Windsor transit needs changes, defenders say

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If you take the bus in Windsor, recommenders and experts say it’s probably because you trust it.

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Activating Transit Windsor Essex, a new collective of volunteers, hopes to begin advocating for changes that would make transit a more accessible, convenient and sustainable choice for all.

Founder Jessica Bondy and other members were involved in delivering suggestions as the city recently revised its traffic master plan in 2019 – but now, thanks to a grant from 8 80 Cities, they have formalized their efforts.

“The More than Transition a master plan is a great plan, it outlines exactly what we need to do to improve our services for transit as a city, but we really need the political will, the follow-up and the funding to make it happen, ”Bondy said.

“There (Activate Transit Windsor Essex) sees itself lending its voice to see this plan come to fruition.”

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The More Than Transit master plan was developed with community consultation and adopted in 2019.

Phil Taylor, left, speaks with Bee Zelda, a member of the organization Activate Transit Windsor Essex at the central Transit Windsor terminal on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Photo of Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

It found that Windsor’s transit service was lacking compared to other medium-sized municipalities, with the lowest municipal contribution to transit per capita and offered the second least cost-effective service relative to number of passengers. It also provides the least service of its peers, despite a similar number of users.

Bondy said their group sees two main factors that need improvement in transit service: operating hours and improved service with more frequent buses and more routes.

“Right now, it’s simple and straightforward: The transit system is not usable by an ordinary person. You don’t use traffic in this city unless you trust it because it’s not convenient, ”she said.

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“It’s a remarkable sign that we’re coming out of it exactly what we’re putting into it.”

Windsor has historically had a self-centered culture – but with more focus on climate change and sustainability, that could change.

“We have a long history of production and design and automotive,” said Tyson Cragg, executive director of Transit Windsor.

“In the middle perspective, there is a more public push on the importance of transit in Windsor now compared to, say, 20 years ago … I think it bodes well for us, because we succeed when we have the public support and the political support to make improvements. “

Cragg, who took the helm of Transit Windsor in September 2020, said the city has just introduced the 518X route from Tecumseh Mall to St. Louis. Clair College, one of the routes recommended in the master plan. Cragg said the route has been working extremely well so far.

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