1970s and 1980s
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Transit Windsor Nova Bus

November 1, 1977, the name of the Sandwich, Windsor & Amherstburg Railway was changed to Transit Windsor.  

With the franchise for the Windsor transit system due to expire on June 4, 1970, a bill was presented in May to the Ontario Legislature that would transfer the assets and liabilities of the SW&A to the City, allowing municipal ownership and full control of the transit operation. The three-man SW&A Board continued in office, while the City discussed how the SW&A would be managed.

A major improvement occurred in 1979, when Transit Windsor vacated the old Kildare Road garage. The entire property had been sold to next-door neighbour General Motors, who wished to expand its transmission plant. A portion of the garage was then leased back to Transit Windsor until its new headquarters were completed. These were constructed on City-owned land at 3700 E.C. Row (now North Service Road East), near Central Avenue. A nearby expressway allows quick access to any part of the City. The new facilities were dedicated during an Open House held on April 30, 1979.

A mascot was introduced in 1988, "Willi". Transit Willi was selected after a contest was held for all school children between the ages of 7 and 12 inviting students to draw a picture of a mascot for Transit Windsor. The winning entry came from 12-year old Tommy Schultz of Windsor. Willi is 6'2" of lovable, friendly yellow fur.

Facts:

  • On July 15, 1970, the City of Windsor concluded an agreement with Lincoln Trent Management Ltd. to manage and operate the company. No profits materialized from the bus operation; only deficits.

  • In 1973, Lincoln Trent sought to negotiate a new contract with the City, based on a set fee. City Council declined to renew the contract on a long-term basis, and extended it month by month until November, when the Board of Directors voted to terminate it.

  • City Council chose to manage and operate the bus system itself and appointed James Mansbridge from the Champaing-Urbana Mass Transit District in Illinois as General Manager of the SW&A.

  • In the autumn of 1976, the SW&A set up a new charter subsidiary, Windsor Chartabus. These buses received a new colour scheme of overall white with three stripes of yellow and blue.

  • The fleet, which passed to Transit Windsor on that day, consisted of 90 city and 2 suburban buses, three highway coaches, and one double-decker bus.

     
  • Transit Windsor made no immediate changes to the pre-existing SW&A fare structure, which, along with the exact fare plan, had been adopted 18 months earlier. Adults paid 40 cents, high school students 30 cents, and grade school students and children (under 53 inches in height) 20 cents, with the usual free-fare provision for accompanied children under five years.

  • Actually, the SW&A name had become dated in more ways than one. Sandwich had been annexed into Windsor 32 years previously, and the company hadn't run buses to Amherstburg since 1958.  

  • New fareboxes were installed in August 1989. These fareboxes are capable of reporting the number of passengers boarding the bus, type of passenger, the bus route, and time of day.