Winnipeg Transit bus driver shield plan passed by committee, heads to EPC, council

Concern over driver safety has led to a city committee passing a motion to have surplus Winnipeg Transit money go to bus driver shields.The city’s infrastructure committee passed the decision 3-1, with only Coun. Matt Allard voting against, saying he’d prefer to see the idea go through the regular budget process for 2019.Bus shields approved at IRPW meeting this morning – matter will now head to EPC and subsequently council. Councillor Browaty made a motion – which passed 3 to 1 – to have funding for the shields come from transit’s surplus and to get shields installed in 18 months. #glbwpg— Diana Foxall (@CJOBdiana) January 8, 2019
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The committee decision means all 630 Winnipeg Transit buses could be outfitted with driver safety shields, something the local transit union and other organizations have been pushing for since the February 2017 murder of a driver.The shields are projected to cost $3.15 million to purchase and install.Local transit union president Aleem Chaudhary said he’d like to see the shields installed within 18 months, although the city had planned for a three-year process if shields were approved.At the meeting, Coun. Jeff Browaty’s motion included speeding up the process to get the protective screens in place within a year and a half.READ MORE: Half of Toronto transit drivers don’t like or use safety shields, says unionThe shield idea hasn’t been without controversy, however.A representative for Toronto’s transit union told 680 CJOB Friday that more than half of the drivers in that city choose not to use the shields, citing glare and claustrophobia as the main factors.The decision now passes to EPC and then city council for final debate and approval.WATCH: Winnipeg Transit plans to install safety shields on all buses