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armorand

Winnipeg Transit summer service to Birds Hill Park

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Hey guys,

IIRC last year, there was transit service to/from Birds Hill Park for the 2011 Countryfest festival. However, I have no idea on the ridership of this temporary route, or if was using a D40 or D40LF, or anything! This is what intrigues me though. Looking for Winnipeg Transit on Facebook, I find this:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/220271561418147/

More interestingly for me, I'm partially related to the creator of this group! (his mom is my aunt)

I've started this group because I know there are a lot of people who don't own a vehicle and would love to go to the beach in the summer, me being one of them.

I think if we got enough people to join this group and giving your thumbs up for this service we could get Winnipeg Transit to bring back their summer-only service to Bird's Hill Park, which ended in 1979. So please, invite as many people as you can.

My questions:

1) How would this route work? Downtown to Birds Hill? Or could the frequency be cut in half if the route starts at lets say... the Glenway Route 11 loop? Could it even be a testbed for East St. Paul to/from Winnipeg transit demand, if routed right? Even if it's an all-summer route, I could imagine a few retail workers and high school kids using this temporary service for Kildolnan Place, MTS Centre concerts, etc. However, if the cash fare is made at lets say... $5 for Birds Hill, would people in East St. Paul use the service (possibly making a two-zone fare system for the Winnipeg CMA) or wait til they can pay $2.45 for a busride?

2) Does anyone have files related to 1970s Birds Hill service? (DavidW is my first guess, Kinguni might've seen it for himself, thats all I could probably go on)

3) If Winnipeg Transit wouldn't provide the service, would Beaver Bus Lines do it, so they can use the sole RTS and the Classics at a time other than SJR school runs? Not only that, they could make a tidy profit creating service into East St. Paul if Winnipeg Transit, or the RM itself, doesn't start service into it!

and

4) What kind of amenities are at Birds Hill, if one gets stuck at the park because they missed the last bus? I nearly got stuck in an industrial park taking pictures of NFI :P

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I understand that some form of summer service to Birds Hill Park has existed for many years. For at least the last decade it has operated only for the annual Folk Festival (a Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday weekend). When it was first implemented it operated all summer on weekends.

It has a unique legal status. The City of Winnipeg Act (1971 provincial law) permits Winnipeg Transit (and only Winnipeg Transit) to operate between the city and the park, and Winnipeg Transit does not need authorization from the provincial Motor Transport Board. As a highway service no standees are permitted and highway safety kits (flares, etc) must be carried.

For 2011 the service was operated as a charter, no fares were collected and the cost of the service was paid for by the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Before 2011 a fare equal to double the Winnipeg Transit fare was collected, no passes or transfers accepted. No transfers issued. The service was reportedly self-financing (break-even or better) when fares were collected.

Since it was free in 2011 I rode up to the park and back. I enjoyed the trip. It's the only Winnipeg Transit service that leaves city limits.

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I understand that some form of summer service to Birds Hill Park has existed for many years. For at least the last decade it has operated only for the annual Folk Festival (a Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday weekend). When it was first implemented it operated all summer on weekends.

It has a unique legal status. The City of Winnipeg Act (1971 provincial law) permits Winnipeg Transit (and only Winnipeg Transit) to operate between the city and the park, and Winnipeg Transit does not need authorization from the provincial Motor Transport Board. As a highway service no standees are permitted and highway safety kits (flares, etc) must be carried.

For 2011 the service was operated as a charter, no fares were collected and the cost of the service was paid for by the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Before 2011 a fare equal to double the Winnipeg Transit fare was collected, no passes or transfers accepted. No transfers issued. The service was reportedly self-financing (break-even or better) when fares were collected.

Since it was free in 2011 I rode up to the park and back. I enjoyed the trip. It's the only Winnipeg Transit service that leaves city limits.

Only WT? Nice! What kind of buse's was it using?

I could definitely see the service self-finance itself. Take an day-long bike ride, or take the bus? Pretty attractive option :)

If its free again, I might go myself! Hopefully, theres a 7-11 or something on park property. That or I gotta pack myself a lunch and some (large amounts of) water bottles.

