Event transit to Detroit could return in spring: Transit Windsor

A Transit Windsor bus is seen in a file photograph.  (Vince Robinet/CBC - photo credit)

A Transit Windsor bus is seen in a file photograph. (Vince Robinet/CBC – photo credit)

The Transit Windsor executive hopes public transit to events across the border will return in time for the Detroit Tigers’ season.

during an interview Windsor MorningTransit Windsor Executive Director Tyson Cragg hinted at a possible return of tunnel bus services for special events.

“We are currently working on a technology solution for ticketing and special event payment that we believe will make the whole process much smoother and more enjoyable for our passengers,” said Cragg. “So our IT folks in town have been working on that solution right now, and I hope to be able to announce something on that very soon as well.”

While tunnel bus service resumed in the autumn after a pandemic hiatus, services remain suspended for special events and Transit Windsor advised people against using the regular bus to get to events such as sports games and concerts.

Cragg is hoping something will be in place in time for the Tigers season, which begins in April. The Tigers’ home opener is April 6 against the Boston Red Sox.

The conversation stemmed from an update on the state of long-distance traffic in Windsor.

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While the tunnel bus returned three months ago, pre-pandemic transit had been slow to return to normal.

In 2018, Greyhound closed all of its routes in western Canada but continued in Ontario until the pandemic, where it ceased operations in 2020. In 2021, it announced it would permanently cease serving Canada except for a few of routes connecting Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

“When Greyhound stopped, it left a hole in the market and there is a demand for intercity travel that connects medium-sized and smaller communities and for travel for more budget-conscious travelers,” said Matti Siemiatycki, a professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto.

“So what you saw is a bunch of new entrants and some of the companies that were already in the market trying to play a bigger role and find their place. This is a market that is changing and you are starting to see some of these new companies and new business models as they try to shape this sector that is both sustainable and profitable.”

What is available now

Windsor went without intercity transit for almost two years. In August 2021, FlixBus joined in to try and get some of the bus business.

There is one route per day that runs from Windsor to Toronto, stopping in London. That costs $40. The Flix bus station is located at 181 Goyeau St.

Trailways aims to launch in April. It will be a Detroit to Toronto route, with stops in Windsor, Chatham and London. There are no fares or timetables available yet.

“We’re always interested in working with other vendors who could offer this service,” Cragg said. “So we’re open to anything and you know we’ve had some talks with some of these intercity carriers and I don’t have any news to share at the moment but I think you know how we kind of came out of the pandemic and the People have returned to travel and the market has opened up again. Therefore, we are definitely interested in your knowledge and stimulating discussions with other providers.”

As for transportation to Detroit, the Regional Transit Authority for Southeast Michigan has received funding to pilot an express shuttle from downtown Detroit to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.


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