Category Archives for "Latest News"

GO Train at Bloor station. Photo by Sally Hewson.
Sep 22

GO Transit Initiating Rail Service to London

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

On September 18, 2021, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation announced that an extension of its Kitchener GO Train service to Stratford, St Marys and London will commence on October 18. The pilot service, costing $2.6M/yr, will have one eastbound train departing London in the early morning and one westbound train departing Union Station in late afternoon. Travel time London-Union Station is almost 4 hours, partially due to the low train speeds (30 mph) due to poor track conditions west of Kitchener.

This announcement and the short time frame was a surprise. There are many unresolved matters, including accessibility for the disabled, lack of Presto cards service, lack of train layover facilities in London therefore requiring extensive deadheading, cost per passenger and absence of a business case. Transport Action Ontario (TAO) is also concerned that this development pre-empts the Southwestern Ontario Task Force work on developing a regional transportation plan, including reconciling GO Train and VIA Rail services.

On balance, TAO welcomes this pilot as a positive first step and looks forward to improvements in train service, speeds and frequency. We believe that about $25M of track improvements are needed to improve train speeds west of Kitchener to an acceptable level.

Aug 20

Greater Golden Horseshoe Transportation Discussion Paper – Comments Submitted

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Urban Transit

In late June, Ontario released its long-awaited Greater Golden Horseshow Transportation Discussion Paper for public comment. Following a situation analysis, it described three visions for 2051: (a) getting people moving on a connected transit system (b) enhancing capacity and performance on congested roads (c) efficiently moving goods across the region. It also provided 7 near-term goals and sample actions.

Transport Action Ontario has provided detailed comments to the Ministry of Transportation on this paper, identifying positives, concern areas, and additional topics to include.

  • TAO supports some of the road infrastructure policies and plans, particularly managed lanes and demand management. However, we feel that there is too much emphasis on construction of new 400-series highways, including the GTA-West corridor, Highway 404 extension and Garden City Skyway twinning. Non-road options are usually a better investment and should either replace or augment new highways.
  • TAO supports the listed ideas for goods movement, but recommends also to work with CN/CP to expand rail corridors or remove constraints where needed to benefit both passenger and freight rail. The cooperation agreements between Metrolinx and CN on the shared-use Halton Sub and on Burlington-Hamilton are good examples.
  • The Plan needs to discuss funding sources to finance these many investments, including parking fees, road pricing, federal cooperation and financing, and providing new revenue tools for municipalities.

Our full submission can be viewed below.

MTO’s discussion paper can be found at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/towards-greater-golden-horseshoe-transportation-plan-discussion-paper

Jul 27

Improving Scarborough Bus Connectivity

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Major Reports , Urban Transit

As a result of the impending shutdown of the Scarborough RT, there will be a need to reconfigure many of the TTC bus routes in Scarborough. This offers a major opportunity to improve passenger convenience and connectivity by emphasizing a more grid-based bus network.

Karl Junkin, C.E.T., of Transport Action Ontario has designed a reconfigured bus network. It has been submitted to the TTC and will be discussed with TTC staff.

Karl’s report can be viewed below.

Jul 17

Unlocking Rail Tourism to Benefit the Canadian Economy

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

Canada’s international tourism sector has been in a serious decline. A 2018 report produced for the federal government by McKinsey offers a menu of reasons for the decline while quantifying the upside, which is large. Considerable emphasis was given to national transportation infrastructure deficiencies.

Transport Action Ontario has written to four federal ministers, including the Minister of Economic Development, pointing out the convergence of tourism and national mobility. Federal action to enable VIA Rail benefits both Canadian travellers and our tourism industry. Rail travel is particularly attractive to the 55-80 year old cohort, which has the financial means for a spectrum of services.

Our letter urged the federal government to work with its provincial counterparts to identify and quantify where rail can satisfy the needs of international visitors and regular passengers.

The letter can be viewed below.

Jun 30

Engagement with Southwestern Ontario Transportation Task Force

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

In January, 2020, Ontario released its Draft Transportation Plan for Southwestern Ontario, entitled Connecting the Southwest. It recommended several encouraging new actions supportive of improved passenger rail and regional bus services. However, progress on these actions has been largely stalled.

In March, 2021, the province established a Transportation Task Force consisting of mayors, chiefs and other stakeholders, chaired by Mayor Ed Holder of London. The Task Force is charged with providing recommendations to the government by March, 2022, presumably building and improving on the 2020 draft plans.

The Task Force convened a rail workshop on June 29. Transport Action Ontario circulated a presentation prior to the event and actively participated in the workshop with 3 delegates. The workshop went well, with good dialogue on the major issues/steps needed to boost freight and passenger rail in the region. We expect further opportunities for input as the Task Force moves towards a final report.

Our circulated presentation can be viewed below.