Thanks for the information, DavidW! :)

As for East St. Paul though, I wonder how they'll ever get transit service. They seem to like bumming off the City of Winnipeg, so possibly an peak-service express service extension paid by the RM? That or Beaver Bus Lines might realize a profitable route :P

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Funny story about buses at Bird Hills

During the Pan-Am Games, I was volunteering at Bird Hills. They had bus service from the city to Birds Hill, and as well as a shuttle bus between the venues and the parking lots at Bird Hills. A few people got on the wrong bus, they wanted to get to the parking lots, but instead got on the bus going back to Winnipeg. The passengers got off the bus at Highway 59 and the Bird Hills turnoff, and tried to flag a bus going back to Bird Hills

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Only WT? Nice! What kind of buses was it using?

D40LFRs.

If its free again, I might go myself! Hopefully, theres a 7-11 or something on park property. That or I gotta pack myself a lunch and some (large amounts of) water bottles.

There are no commercial services at the bus stop in the park. Assuming you are not buying a Folk Festival admission there's not a lot to do at the bus stop except wait for the bus back to the city. I suppose you could ride one of the campground shuttle buses to another part of the park, so long as you have kept track of how to get back to a Winnipeg Transit bus stop. Last year Beaver Bus Lines had the schedule for the campsite shuttles so you could get a ride on a Classic...

As for East St. Paul though, I wonder how they'll ever get transit service. They seem to like bumming off the City of Winnipeg, so possibly an peak-service express service extension paid by the RM? That or Beaver Bus Lines might realize a profitable route :P

East St. Paul has "kicked the tires" on a possible transit service more than once recently. I believe the last effort a couple of years ago collapsed after Winnipeg Transit changed their cost formula from charging just for the extended mileage into ESP to charging costs based on the full trip from ESP to downtown. According to the story I heard the change came in mid negotiations and ESP walked away. The proposed service was to start a few #41 trips in ESP in the morning, and extend a few #41 trips to ESP in the afternoon peak.

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I understand that some form of summer service to Birds Hill Park has existed for many years. For at least the last decade it has operated only for the annual Folk Festival (a Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday weekend). When it was first implemented it operated all summer on weekends.

It has a unique legal status. The City of Winnipeg Act (1971 provincial law) permits Winnipeg Transit (and only Winnipeg Transit) to operate between the city and the park, and Winnipeg Transit does not need authorization from the provincial Motor Transport Board. As a highway service no standees are permitted and highway safety kits (flares, etc) must be carried.

For 2011 the service was operated as a charter, no fares were collected and the cost of the service was paid for by the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Before 2011 a fare equal to double the Winnipeg Transit fare was collected, no passes or transfers accepted. No transfers issued. The service was reportedly self-financing (break-even or better) when fares were collected.

Since it was free in 2011 I rode up to the park and back. I enjoyed the trip. It's the only Winnipeg Transit service that leaves city limits.

When the T6H4521 buses numbered 133-142 (later 752-761) arrived in 1972 they were specifically bought with the VS-2 (2-speed) transmission so they could be used on the Birds Hill Park service. They also had 4 small clips on the front of each bus to hold a metal sign that was carried to identify them at bus stops since the service wasn't listed on the destination signs back then. The service to the park had run before then, although I don't know when it started, and WT had used Flyer 700A buses for it prior to 1972.

- Andrew.

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Just wondering, when did they get new rollsigns for Winnipeg? One of Peter Cox's photos on BCT's site from 1981 had the old capitalized ones but the 1985 photos had the white arial. Then in 1998/1999, we got the yellowish Arial signs with no red express film

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As I recall, WT extended the Talbot bus to Birds Hill up till 1983. When they re-introduced route numbering in June '84 the Birds Hill service was "deleted". The sign read:

TALBOT ¦ BIRDS HILL
                            PK

I was 1 yo. in '67 when the Park opened. My Dad always drove our family for day trips to the Beach or for camping in July. Never rode the shuttle, but I remember the roll sign because in the 1980s I'd spot the TALBOT bus running down Donald St. across from the Library as I'd be waiting for my GRANT bus back to River Heights. They primarily used the Flyer coaches for the Birds Hill Park shuttle, but they may have used GM(C) units withe the green windshields at the front in the early 70s.

