Most people enjoy watching the sun set from a balcony or a beach. Lise Coupal watches it through the window of a Transit Windsor bus.

Her daily, early-evening commute from the University of Windsor to Rivard Ave. and Adstoll Ave. takes approximately 40 minutes — on a good day.

Coupal is a part-time university student who also works at Place Concorde in Forest Glade. It takes two buses to get there, but she often misses her connection, extending the length of her commute.

"When I am travelling, and I am running behind because of the buses, I often take a cab from Tecumseh Mall so I can get to work on time," she said.

Coupal could make her connection if she transferred downtown. But it means a longer ride because the route travels through several neighbourhoods before reaching her destination at Lauzon Parkway and Forest Glade Drive.

Transporting a city

This is Part 1 in a CBC Windsor series examining transit in Windsor. Susan Pedler and Tony Doucette will host a town hall examining the issue March 7 at the Capitol Theatre. You can join the conversation on Twitter (@CBCWindsor) and on our new Facebook page. We want you to share your thoughts on and experiences with getting around Windsor.

Work schedules have Wendy Lou Torell commuting mainly during the late evening hours, around 10 p.m. She said buses are even more difficult to catch at that time.

"If you miss one, you’re waiting another hour for the next one," she said.

Torell said her previous home, Kitchener-Waterloo, had better transit.

"They have an amazing system," she said. "You can actually depend on the times, and they make sure their connects match correctly."

Transit Windsor acknowledges there are many passengers like Coupal and Torell.

"We fully recognize our buses don't go all the places people want to go or the times they want to go. We currently have a system that hasn't changed its routing structure since 1979, so that's been a long time. The city has grown substantially," said Pat Delmore, Transit Windsor's Director of Operations.

Delmore said the bus company wants to cut trip times on the busiest routes and create feeder routes to serve different neighbourhoods. Those changes won't happen overnight — and likely not this year. Still, Transit Windsor is looking to make gradual improvements, starting with busier routes which are often overcrowded.

"In order for us to make the changes required, it would need financial dollars inputted into the transit system," Delmore said. "You have to build [the transit system] before they come, and it becomes a decision that has to come from city council.

"We need our passengers to voice their desires with their respective city councillors."

Until that happens, what does that mean for riders like Coupal? And what will it take for Transit Windsor to roll out its service improvements? CBC Windsor starts a three part-series today. It culminates with a Town Hall Wednesday. That's also the same day students at the university vote on whether to ratify the U-Pass.

The following table compares the time it would take for a person to drive or take the midday bus from the heart of the University or Windsor campus to some destinations in Windsor:

Destination

Distance

Time by car*

Time by bus**

Oullette Avenue bar district 3 km 7 minutes 12 minutes
Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital 3.8 km 8 minutes 15 minutes
Via Rail Station 5.7 km 9 minutes 20 minutes
Windsor Regional Hospital 7.2 km 14 minutes 30 minutes
Devonshire Mall 9.1 km 12 minutes 58 minutes
Windsor Airport 13.6 km 17 minutes 50 minutes (2 buses)
WFCU Centre 13.7 km 22 minutes 83 minutes (2 buses)
Walker & Provincial shopping district 14.5 km 18 minutes 54 minutes (2 buses)
* Google; ** Approximate - Transit Windsor