Transit Windsor ridership up 5%, proposes all-day, 10 minute service for busiest route

Thanks to the advent of a universal bus pass for University of Windsor students, Transit Windsor has experienced a dramatic increase in ridership and is proposing significant improvements to the city's busiest transit route.

Improvements to Transway 1C route to be funded through increased ridership revenue

Transit Windsor riders board the 1C bus outside Tecumseh Mall on Nov. 8, 2017. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

One year after University of Windsor students voted to buy into a universal bus pass program, Transit Windsor has experienced a major increase in ridership. 

As of September 30 the transit system recorded a 5.04 per cent increase in ridership from 2016, according to a report being discussed Wednesday by the city's Environment, Transportation & Public Safety standing committee.

"Right across the country, everybody is seeing stagnant [ridership]," explained Pat Delmore, Transit Windsor's executive director. "So to see a [5.04 per cent] increase, we're extremely pleased with it — and we know it's all got to do with the U-Pass."

Transit Windsor's Pat Delmore says the dramatic increase in ridership can be traced to the debut of a universal bus pass for University of Windsor students. (Peter Duck/CBC)

As a result of the U-Pass deal and associated increase in revenue, Transit Windsor is proposing improvements to its Transway 1C service.

The route — the city's busiest — runs from the College Avenue Community Centre to Forest Glade. Currently, buses run every 15 minutes except during peak hours, which feature 10 minute service.

The transit agency is asking politicians to allow it to increase service on the route to every 10 minutes all day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The service improvement will cost $674,093, but would be covered by revenue generated by the U-Pass and ridership instead of property taxes.

The Transway 1C route runs across the city from the College Avenue Community Centre to Forest Glade. (Transit Windsor)

"We need to try to encourage the university to make [the U-Pass] a permanent program — this is a three year pilot," Delmore said, adding that even a student who drives to school could use the improved 1C service as a shuttle between the university's downtown and main campuses.

"It's really about providing some connectivity for students ... but again, it's the entire route, and the entire community will benefit because of it."

If approved on Wednesday, the service improvements would be rolled into Transit Windsor's 2018 proposed operating budget, which will be debated by city council in the coming months.


Jonathan Pinto is the host of Up North, CBC Radio One's regional afternoon show for Northern Ontario and is based in Sudbury. He was formerly a reporter/editor and an associate producer at CBC Windsor. Email