Town of Amherstburg moving forward with transit pilot

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The Town of Amherstburg will move forward and start a pilot project with Transit Windsor.

Councillors discussed the issue at their regular meeting on Tuesday night, and voted unanimously in favour of the pilot's recommended Option 3.

That route would include a loop through the northern end of town, which would also include the Kingsbridge subdivision as well as downtown, and also includes a one-way direction loop heading back to Windsor.

The buses will also go by the new high school and community hub in these routes.

Transit Windsor Executive Director Tyson Cragg says there's work to be done, but they should have things rolling by the fall.

"September would be the earliest we could start the service, there's quite a bit of background work that has to take place in terms of not only the finalization of the agreement but also putting up stop plates, operator training, programming head signs, those sorts of things. We're kind of getting down to the last possible moment that we could do that work," he said.

Transit Windsor is recommending a fare of $4.75 for the Amherstburg route.

Cragg says wherever the trip originates, the fare will be credited back to the appropriate municipality.

"So if you get on the bus in Amherstburg, you pay your $4.75, once you reach your destination you get a transfer as part of your fare and you can use the transfer for the rest of the Transit Windsor system. On the reciprocal side, if you board the bus in Windsor you pay the higher fare because your ultimate destination is Amherstburg, but you still have the opportunity to transfer in LaSalle for example."

Another question from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo focused on student passes for university students.

Cragg says they've looked into this, and while there's an opt out option that students can take advantage of, this pilot will change that for students in Amherstburg.

"So if they live in an area where transit service isn't currently provided they have the opportunity to opt out, but Amherstburg now would be included as an area where service is provided," he continued. "If you have a student pass yes it would apply and you could use it to get and forth to Amherstburg."

During 2022 budget deliberations, council set aside $80,000 for the project and the current cost estimate for 2023 is $198,158 and the cost estimate for 2024 is $140,278 but both are subject to change.

An amendment was submitted to include weekend service all-year round as part of the pilot as well, as opposed to the original service which would've seen 'weekdays only' from September to April and 'weekday and weekends' for April to August.

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