By the end of the year, 24 new Transit Windsor buses will be on the road.
The new buses will allow Transit Windsor to retire 24 other buses that are 18 to 20 years old. The investment is consistent with Windsor's Transit Master Plan. It recommended the service adopt a 12-year cycle for buses to improve operational efficiency.
"We're in the process of getting those new buses prepped. We need to do things like installing fare boxes, the communication screens, and the audible enunciators," said Executive Director Tyson Cragg. "It's a process for that, especially with that number. We normally only order about eight buses a year."
The City of Windsor said it would improve customer service, make it more reliable, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The total cost is $16.7-million. All three levels of government split the expense, with the city paying $4.4-million, $5.5-million from the province, and $6.7-million from the federal government.
Executive Director Tyson Cragg told WindsorNewsToday.ca that ridership has recovered from pre-pandemic levels and range between 95 per cent and 105 per cent from March 2020.
"It's been a very pleasant surprise to see the ridership recover the way that we have," said Cragg. "What's helped us quite a bit is the return to in-person learning at the college and university, the new Saint's Pass program, and the return to in-school learning at high schools. Online learning hurt us quite a bit because that was ridership we weren't getting."
Correction: an earlier version of this article stated Transit Windsor had not yet recovered ridership from before the pandemic. This was incorrect. WindsorNewsToday.ca regrets the error.