More than $100M in government funding will drive 'future' of transit in Windsor

A total of $57 million for transit in Windsor will be coming from the federal government, with another $47 million on the way from the province.

Transit Windsor already buying 24 news buses and all new shelters

Transit Windsor executive director Pat Delmore said he's not sure what criteria will be used to distribute the funds. (Peter Duck/CBC)

Officials in Windsor don't know how more than $100-million in transit funding announced Friday will roll out, but they're confident it will "set up the future of transit" for the city.

A total of $57 million will be coming from the federal government, with another $47 million on the way from the province.

"This is certainly a very positive announcement for us," said Transit Windsor executive director Pat Delmore.

Funds could be used for active transport

He added he still hasn't seen any criteria for how the provincial money is to be used or how it will break down. The city currently has 26 transportation-related projects, including four involving cycling, so some of the funds could be used to support the city's active transportation master plan.

"Efficient and sustainable public transit plays an important role in keeping our communities among the best places in the world to live, while contributing to clean economic growth," said Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, in a media release announcing the funding.

"By working with our provincial and municipal partners, we will deliver real support through transformative projects that will benefit the residents of Windsor," he added.

Government funding for area transit:

MunicipalityFederal fundsProvincial funds
Chatham-Kent$1,975,116$1,629,471
LaSalle$28,341$23,381
Leamington$257,818$212,700
Tecumseh$254,579$210,027
Windsor$57,910,359$47,776,046

The transit authority received $10.2 million last year as the first phase of the federal funding and has been using those funds to purchase all new bus shelters and 24 new buses.

Those vehicles have been rolling into town for months, where some final touches including a GPS and fare system are installed. About a quarter of Transit Windsor's fleet will be brand new after all of those buses hit the road, according to Delmore.

Ridership for buses was up more than three per cent, he explained, crediting the U-Pass and high student ridership for the growth.

Sensors will serve ridership

Delmore said Transit Windsor is also working to use sensors to determine when people get on and off the bus, to better meet the needs or riders on routes across the city.

"Passenger counters are sensors that are on both the front and the rear doors and they are able to record how many passengers board or disembark at any given transit stop across the city. It's a really valuable tool for the planning area."

The project has already been approved with federal funding, but Delmore said it has gone "slightly over budget" and will be discussed by the transportation committee on Wednesday.