WINDSOR, ONT. -- Transit Windsor is extending the enhanced Sunday service until at least June 21 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The adjusted schedule was implemented on May 4, following a suspension of services when the pandemic first hit the region.

City of Windsor and Transit Windsor officials have been monitoring and analyzing ridership figures since the resumption of service began.

Due to the continued public health crisis, current ridership has been reduced by about 90 per cent, as compared to pre-pandemic figures from May 2019.

“Continuing to provide enhanced Sunday service only until June 21, 2020 allows those residents who rely on Transit Windsor to access services, while also providing services commensurate with current demand,” said a news release from the city.

Pat Delmore, executive director Windsor Transit says there’s been an increase in ridership the last three weeks.

“When they reboard, at the shopping district of Walker Road, we know that it’s for shopping purposes, and some of it could very well be for work and that’s not a bad thing. That’s exactly why we’re there. To provide the essential travel that isrequired for the community,” says Delmore.

The city said ongoing monitoring will occur throughout June to determine if service levels need to be addressed further as the province considers allowing additional staged reopenings.

The Windsor Essex Public Health Unit has published recommendations for riders, including:

Discouraging use of transit service if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms,

Recognizing that public transit is currently provided for essential trips only,

Recommending consideration of other forms of transportation, such as walking or cycling, and

Maintaining 2-metre social distancing practice while waiting for and riding the bus.

Sunday Schedule Continues

All Windsor routes that normally have a “Sunday” schedule will continue to be in service seven days a week, except for the Central 3 West and the Tunnel Bus. Transit Windsor’s website has been updated to include the current schedule and policies.

Officials say addressing capacity issues has not generally been a concern. On the two busiest routes, while adhering to social distancing obligations, additional busses have been deployed when required to support the 1C and Crosstown 2.

Going forward, busloads will continue to limit passengers, consistent with public health guidelines and Province of Ontario regulations.

Riders are asked to continue following the advice of public health officials to ensure the smoothest possible operations going forward, including limiting travel to essential trips only.

Fares continue to be waived, and all passengers are asked to enter and exit the bus through the rear doors. Riders with accessibility needs may continue to use the front doors, and one wheelchair passenger at a time may occupy this area.