Amherstburg College students to get transit service boost

A few significant additions to Transit Windsor will be presented to the board on Monday, one for St. Clair College students and the other a foot in the door for the town of Amherstburg.

The “Saints Pass” will give students universal access to city buses for $274 for the entire year.

“This is another service we can say we provide to our students to help them reduce their costs,” said Ryan Peebles, executive director of the St. Clair College Student Representative Council.

Forty percent of students can opt out if they are traveling by car or not near a transit line.

The three-year pilot project will also add an estimated $1.7 million in annual revenue for the city.

“It really benefits the students because they get unlimited ridership at a very reasonable price and the benefits of Transit Windsor because of the ridership it generates and the additional revenue,” said Tyson Cragg, Executive Director of TransitWindsor.

Another significant addition to service will bring public transportation to Amherstburg for the first time in decades.

“We’re finally going to try it starting in September,” Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said.

The two-year-old driver for Route 605 will send three buses a day, morning, afternoon and evening, round-trip to Amherstburg for $4.75 each way.

The service will operate seven days a week and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo thinks it will be great for students, seniors and tourists – who he says have been pushing for the service.

“They now say I can just take a bus to one of your events and take the bus home without having to worry about parking,” DiCarlo said. “Or how some people like to enjoy a few drinks and not have to worry about how they get home, which I think is fantastic.”

Leamington and LaSalle already have agreements with Transit Windsor, and Amherstburg is just the latest municipality to try public transit.

“And then honestly, I think the next step would probably be this loop that I think everyone is looking for, you know, shore to shore and then all the way back,” DiCarlo said.

Executive Director Tyson Cragg hopes the critical mass will build and is ready to talk to any municipality about joining.

“My vision, my goal really would be to see a fully regional transit system and but it’s one step at a time,” Cragg said.

The city’s transit service is slowly returning from pandemic lows. with attendance now at 70% of pre-pandemic levels, according to Cragg.

September will bring adjustments to the Central 3 and Ottawa 4 lines and a return to full schedules.

“Coming into the fall, I’m very optimistic that we’ll get back…maybe not to pre-pandemic levels, but definitely to a level where, from a revenue and ridership perspective, we become sustainable,” Cragg said.

Melvin Z. Madore