Tunnel bus returns to action after COVID hiatus

The Tunnel Bus sign hangs out front of the Transit Windsor bus terminal downtown on April 6, 2015. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Cross-border commuters now have one of their lifelines back.

Put on hiatus for over two years by the COVID-19 pandemic, Transit Windsor’s tunnel bus service was back in operation over the weekend, with the first buses crossing the border into Detroit Sunday.

The pause of the tunnel bus made a complicated situation even more so for cross-border commuters. With the Canadian and U.S. governments closing the border to all but essential traffic to help slow the spread of COVID-19, it did not work well for those without vehicles.

“While the Tunnel Bus service was paused over the past two-plus years, most of the calls we received were from commuters and students telling us that the absence of service was making commuting to Downtown Detroit challenging,” said Transit Windsor Executive Director Tyson Cragg earlier this month.

The service had been scheduled to return last week, but Transit Windsor said it needed the extra time to retrain drivers on the route and related procedures.

While the ArriveCAN app for travel to Canada is no longer required, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is still asking non-U.S. citizens to be ready to provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19.

The cost to ride the bus is $7.50 one-way. The schedule has been scaled back a bit, with the buses running from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays and holidays.

Direct special event service to Ford Field, Comerica Park, and Little Caesars Arena remains on hold for the time being, with Cragg saying that he hopes it will return sometime in 2023. Those using the bus to attend Red Wings, Pistons, Tigers, and Lions games or other events can use the route’s non-event stops and make other arrangements to reach the venue.

Complete information on the tunnel bus can be found on the Transit Windsor website.