Apr 04

Public Presentation and Transport Action Ontario Annual General Meeting

By Transport Action Ontario | Events , Latest News

Public Presentation by Elizabeth May M.P. and TAO President’s Report

Saturday April 23rd 2022, 1:00pm Eastern
Invitation to the Public

Transport Action invites you to join us for the public portion of our Ontario Annual General Meeting, featuring a guest presentation by Elizabeth May, M.P., followed by a brief President’s Report summarizing Transport Action Ontario’s advocacy efforts over the past year. 
The event will be virtual and free to join from your computer or phone. Here are the details:

Public Presentation by Elizabeth May, M.P. 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm Eastern

Ms. May will address and take questions on various aspects of public transportation in Canada, including:

  • Her Private Members Bill C-236 “VIA Rail Canada Act”
  • VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail proposal for the Windsor-Quebec corridor
  • Opportunities for improving passenger rail in other parts of Canada
  • The federal government’s role in intercommunity bus service

Elizabeth May has served as Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands since 2011; Leader of the Green Party of Canada (2006 – 2019); and Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada (1989-2006).

Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link to join the Zoom webinar online from your computer or smartphone, and phone numbers to dial in. You won’t need a camera to participate. Parts of the meeting will be recorded.

Transport Action Ontario President’s Report 1:45 – 2:00 pm Eastern

Peter Miasek, President, will present a brief summary of TAO’s advocacy efforts across Ontario over the past year. This presentation is open to the public.

Ontario members in good standing will also be receiving a separate invitation and registration link for the business portion of the Annual General Meeting, which will follow immediately after the public session. To join or renew your membership now, please click here.

Mar 31

FlixBus enters the fray in Ontario

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus

FlixBus, owned by German company FlixMobility, enters the recently deregulated and increasingly crowded Ontario intercity bus market on April 7th 2022, with routes from Toronto to Guelph, Kitchener, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, and Ottawa.

FlixMobility positions itself as a “mobility provider” rather than a bus company, with local partners contracted to operate to operate FlixBus-branded motorcoaches. Its low-cost business model, with online-first ticket sales is particularly appealing to students and budget travellers. Fares in Ontario start at $11.99. However, seat selection and additional luggage incurs an extra fee.

From is first three routes launched in 2013 around Munich, FlixMobility has grown rapidly, with global operations now spanning 38 countries under the FlixBus and FlixTrain brands. FlixBus has been hoping to enter the Canadian market for some time, after entering the North American market and launching FlixBus USA in 2018.

In 2020, Pierre Gourdain, managing director of FlixBus North America, was the guest speaker at Transport Action’s online Annual General Meeting, speaking about FlixBus’s plans:

Canadian FlixBus services will be competing with GO, Megabus and Rider Express services between Niagara Falls and Toronto; with GO and OnexBus between Kitchener and Toronto; and with Megabus and Rider Express on the Toronto to Ottawa route. Each service offering uses slightly different routes. All new entrants have faced challenges starting up services while passenger numbers have been lower due to the pandemic. Rider Express also launched a service between Toronto, Kitchener, London and Windsor but has currently suspended it until the situation is more favourable.

FlixMobility stepped in to buy Greyhound USA from First Group in October 2021. For the time being, FlixBus USA and Greyhound operations remain separate, although the Boltbus sub-brand of Greyhound which competed directly with the Flixbus business model, has been discontinued.

Greyhound Canada was completely shut down months before the American business was sold to FlixMobility, but Greyhound USA services across the border to Toronto resumed in the fall of 2021 after a hiatus due to pandemic border crossing restrictions. Future FlixBus routes in Canada are also expected to include cross-border services.

Mar 30

Use of Highway 407ETR as a Truck Alternative to Proposed Highway 413 – Media Interviews

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Latest News

The GTA West transportation corridor, now officially known as Highway 413, continues to generate intense interest among local citizens, elected officials and media. Transport Action Ontario (TAO) is a core member of an alliance called “Stop the 413 Now” that actively opposes this project.

As described in our report “Is Building Highway 413 the Best Option” (see posting on this website August 20, 2020), people moving is more cost effectively achieved with rapid transit, which can move 4 times as many people per hour as the Highway, for the same capital cost.

For the important sector of goods movement by truck, there is increasing interest in the use of a truck toll discount on Highway 407. This was first analyzed by TAO in 2021 (see posting April 6, 2021), which showed that providing a full truck toll discount on the 407 is less than half as costly as building and operating the 413. And this solution can be implemented almost immediately, versus expressway construction which could take 10 years.

There has been considerable media interest in this solution. TAO President Peter Miasek was featured in two recent interviews:

  • CBC Radio, March 26, 2022, with Mike Crawley, here
  • Newstalk 1010 Radio, March 28, 2022, with John Moore, here
Mar 23

Northern Ontario Transportation Task Force looking for Input

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

As readers know, in January, 2022 Ontario launched a Northern Transportation Task Force, one of 60 actions set out in “Connecting the North A Draft Transportation Plan for Northern Ontario”. On March 13, we received the following communication from Danny Whalen, Co-chair:

We had our first meeting of the full task force and our third meeting of the Co-Chairs.

We went around the table and gathered both concerns and wants for transportation in the north.
We listed both and it was no surprise that many concerns and wants were shared by numerous members.
We have taken the list and organized our upcoming meetings I order of priority.
Highway maintenance and classification was the highest scoring.
The benefits of increasing rail usage for both freight and passenger is another highly shared topic.

We also want to gather as much outside input as possible and have created an email box for collection. If you and your group want to share directly with the task force then please do and submit to

NorthernTransportationPlan@ontario.ca

Danny Whalen

Councillor – City of Temiskaming Shores

President – Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities

Mar 23

Briefing Note on CUTRIC Conference

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

Board member Ken Westcar attended the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) conference in November, 2021. His notes were circulated to the Transport Action Ontario board, but are of broad interest, so we felt that members and the general public should have access to them.

Prominent speakers included three Ministers of Transportation and various provincial, municipal and industry specialists. Ken’s briefing note can be viewed below: