipeg transit network, view the Winnipeg Transit System Map, which will help you get a general idea of the direction you are headed and the number of routes available to reach your destination. There is also a simpler map outlining only the Rapid Transit Route Network.
Use trip planning tools
Trip planning tools can show your direct route with multiple travel options if you input your origin, destination, and desired time of travel. Winnipeg Transit provides the BUSguide mobile tool with current transit information for this purpose.
Tip: Rocketman is a Canadian-built transit app that you can use to find out when the next bus or train is arriving, track your bus along its route, save your favourite stops, and get transit delay alerts in real-time. You can download the Rocketman app today for free.
Rocketman is easy to use, showing you only the info you need to get you to your destination on time and with minimal waiting. Riders using the app can even see how full each transit vehicle is before boarding with the Crowdedness feature. This feature works by asking commuters to help other riders by reporting how crowded their transit vehicle is, and the app can display these crowdedness levels so all Rocketman users can be better prepared for their commute.
Incorporate cycling into your Winnipeg commute
Cycling is a great way for newcomers to see the city and get exercise, and Winnipeg Transit has developed transit amenities with cyclists in mind for you to take advantage of. Some buses have front bike racks so that you can load your bike right onto the bus you plan to take. Transit bike lockers are also available at multiple BLUE line stations so you can safely store your bike while you ride transit. You must have a bike lock to use a secure bike locker. See all of Winnipeg’s cycling trails and dedicated bike lanes.
Tip: Remember to check Winnipeg’s Bike Safety Rules before you cycle anywhere in Winnipeg.
Why ride public transit in Winnipeg?
As a newcomer, you may be wondering why you should choose to ride public transportation instead of purchasing a car. These are just a few great reasons to make public transit your primary form of travel in Winnipeg:
1. Save money
You may already know that purchasing a new or used car is a big financial commitment, but do you know about the additional costs of car ownership beyond your initial purchase? Fuel, insurance, parking costs, maintenance, and winter tires all cost money and can add up quickly. Choosing to ride public transit will save you a lot of money over the course of a few years.
2. Protect the environment
Cars produce greenhouse gas emissions that are detrimental to our environment. One of the most effective ways to reduce your own personal carbon footprint is to choose public transit over driving for your daily commute. As Canada becomes a more environmentally-conscious country, more investments will be made into public transit in cities like Winnipeg. This means you can expect Winnipeg’s transit infrastructure to continue to improve as it gains ridership.
3. Avoid traffic and parking headaches
After a long day at work or school, the last thing anyone wants to do is sit in traffic. Public transit often takes the same amount of time (or less) for a journey, once you factor in traffic and the time it takes to find a spot in a busy parking lot. Save yourself the hassle and go straight home on transit. You can even read a book, catch up on a podcast, or just relax while you ride the bus or BLUE line.
Using public transit as a newcomer in Winnipeg takes a little planning and practice, but you can use the tips listed in this article to feel confident while you travel. Getting a peggo card will help you easily keep track of your monthly pass, and you can feel good knowing you are saving money and helping the environment by choosing not to drive a car.