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May 13

On-Demand Transit: Solving for the last mile

By Transport Action Ontario | Urban Transit

Good transit that everyone can use builds strong and inclusive communities, and connects people with inter-city rail and bus services, but only a few cities in Canada can claim to offer an adequate service. Smaller cities, suburbs, and rural communities are almost universally underserved, and many municipalities are starting to ask whether new technology and new service models can close this gap.

In the last two years, there have been many on-demand dynamic transit pilot projects in North America, including at least four in Ontario:

  • Milton – one year pilot moving passengers to from GO station
  • Innisfil – subsidizing Uber in lieu of conventional transit
  • Aurora – ongoing pilot from home to/from GO station during peak periods
  • Belleville – late night on-demand service to/from any bus stop in the City

Many dynamic transit pilot projects across North America have been dogged by high costs and low passenger numbers. Belleville has avoided this, serving 300% more passengers each night in just six months, and improving cost recovery dramatically.

Therefore, we invited Jeremy Eves from Pantonium, the Toronto software company behind this success, to speak at our Ontario AGM on May 4th, to share with us how they did it, and how this could be replicated by other communities.

You can watch the whole presentation online, and share it with your municipal leaders:

Service providers mentioned in the presentation include:

Note: This is the first time we’ve done a YouTube video. With the help of volunteers to do the recording and editing, we’re hoping to use this to bring more of the meetings we hold to all our members across the country. Can you help us with recording or editing? Let us know.

Apr 28

Ontario Northland – passenger rail scoping and bus success

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario

Ontario Northland has been in the news a lot recently – for good reasons which are welcome news to Transport Action Ontario!

As reported by CTV News on April 16, 2019, the corporation has been asked to come up with a plan to restore passenger rail service to Northern Ontario. The plan will highlight what the service needs to look like, the funding requirements and the implementation timeline. The plan is expected to be released in November.

Restoring passenger rail service in northeastern Ontario

Could passenger service in northern Ontario be back on the rails?
In the recent budget from the Ford government, no money was allocated for Ontario Northland to renew passenger rail service, but it was mentioned briefly, and now CTV News has learned the company is in talks with Ontario’s finance minister, Vic Fedeli, about the issue. …

ONTC President Corina Moore provided more details of the passenger rail study, as well as details of the successful Ontario Northland bus service expansion in 2018, in an interview with the North Bay Nugget on April 26, 2019.

Ontario Northland’s success worth celebrating – Moore

Corina Moore is both “proud” and “grateful” Ontario Northland will be involved in creating a solution for passenger rail in northeastern Ontario, citing the agency’s role as “transportation experts” as the reason. …
Apr 24

Transport Action Ontario – Annual General Meeting and Public Presentation – May 4 – Toronto

By Transport Action Ontario | Events , Latest News , Urban Transit

Transport Action Ontario’s annual general meeting will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 11:00 am at St. Paul’s Bloor Street, 227 Bloor St. E, Toronto.    There will be a review of 2018 performance and election of the executive and board of directors for 2019. TAO members can vote in person or by proxy. Non-members are welcome to attend. Our organization is always looking for new members to join our board of directors. If you have a passion for public transportation and want to make a difference, contact us at ontario@transportaction.ca.

Following the Annual General Meeting, we will be hosting an afternoon public presentation on last mile transit solutions for Ontario. All members of the public are invited.

Location:  As above, St Paul’s Bloor Street.   Time:  2:00 pm

Our guest speaker is Jeremy Eves – Head of Transit, Pantonium Inc.

Last-mile transit in smaller cities and rural areas is a vital service for residents, supporting job retention, access to healthcare, education, and community inclusiveness. It is also a crucial piece of the puzzle for longer distance trips by rail and bus. In the last two years, there have been numerous pilot projects and new initiatives in cities and towns across Ontario. These include:

• Milton – one year on-demand pilot moving passengers to/from the GO station (2015-2016). Very positive passenger feedback. Cost-competitive with conventional transit.
• Innisfil – subsidized Uber in lieu of conventional transit services within the community
• Aurora – ongoing pilot on-demand service from home to/from the GO station, during peak hours.
• Belleville – late night on-demand service to/from any bus stop in the city, replacing fixed-route late night bus.

Pantonium is the technology supplier for the Belleville project. To date, the test has been very successful, as late night transit ridership has doubled. Their system is now being evaluated by other communities including North Bay and Chatham-Kent.

Pantonium is a leader in passenger transportation optimization, supporting public transit, education, and non-emergency medical agencies looking for solutions to move people more efficiently. Their On-Demand Transit (ODT) autonomous dispatch platform solves the problem of route design in low density and rural areas by linking rider demand with the right vehicle at the right time, but with the economics expected in mass transit.

VIA Train #73 at Windsor, 23 March 2016
Apr 24

New Passenger Transportation Policy Shift for Southwestern Ontario

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News

Ontario’s Budget 2019 confirmed a major passenger transportation policy shift for Southwestern Ontario. The Province has paused capital funding for High Speed Rail and is actively exploring opportunities to enhance train speeds and service levels on existing railway corridors, as well as opportunities for inter-community bus services or other transit solutions that better support the immediate needs of SW Ontario. A transportation plan will be brought forward by fall, 2019.

Transport Action Ontario strongly supports this new approach. We have long advocated for High Performance Rail – incremental improvement of passenger rail service on existing corridors, plus improved bus feeder service.  We look forward to the public consultation process that forms part of the new plan development.

A newspaper article speaking to the new direction was published in the London Free Press on April 19.  It quoted Transport Action Ontario director Terry Johnson extensively.  Here is a link to the article:

High-speed rail halted, but advocates still pushing for better train service

 

Apr 07

Cost-Effective Surface Subway for Scarborough – “Smart Spur”

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Press Releases and Open Letters , Urban Transit

As many readers will know, transit planning in Toronto took a turn in March with the Province releasing two letters on its priority transit expansion projects.  This included revising the one-stop Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) to three stops.  Clearly this change in direction will require study, causing impacts to schedule and cost.

Transport Action Ontario has long expressed concerns about the SSE.  We have long advocated that the Province study “Smart Spur”, a new electrified GO line branching east from the existing GO Stouffville corridor, as a cost-effective alternative with many advantages.

As studies on the SSE are apparently being reopened, we took the opportunity to remind the Province of the Smart Spur alternative. 

Our open letter of April 3, 2019 can be viewed here TAO-SmartSpur2019-04

Smart Spur was originally proposed in our 2013 report on Regional Express Rail  

 

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