Yearly transit passes by Greg Gallinger

Amy Groening, writing at The Uniter:

The Universal Transit Pass, or U-Pass, would provide eligible students with unlimited access to Winnipeg Transit services during the fall and winter semesters, in exchange for a tuition fee increase of an estimated $150 to $200 for the year.

Why just eligible students, I'm a wage worker and a tax paying resident, why can't I buy a yearly transit pass?

I hate buying transit passes. I usually buy monthly passes, but often forget to get a new pass on the first of the month. A yearly pass would be ideal.

The proposed cost of a "U-Pass" mentioned in the article is $150 - $200, that seems pretty low considering monthly passes for students currently cost $61.60.

Because I'm pretty awful at math I've always assumed buying a monthly pass (at full rate because I'm not a student) was the most economical option. After reading the above article I decided to investigate the fares a little bit more to determine the approximate yearly cost.

Screen Shot 2012 10 09 at 9 37 56 PM

I was surprised to learn that tickets are the cheapest way to ride, they are also my least favourite to use. Despite this knowledge I'm unlikely to start buying up rolls up tickets like I'm swooping in on the silent auction at a Saturday night social. I'll stick with passes.

But why the discrepancy in price in the first place?

Does Winnipeg Transit keep the cash price lower than passes because they count on the fact that most nobody has a Toonie, a Quarter, and two Dimes and will reluctantly drop $2.50 down the hole because it's more convenient? I know I do (unless I'm short, in which case I'll dump whatever configuration of change I can pass off as the right amount.

With a yearly pass I'd never have to worry about buying a new pass on the first, and I'd never have to fish for change after I forgot to buy a pass and I'm almost late for work.

My experiment in arithmetic also taught me that if Winnipeg Transit allows the U-Pass they will be losing over $500 per student (assuming each student would have purchased a bus pass). This information reinforces my skepticism of the proposed "U-Pass" price.

Given Winnipeg Transit's current pricing scheme it seems more likely that a yearly pass would run the average citizen somewhere in the $900 - $1,000 range and students falling somewhere between $700 - $800.


I'm glad to see you're all better at math than me as many of you have pointed out I forgot to account for round trips when paying cash. If you're a student or worker transfers won't do you much good for round trips most of the time. Below is a slightly adjusted table of fares that include round trips.

I also forgot to account for the tax rebate that passes qualify for, but I won't bother doing that math.

Screen Shot 2012 10 09 at 11 01 05 PM

So tickets and cash are NOT cheaper if your trips are to and from work/school because transfers would have expired.

That being said, cash can sometimes work out to be a better deal if you don't ride the bus everyday and are able catch the occasional ride home.

Comfortable in our own skin by Greg Gallinger

I've been a little behind in my local news reading lately as I've had my nose in more fictional reads than I'm accustomed to, so I nearly missed this gem by one of the few really good writers left at the Free Press.

Bartley Kives, writing at the Winnipeg Free Press

I've long argued the civic despair in the mid-1990s was not just about the loss of the Jets, but a vestigial sense of entitlement displayed by a city that never quite got used to fact it wasn't important any more. Many times since then, I've argued Winnipeg must get over itself and finally grow comfortable within its medium-sized, ordinary-city skin.

And now that the Jets are back, I wonder whether this will ever happen. I wonder whether the jingoism of the "True North!" chant has subsumed our collective capacity for self-reflection.

Although I think Bartley's concerns are justified, I continue to find solace in the small community of Winnipeggers who don't need or care about the camera eye of the outside world. It is in this community that Manitoba's real DIY spirit lives and thrives, where questions about the prevailing order can be asked without suffering immediate knee jerk reactions, where the most honest and earnest art is being created.

A handbook for rebellion by Greg Gallinger

Michael Welch, writing at The Uniter

Whatever the cause, be it climate justice, indigenous solidarity, labour activism, Palestine solidarity, feminism, etc., there is very often a book or books that have helped to shape the dialogue around today’s societal challenges and moulded today’s shit disturbers.

I wasn't able to attend this years Anarchist Bookfair, it's too bad it's only an annual event. I would have loved to take part in the type of discourse that took place with so many activists and causes all in the same place.

Where Content is(n't) King by Greg Gallinger

Melissa Martin, freshly freelanced, writing on her on time at Nothing in Winnipeg:

At its worst, we are a clearinghouse of information, feeding the ever-hungry maw. Low low prices, everything must go. Meaningless, stripped of context, slipping into the ether and dismissed outright as spam. The more content that we cut, the closer to this model we become.

In addition to reading her blog I highly recommend following Melissa on Twitter. She's always been an honest and intelligent voice writing interesting content, now she's free to write in her own voice.

Goodbye for now, Lo Pub by Greg Gallinger

The Uniter quoted me in one of their articles about the closing of Lo Pub.

My remarks are from an email I sent to the Uniter. If you're interested in the whole email here it is:

The orange-brown colour palette and general decor gave you the sense that you were walking into a basement den from 1979. The couches near the fireplace were quite possibly the cosiest place to drink outside of one's own home. Better than home though The Lo Pub was always packed with familiar faces. The Lo Pub was more than just another bar, it was common ground for local musicians, artists, progressives, urbanists, and beer drinkers.

On any given night you could walk in and see a whole crowd of your friends. It was closest thing I've ever experienced to Cheers. Maybe not everyone knew your name, but they recognized you and acknowledged that you're a kindred spirit.

I never felt awkward going to The Lo Pub alone, in fact usually looked forward to sitting down at the bar to nurse a pint of St. James, read through the local weeklies and catch up with Jack. I knew I could always count on hearing some great tunes and running into some friendly faces.

Jack gave a lot of young up and coming bands a shot to rock the stage. As patrons he exposed us to new music we might otherwise not have heard. The location had the advantage of forcing bands and fans to mingle with each other. There was no backstage, no greenroom for bands to retreat to, as a result artists and fans co-existed as one. The Lo Pub was a place that encouraged conversation and a sense of community.

I'm going to really miss The Lo Pub, not because I'll need to find another place to drink, but because there will now be a void in the local music/art community.

It feels like Grampa sold the house to move to a nursing home and now the new owners are ripping up that old familiar basement den to turn it into a workout room.

I wish Jack all the luck in the world with whatever he has planned for the future. Hopefully he creates something as wonderful and important as The Lo Pub, because Winnipeg needs those kinds of places, and needs people like him.

The Lo Pub will be missed by Greg Gallinger

If you weren't at the Lo Pub on Saturday night you missed a spectacular show. Before the last band of the night, Still Lights, were about to take the stage I heard the sound guy say that Jack, proprietor of the now defunct Lo Pub, wanted to say a couple of words. I quickly headed to the front of the stage with my phone to capture what I knew was bound to be a touching moment. So here it is.