Only one regular Metro Transit bus route makes money.
And, in a bid to make a dent in an estimated 1969 transit deficit of $4,500,000, it was announced last week that service will be reduced on several routes.
Despite the cuts in service, resulting in a $200,000 saving -- and an increase in transit fares April 1 -- a deficit the same as in 1968 is expected.
The service reductions were approved because of extremely poor revenue on some routes -- ranging from 96 cents to $2.40 per hour. It costs an average of $10 per hour to operate a bus.
The only one regular route making a profit is the Pembina-University run.
A special race-track bus service, which operates only when racing is scheduled at Assiniboia Downs and charges passengers double the normal fare, also shows a profit.
A Metro official said the expected revenue from the April 1 fare increase, estimated at $1,500,000 will be used up by increased wage rates for bus drivers and shop personnel, by increased maintenance costs, and the purchase this year of 81 new buses at a total cost of $3,023,580.
About 800 Metro bus drivers received a 12 per cent raise in 1968 and a 10 per cent raise this year to bring their wages to about $3.30 an hour. Their agreement expires at the end of 1969 and another increase is expected in a new wage agreement, thereby increasing the transit deficit.
Benefits are estimated at $4,650,000 for 1970 and $5,000,000 for 1971. The transit deficits are taken up by increased taxes on home owners.
A four-mill tax was imposed this year to cover the expected $4,300,000 deficit. On a home assessed at $5,000 the transit subsidy would equal $20.
A new university bus route running from Polo Park to the University of Manitoba is not expected to make money on its operation, says the Metro official.
And not only will the new route lose money, but it may take enough patrons away from the present university bus route along Pembina Hwy. to cause a single money-making route to begin losing money.
"While it will take some time to predict how the service will turn out, its reasonable to expect there will be some falloff on the existing university bus," said the official.
The cost of setting up the new Polo Park - University route will be high. A total of 15 new buses costing $567,000 will be needed to service it.
In addition, two sets of traffic control signals will have to be installed at the corners of Corydon Ave. and Cambridge St., and Grant Ave. and Cambridge, at a cost of $4,000 each. Corner-rounding costing several hundred dollars will also have to be provided at the south-west corner of Corydon Ave. and Cambridge St.
Several more buses are expected to be transferred to the new university route from the Pembina Hwy. University route. A third bus route is also being planned for the U of M.
"We anticipate being able to provide them (the university) with an additional service after the suburban beltway bridge is built across the Red River linking Fort Garry with St. Vital," said the official.
This route would service the St. Vital, St. Boniface, Transcona, Kildonan area of the city. It is not expected for at least a year.
Sunday, holiday, and evening service will be cut on a number of routes beginning Aug. 31 to effect the expected $200,000 saving.
Explaining the reduction in service, the Metro official said: "We carried these routes on and on and one where there was minimal patronage, and we've just dropped those which were extreme money losers."
He said bus route ssuch as the Point Rd. and Morley Ave., are retained although they lose considerable money because they serve a real need and have a moderate useage.
The following routes have had service cut at particular times. The figures indicate the number of passengers who were using the bus each hour, the average revenue per hour, and the times the service will no longer be carried.
Since the service is being split, users of both the St. Anne's and St. Mary's routes will have to wait longer for buses.
Evening service will be cut on a number of routes which operate late. The routes, with the time the last bus will now leave the terminal are:
Archibald, 6.40 p.m.; Aberdeen, 7.23; Aulneau, 6.45; Berry-Logan, 8.48; Charleswood, 10 p.m.; Coniston, 7.12.
New bus service linking the sanatorium route with the St. Norbert route will run until 8 p.m., with an extra bus at midnight. The Cathedral-Watt St. service will be joined but times of service will stay the same.