Transit Windsor under fire at town hall

CBC Windsor hosted a transportation town hall Wednesday night at Windsor's Capitol Theatre, where busing, cycling and the auto industry were examined.

CBC Windsor hosted a transportation town hall Wednesday night at Windsor's Capitol Theatre.

Transporting a City focused on the city's current and future transportation needs.

Panellists were Kari Gignac, chair of the Windsor Bicycling committee; Pat Delmore, director of operations for Transit Windsor; André Capaldi, president of the University of Windsor Student Alliance; and Ed Bernard, chair of the Research and Development committee of the Canadian Association of Mold Makers. 

Delmore was under heavy fire much of the night. Audience members in person and online peppered him with questions and suggestions.

One audience member told Delmore of late buses and unpleasant drivers.

Delmore assured the crowd that customer service is a high priority for him. He said drivers must provide better customer service.

Delmore said the goal of Transit Windsor is to decrease seat time for the rider and increase the number of buses.

How they arrived

  • Kari Gignac biked to the town hall.
  • Pat Delmore drove in from his home in the county.
  • André Capaldi took the 1C bus.
  • Ed Bernard drove his pickup truck "for $18 one way."

"It's not a cheap plan, but an evening like this ... it's important to the community. It's the community's voice that needs to be heard," Delmore said. "We’re doing the best with what we’ve got, which isn’t much sometimes."

Transit Windsor has a $26-million budget. Sixty per cent of that money comes from fares.

Capaldi said a universal pre-paid, mandatory bus pass for students is "integral" for the students and Transit Windsor.

A bus pass referendum is underway at the university this week.

"I'm really excited about the referendum taking place right now," Capaldi. "I'm excited to see what the students will decide."

So is Transit Windsor. It will receive much-needed revenue to be used for transit improvements if the bus pass is approved.

Students have pushed back against the proposed pass, but Capaldi has been trying hard to convince students to vote "yes."

"There’s a major cost savings in taking the bus over owning a car," he said. "It was important a dialogue start between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ sides."

Some of the students against the pass are commuters.

"When I speak to commuter students, I attempt to convey to them they have the ability to use the service like any other student," Capaldi said. "That student from Essex, they may be taking a class downtown or working in collaborative project with St. Clair College."

Gignac said Windsor weather and terrain should lend the city to being very cycle-friendly.

"Cycling and Windsor should go hand-in-hand," she said.

But it doesn't. She wants more people cycling to and from work.

Bernard still believes in Windsor's auto manufacturing sector.

"We've been involved in all types of transportation. Certainly this area has a rich history and we'll be able to develop the future of transportation," Bernard said.

More to come.