Transit Windsor

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Transit Windsor
Transit Windsor Logo.svg
Windsor Terminal and Tunnel Bus.jpg
Windsor International Transit Terminal
Slogan Driving today for a better tomorrow
Founded 1977 (Predecessor SW&A was founded in 1872)
Headquarters 3700 North Service Road East
Windsor, Ontario
N8W 5X2
Service area Windsor, Ontario
Detroit, Michigan
Service type Public transit
Routes 13
Stations Transit Terminal
Fleet 112 buses
Daily ridership 16,865 (2010)
Fuel type Diesel, Hybrid-Diesel-Electric
Operator City of Windsor
Website Official Website

Transit Windsor is a company that provides public transportation in the city of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Transit Windsor provides transportation to more than 6 million passengers each year, covering an area of 121 square miles (310 km2) and a population of 211,000. Transit Windsor operates a cross border service between the downtown areas of Windsor and Detroit via the Tunnel Bus, and service to events at Detroit's Comerica Park, Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Hall and Ford Field.[1]


Transit Windsor was started on November 1, 1977 with 90 transit buses, one double-decker bus from England, three highway coaches, and two suburban buses. Before 1977, the company was called the Sandwich, Windsor & Amherstburg Railway Company or the "SW&A".

1872 to 1939[edit]

The earliest ancestor of the SW&A (and thus, Trainsit Windsor) is the Sandwich and Windsor Passenger Railway Company, which was officially incorporated on March 2, 1872 and operated from July 20, 1874 onwards. On March 3, 1880, it was operated under foreclosure by Mr. A. J. Kennedy, who re-incorporated it as the SW&A on June 25, 1887. During this period, the SW&A was using horse-drawn streetcars. In Autumn of 1877 to May 1878, the SW&A experimented with using steam dummy railway propulsion for its streetcar and interurban services, before switching to electric power on a full-time basis, from August 15, 1891, until May 6, 1939.

A map showing the Detroit United Railway's network in 1904. Interurban routes link street railroads in Detroit, Port Huron, and Windsor.

From August 31, 1901 to March 31, 1920, the SW&A was under ownership of the Detroit United Railway, when the local municipalities (the cities of Windsor and East Windsor, the towns of La Salle, Riverside, Tecumseh, Amherstburg, Ojibway, Sandwich, and Walkerville, and the townships Sandwich East and Sandwich West) purchased it back from them to retain it as a municipal operation.[2] A result of this sale was the SW&A switching to electric streetcars, though the company began phasing out streetcars (electric and steam) during the 1930s and began using motorbuses. While under municipal ownership, it was operated by the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario from April 1, 1920 until September 22, 1934 under their "Hydro Electric Railways: Essex District" division.

Electric trolleybuses were introduced on May 4, 1922, but were withdrawn on January 10, 1926, with the arrival of their replacements, the motorbuses. During the Great Depression, the SW&A withdrew its buses from regular service to save on operations costs, becoming purely trolley and interurban in service from 1931 until March 21, 1938, when buses returned and the interurban and trolley lines started being decommissioned

On that date (March 21, 1938), the trolley lines to Amherstburg were the first to be replaced with buses, with the "Windsor-Walkerville" along Wyandotte Street and "Erie Stretcar" along Ottawa Street being the last to convert to buses, on May 6, 1939. The Windsor-Tecumseh Interurban would be the last rail service of any type, being replaced with buses on May 15, 1938.[3][4]

Remains of the streetcar network can be found at the intersection of Sandwich and Mill streets, where the crosswalks of Sandwich Street still retain their original streetcar rails from 1939. Keen-eyed motorists and pedestrians can still see the paved-over rails along Elm Avenue between Riverside Drive and University Avenue as two long, exceptionally straight grooves or cracks in the pavement. A business on University Avenue (formerly London Street) called "the Junction" is one of the original streetcar barns that was used by SW&A before it ended use of the streetcars.

Windsor Electric Street Railway Company[edit]

The Windsor Electric Street Railway was the first public electric street railway in Canada, having begun service on June 6, 1886 with official opening ceremonies on June 9.[5] Electricity was replaced with steam dummy operations in April 1888 until the fall of that year, when it was replaced with horse-drawn carriages afterwards. It was reorganized on April 18, 1893 as the City Railway Company of Windsor, and was leased to the SW&A on March 21, 1894. The SW&A would completely absorb it on June 4, 1904 turning the Windsor-Essex Street Railway into its trolley line to Walkerville, Ontario.

