Better transit in Windsor could come down to more frequent and reliable service, local transit advocates said in unveiling their organization’s mandate Friday.
Activate Transit Windsor Essex unveiled its new community mandate Friday morning, bringing the results of a two month long survey and public input together into a series of findings and steps to building better transit in the city.
“We’re a grassroots organization,” said Jessica Bondy, an organizer with Activate Transit Windsor Essex. “We are residents, we are transit users, we are parents. We are people who live, work and play in this community and we believe that Windsor deserves a better transit system.”
Created following a two-month survey with more than 600 respondents, Activate Transit Windsor Essex’s mandate highlights five key priorities organizers said would make transit more useable for Windsorites.
Those include actions: recognizing transit as an essential service; running service earlier in the morning and later at night; running more frequent and reliable service; funding the 418X route; and creating an accessible transit system for people of all abilities.
The 418X is a proposed express route along Tecumseh Road servicing the University of Windsor that is included in the city’s transit master plan but not funded in the city’s 2022 budget.
In unveiling the transit mandate, Activate Transit has also published the data behind its survey on an interactive online platform built by Windsor company Ravel Insights.
The survey found more than 60 per cent of so-called “captive” transit riders (those who use transit because they do not have other options) live in Wards 2, 3 and 4.
Meanwhile, 50 per cent of respondents report using the service to get to and from work — with some saying they had been denied employment because they use transit and it wasn’t perceived as reliable transportation.
About a quarter of survey respondents who rely on transit said they felt it was easy to access employment in the Windsor and Essex region — far fewer than the 44 per cent of total respondents who said the same.
“It’s clear that we need to find a way to make living in Windsor-Essex, not hard for people who do not have a vehicle,” said Ravel’s Erika Gertz in presenting the data.
Transit Windsor officials have previously said they will be looking to implement the transit master plan, which targets quality and frequency, to get more people to ride transit by choice.
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The vast majority — 90 per cent of survey respondents — said they would be likely to use transit more often if buses were more frequently, while 87 per cent said they’d ride transit more often if the buses were on time.
“Frequency and reliability: I think anyone who has lived in the city knows those are the big things that really attract ridership,” said organizer Gabriel Ciavaglia. “(The survey) reaffirmed a lot of the things that not just us, but the community, is asking for.”
The next step, organizers said, is for more Windsorites to check out the transit mandate, hopefully signing their names in agreement.
“We want to make sure that … we can show the city councilors and the decision makers that people want to see good transit,” Bondy said.
Find the mandate, interactive data and more information online at activatetransitwindsoressex.ca/mandate/.