Windsor

City vs. County: Lakeshore exploring potential for bus service

As the potential for regional transit picks in Windsor-Essex, Lakeshore is set to look at launching its own bus service.

Mayor Tom Bain believes there is 'huge demand' for service

Transit Windsor is responsible for bus service in Windsor, Lakeshore is looking at potentially bringing in its own service. (Peter Duck/CBC)
   
    Lakeshore is the latest town in Essex County to begin research on launching a transit system. 
   

Mayor Tom Bain believes there is "huge demand" for the service, especially along the lakefront.

   
    "We have already initiated some discussions with the Town of Tecumseh, and we are in the process of meeting with the City of Windsor and looking at some transportation routes," Bain told CBC's    Windsor Morning.
   

Tecumseh's chief administrative officer Tony Haddad said he met with his counterpart from Lakeshore Thursday.

   
    "We did have a good conversation. We shared a lot of information that we had," Haddad said. 
   
   

Tecumseh already in the transit game

   
   
    Tecumseh launched its own transit service in 2009. 
   

It has a single route, making a loop through the town, and then venturing into the city before stopping at the Tecumseh Mall. Riders can connect with Transit Windsor buses there. Tecumseh will accept transfers from Windsor, but people travelling into the city must pay a second time.

   

Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain says his community is looking into connecting with Tecumseh on transit. (Joana Draghici/CBC)

   

Haddad said he was not sure if Lakeshore starting a transit system would change what Tecumseh offers, but he says it creates an opportunity to move toward a model of "regional service" along the north shore of Windsor-Essex.

   
    One option would be an express route, Haddad said. He suggests it could run from Belle River through Tecumseh into Windsor, and possibly even LaSalle, as long as there is sufficient demand.   
   

LaSalle is in the process of studying its own bus system too. 

   
   
    A gradual approach 
   
   

Bain says discussions between municipalities is the way to go, after talk of a county-wide regional transit system fell flat in 2011.

   
    "We can't take this on as one huge project. We're going to have to take on pilot projects and make it work," Bain said. 
   

But Bain feels the work done by the county on the issue in past years can serve as a base for the future, because it was detailed enough to include potential routes.

   
    "What we're doing now is hoping to start from that base that we had, and continue on and look at pilot projects," Bain said. 
   

If Lakeshore council ultimately decides to take the plunge, Haddad advises that the town commit to transit for at least 18 to 24 months. He says it would take that long to see how successful it can be.

   
    In Tecumseh, Haddad says seniors and young people have come to rely on the bus service. 
   

"The community has responded to it. Is it going to pay for itself? No. Does council recognize that? Absolutely. But they are committed to it," Haddad said. 

   

With files from Windsor Morning

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