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Council brings back Christmas Day bus service for 2024

Council reversed a cut from June 2023 by reinstating Christmas Day bus service at a cost of $42,500.
Thunder Bay Transit
Thunder Bay Transit. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY -- Council reinstated a service as part of the 2024 operating and capital budget.

The municipal tax levy sits at 5.49 per cent after growth (5.93 before growth) with Current River Coun. Andrew Foulds receiving the necessary support to reinstate Christmas Day bus service beginning in 2024 at a cost of $42,500.

The Christmas Day bus service was cut by council in June as part of a series of corporate budget amendments.

“Once the public became aware of the decision that we as a council made, there was some extraordinarily negative feedback to members of council. Clearly people were upset,” Foulds said following Monday’s meeting.

“When you make cuts to transit, even small ones, it really disproportionately impacts the less affluent who are monumentally more dependent on that transportation for family dinners or work. The service industry has some precarious employees, and public transit is how they get to work.”

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 966 president Fred Caputo stated in December that not having transit on New Year’s Day was a bad idea, stressing that transit is in a crisis.

Originally city officials had said the estimated budget saving for the New Year's Day service closure was $42,450.

Foulds said he heard from a wide array of residents, including those who work in transit.

“The front-line workers would have some particularly good intel on the value of having transit on those days, so I certainly appreciated their feedback, but they weren't the only ones. I was a bit taken aback by the breadth of feedback that we got on this issue,” Foulds added.

McKellar Coun. Brian Hamilton requested a re-vote later in the meeting and was one of three members around the table who voted no to the addition both times. The other two votes were from Mayor Ken Boshcoff and McIntyre Coun. Albert Aiello.

When it comes to New Year’s Day 2025, Foulds said to bring back that day of service, they would have to wait until June once city staff comes to them with the budget direction.

Separately, another discussion prompted At-large Coun. Rajni Agarwal to put forward a recommendation to push all but $200,000 allocated for repairs to the Victoria Parkade to the 2025 budget with a further report coming from city staff. Agarwal received unanimous support for that.

Hamilton did get his ask of adding $25,000 to the recreation and culture division of the budget. Out of that, $15,000 will allow staff to provide a minimum of two movie nights as part of existing neighbourhood-based program.

Approximately $10,000 will be used for neighbourhood programming, including a bike program to address transportation barriers for low-income youth, families and newcomers in priority neighbourhoods.

Neebing Coun. Greg Johnson was defeated in his efforts to remove an $18,000 reduction in the budget with relation to Saturday bus service for the Neebing route.


  • $18,700 decrease in the Community, Youth and Cultural Funding within the Tax Supported Operating Budget
  • $50,600 increase in revenues
  • $27,900 increase in expenses in the Parking Authority Operating Budget revenues
  • $85,000 transfer from the Stabilization Reserve to support the City Manager recruitment expenditure

Council will be back at the budget table on Feb. 7.

The budget is scheduled to be ratified on Monday, Feb. 12.

Dougall Media will have more on the Victoria parkade decision in a separate article.


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