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Councillors say city should shuffle Transit Windsor buses for service enhancements

Councillors Fabio Costante and Kieran McKenzie are submitting a budget amendment to council involving Transit Windsor.  (Chris Ensing/CBC - image credit)
Councillors Fabio Costante and Kieran McKenzie are submitting a budget amendment to council involving Transit Windsor. (Chris Ensing/CBC - image credit)

Windsor council will have at least one budget amendment to consider when it meets on Monday to discuss the details behind a 3.93 per cent property tax increase.

Couns. Kieran McKenzie and Fabio Costante outlined a plan on Friday they say will enhance service while keeping the tax hike below the inflation rate.

They're also pitching a change to the currently proposed 10 to 15 per cent fare increase.

Proposed route changes:

The proposal would follow what's outline in the Transit Windsor master plan by eliminating extra buses operated by the bus service used by high school students.

These buses, in some cases, travel along regularly scheduled bus routes.

Costante said they will still provide services to students inside of transit routes.

The proposal would use those buses to increase service in south Windsor by altering the Walkerville 8, Dougall 6, South Windsor 7, Parent 14 and adding Route 305 which would service the Ducharme area after re-routing the Walkerville 8.

Both councilors say they've pieced together the proposal after speaking with people who use the system and city staff.
Both councilors say they've pieced together the proposal after speaking with people who use the system and city staff.

Both councilors say they've pieced together the proposal after speaking with people who use the system and city staff. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Costante and McKenzie say that can be done with a $330,000 increase to the city's operating budget and one time funding from the budget stabilization reserve.

"It is a sensible, phased-in approach that will — and I want to say this emphatically — will continue to hold the line and make sure we're at or below the rate of inflation," said Costante.

Both say that they've worked on the changes with administration and are a scaled-down version of the enhanced service proposal that the city's transportation committee approved late last year.

"I can't say for certain that there's five votes off the bat but certainly it was unanimously approved I think with very little debate when it came to the board," said Costante.

The proposed 2024 budget does include a new route servicing major employers in the Rhodes Drive and Twin Oaks industrial area near the new NextStar battery plant.

Proposed fare changes

McKenzie said he's exploring a way to exempt the affordable pass program from proposed fare increases.

Cash fares, if approved, would go up by 15 per cent to $3.75 for an adult cash fare and 10 per cent for passes.

An affordable pass that costs $52.45 for 30 days would rise to $57.70.

McKenzie said they're looking to subsidize those passes though the Pathway to Potential program.

"It's a little murky, to be honest, in the budget documents as to how those revenue projections based on the fare increases actually impact levy directly," said McKenzie.