Sometime when you are travelling, it is nice to have something that makes you feel at home. For me, that was taking transit during my stay in Winnipeg last weekend. I was attending a conference downtown while staying with a relative in one Winnipeg’s many suburbs. My forty minute commute during my four day stay gave me much needed alone time to think and read between conference overload and visiting with family.
But my first challenge was finding passes. I had originally planned to take transit from the airport to downtown but a transit stop at the airport was no where to be found. Instead, I shared a cab with some of my fellow conference go-ers. (Interestingly enough, the one way cab fare from the airport to downtown cost the same as 10 transit fares). From downtown I asked a friendly stranger where I could buy a booklet of transit passes and she informed me that although it used to be possible to be able to buy them at many different stores, Winnipeg Transit had recently limited sales to a few select stores including Shoppers Drug Mart. So on I went to locate a Shoppers Drug Mart. After asking three different people and walking for forty five min I eventually found one in a nearby mall. A package of 10 transit tickets came to about $2.10 each. (Saskatoon’s passes are closer to the $3 price point).Thankfully locating these transit passes was the most difficult part of my Winnipeg Transit experience. The rest of my rides were on time and very comfortable.
After a few days, I got used to taking my number 14 bus. However, on my third day I was taking the bus very late at night when the weather was -25 Celsius. I was able to track down the number 14 but after boarding the bus I realized that this time the route was different and I was completely lost! I thought I had it all figured out. Thank goodness for the helpful bus driver who was able to understand my paniced explanations of where I was going and she informed me that there was two number 14’s that travel the same route but in opposite directions. Thanks to this helpful bus drivers, I was able to arrive home safe and sound.
One thing I was really impressed by was Winnipeg’s Bustxt program. As someone who does not have data to access the internet on my smartphone, I appreciate that it is a text program for all phones with SMS function. The user simply texts a Winnipeg Transit number with the stop number and time to get real time transit info for their stop. Additionally, a user can text their location using an address, intersection or landmark to find out which stops are nearby. Here is a full explanation of their Bustxt program: http://winnipegtransit.com/en/schedules-maps-tools/transittools/bustxt-user-guide/
Below is a photo of a map indicating where the bus stops were located in the downtown area. A large scale map like this would be very helpful in the Saskatoon Transit bus mall.
At each of the stops downtown there was a map of the bus route. However, these route maps where hard for me to contextualize without surrounding streets because only the roads that the bus travelled on were drawn.
Below is a heavenly heated bus shelter that made my wait go by very quickly.
This last photo is of one the real time bus information signs at the bus stops. I saw dozens of signs like this one downtown along the major transit corridor. Maybe one day we will have signs like this in Saskatoon? A girl can dream.