Windsor Star

Transit tweaks urged

Service review targets improvemen­ts, pending budget

- DAVE HALL STAR BUSINESS REPORTER Input sought

BY

Better bus routes and greater frequency of service are two of the goals of a public service review being undertaken by Transit Windsor, but the transit company’s general manager says that any improvemen­ts will have to be approved by city council during 2009 budget deliberati­ons.

“We know that it’s going to be a tough budget year and we recognize the fact that any improvemen­ts will have to fit within our budget guidelines, but we are also committed to improving our services,” said Penny Williams.

“Our intention is to schedule buses more frequently, fill in some of the dead spots in service which exist and eliminate some of the duplicatio­n.”

The review, which includes consultati­on with transit employees as well as a series of public meetings, arose when the company’s board of directors wanted a plan to improve service and increase ridership.

With higher fuel prices playing havoc with driving costs, Williams also realizes if the transit company can improve its service, more motorists may be tempted to give the bus service another look.

Coun. Caroline Postma, chairwoman of the transit board, said the review was prompted by “a desire to increase ridership.

“Once we collect all the informatio­n, we’ll draft a business plan, present it to council and go from there,” said Postma. “We’ve already heard suggestion­s about lower fares, better connection­s and eliminatin­g our summer schedule and sticking with the same schedule year-round.

“What we really need is input from riders and non-riders about how to make the service better and we will definitely take the input seriously,” said Postma.

Postma said the goal of the review is to make public transit a more viable option than it is now.

Williams said that on some routes, buses are scheduled every 40 minutes and “our goal is to schedule service every 15 minutes on main lines and every 30 minutes on our feeder routes.

“We also need to determine how we can fill in some of the sections of the city where there isn’t service,” she said.

There’s currently no service in the Twin Oaks industrial subdivisio­n, said Williams. There’s also no service available to residents attending events at the new Windsor Family Credit Union centre on the city’s fareast side.

Paul Cresswell, 27, who works downtown and takes a bus three or four times a week to his home in South Windsor, said he wishes frequency and scheduling were more convenient.

“In the early evening, there’s often an hour between buses so if you miss one, it makes for a long day,” said Cresswell.

“My other complaint is that I often miss my connecting bus and you can end up waiting 30 or 40 minutes for another one. If they fixed all that, I think more people would consider the bus.”

While a full report on public comments won’t be produced until after the public meetings are completed, Williams said the most frequest compaints are about scheduling, routing and that fact that on some routes, transit service shuts down too early.

“We hear from people who say they can get to work by bus but they can’t get home afterwards and we need to find a way to address that issue.”

Most recent additions to the transit schedule include a route connecting the University of Windsor, St. Clair College and Devonshire Mall as well as improved links between St. Clair’s campus on Talbot Road and its yearold downtown campus.

The second of five public comment opportunit­ies is planned for today at Devonshire Mall, near the Jacob’s store, from 9:30 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Other meetings will be held outside the CAW building at the University of Windsor on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; at Tecumseh Mall, near Zellers, on Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and at the downtown transit terminal on Chatham Street West on Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 ??  ?? Penny Williams
Penny Williams
 ?? Star photo: Dan Janisse ?? TRANSIT: Kayla Spencer, 17, boards a bus Monday at the downtown bus station.
Star photo: Dan Janisse TRANSIT: Kayla Spencer, 17, boards a bus Monday at the downtown bus station.

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