Starting this month, Transit Windsor will begin front door boarding and fare collection after a seven-month hiatus due to COVID-19.
Both begin on Oct. 19, and riders are being asked to reload their Transit Windsor Smart Cards at either the Windsor International Transit Terminal at 300 Chatham St. W. or Transit Centre at 3700 North Service Rd. E. in the weeks ahead.
Protective barriers are being added on buses to protect drivers, the city said in a press release. Riders are asked to follow one-way flow boarding through the front of the vehicle and exiting through the back. Exceptions will be made for those with mobility issues, so that they may exit from the front doors.
Pat Delmore, executive director of Transit Windsor, said it is giving people two-weeks notice of these updates so that riders can be prepared.
"We'll be asking everyone to have a one-way flow, board the front, exit the rear. All the safety measures that the provincial guidelines for public transit are in place on Transit Windsor buses," Delmore said.
Despite the province entering a second wave, the transit provider is moving forward with the changes, saying it is behind most municipalities, which have already returned to front door boarding.
If anything, Delmore said, a single flow of traffic is better than riders the back door for getting both on and off the bus.
He added that Transit Windsor is also opening up all seats, but standing is not allowed.
The city said the mandatory mask policy will remain in effect.
Transit Windsor will continue to operate on an enhanced Saturday service schedule, Monday through Saturday until demand for ridership increases. Sunday service will continue on the Sunday schedule.
Ridership has continued to be below pre-pandemic levels, the city reports. September numbers showed levels dwindled by about 60 per cent from the same month last year.