Back in 1990 when the fastest a common modem could go was 14.4 kbps, I joined a couple of local Usenet BBSes. One was System 6626, the other was The Inquiring Mind BBS. They both gave access to about 100 Usenet groups. That's a far cry from the tens of thousands of groups that exist today. I used to stay up late just reading the messages from the various Usenet groups, reading reviews from guys who Beta-tesed OS/2, version 2.0 which was released in April 1992 I was also interested in Amateur/Ham Radio, as it related to ham satellites, and 2 metre HT's.
My first real Internet account was in March 1993 through the Draco BBS, which was operated by David Rose. He ran a Linux based system that allowed its users to access Internet services by dial-up such as: telnet, ftp, gopher, lynx (web browser), irc, pine e-mail, and tin (Usenet). During that time I used these services from within IBM's OS/2 Warp, as Windows wasn't really Internet ready. It was from here that I read got accounts of how other transit systems operated, via the misc.transport.urban-transit group. Draco contained about 300 Usenet groups at the beginning, expanding to about 800 5 years later when it finally shut down.
The idea for UWTO began back in mid-1994 at the start of the World Wide Web craze.
Originally I had planned on putting all resources into making a local Polish culture website for Winnipeg. I was also into IBM's OS/2 Warp operating system. This went on to become the basis for my first website, "Jim's OS/2 Web Page and Other Awesome Stuff".
When the World Wide Web first went graphical in 1993, it was a bit overwhelming for me, but soon the idea for a page about Winnipeg Transit came into fruition. There was no City of Winnipeg website at the time and therefore nothing for WT.
In 1995 I had monitored developments in HTML and Web technology, waiting until HTML standards had settled down a bit.
By 1996 HTML was at revision 2.0 and so one late night in August I searched out information on the Web on how to program in basic HTML.
My first page had info on OS/2, info about Polish culture, and a bit of info on Winnipeg Transit.
Soon I had discovered that writing information for the Web and writing on something that I enjoy gathering information about — Winnipeg Transit would be the focus of my time for the next few months. Creating UWTO has so far been one of the best things that ever happened in my life.
By early 1997, UWTO, needed a separate identity from "Jim's OS/2 Web Page and Other Awesome Stuff", so I applied to the now defunct BlueSky Community Network for a separate userid and separate directory. My proposal would be to use the extra disk space to provide online schedules and maps, and photos, which would take more than 2 megabytes of DASD.
In late June 1997, motivated by Council's cutbacks to weekend Transit service on 13 suburban routes, a person e-mailed me asking whether I knew of the existence of a local transit rider advocacy group. Developments here led to the creation of Citizens for Better Public Transit in Winnipeg which I was the Chair of until the group folded in April 2004.
On July 18th, 1999 Winnipeg Transit opened its own website on the Net. The URL is www.winnipegtransit.com
More than 4 years later, the physical BlueSky Community
Network server was finally unplugged. It was time to move on
and reach for the next level, creating an individual identity
for UWTO in the form of its own Internet domain uwto.org. The
registration was done on October 14,
2003 and all the whole website was moved over to a web
WebServe.ca, based in
North Vancouver, B.C. All content pages on this website have
been upgraded to use the latest document display technology
— XHTML 1.0 and CSS 2.1.
Since 2002 the rapid transit debate has been renewed, because they removed the Eaton's building and put up a stupid arena, which will have 15,000 seats. Manitoba Hydro is also moving most of its administration to downtown in a 600,000 sq. ft. office tower to be completed by January 2009. Thus the need for rapid transit.
Former mayor Glen Murray pushed for Winnipeg Transit's BRT, despite living in Montreal Quebec which does have the underground Metro, But Glen made a fatal mistake in leaving the mayor's job for a chance at Federal politics. Sam Katz becomes Mayor in June 2004 and says BRT is not good enough for Winnipeg, and pushes BRT aside for LRT.
In early 2004, with all that extra web space for use, I decided to transcribe Norman Wilson's subway plan for Winnipeg, which had published in 1959. Later that year, another Winnipegger, Dallas Hansen discovered this website and the subway plan and totally convinced me that it was what should be pushed by the citizens here.
As I've become a believer that a subway can be built in Winnipeg, I am reaching for higher goals, and as part of that goal, co-founded TRUWinnipeg as the advocacy counterpart to this website. And in early 2008 we had to start a TRU Winnipeggers group on Facebook because TRUWinnipeg was getting accessed from that site. The "mob" is starting to build some really serious numbers demanding rapid transit for Winnipeg.Rock on!
© Jim A. Jaworski