A regional transit service in Windsor-Essex is a step closer to reality thanks to a new route between Leamington and Windsor.

The Municipality of Leamington is establishing the new bus route after receiving a $606,040 Community Transportation Grant through the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

“We’re just really happy because we’re offering another service to our community that adds to the fact that we’re a great place to live,” said Hilda MacDonald, the mayor of Leamington.

MacDonald tells CTV Windsor, the municipality has been waiting on a final decision from the new Progressive Conservative government after the previous Liberal government had agreed to the funding in principle.

The provincial grant allows for the Leamington-Windsor bus route to run for five years with an additional $25,000 a year top up from the municipality.

The new route comes a little more than a year after Transit Windsor service was expanded into nearby LaSalle.

MacDonald sees the route between Leamington and Windsor as the natural next step.

“We in North America take for granted that everyone has a car and that’s not always the case so, I think it opens the doors for lots of folks and it will hopefully be the first step in expanding the service to other municipalities,” said MacDonald.

The mayor adds the service will open up new job opportunities where travel had previously been a barrier to employment.

The route will also include stopes in Kingsville and Essex.

MacDonald expects fares to be set at $10 for a trip to Windsor while a roundtrip would cost $15. The fare prices still need to be finalized by council.

The service is tentatively set to begin in mid-August.