Major overhaul of Transit Windsor routes proposed as part of master plan
The Transit Master Plan was last updated in 2006, focusing heavily on serving the downtown core
Transit Windsor is about three-quarters of the way through a one-year plan to revamp public transit in Windsor and the surrounding areas.
The Transit Master Plan was last updated in 2006, focusing heavily on serving the downtown core.
Executive Director Pat Delmore said studies have shown that's not how people are using transit, which has weighed heavily in the proposed new routes.
"The first part of our year was spent looking at our peers in the transit industry," said Delmore. Compared to transit systems of similar sizes, Transit Windsor offers the least amount of service per capita and has the lowest municipal operating contribution per capita.
Transit Windsor offers about 237,000 hours of service a year — that's 1.09 hrs per capita.
The proposed plan essentially doubles service hours, increasing operation to 521,000 hours per year, accomplished in a number of different ways.
The first is through route revitalization.
"We've basically taken our entire route system and looked at a whole new network that gets people where they need to go in a much faster time," said Delmore. "The makeup of our city makes it a challenge to get people across the city."
Existing transit routes are split and broken down into "primary" and "secondary" lines, with local routes added to weave through neighbourhoods.
"Based on the draft, a lot of it is narrowing down the main route so it's not wandering through residential areas," said Delmore.
For example, the current Crosstown 2 becomes the Primary 10, which loses the Mill/Sandwich/Prince corner, as well as the Riverside/Riverdale/Little River loop from the existing route. Local routes replace the runs through these neighbourhoods and connect those residential areas to the Primary 10 line.
A route running to St. Clair College's main campus via Huron Church Line and another running from the campus to Tecumseh Mall via E.C. Row Expressway are also expected to relieve student-caused congestion.
More buses, more jobs
The changes — adding 45 per cent more buses on the road during peak hours — mean there will be more jobs for drivers, mechanics and administration staff down the road.
A new maintenance and storage facility, or expansion of the existing facility, will also be required. The current facility is at 110 per cent capacity, according to Transit Windsor. A new or expanded facility will also accommodate 18-metre buses, as well as standard 12-metre long buses .
"You can't do this overnight. It is a big, expensive project," said Delmore.
The final plan is expected to be presented to council in Fall 2019. Right now, riders and community stakeholders can have input on the proposed routes, either at Wednesday's open house or online.
Riders want improved service
In the meantime, Transit Windsor riders seem to have some ideas about improvements they'd like to see implemented by the city's public transit provider.
Gurinder Pal Singh, a St. Clair College student from LaSalle, Ont. wants improved bus service in the region — especially after 6 p.m.
"There is no bus service after 6 p.m.," he explained. "Some students have classes until 8 p.m., I also have classes until 10 p.m."
Caesar Obasi said he'd like to see more flexible payment options, especially when it comes to paying fares with cash.
Obasi explained that he usually relies on a monthly bus pass. On the first of each month, however, before he's had a chance to purchase his pass, he'd like to be able to pay with cash and receive exact change for the transaction.
"[I'm] always looking for coins when I don't have my monthly pass," said Obasi.