Jun 25

Transport Action Welcomes VIA HFR Announcement

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Press Releases and Open Letters

The following announcement was made today, June 25, 2019, by our parent organization, Transport Action Canada.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Transport Action Canada Welcomes VIA HFR Announcement

Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, the
Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure
and Communities, Cynthia Garneau, VIA Rail Canada President and
CEOfficer, and Pierre Lavallée, Canada Infrastructure Bank President
and CEO announced a total of $71.1 million in funding to further explore VIA Rail Canada’s proposal for High Frequency Rail in the Quebec City-
Toronto corridor. Transport Action Canada welcomes the
announcement of $71.1 million by the Canada Infrastructure Bank and
the Government of Canada to complete diligence work on VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail project.

While we would clearly like to see the High Frequency Rail project move forward as swiftly as possible, we’re very pleased to see that the vital
question of ensuring interoperability with REM (Réseau Express
Métropolitain) and access to Montreal’s Mount Royal Tunnel is going to be addressed. We are confident that an engineering solution will be
relatively straightforward now that the political will to make this work
has been confirmed, ensuring that Montreal will enjoy both better
transit and enhanced inter city connections.   Thanks to VIA Rail’s choice of making best use of existing rail corridors and extant rights of way, the project completion risk for High Frequency Rail is much lower than any previous Quebec-Windsor upgrade proposal and many transit projects. We hope this will allow the remaining diligence to be completed swiftly, and for the work to proceed on the first sections of the new route in time for the arrival of the new corridor fleet in 2022.

The largest risk, which we feel the government needs to pay more
attention to, is the escalating opportunity cost to Canada of falling
further behind the rest of the world on this vital aspect of our
transportation infrastructure. Infrequent and inadequate inter city rail
service both is a constraint on our domestic economic growth and a
deterrent to international investors. 

About Transport Action Canada Transport Action Canada, founded as Transport 2000 Canada in 1977, is the nation’s leading citizen
transportation advocacy group. We are a non-profit, consumer-based
organization that promotes sustainable transport through advocacy and education, and represents the interests of consumers or users of public
transport services in Canada.

Media Contact:
Terry Johnson President Phone: 519 350 4192
Email address: terry.johnson@inklyo.com
Jun 05

Public Survey on Passenger Rail Restoration in Northeastern Ontario

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Northern Ontario

As summarized in our posting of April 28, 2019, Ontario Northland has been tasked by the provincial government to complete a plan to restore passenger rail service to Northeastern Ontario. Our hard-working affiliate group, the Northeastern Ontario Rail Network, together with the Committee Promoting Muskoka Rail Travel and with the District of Muskoka, have initiated an on-line public survey to gauge citizen interest.

For more information, see the article in “My Muskoka Now” at this link:

https://www.mymuskokanow.com/90313/survey-launched-to-gather-views-on-passenger-rail-restoration/

The survey can also be accessed directly at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NEORNsurvey

The survey will run until June 30.

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. If the link does not work properly, contact us and we will send you the complete 5-page report:

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.

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.

1 2 3 42
>