BLUE line brings rapid transit to southwest  

Starting April 12, a dedicated 11-kilometre transitway will open in the southwest, giving bus riders a faster, easier commute.

BLUE is a new rapid transit line that will provide frequent, reliable, high-speed service between Winnipeg’s downtown, the University of Manitoba and St. Norbert, according to Adam Budowski, a transit planner with Winnipeg Transit.

The idea of rapid transit was first introduced in Winnipeg in the 1970s, with city council acting on it in the early 2000s when a task force was established. The first stage was opened in 2012 with the 3.6 km-long rapid transitway running from Queen Elizabeth Way to Jubilee Avenue. Planning for stage two of the transitway began in 2012, with most of the construction completed by the end of 2019.

"A big piece of this has been route planning," Budowski said. "We started developing route plans for the transitway about two years ago and started doing public engagement in the spring of 2019."

Transit "hollowed out" a retired bus, equipped it with poster boards and drove this Ideas in Motion bus to transit hubs and community events to catch people during their daily activities, according to Budowski. They also received responses via email, for a total of around 1,000 responses.

 "We’ve designed a high frequency line in a well-planned area, with 14 new community feeder routes. People can wait at heated shelters which also feature digital displays for real-time bus information. The transitway is designed to move large numbers of people to where they want to go, quickly and in a way that avoids congestion on Pembina Highway," Budowski said, adding that there will still be buses running on Pembina for those needing local transportation. 

The City of Winnipeg has been working on weekends to change the bus route signs in the southwest. The transit stops now feature a blue sign showing the new route numbers, and an orange, temporary sign showing the old route numbers.

 "We want people to know that their current bus is still coming, and get them used to the new routes that will launch April 12," he said, adding there are around 1,500 bus stop signs being changed.

Funding for the BLUE line included $163.8 million from the City of Winnipeg, $93.3 million from the province and $163.3 million from the federal government.The BLUE line will feature 28 new articulated buses, which can carry around 100 passengers each. Each bus will feature a front rack that can carry two bikes. There will also be bike lockers at each station and bike racks. 

"The buses will run approximately every four to five minutes during rush hour," Budowski said. 

Passengers will be able to park their cars and hop onboard a bus, thanks to more than 1,000 park and ride spots installed at Seel Station and Clarence Station. The parking spots are available for special events at attractions along the BLUE Rapid Transit Line, including Investors Group Field, and are provided free of charge for anyone using Transit services.

For those interested in active transportation, such as biking or walking, a protected and accessible path runs the full length of the transitway, connecting to existing active routes. It will be illuminated at night to enhance safety and visibility.

Winnipeg Transit mailed information brochures to 75,000 households in the southwest, as well as putting up information signs at 86 bus stations in the downtown regarding route changes. 

For more information on the BLUE transitway and route changes, see

To start planning bus routes, use the Navigo Trip Planner at  and type in April 12 as the date you want to make a trip.