$606K provincial grant for Leamington inter-community bus service
'My children live in Essex so I'll be able to go and visit and make a day of it,' says Renee Morel
The Municipality of Leamington has landed a $606,000 grant from the province to start up an inter-community bus service.
According to Leamington mayor Hilda MacDonald, the service would start in mid-August and run in the morning, mid-day and early evening, Monday through Friday.
The bus would run between Leamington, Kingsville, Essex and St. Clair College.
In addition to serving St. Clair College students, MacDonald feels it will boost economic development in the town and provide a commuter service for greenhouse workers.
"There are residents that would like to come from the county that would like to work in Leamington," said MacDonald. "And if someone wants to go to Kingsville or to Essex, they will have the ability to do that."
'A good news story'
Amy Lord, a single mom with a disability who lives in Leamington, is excited by the prospect.
"It would be good because my daughter has applied for college, it would be good for her travelling and she wouldn't have to stay on campus so she could still be back here with her brothers and me," said Lord, who would also use the service to spend the day in Windsor.
John Fairley, vice president of college community relations for St. Clair College, estimates 30 per cent of the college students live in the county.
"This is a good news story in the sense of that we're finally looking at connecting Windsor to Leamington and Essex and it's a long time coming," he said.
According to Fairley, the college will be working with the town on the schedule to ensure the buses arrive on time for morning classes.
Step towards regional transit
Transit advocate Renee Morel of Windsor believes the service is a good first step toward regional transit.
"My children live in Essex so I'll be able to go and visit and make a day of it. Going out to Colasanti's or something, and I can kind of see it as being a very positive thing bridging a gap and keeping people together," said Morel, who doesn't drive because she has multiple sclerosis.
Mayor of Essex Larry Snively is also excited about the service, saying it will stop at the Essex twin-pad arena.
MacDonald said the $606,000 is spread out over five years, with the Town of Leamington kicking in $25,000 each year and fare revenue paying for the rest.
However, the total cost of the service has not been revealed.
It's also not clear whether a bus will have to be purchased or not. Details of the route planning, scheduling and fares remain unfinalized.