While Windsor may be the southern-most city in all of Canada, we’re having our fair share of cold weather to make up for our geographical position. The temperature on Tuesday was pegged at negative 15 Celsius, and with the wind chill it registered as a bitter negative 24 Celsius. These temperatures represent the coldest Windsor has seen in a two year period.
Windsorites the city over are busy bundling up and stoking their fireplaces to keep warm, and while this weather may be loathed by the majority of Windsorites who prefer the balmy sixes and sevens we’ve been experiencing as of late, many are rejoicing at the fact that the weather had dipped to the low end of the thermometer.
Transit Windsor as a municipal transit provider has a slew of difficulties to face regarding extreme cold and snow accumulation and Patrick Delmore the Director of Operations at Transit Windsor explained that they are dealt with on a regular basis during the winter.
“We have some issues where we’ve got to keep the busses running [and] we can’t shut them down for anymore for an hour or two,” commented Delmore, adding, “[It’s] a little bit extra fuel, a little bit [worse] for the environment, but it’s a the reality with what you have to do with a diesel bus to keep it running.”
Delmore noted that sometimes extreme cold will cause the wheelchair ramps to freeze and become non-operational and as such “we try to keep as much heat at the front of the busses to keep them moving…that has been a challenge in the really cold weather.”
Additionally, Transit Windsor must adhere to their schedule as rigorously as possible because customers still expected the bus to “pick them up when they want to be picked up.”
While Transit Windsor isn’t responsible for the clearing any snow themselves whatsoever, they still receive complaints from customers when the snow begins to pile up.
Municipal bylaws state that the city will only clear snow after a total of 6 inches has fallen and “that’s a sizable amount when someone in a wheelchair, a person with a disability, or an elderly person is trying to climb over mounds of snow. We know it’s a challenge.”
Delmore explained that a big problem is that because the City of Windsor typically only gets one or two big snowfalls a year, that they don’t have the resources or budget dollars to appropriately deal with snow removal at times.
“When they’ve announced we’ve had 6 inches of snow, they clear the main roads and then they move to bus stops,” said Delmore.
Bus shelters are cleared by the company which has the advertising contract for the shelters and they’re responsible for snow removal.
“It’s a mix-mash of who is responsible for what, and 90% of the time it’s us that gets the calls and we don’t do bus stops,” expressed Delmore.
“[This] is what we go through each year…a couple of snow falls and a couple batches of cold days where we’ve got to be very conscious of the service we provide,” stated Delmore, adding, “making sure everything is getting out there and kept on time for those waiting for busses because we recognize that just a few extra minutes can make a difference in this cold weather.”
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.