Mississauga gets $19 million from Ontario to keep MiWay buses running
Published January 21, 2022 at 11:07 am
Mississauga has received nearly $19 million from the Ontario government to help keep MiWay buses running smoothly and on time.
The cash, delivered through the provincial government’s Gas Tax program, will help MiWay offset financial losses due to plunging ridership numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mississauga’s public transit provider received $18,932,146 of the $375.6 million in total delivered by the Province to 107 Ontario municipalities to operate and improve public transit.
The cash infusion will allow MiWay and other municipal transit systems to extend service hours, buy new buses, add new routes, improve accessibility and upgrade infrastructure, Ontario government officials said in a news release today.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how critical public transit is for frontline workers and for Ontarians who depend on these services to get to medical appointments, the grocery store and other important locations,” said Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney. “Gas Tax funding remains a vital source of long-term transit funding that municipalities can rely on to help operate and expand existing public transit services, ensuring people have access to safe and reliable transportation when they need it.”
The nearly $19M the @citymississauga will receive this year through the program will undoubtedly help us to further strengthen our local transit network.
Thank you @C_Mulroney, #Mississauga MPPs & the Ontario Gov’t for supporting cities & residents who rely on public transit! https://t.co/1iWuAGVLgl
— Bonnie Crombie 🇨🇦 (@BonnieCrombie) January 21, 2022
City of Mississauga officials say MiWay, like transit systems in other towns and cities, is still trying to recover millions of lost passengers due to the pandemic.
MiWay ridership levels had been on the rise since last fall, but fell off again after the more contagious Omicron variant was identified in early December.
MiWay, which has experienced roughly $7 million in monthly losses, had seen ridership on its buses plummet at one point last fall by more than half since the pandemic struck in 2020.
Provincial and federal governments are helping MiWay and transit providers across Ontario deal with the financial shortfall brought about by sinking ridership numbers.
Still, there’s a long road ahead to recovery, public transit officials in Mississauga say. They note that transit ridership in Mississauga and across southern Ontario is expected to return over the course of years, not months.
“Any municipality with a large transit operation, a large transit system, a large fleet is suffering huge losses,” Mayor Bonnie Crombie said last fall.
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