Category Archives for "Latest News"

Jun 05

Update on Federal Funding Commitments for Greater Toronto and Hamilton Transit

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

With an upcoming federal election in October, Transport Action Ontario has reviewed federal funding support for transit capital maintenance and expansion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). No matter how the numbers are displayed, the current federal commitment is very low versus a target of 33% or more.

The federal government must up its game! And the provincial and federal governments need to cooperate to deliver the funds!

Our full report can be viewed here:

Jun 02

GO Expansion Project moves to next phase of procurement

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

Transport Action Ontario has long supported the GO Expansion project (formerly Regional Express Rail). In fact, our 2013 report “Regional Rapid Rail” was an important precursor to the provincial project announced in 2014. As readers recall, GO Expansion proposes 15-minute all-day two-way service on core parts of 5 GO train corridors. The province has committed $13.5B for capital construction.  

The province has now taken a major step towards procurement of this massive project. The procurement of this project has proceeded in 3 stages:

  • A number of specific track, station and grade separation projects went to market in 2017/2018.  Some of these, such as work on the Stouffville corridor, are under construction.  Others are still in the tender process, or may be woven into the “On-Corridor” package described below.
  • A second procurement package was released in early 2018 to construct 12 new stations, including 6 for Toronto’s Smart Track.  However, in November, the province withdrew the tender and announced it would pursue a new Transit Oriented Development  approach that would have the private sector fund station construction in exchange for development rights.  Since then, two new stations (Mimico and Woodbine) have been announced under this approach.
  • The third tender package is called “GO Rail Expansion On-Corridor Works”.  Interestingly, it uses outcome based specifications where the winner is required  to meet key performance specs such as x trains per day between points A and B, trip times, on-time performance, etc. It is up to the proponent to figure out how to achieve this most cost-effectively – whether to electrify or not, construct new track or not, use other innovations.  As with all large transit contracts in Ontario, it is a Public Private Partnership (P3), where the winning bidder is responsible for  Design-Build-Partial Finance- 30 years of Operation- 30 years of Maintenance.  Media estimates of contract value is $18B ($9B capital + $9B op/main).   On May 30, the province announced the 4 qualifying teams and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP). 

Another interesting aspect of this “On-Corridor” tender is that the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB)  will finance up to $2B of the contract, only its second transit deal in Canada.

The release of the RFP and the CIB financing for the “On-Corridor” project  are good news, as they signify solid government commitment to this massive and vitally important project.

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

 

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