Provincial transit agency asked to run special service to help transport migrant farm workers that had been self-isolating in Windsor out of an abundance of caution.
Later today (July 15), a half a dozen GO buses full of migrant workers are expected to make their way from Windsor-area hotels to farms in Leamington, Ontario.
The workers have been staying in Windsor as part of precautionary 14-day period after a COVID-19 hot spot was discovered in the Leamington area. They were recently cleared by health officials to head to their home bases in Essex County’s agricultural hub.
Metrolinx was asked to help transport the workers and quickly mustered up the resources to make it happen. Metrolinx officials put out the call for volunteers and several drivers offered to help the workers make the trip.
The run is a special service designed just for the farm employees, to help get them where they need to be.
On top of the buses and drivers, the transit agency is also sending a bus mechanic and two support vehicles to ensure everything goes smoothly.
For the GO staff involved, it’s big change from their usual routes and routines. Instead of driving customers around the Greater Golden Horseshoe GO vehicles had to be ready to depart the Mississauga GO bus depot before the crack of dawn this morning to make the 350-km trip to Windsor.
Metrolinx says all of the necessary safety precautions are being taken to ensure the trip is safe for both staff and the workers making the 50-km bus journey along Highway 3. That includes wearing face coverings, having hand sanitizer available and using new GO buses equipped with dividers between the seats.
Once the GO fleet returns, all of the vehicles will undergo a deep cleaning before they go back into regular service.
Despite being far outside their usual operating area, GO Transit – an employer of hundreds of front line staff – says it is important to help fellow essential workers whenever possible.
Story by: Scott Money, Metrolinx senior advisor, media relations and issues, with files from Paul Jones, Metrolinx communications coordinator.