Transit Windsor service suspension continues until 'at least' May
Operations are currently set to resume on May 1, barring any changes
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens announced on Thursday that the city's public transit services will remain suspended until at least May 1.
Approximately 130 Transit Windsor staff members will be laid off, with notices to be sent out next week.
Transit Windsor service was originally slated to resume on April 13.
According to a media release issued on Thursday, Transit Windsor leadership recommended continuing the suspension, citing "local circumstances, observations from other transit operators across the province and the significant public health risks to both riders and drivers"
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Dilkens said the decision to extend Transit Windsor's service suspension was made on his own under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, adding that he didn't consult council because it would've become "highly political."
"This isn't a decision that anyone wants to make," said Dilkens. "This is a decision we had to take to help flatten the pandemic's curve in our community and save lives in the City of Windsor."
Dilkens added that he knows the decision will "cause some anxiety" within the community.
Dilkens said he did seek for out the advice of Dr. Wajid Ahmed of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, but did not ask for his permission when making the decision.—@tahmina_aziz
Voices ranging from riders, transit employees and even MPPs have all expressed concern over the original decision to suspend service.
"We are doing our best to coordinate with community groups, such as the United Way and others, to make sure that everyone can get the support and assistance required at this time," he said.
During a special council meeting in late March, Windsor city councillors approved a one-time payment for people who had purchased a Transit Windsor pass between Feb. 19, 2020 and March 19, 2020, as well as people who held a valid monthly pass for the period between Feb. 19 and March 19.
This isn't a decision anyone wants to make.- Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens
The city said the roughly 2,500 low-income and vulnerable individuals who receive a bus pass through social assistance will not need to apply, and will receive a $75 payment.
Regular pass holders will need to apply online, to be eligible for a $50 amount.
Additionally, University of Windsor students who currently hold an eligible UPass will need to apply online for a $25 payment.