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Councilors say the city should shuffle Transit Windsor buses for service improvements IG News

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

Counts. Kieran McKenzie and Fabio Costante outlined a plan on Friday that they say will improve services while keeping tax increases below the rate of inflation.

They are also proposing a change to the currently proposed 10 to 15 percent increase in fares.

Suggested route changes:

The proposal would follow what is outlined in the Transit Windsor Master Plan by eliminating additional buses operated by high school students.

In some cases, these buses run on regular bus routes.

Costante said students will still be served within transit routes.

The proposal would use these buses to increase service in South Windsor by modifying the Walkerville 8, Dougall 6, South Windsor 7, Parent 14 and adding Route 305 to serve the Ducharme area after the Walkerville 8 diversion.

Kieran McKenzie stands next to Fabio Costante outside the Transit Windsor Terminal.
Both councilors say they put together the proposal after talking to people who use the system and city staff. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Costante and McKenzie say this can be accomplished with a $330,000 increase in the city budget and one-time funding from the budget stabilization reserve.

“It’s a sensible, gradual approach that will — and I want to say this emphatically — continue to hold the line and keep us at or below inflation,” Costante said.

Both say they have been working on the changes with the administration and are a scaled-down version of the improved service proposal the city’s Transportation Committee approved late last year.

“I can’t say for sure there were five votes, but it was definitely approved unanimously, I think with very little discussion when it got to committee,” Costante said.

The proposed 2024 budget includes a new route that will serve major employers in the Rhodes Drive and Twin Oaks industrial area near the new NextStar battery plant.

Proposed ticket changes

McKenzie said he is looking for a way to exempt the affordable fare program from the proposed fare increases.

Cash fares, if approved, would increase 15 percent to $3.75 for a cash ticket for adults and 10 percent for tickets.

A budget fare that costs $52.45 for 30 days would rise to $57.70.

McKenzie said they want to subsidize those tickets through the Pathway to Potential program.

“Frankly, it’s a bit unclear in the budget documents how these revenue projections based on fare increases actually directly affect the levy,” McKenzie said.

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