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Today's Windsor Star

 

Transit Windsor hit by perfect storm of good news, including higher ridership

 

 

Transit Windsor has been hit by a perfect storm of good news, crediting a jump in ridership to a number of recent and ongoing improvements and expansion to the city’s public transportation system.

Ridership is suddenly up and expected to rise further in the near future. Executive director Pat Delmore cites a number of developments for the bright outlook:

  • $20 million in new federal/city funding to pay for 24 new buses and 150 new solar-powered bus shelters, with the second phase of funding still to come.
  • New technology helping the system operate better and inform riders exactly when their bus is due.
  • A partnership with LaSalle to provide a route through the town that connects with the Windsor system starting in September.
  • The resounding success of the U-Pass program approved last year in a referendum by University of Windsor graduate and undergrad students who pay an extra $66 per semester for a universal bus pass. With 12,500 U-Passes in circulation during the winter semester, students are filling the buses, not just to go to school, but to travel throughout the city day and night. 

     

    Ridership, which had been stagnant in recent years, is up 3.5 per cent, thanks to U-Pass, equating to 227,000 more bus rides a year. And now part-time students have voted to join the U-Pass program starting in the fall.

    “The uptake has been very, very impressive,” said Coun. Bill Marra, who chairs the Transit Windsor board and is hopeful of getting St. Clair students on board with a U-Pass program as well. “Getting more students on the buses and exposed to public transit has been very, very valuable,” he said.

    All these new initiatives are aimed at increasing ridership, Delmore said. And when that happens, revenue climbs and improvements to the system are possible, which again leads to increased ridership, revenues and more improvements, he added.

     

     

    The U-Pass program was supposed to be revenue neutral, meaning the money lost from $66-per-month bus passes that some students bought was offset by getting $66 per semester from everyone. But the program has generated more revenue than expected because fewer students than predicted opted out (they can opt out if they live in the county), enrolment was higher than expected and the increased ridership has resulted in more cash from the province’s gas tax. That extra money will be ploughed back into improving service to the students, Delmore said.

    “This builds a community, it really does, because it gives you the additional dollars into the system to help you to build it, and then other people are attracted to the service,” Delmore said of the U-Pass program.

    He said if St. Clair students agree to a similar deal, service would first have to be improved on the routes that service the college’s main campus. And that would improve service for everyone in South Windsor.

    “If we had every-15-minute or every-10-minute service on the Dominion 5 (one of two routes that service St. Clair), how many people might say: ‘You know what? I don’t necessarily need a second car or a third car,'” Delmore said. “That’s the whole goal of what a student bus pass can do for a community.”

    University of Windsor Students’ Alliance vice-president Sarah Noureddine said the program has definitely been a success. Students are riding the bus more frequently and enjoying the value, she said. “Sixty-six dollars a semester is much more doable than the current monthly fee for a transit pass,” she said, adding she expects even more students will use the U-Pass when the part-time students start using it and the LaSalle service starts in September. 

    Though LaSalle gets the ridership revenue when someone gets on the bus in LaSalle, Transit Windsor gets the money when that rider boards in Windsor to go back to LaSalle. Delmore and Marra both hope the LaSalle service will be such a success that other neighbouring municipalities — including Tecumseh, which has its own bus service that doesn’t integrate with Transit Windsor — will be interested in a similar arrangement.

    The result, said Delmore, could be a truly integrated regional transit system.

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From the Windsor Star today

 

LaSalle begins construction of new transit system shelters

LASALLE — Work begins within days on new bus shelters and bus stop accessibility pads after town council on Tuesday approved $164,000 to get its new transit system in place for September.

“I’m looking forward to it — a lot of people are looking forward to it,” said Mayor Ken Antaya.

An official launch date at the municipal complex will be held Aug. 23 to introduce and promote the new service, which begins the day after Labour Day and includes free rides until Dec. 31.

Two Transit Windsor buses will provide service along a 45-minute route designed to cover 70 per cent of households and link to the city’s own bus route network. Every stop is being made wheelchair accessible with curb cuts, said Antaya. The buses will be able to lower their floors to allow for easier boarding.

The mayor, who said he’ll be riding the entire bus route the first few days, believes LaSalle’s seniors, in particular, will be using the service to get around, including to the Vollmer Complex for recreation and the Civic Complex.

After the free period, there will be a $3 fare. LaSalle is anticipating up to 60,000 riders annually.

