It’s considered a big step in the plan to bring the communities of Windsor-Essex closer together.

A regional transit service is now operating.

Several local mayors were all smiles during the inaugural ride Monday afternoon.

It's called LTW Transit Route 42. The Leamington to Windsor transit service, and includes stops in Kingsville and Essex Monday through Saturday.

Construction along the route delayed its start.

Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens welcomed Leamington mayor Hilda MacDonald, Kingsville mayor Nelson Santos and Essex mayor Larry Snively to the Windsor stop at St. Clair College after MacDonald picked up the fellow mayors along the way.

“Leamington is very proud to deliver a program that provides safe and reliable public transportation, while strengthening ties between communities and providing better access to employment, education, healthcare and social services,” says MacDonald.

“As leaders, we all have a responsibility to make our region as accessible as possible for the residents of all ages,” says Dilkens. “This community to community public transit connection is an important move in that direction.”

The Leamington to Windsor bus will operate three times a day, Monday through Sunday.

A one-way fare will cost $10 while a round trip ticket is $15.

There is also a 30-day pass available and a 10 ride pass for $75.

MacDonald also announced kids under-12 can ride for free when accompanied by an adult.

The service will cost $1.2 million over the next four years, but MacDonald hopes it will be offered for many more years.

“We have to see how the data works out and then hopefully everybody will buy in,” says MacDonald. “We've already had conversations on the bus about the possibility of other communities kicking in on this and going from there so we'll see.”