Transit advocacy group calls for increased service

·3 min read
Transit Windsor (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - image credit)
Transit Windsor (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - image credit)

A Transit advocacy group in Windsor-Essex is calling for more frequent and reliable service after asking the public what they think of the system.

Activate Transit Windsor Essex has formed what it calls a community mandate after conducting an online survey of 620 people last year.

According to the group, the overwhelming majority of people who participated — around nine out of 10 — said they would take transit more often if the buses came more often and on time.

"There are more people in the city that would love to use transit if the system worked better for them," said Jessica Bondy, co-founder of the group.

The report's findings also suggested that the transit system was a barrier to employment for some people.

"You're much less likely to use the bus if you're employed full time, and that's because the schedules don't work. Maybe ...your work end time is past when the bus is even running," Bondy said.

The group is also calling for actions including increased transit funding, extending operating hours and the speedy implementation of Windsor's Transit Master Plan, which was approved by council in 2020.

Tyson Cragg, the executive director of Transit Windsor, said that many of the concerns brought up by the group are being addressed in the master plan.

In the last few years, the transit agency has added 15,000 service hours to the system, including adding a new route, 518X, he said.

Jennifer La Grassa/CBC
Jennifer La Grassa/CBC

"I think in terms of advancement of the master plan, we have to put into context that we are in the middle of a pandemic and our ridership is significantly lower than it was prior to that, and we're trying to make changes and make improvements while recognizing that we're in a challenging environment," he said.

The bus service has about 15,000 unique riders each day, but numbers are still under 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, he said.

Currently, the bus system in Windsor is on an enhanced Saturday schedule on weekdays due to the pandemic. Transit Windsor is looking to return to the regular schedule in September.

'Always a bus in 10 minutes'

Several transit riders who spoke with CBC Windsor on Friday had few complaints.

Tim Pare has been riding the bus for about eight years and is satisfied with the service.

"The buses are always on time, within five minutes from what I've seen," he said.

"And I think it's just our nature to complain," he said in reference to the survey's findings.

Kunj Barmar has been using transit for about six months. He'd be happy to see his bus route come by more frequently but had high praise for the system overall.

"I would rate it 10 out of 10 because it's extremely good and its been accurate," he said.

Piyush Jindal, a St. Clair College student, has been using the bus for around three months.

He says the service is OK — he'd give it a seven of out of 10 — but he has had issues with the timing.

"The frequencies are good; there's always a bus in 10 minutes," he said.

Keshab Sharma, who has experience with the transit systems in the Greater Toronto Area, wants to see the bus arrival times line up better with what's appearing in Google Maps. He'd also like to see buses come more often.

"The bus service should be more frequent on these routes that are busy routes," he said.

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