The city is hopeful LaSalle’s par

 

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On 8/14/2017 at 4:08 PM, MaT said:

BIngo! The 25 Lasalle, or as we say it down here, the Lasalle 25(name first, number last)

 

https://icreate-essex.esolutionsgroup.ca/231110_LaSalle/en/our-community/resources/Transit/Bus-Schedule-August-11_2017-for-website.pdf

 

LaSalle-25-Route-Map---FINAL-August-2017

As a former Windsorite, this is a darn long time coming...

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3 hours ago, Girardin71 said:

Today 571 and 574 were used on the LaSalle 25 

here is am800 article

http://www.iheartradio.ca/am800/news/lasalle-transit-service-has-its-first-riders-1.3240629

The first bus east bound was 572 as I got on at the Vollmer center and rode to St.Clair College and back and the first west bound was 574 as I got photos of both buses at the Vollmer Center. At 11 am  the east bound bus stops and its driver takes over the west bound bus at 11.19 am for this driver take its lunch break  at the Vollmer Center. At this time at the Vollmer Center is a good spot for photos as the west bound bus has a 5 minutes layover for changing of the drivers.

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4 hours ago, Girardin71 said:

Today 571 and 574 were used on the LaSalle 25 

here is am800 article

http://www.iheartradio.ca/am800/news/lasalle-transit-service-has-its-first-riders-1.3240629

Seems as if that for the time being that the newest Novas are operating the 25, based on what was being advertising and shown during the 'preview press conference' last week.

If an XD40 was used and/or any other LF bus is used for this route, would those residents notice or would they just not care and just feel that it's still a Transit Windsor bus...?

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Yes i forgot 572 was out the morning serving the 25.  But later in the day it was changed off and they new driver had 571.  they will most likely use nova's but if there isn't one available than they may use another bus as long that bus is equipped with automated announcements.     

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Well, here's the latest on Regional Transit guys lol.  Next up, Amherstburg in talks now.

http://windsor.ctvnews.ca/amherstburg-looking-at-public-transit-options-1.3586239

 

"Now that LaSalle has established transit buses, the Town of Amherstburg is looking into the idea.

The chief administrator of Amherstburg says his staff is holding talks with Transit Windsor.

John Miceli has been told there maybe new incentives coming down the road.

Administration has been asked to prepare a feasibility report on joining a regional transit system.

LaSalle began its regular service after the Labour Day weekend."

 

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Also another article about Amherstburg, this time from AM800.

http://www.iheartradio.ca/am800/news/amherstburg-to-review-costs-to-offer-transit-1.3282503

 

Could the town of Amherstburg be next to jump on board a regional transit service?

Monday night, Amherstburg Council asked administration to prepare a report on the feasibility of offering transit in town.

"Now that LaSalle is on board, our residents really want us to look at it again and that is why we directed administration to enter discussions to see whether or not it is feasible," says Councillor Diane Pouget.

Pouget believes it would especially benefit students who are trying to get to the university or college as well as seniors who have doctor's appointments and specialist appointments in the city.

"It appears it would be more feasible with LaSalle working with the city of Windsor and I think it would be a good fit for us to join."

Pouget says years ago, Amherstburg Council tried to work with other municipalities to offer regional transit but the will wasn't there because it was too expensive.  But she says now that LaSalle has hopped on board, it makes sense to study the idea.

Pouget says a lot depends on the financial implications of offering the service.

With files from AM800's Zander Broeckel

 

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From the Windsor Star

 

After launch of LaSalle bus service, Amherstburg mulls public transit

 

Amherstburg is interested in kicking the tires on the idea of providing transit bus service similar to the one LaSalle launched last week.

“I think it’s something we should look into,” Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said. “If we can afford it, it’s something we should offer.”

Council has directed administration to investigate the matter further.

LaSalle’s new transit service is offering a 90-stop route from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The town purchased two buses and pays $400,000 annually to Transit Windsor for the service.

 

 

“It’s still early days but there’s been a lot of positive feedback,” LaSalle CAO Kevin Miller said Friday. “The community is embracing it.”

According to Transit Windsor, LaSalle’s service attracted 609 riders from last Tuesday through Saturday, respectable numbers for a new service, according to Transit Windsor executive director Pat Delmore.

Delmore noted LaSalle did a lot of the ‘back-end work’ on establishing a service through a two-phase feasibility study that looked at community interest and logistics.

“We were probably close to a year in discussions on how it would roll out and what it would look like,” Delmore said. “Seeing it kick off last week felt really good because it was so long in the making.”

Amherstburg CAO John Miceli noted part of LaSalle’s feasibility study would apply to Amherstburg.

