Public transit needs a federal strategy, Le pont Champlain

David Jeanes, President of Transport Action Canada.
Tolls and green lanes for $5 billion Champlain bridge, un péage,  Vancouver mayors set to boost gas tax, Ontario transportation gridlock and more in today's
Transport Action Hotline.

David Jeanes says public transit needs a federal strategy

"The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities — in continuation of its discussion on the idea of a National Public Transit Strategy — met with two witnesses on Wednesday, both of whom strongly supported such a federal strategy. Mr. David Jeanes, president of Transport Action Canada, highlighted to the committee that there is a federal interests in a transit strategy in order to supplement research, policy and funding issues that cannot be handled by municipalities alone. He went on to highlight current gaps in railway electrification, the accessibility of abandoned rail lines for public transport and the availability of airport links as key areas in which the federal government may contribute," reported on Oct 6, 2011.

Jeanes spoke to the need for rural transit and for basic public transit service, even in small towns. He urged more tax policy support for employer subsidized transit passes. He discussed the acquisition of surplus rail lines by municipalities and the industrial benefits.

Click for the text and an audio stream of the presentation by Transport Action President David Jeanes:
Sanding Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (TRAN)
41st Parliament, 1st Session
Meeting 5, October 5, 2011
3:34 p.m. - 5:28 p.m.

New Champlain Bridge, The right time for us to rethink our model of transport, Transport 2000 Québec says

"With the bridge being rebuilt, now is the time to follow the model of successful states like New York that have made large increases in funding to public transit, said Normand Parisien, general director of the non-profit Transport 2000 Quebec. “For the last 15 to 20 years, New York has been investing heavily in public transit while we were going the other way,” he said. “It’s time to change that, and the Champlain Bridge is the right time for us to rethink our model of transport,” René Bruemmer reported for the The Gazette on October 6, 2011.

"Transport 2000 advocates splitting the number of lanes equally between cars and public transit, suggesting two lanes for cars, two lanes for light-rail, buses and carpooling. It also applauded the idea of using tolls," the Gazette reported.

Transport Action Canada, Annual General Meeting

Transport Action Canada will hold its AGM:
Bronson Centre, Ottawa on
November 12, 2011
The meeting will feature a discussion: 10 Years of the O-Train.

Le pont Champlain,  L’association Transport 2000 Québec, un péage

L’association Transport 2000 Québec se réjouit que le gouvernement fédéral ait retenu sa proposition de réinstaurer un péage sur le pont Champlain dans le cadre de son projet de reconstruction.  Il reste maintenant à voir de quelle manière on saura intégrer à l’ouvrage les aménagements requis pour réellement contribuer à faciliter et à développer le transport en commun

Nous pensons ici aux voies réservées au covoiturage et aux autobus ainsi qu’aux infrastructures requises pour accueillir des liens ferroviaires de divers types – légers ou lourds.  Comme le souligne le président du Conseil monsieur Robert A. Dubé, il faut réellement concevoir ce pont pour le 21e siècle et au-delà, en pensant aux générations futures et aux développements à venir, et ne pas simplement concevoir, comme trop souvent hélas, une structure qui serait rapidement dépassée.

Nous avons ici une excellente occasion d’entreprendre un projet crucial pour l’avenir de Montréal et de sa couronne, alors autant investir pour qu’il réponde longtemps – et de manière efficace – aux besoins à court et à long terme.  Transport 2000 avait présenté clairement ses options le 12 avril dernier, tout en joignant la Coalition Champlain en chantier.  L’autre communiqué est disponible sur demande.

Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains

The 2011 Group of Seven Train Event as a great success and could not have been possible without such fantastic support. The event benefited greatly from local and national media coverage. The Sault Star featured an article about Betty Carol Smith, a relative of featured artist Lawren Harris. Betty Carol came all the way from California to participate.

The Globe and Mail published an article by Conor Mihell on art history along the Algoma Central Railway, the story is here.

Art historian Michael Burtch, a key member of the Group of Seven Train Event, was interviewed by Mary Ito on CBC Radio's Fresh Air program.

CAPT to call for improved passenger rail connections

CAPT will be making a presentation on the advantages of improved passenger rail connections to the Sault Ste. Marie City Council at the Sault's City Hall on Tuesday October 11th. The meeting begins at 4:30 PM. We ask that everyone with an interest in seeing passenger rail reinstated from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury and beyond please come to city hall and show your support!

Audio version of the Hotline dropped

"At a meeting on Oct. 3 the National Executive/Steering Committee of Transport Action Canada decided, with regret, to end the voice version of the Hotline.  The Transport 2000 Canada Hot Line was started by Chris Holloway in 1989, in emulation of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP - USA) 1-800 number.

Holloway, then executive director of Transport 2000, used it in a campaign to build support for Via Rail.  The Mulroney government, after a year of high profile opposition, destroyed half the VIA network on Jan. 15, 1990 leaving cities like Calgary completely out of the system," reports Harry Gow, founding president of Transport Action.

