Transit Windsor is not restarting Tunnel Bus service when border restrictions loosen
City of Windsor officials say Transit Windsor will not be re-starting the Tunnel Bus service at this time, despite the upcoming loosening of restrictions at the land border crossing to the United States.
The Windsor-Detroit border crossings will be open to fully-vaccinated tourists on Nov. 8, but Canadians will still need a negative PCR test to re-enter their home country.
“The current travel requirement for Canada-bound passengers to have secured a negative molecular COVID-19 test adds processing complexity to the customs clearance process associated with tunnel bus operations that will make restarting operations a challenge,” states a news release from the city.
The release says current rules effectively prohibit day-trip passengers, and current public health regulations limit the number of passengers on board, reducing the operational viability of the tunnel bus at this time.
Transit Windsor says they will review this decision if the federal government revisits the current COVID-19 testing requirements for Canadians returning across the land border.
In addition to traveller testing, global supply-chain issues, including replacement part and microchip shortages, have resulted in fleet availability issues as well.
In September, Transit Windsor returned to full service operations across the city and county service territory and has seen ridership slowly return; however, Transit Windsor continues to operate at about a 50 per cent reduced ridership as compared to pre-pandemic averages.
Consistent with City of Windsor vaccination policies, all Transit Windsor employees are required to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15, 2021, or face an unpaid leave of absence, unless the employee has received an accommodation related to medical or human rights reasons. Passengers continue to be required to wear masks or face coverings while on board.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit continues to limit the overall number of passengers on board each bus to encourage social distancing and reduce the community spread of COVID-19.
“As has occurred throughout the public health crisis, as new rules and regulations are announced by the Province of Ontario, Government of Canada or local public health officials, Transit Windsor will adapt to meet the needs of our local ridership,” says the release.