“Ours is more of an exercise in costing and ridership,” he said. “If we do it strategically, I think we’ll be well served. I think there’s a really good opportunity to look at it now ahead of all the development that’s coming our way. “

Miceli is confident there are incentives coming from the federal level of government because of a Liberal push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve public transit.

He’d like to meet with Delmore as soon as next week.

“We’ve always been contemplating working with Transit Windsor,” Miceli said. “Now that LaSalle has secured their transit and the federal government is pushing public transit we’re going to look at it a little more seriously.”

DiCarlo cautions residents that, like arenas, public transit is a money loser.

“Whatever cost there is, do not think you’re going to make it back,” DiCarlo said. “We would, as a town, be subsidizing public transit.”

DiCarlo wants to crunch the numbers first.

“Let’s get the facts and data and then make an informed decision on whether it’s something we can afford to do.”

 

 

 

 

And also from AM800

 

SUCCESSFUL WEEK FOR TRANSIT WINDSOR'S SPECIAL EVENTS BUS

 

 

So far so good for Transit Windsor's new tunnel bus drop off location near Little Caesars Arena.

Executive Director Pat Delmore says transit has been dropping off riders this week for the Kid Rock concerts.

He says the drop off location and pick up spot are just steps away from the new arena complex.

"The arena right there, right in sight.  It's a closer distance then what they had to walk to travel to Joe Louis."    

He says he's pleased with how the first few nights have gone.

"This is really a great test period for us to evaluate the routing that we put in place.  We worked closely with the City of Detroit with regards to our pick up and drop location.

Transit Windsor will continue to monitor the drop off and pick up location.

"What we're going to be doing is sitting back over the next number of months and evaluating the whole traffic flow before and after events to see how best to accommodate any future tunnel bus routing," he says. "But for the time being all of our events will be handled from the same location for any event at Little Caesars Arena, we're very pleased with it."  

The Kid Rock concerts are the first event at Little Caesars Arena, which opened earlier this week.

Delmore says Transit Windsor will be providing transportation to Pistons and Red Wing games as well as concerts and other events happening at the arena complex.

 

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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/tunnel-bus-won-t-operate-during-october-closure-altered-service-on-weeknights-1.4310291


Intersting to see that after the game, TW buses will take ambassador bridge back to windsor!

"Following the event, all buses will return to Windsor via the Ambassador Bridge. All passengers must return to buses immediately following the game as there will be no additional service provided throughout the remainder of the evening."

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3 hours ago, MaT said:

http://www.iheartradio.ca/am800/news/corporate-bus-pass-being-extended-to-city-hall-1.3322074

 

Good news if it goes through, it can generate more ridership like the University Pass has been.

The University pass is pretty much a required from paying tuition. Only students with certain postal codes can opt out and get some money back therefore majority of the students have to keep it. So if they have it, they might as well use it. The 1C and the 2 gets really darn full after it picks up all the students..

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the 1C and the 2 were always very full during rush hours over the years. I remember taking the 1C during high school and after school anywhere from 4 to 6 1Cs would show up at once from the extras for school runs they had to throw on. The drivers would all coordinate who would go through roseville gardens and who wouldnt, and before the buses would get to rivard they would all stop together. Any riders going straight to Tecumseh Mall would get on the buses at the front and those buses would go down tecumseh road straight to the mall and bypass everything else while the remainder followed the normal route.

The 2 I found was the same idea for the most part with buses going express to the mall(after transfering passengers like the 1Cs did) from lauzon and wyandotte while the remainder of the buses would follow the normal route. Sometimes it would be the same amount of buses as well, anywhere from 4-6 crosstown 2s showing up as a group, probably because of school runs.

During the trips on both the 1C and the 2 during those times, all the buses would make stops to pick up passengers while the ones behind would pass to the next stops etc. They would all end up hopscotching each other till lauzon(crosstown 2) and Rivard(Transway 1C) where they all seperated passengers and then split into local and express straight to the mall.

Great memories seeing the groups of buses together like that and the coordination :D  Soooo many people too.  Fireworks runs are run the same fashion.

So with ridership going up a bit because of university students I can imagine its pretty similar fashion these days as well.

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34 minutes ago, MaT said:

So with ridership going up a bit because of university students I can imagine its pretty similar fashion these days as well.

Haven't seen it myself happen yet on the two routes, but from what I noticed, most of the students are gone by the time the bus gets to Devionshire Rd on the route 2..

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From the Windsor Star

Windsor polishes up Amazon bid with incentives, regional transit
 

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens has made two major plays in recent weeks to enhance the Detroit-Windsor bid for Amazon’s second headquarters.