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Winnipeg Free Press
Fri., May 14, 1971

Metro Buses To Run To Birds Hill Park

Metro Transit buses will travel to Birds Hill Park for the first time this summer.

Thursday, Metro Council approved the service, which Coun. Lorne A. Leech, Metro's transportation committee chairman said would begin Jun. 5.

The service will operate to the provincial park each weekend in June and September, and daily in July and August. Metro expects to lose $2,075 in the first year of service, but the provincial government has promised to pick up the transit loses, up to $1,800.

The service, which Metro has asked the provincial government to approve several times within the last five years, will also test a radio system to keep track of buses.

Metro will spend $21,000 on 10 ultra high-frequency radios and a base radio unit, with which the transit system will experiment during the summer.

One-way fares for the 21-mile trip will be 50 cents for passengers with student's cards, and 75 cents for adults.  Passengers will not have to pay an entrance fee to the park, which they would if they travelled by car. Metro will pay $80 for a season entrance pass.

When the service is in operation, 10 buses daily will leave Portage Ave. and Garry St. beginning at noon, except on weekends and holidays in July and August when the first bus will leave at 10 a.m.

They will operate hourly and the last bus will leave the park at 10 p.m.

Although Metro officials hope that the service will pay for itself in future years, they predict a loss of $25 a day throughout the summer, and an additional $5 a day on holidays and weekends in July and August.

The Winnipeg Tribune
Sat., June 24, 1972 pg. 26

Senior Citizens' News

Summer service to Birds Hill Park is being provided by the City of Winnipeg transit system. Fare for senior citizens is 50 cents each way, with no transfer privileges. The buses depart from Garry at Portage daily during July and August.

The buses drive into one of the major picnic areas at Birds Hill Park. This is a central point for rewarding walks throughout many of the wilderness trails within the park.

Winnipeg Free Press
Jun. 2, 1983

City decides to cut Birds Hill bus service

The city has cancelled its regular summer bus service to Birds Hill Provincial Park, citing a less than acceptable number of riders.

The service, provided for more than a decade, will only be available during the Winnipeg Folk Festival in July, Jarvis Kohut, transit manager of marketing and development, said yesterday.

Rider use service has been "very low",  except for the festival, he said, noting that the number of passengers fell below guidelines set by the civic works and operations committee.

The Birds Hill service was operated at a high cost and with low revenue, Kohut said.

A transit department recommendation to abandon the service was made earlier this year and subsequently approved by city council.

Last year the city provided one trip daily to and from the park during the week and two each way on weekends and also on holidays.

Kohut said here has been no significant opposition to the city's decision to abandon the service, which was started in a joint venture with the Manitoba government in 1971.

The province now provides transit with a conditional grant covering 50 per cent of the overall transit deficit.

"It's never been a successful service," Kohut said, noting that transit had trouble providing it under current tough financial conditions.

Urban Affairs Minister Eugene Kostyra said the province felt it shouldn't interfere in the city's decision to cancel the service.

Impact not assessed

The provincial Parks Department has not had an opportunity to assess the impact of the transit service cut, said Allan Skrumeda, co-ordinator of public affairs for the province.

He said the bus service to Birds Hill saw low use during the week, but more on weekends, particularly Sundays.

 

 

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On ‎5‎/‎12‎/‎2012 at 2:03 PM, calgarybus said:

When the T6H4521 buses numbered 133-142 (later 752-761) arrived in 1972 they were specifically bought with the VS-2 (2-speed) transmission so they could be used on the Birds Hill Park service. They also had 4 small clips on the front of each bus to hold a metal sign that was carried to identify them at bus stops since the service wasn't listed on the destination signs back then. The service to the park had run before then, although I don't know when it started, and WT had used Flyer 700A buses for it prior to 1972.

- Andrew.

Those were "Canadian cousins" to 132/751, which started its life as a radio test bus, then went into regular service. While 751 was babied through most of its life, 752-761 were not; they had much shorter careers.

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