Sandwich, Windsor and Amherstburg Interurban[edit]

March 31, 1902 saw the purchase of the South Essex Electric Railway (incorporated on April 7, 1896) by the SW&A, which held a charter to construct an interurban line to Amherstburg. This purchase would allow the SW&A to construct the yet-unbuilt line to Amherstburg from Windsor. The line was completed by the SW&A on July 4, 1903 and operated until May 15, 1938, when it was the first of the lines to be replaced with buses. Bus service to Amherstburg was sold to an independent operator, Sun Parlour Coach Lines in 1958, and would be absorbed into Charterways in 1960.

Windsor and Tecumseh Electric Railway Company[edit]

The Windsor and Tecumseh Electric Railway Company was incorporated in 1904 and acquired the charter and assets of the Ontario Traction Company, Limited's yet-unbuilt interurban line to Tecumseh from Windsor, on May 25, 1905. The line began interurban trolley service from May 1, 1907, and was purchased by the SW&A on March 31, 1920. It, and the "Erie Streetcar" along Ottawa Street in Windsor, were the two last trolleys/interurbans to be discontinued, surviving until May 15, 1938. Bus service would continue to Tecumseh until 1956.

The original interurban trolley line ran along Wyandotte Street, then Clairmont Street (later Clairview Street, today's Clairview Trail) and Ganatchio Trail) before turning south along the west side of Lesperance Road in Tecumseh, terminating at a loop next to the CN Rail/VIA Rail tracks.[3][6]

Windsor, Essex and Lake Shore Interurban[edit]

The Windsor, Essex and Lake Shore Rapid Railway Company was incorporated in 1901 and was controlled by the Dominion Traction and Lighting Company. This Interurban line became active on September 19, 1907 and introduced a regional bus service by 1925 as "Highway Motor Coach Line". It would be acquired by local municipalities (City of Windsor, towns of Kingsville, Leamington and Essex and the townships of Sandwich West, Sandwich East, Sandwich South, Gosfield North and Gosfield South) as the Windsor, Essex and Lake Shore Electric Railway Association on September 8, 1929, coming under common ownership with the SW&A and its interurban lines. Under its new ownership, the line received substantial upgrades to its rails, as well as brand-new rolling stock. Its interurban cars and buses were branded as "The Sunshine County Route". Due to a severe drop in riders, service would be suspended in 1932. Attempts to sell the line to a steam railroad was unsuccessful and all infrastructure was dismantled and sold in 1935 Interurban service was along city streets in Leamington and Windsor, and either on its own right of way or parallel to the public highway in the county.[7][8][9]

1940s to 1960s[edit]

In the 1940s, SW&A was running Fords and twin coaches.

During the 1950s, it stopped the River Canard line (1951), the 6 mile Tecumseh route (1956), and the Amherstburg line (1958).

In the 1960s it ran 14 routes:

By 1973, these would be renumbered to the following:

Lincoln-Trent Management Limited operated system for the City of Windsor from July 15, 1970 to November 1973.

1977 to present[edit]

After changing its name to "Transit Windsor" in 1977, the company began operating GMC New Look buses and GM highway coaches.

In the 1980s, Transit Windsor bought 30 ft (9.1 m) and 40 ft (12 m) Orion 01.501 and 01.508 buses and 40 ft (12 m) GM New Looks. The company also purchased GM Classics, MCI Classics, and an Orion 05.501 demo.

In 1997 it purchased its first low-floor buses, the Nova Bus LFS. No new high-floor buses have been purchased since.

On Sunday, June 24, 2007, Transit Windsor and Greyhound began using the newly constructed Windsor International Transit Terminal (WITT).[10] The new facility was built to replace the former bus station which was in disrepair. The routes that run through WITT include the Transway 1A, Transway 1C, Central 3 West, Ottawa 4, Dominion 5, Dougall 6, Walkerville 8, Parent 14 and the Tunnel Bus. The terminal is located at 300 Chatham Street West behind the Windsor Family Aquatics Centre.

In 2014, Transit Windsor place 16 used vehicles into service that were second-hand units from London Transit Commission. Those units were numbered 670-685 and were New Flyer Industries D40i Invero model buses.