The Star has learned that the reason an earlier-than-expected special council meeting was called for last Friday to deal with the downtown’s long-anticipated community improvement plan, was so the CIP’s incentives for downtown investment — for a big new office building, for example — are enshrined prior to Amazon’s Oct. 19 deadline.

“I think it’s fair to say we did expedite approval of the CIP for Amazon,” said Dilkens, who’s reluctant to say  more due to a news blackout that’s been imposed on the highly charged Detroit-Windsor bid. 

Also, Dilkens has been reaching out to the county’s seven municipalities, trying to get a commitment to a regional transit system. It’s something that Amazon deems a major requirement for its new location and a weak point for both Detroit and Windsor. “One of the areas we can strengthen is regional transit,” the mayor said.

Windsor’s efforts over the years to spread bus service out to the county has been met largely with disinterest.  

 

That changed Sept. 1 when LaSalle began a transit service through the town, run by Transit Windsor and linking to the Windsor transit system with no extra charge to transfer. Tecumseh also has a contracted bus service that stops at Windsor’s Tecumseh Mall, though riders have to pay extra to get on a Transit Windsor bus.

In recent weeks, both Lakeshore and Amherstburg have responded positively to Dilkens’ request. 

What Dilkens is asking for is a commitment from the municipalities that, if Amazon chooses Detroit-Windsor, they’re on board with a regional transit system.

“We really need all of the municipalities in Essex County to say: ‘We’re behind this 100 per cent,’” said Dilkens. “That’s what we need to show Amazon.”

Of the remaining municipalities, Essex and Kingsville have received Windsor’s request and will deal with it at an upcoming meeting, the mayor said.

Attempts to reach Leamington Mayor John Patterson Wednesday to find out his town’s position were not successful.

“We need the other municipalities to see the benefits of this and the huge, huge impact this would have on the entire region, it stands to change the face of the entire region,” Dilkens said, referring to Windsor’s share of 50,000 jobs at Amazon HQ2.

Many employees of Windsor’s big employers, such as Fiat Chrysler, Caesars Windsor and the hospitals, live in the county, he said. The same would hold true for Amazon employees. “That’s why we need everyone’s support as we’re putting together the bid documents.”

As for the downtown CIP, Dilkens wouldn’t go into details about which of its incentives would be most attractive to Amazon if it were to locate part of its Detroit-Windsor operation in the downtown. A big one, however, would clearly be annual grants that effectively forgive the additional property taxes charged on a new development, for up to 10 years.

A regional transit system doesn’t necessarily need to follow the LaSalle model, in which LaSalle pays for Transit Windsor to run buses through the town and keeps the fares to partly offset the cost. 

“Whatever form regional transit takes — so people can move seamlessly back and forth between Windsor and their home municipality — that’s what we’re looking for,” said Dilkens. 

“If the prospect of having Amazon’s headquarters in the City of Windsor is not a catalyst for all municipalities in Essex County to come on board with a regional transit system, then we’ll never have a hope of getting a regional transit system.”

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya said that so far the response to having Transit Windsor in town, especially from teens and seniors, is “beyond my expectations.”

He’s received nothing but good comments from residents. “Not lukewarm comments — really good comments,” Antaya said. “In fact, we’re even hearing some criticism that: ‘Hey, we want you to expand it, expand the hours, more stops.’ That’s all good, constructive criticism.”

Transit Windsor’s executive director Pat Delmore said he believes LaSalle’s positive experience will serve as a business case for other municipalities considering a transit service. It’s in very preliminary talks with Amherstburg, and expects to begin talks with Lakeshore in the coming months. 

“We think there are lots of opportunities within the entire region,” said Delmore, who added there is demand for service in such county employment pockets as Lakeshore’s Patillo Road, Tecumseh’s Oldcastle and Leamington’s greenhouse operations. 

Lakeshore recently sent a letter to Windsor expressing its commitment to exploring a regional transit system between Windsor, Lakeshore and Tecumseh. 

“We’ve looked at it many times over the years and now is the time to take another solid good look at it,” said Lakeshore Deputy Mayor Al Fazio, citing the rising demand that’s come with the explosion of residential growth. He said town council wrote the letter to help Windsor entice Amazon. “But it’s not just that. It’s a service we need in Lakeshore anyway.”

He said he’d like a service similar to LaSalle’s, one that links into Windsor’s system. But it has to include Tecumseh, because of Tecumseh’s location between Lakeshore and Windsor. 

“I think Tecumseh’s the key, I really do.”

And also the picture to go with it


 

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