Getting Around Winnipeg without a Car (Yes, it’s Possible!)
Have you ever considered the best ways to get around Winnipeg without a car? You might scoff and think there’s no way you want to move around this frigid city without one, but not everyone has access to a vehicle. Others are also worried about the environmental damage cars do.
As someone who doesn’t drive, I’ve spent all of my adult life trying to move around cities without a vehicle. And I promise you, you can do it. Let’s look at your options.
You can ride the good ol’ bus to move around our city. The service isn’t great from some outlying suburban areas, but you can reach most everywhere by bus. And it’s easy to figure out, too. There’s a Winnipeg Transit app you can download onto your phone. You can also use the Winnipeg Transit Navigo website.
With either version, you enter your departing address, your destination, and the time you need to arrive or leave. Navigo will then show you all your options to get where you are going, including walking time and time between transfers. You can also monitor a particular stop if you want to see when buses will arrive. The app/website shows where buses are in real time by tracking the fleet with GPS. This takes the guesswork out of knowing when your bus will arrive, which is particularly helpful on nasty weather days. The city could do better with transit, and we need more rapid transit routes, but this is one way you can get around Winnipeg.
If you need to get around downtown, you can hop aboard one of the Downtown Spirit buses. They take a couple of different routes through the downtown area. The best part? The Downtown Spirit is always free!
If you want to stay in shape and avoid all carbon emissions, cycling might be the way to go. And yes, you can cycle here year-round. (At least if you’re the hardy type.) The advent of fat bike tires can help you with winter cycling.
While you can cycle all city streets in Winnipeg, not everyone loves sharing the road with larger, faster moving cars. The city does have a series of dedicated bike routes, including downtown bike lanes. If you aren’t sure where to find these, the city provides a number of bike maps to help you plan your trip.
Biking is a great way to see Winnipeg, particularly many of our downtown parks and pretty spaces!
Another great way to get in your daily exercise and protect the environment is by simply using your feet to move you from point A to point B. I used to live in Osborne Village and walked to work downtown every day, even in -35 degree weather.
You can’t walk everywhere, but consider walking for your shorter trips. You will need good shoes (or good winter boots with grip) to stay comfortable, but those are far cheaper than a car. Wearing a good base layer or snow pants with your coat, hat and mitts can keep you nice and toasty in the winter. You also generate a fair amount of body heat when you’re moving around. Just make sure you invest in good quality gear; the super-cheap stuff might leave you too cold or too sweaty under your coat.
Walking is great for your health, as is spending time outdoors in general. It can be difficult to walk down sidewalks in winter before the plows come up, but you can use the street instead (in residential areas). Or, you could truly embrace our winters and pull out your snowshoes!
Downtown is a great place to walk, particularly around The Forks or Stephen Juba Park. You will find many pretty things to see as you promenade along the water. In the winter, you can walk on the Red or Assiniboine and see all of the delightful warming huts near the Forks.
There might be times when you need to get somewhere that isn’t easily accessible except by car. You can use our local taxi services, but I quite enjoy Tapp Car, Winnipeg’s answer to Uber or Lyft. We have a few other rideshare services in the city, but I can only vouch for Tapp Car, which was the first player here.
They have an easy-to-use app that shows how long it will take your car to get to you, and shows the car make, model, colour and license plate, along with your driver’s name. This is nice to know for safety reasons. The cars are always clean, and the drivers are generally friendly. You set up payment directly in the app, so you don’t have to fuss with cash or a debit machine when you arrive at your destination. You can step out of the car as soon as you’ve arrived.
The rates are similar to what you’d pay for a taxi, so it’s not going to cost you any more of your hard-earned cash. Tapp Car has a website and an app you can download to your phone.
Tapp Car is also a great option if you are going out but want to do some drinking. You won’t have to worry about imbibing too much to drive yourself safely home.
Having your own car can be great, but it’s not the only way to move around. If you want or need other options, you’ve got them. You don’t need to stay at home hibernating! Get out and see more of our fair city.
If you have tips about getting around Winnipeg without a car, share them in the comments!