Budget increase requested at Transit Windsor

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Transit Windsor is requesting a budget increase for 2022 as services are expected to return to close to normal levels as the region emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The request calls for a 4.8% or $752,000 hike with a number of factors to blame including wage increases and skyrocketing fuel costs.

Executive Director Tyson Cragg says industry experts are confident public transit will bounce back in 2022.

"None of us have a crystal ball, but I have been in substantial consultation with industry colleagues who are managing transit systems across the country and we're all very optimistic that ridership will see significant rebound in 2022," he says.

Cragg says students returning to in-person learning will play a big part in getting numbers back up.

"For systems like Transit Windsor, were college and university town and about 50% to 60% of our ridership is driven by students," he says. "That's been one of the most significant missing elements that we've had really since March of 2020."

Cragg says if student ridership increases as expected, the industry should be fully recovered by early 2023.

"Yes, we expect ridership to recover largely in 2022. I think the industry has set a number of about 80% recovery by the end of 2022 and full recovery into early 2023, but it really depends on the level of on campus attendance," he adds.

 Transit Windsor's 2022 budget will be discussed during city budget deliberations which are scheduled to get underway December 13.