"We regret the loss of audible access to the Hot Line. With the help of David Leibold the popular e-mail, website, rss and twitter versions of the Hotline will continue to be provided until at least the end of the year, when the Board will consider renewal as it does from time to time," Gow reports.

Majority of Metro Vancouver mayors set to boost gas tax to pay for more transit

Seven Metro Vancouver mayors, including those in Surrey and Vancouver, will vote in favour of a TransLink plan Friday that calls for a two-cents-a-litre boost in the gas tax to pay for the Evergreen Line and other regional transit projects. Calling it an “unprecedented show of strength,” the mayors, who represent 70 per cent of Metro’s 2.5-million population, say it’s critical to start building a regional transit system to ease congestion and offer transportation options for the movement of goods and people," Kelly Sinoski wrote for the Vancouver Sun on Oct. 4.

Minister says Cape Breton rail line is vital

"Nova Scotia’s economic and rural development minister says a rail line in Cape Breton needs to be available in case future port developments in Sydney and the Strait of Canso create new traffic. Percy Paris says the province is continuing negotiations with Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway to extend a $2-million-per-year provincial subsidy. … The entire line runs from Truro to Sydney," the Canadian Press reported on Oct. 1.

Via Rail gains passengers

Impressive gains in VIA passengers handled at Halifax in July, Aug. & Sept. 2011 versus 2010.

Between 8 and 12 days in each month were sampled from VIA’s posted statistics as of 9 am each day. On-time performance improved in Sept. of 2011 with only 1 arrival in 11 more than an hour late. Here are some average daily handlings:
July 2010: #15 out 102 #14 in 117 Total per day 219
July 2011: #15 out 108 #14 in 130 Total per day 238 up 9% over August 2010
Aug. 2010: #15 out 105 #14 in 123 Total per day 228
Aug. 2011 #15 out 132 #14 in 120 Total per day 252 up 11% over August 2010
Sept. 2010 #15 out 58 #14 in 74 Total per day 132
Sept. 2011 #15 out 81 #14 in 92 Total per day 173 up 31% over August 2010

While our data sampled only about 1/3 of days, mostly Thursday, Friday, or Sunday, this information is statistically quite significant. It would be interesting have information on handlings in other stations in the Maritimes, especially the relatively busy station in Moncton. VIA’s new yield management techniques of Supersaver and Discount coach seats and Discount sleeper bedrooms seemed to be effective, as did several 50% off sales with large colour display ads in daily papers. These techniques increased passenger numbers in Halifax significantly, but the discount mechanism may have meant revenues didn’t grow as much as ridership.

Québec va contribuer à la relance du Train de Wakefield

« Le gouvernement québécois offre l'expertise de ses ingénieurs, dans le but de remettre le train à vapeur Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield sur les rails le plus tôt possible. … Les activités du train se sont terminées abruptement à la fin du mois de juin, lorsque des pluies torrentielles ont emporté une section de la voie ferrée, entre Gatineau et Wakefield. La direction de l'entreprise estime qu'il faudra investir près de sept millions de dollars pour réparer la voie avant de relancer le train pour une nouvelle saison » SRC a rapporté le vendredi 30 septembre 20111.

Ontario political gridlock on transportation

Ontario has long needed an overhaul of the way our publicly owned transportation system is governed and operated. The current election campaign proves it. On vital transportation issues, all we’re getting are stump speeches promising whatever the candidates believe voters want to hear, but without professional research and planning, let alone funding. It’s typically shabby treatment of an issue that consistently ranks as one of the public’s top five concerns.
Greg Gormick, Toronto Star, Oct. 5, 2011

TTC breaks single-day ridership record
"The prospect of longer waits and more crowded buses next year doesn’t appear to be discouraging riders from flocking to the TTC right now. On Sept. 15, the TTC saw a record 1.71 million rides on a single day.
It was the fifth time this year that the TTC exceeded the Oct. 27, 2010, record of 1.68 million rides," Tess Kalinowski wrote for the Toronto Star on Oct. 4.

Ontario still fighting the ‘war on cars'
Allison Jones,  The Canadian Press, Oct. 1, 2011

I’ll Take the Train by Ken Liddell – Book Review
Transport Action BC's Rick Jelfs reviews this 1971 book of 33 stories by Calgary Herald reporter Ken Liddell.

2011 October Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

2011 octobre — Rapport du commissaire à l'environnement et au développement durable

Transport Action Canada
Hotline 1134, Oct. 6, 2011
(formerly Transport 2000 / anciennement Transport 2000 Canada)
(613) 594-3290
RSS: feed://


October 16-18, Calgary, Railway Association of Canada, AGM, Trade Show and Research and Development Conference
November 12, Ottawa, Transport Action Canada, Annual General Meeting, 10 Years of the O-Train
November 22, Toronto, Transport Futures, Mobility pricing stakeholders forum