2014 Transit Windsor Fare Structure[11]
Group Cash Fare Monthly Pass Tunnel Bus Tunnel Pass combo city & tunnel Student Summer Saver
Child (under 5) Free with adult fare N/A $5 N/A N/A N/A
Student $3 $66 $5 N/A N/A $105.50
Adult $3 $95.70 $5 $95.70 $157 N/A
Senior $3 $48.40 $5 N/A N/A N/A
  • Ride all day passes are also available for $9 and are unlimited use on any "regular" service
  • All day family passes are available for $9 and can be used by 2 adults and up to 3 children (5–12 years old)on any "regular" service
  • Transfers are valid for 2 hours after printing on any "regular" service running in any direction
  • Sheets of 5 tickets can be purchased for $12.65 ($9.90 for seniors and students) Transfers can be issued for tickets.


Current Transit Windsor bus routes (Fall 2014-Fall 2015)[12]
Handicapped/disabled access # Route Name Description Notes
Handicapped/disabled access 1A Transway 1A Windsor International Transit Terminal to Devonshire Mall Via Ouellette and Howard Serves Devon Dr. for first 3 trips 20 minute peak service weekdays and Saturday
Handicapped/disabled access 1C Transway 1C College Avenue Community Centre to Forest Glade, including the Windsor International Transit Terminal 10-minute peak weekday service
Handicapped/disabled access 2 Crosstown College Avenue Community Centre to Tecumseh Mall Via Wyandotte Street 10-minute peak weekday service
Handicapped/disabled access 3 Central College Avenue Community Centre to Transit Centre, including Rhodes Industrial Park No Sunday or evening service. 22 minute peak weekday service
Handicapped/disabled access 3W Central 3 West College Avenue Community Centre to Windsor International Transit Terminal Evenings and Sundays only - 60 minute service 7 days a week
Handicapped/disabled access 4 Ottawa Windsor International Transit Terminal to Lauzon Parkway, including service to Tecumseh Mall 20 minute peak weekday service, covers Erie after 6pm and all day Sunday
5 Dominion Windsor International Transit Terminal to St. Clair College via Dominion and Campbell 25 minute peak weekday service
Handicapped/disabled access 6 Dougall Windsor International Transit Terminal to St. Clair College via Dougall Avenue No longer serves Windsor Crossing. 40 minute peak weekday service
Handicapped/disabled access 7 South Windsor College Avenue Community Centre to Legacy Park/Silver City via St. Clair College and Devonshire Mall No Sunday or evening service. 50 minute service weekdays and Saturday
Handicapped/disabled access 8 Walkerville Windsor International Transit Terminal to Legacy Park/Silver City and Walkerville 30 minute peak weekday service
Handicapped/disabled access 10 Lauzon Tecumseh Mall to Twin Oaks Industrial Area (Southbound) or East Riverside (Northbound), including WFCU Centre and St. Joseph's High School No Sunday service. 35 minute peak weekday service.
14 Parent Windsor International Transit Terminal to Devonshire Mall, including Remington Park No Sunday or evening service. 40 minute peak weekday service
Handicapped/disabled access TB Tunnel Bus Windsor International Transit Terminal to and from Downtown Detroit 30 minute peak service 7 days a week


Handicapped/disabled access represents all trips on designated route are fully accessible. (all routes have some accessible trips) Based on Fall 2014-Fall 2015 schedule.
The Central 3 West runs Monday-Saturday nights and Sundays when the Central 3 does not run.
Service on the South Windsor 7 and Parent 14 ends at 7pm
The South Windsor 7, Lauzon 10, and Parent 14 do not run on Sundays or holidays.
The Tunnel Bus runs from Windsor International Transit Terminal to the Rosa Parks Transit Center in downtown Detroit, Michigan via the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. More information can be found on Transit Windsor's website

Operating profiles[edit]

2008 Annual Fuel Usage: 3.2 million litres
Annual Distance: 5.6 million km
Hours of Service: 254,000
Passengers Carried: 6.3 million

2010[13] Annual Fuel Usage: 3 million litres
Annual Distance: 5.5 million km
Hours of Service: 287,322
Passengers Carried: 6.2 million

2012 [14] Annual Fuel Usage: 3 million litres
Annual Distance: 5.6 million km
Hours of Service: 228,379
Passengers Carried: 6.4 million

2014 [14] Annual Fuel Usage: 3 million litres
Annual Distance: 5.7 million km
Hours of Service: 231,920
Passengers Carried: 6.3 million

Note: Passengers carried are single one way trips and do not include transfers.


External links[edit]