Category Archives for "Latest News"

Feb 11

Addressing VIA Canada’s role in passenger rail transportation

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

In response to a letter from Transport Minister Alghabra, Transport Action Ontario has written back to the Minister outlining our thoughts and needed work on eight topics, summarized below;

  • Expedited restoration of VIA Rail corridor services needed
  • Transparency on VIA’s High Frequency Rail (HFR) project very inadequate
  • Details needed on HFR capital investment ($396 million over 5 years)
  • Need to develop options to HFR northern corridor (Toronto-Peterborough-Smith Falls)
  • Need to invest in southwestern Ontario rail debottlenecks
  • Shared maintenance facilities with Exo or Metrolinx
  • Welcome first step on VIA’s long-distance fleet replacement
  • Cross-border rail services

Our letter can be viewed below.

Photograph: VIA 912 by djaytoo (d*jay)

Jan 24

Untendered Extension of Presto fare card contract

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

Transport Action Ontario has written Ontario’s Auditor General (AG) expressing our concern about the recent Metrolinx untendered contact extension to Accenture for Presto card support. It is remarkable that this contract dates back to 2006 and has been extended several times without tender. The AG has repeatedly pointed out the dangerous dependence of Metrolinx on Accenture. Metrolinx has apparently accepted these concerns and was moving to reduce reliance on Accenture.

It is therefore hugely disappointing that Metrolinx has again extended the contract to 2025. We urged the AG to again scrutinize this matter.

Our letter to the AG can be viewed below.

Toronto to Chicago Amtrak/VIA Rail train in 1996
Jan 19

Increased Interest in U.S./Canada Cross-Border Passenger Rail

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

With the passage of President Biden’s infrastructure bill in November, 2021, there is considerable interest in the U.S. to boost passenger rail connections to Canada.

Transport Action Ontario (TAO) board member Ken Westcar has published an article in the Winter 2022 newsletter of the (U.S-based) Rail Users Network (RUN). It speaks about the challenges of rigourous border procedures, food/beverage service and the necessary cooperation of host railways. The article is found on page 6 of the newsletter.

Ken is also cited on pages 11-12 of the newsletter, discussing proposed new service between Chicago and Toronto. This paper was presented at the RUN mini-conference in October. Ken’s slides have been posted on the TAO website in an October 15 posting.

The RUN newsletter is attached below.

Jan 17

2021 Penalty Relief for 407ETR and implications for proposed Highway 413

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Latest News

Transport Action Ontario has written a second letter to the Minister of Transportation indicating our concern about penalty relief for 407ETR. Our earlier letter (see posting of December 10, 2021 on this website) received a prompt reply from Ministry staff pointing us to the contract specifics and emphasizing that the 2020 penalty forgiveness was not a burden to Ontario taxpayers.

We found the Ministry letter to be unpersuasive and have written back urging:

  • Using a probable 2021 penalty relief request as leverage to negotiate toll discounts on 407ETR to boost traffic, especially for trucks
  • Using 407ETR and transit as an alternative to Highway 413.

Our letter can be viewed below:

Jan 15

Input to Updated Business case for Northeastern Passenger Rail

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

With the soon-to-be-expected release of an Updated Business case for Northeastern Ontario Passenger Rail, Transport Action Ontario has written the Minister of Transportation and the President of Ontario Northland with two suggestions:

  • Interim service to Huntsville or North Bay using GO Transit
  • Requirements for permanent rolling stock

Our letter can be viewed here.

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