Fare collection and front door use will resume on October 19 for Transit Windsor.
To the disappointment of some, it will continue to operate on an enhanced Saturday schedule but Sunday service on Sunday.
"To call this a normal reinstatement of service is not accurate. We’re still paying a fare for half of a service," says J.C. Bitonti, who rides the bus four days a week.
Bitonti believes Transit Windsor should be rolling out a regular schedule, now that riders are paying for service.
"People are just going be waiting outside for a bus if they get driven by or they’re going shelved onto a bus where they’re definitely not social distancing," says Bitonti.
A mandatory mask policy will continue to be in effect on buses.
Protective barriers are also being installed.
Capacity limitation will also continue to allow for social distancing.
"More people on less buses just creates more contact," Bitonti believes.
The City of Windsor says passengers will be asked to follow a one-way flow, boarding through the front of the bus and exiting through the rear doors. Exceptions will be made for those with mobility issues to exist at the front.
The city says Transit Windsor leadership has been participating in province-wide working groups and forums to implement standards to return to front door boarding.
"We continue to not see full return services in other municipalities as well," says Executive Director Pat Delmore.
The city says ridership has remained significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels over the past several months. During September, ridership was down by about 60 per cent compared to last year.
"It may take them a little bit longer but with 60 percent less people on a bus, we can’t have these buses riding around empty as well which would be huge cost to the municipality," Delmore explains.
Bitonti’s online group "Reinstate Windsor Transit Now" has started a petition calling for a full transit schedule.
"It’s got about 350 signatures right now, so the community is not going to stay quiet in response to this decision," Bitonti tells CTV Windsor.
Riders are encouraged to re-load Transit Windsor Smart Cards at the Windsor International Transit Terminal or Transit Centre.
The province announced $6.3 million for Transit Windsor to help recover costs associated with pandemic operations and announced an application based second round of funding for public transit. Applications are due later this year and could offer additional funds to Transit Windsor for requirements connected to the pandemic.