Windsor's unemployment rate is 8.9 per cent but for some people looking for work, transportation, not lack of jobs, is the real problem. 

Some just can't get to the available jobs.

Several groups in Windsor-Essex are trying to address the lack of affordable, available and reliable transportation.

Windsor Enterprise Skills Training and Pathway to Potential are to host an public conversation about transportation barriers in the region Wednesday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Tecumseh Arena. 

Nour Hachem, the youth project coordinator for WEST, estimates 50 per cent of those looking for work with help of WEST say transportation is a barrier.

"We often help clients get to interviews," Hachem said.

Earlier this month, the organization bused approximately 20 job seekers to interviews and orientation sessions for a handful of job openings in Leamington. 

"But because of [a lack of] transportation, most couldn’t take the position," she said.

Hachem said the employer went so far as to arrange for all 20 of them to work the same shift, so they could car pool, but none of them could maintain a car because they all said it was too expensive.

Low pay can't support cars

Hachem said many of the job openings pay between $12 and $15 an hour. It's an income level that she said can't possibly pay for a car, given gas, insurance and upkeep.

Hachem said lack of regional bus service also stops people from being able to take jobs on the city's edge.

She said there are lots of employers in Oldcastle, but Transit Windsor service stops at Silver City on Walker and Provincial Roads.

She knows one woman who takes a bus to the end of its route and then hails a cab to complete the trip to a communications job.

"Often times, the bus doesn’t get to the location they need to get to," Hachem said. "It’s a regional issue. We want to have a regional transportation discussion."

Hachem said employers in Windsor and surrounding municipalities have talked about transportation challenges. 

Some of them will be at Wednesday's open discussion.