Transit use up but services slashed, l'achalandage du transport collectif

David Jeanes, The future of urban transportation
David Jeanes, president of
Transport Action Canada. 

On Dec. 1 Danielle Webb, an online editor at the Globe and Mail, asked David Jeanes, president of Transport Action Canada: "What other transit systems around the world does your organization look at as good examples of how we can improve our systems here?

David Jeanes replied: "Since all transit systems receive some kind of operating subsidy, and because we have a sustainability goal to increase ridership, we also have to deal with the need to actually increase that subsidy in absolute terms as ridership grows. One of the main advantages of new technologies is that they should give us economies of scale that allow us to handle this growth but without a proportional increase in operating costs.

"We have looked closely at what London, England, with its multi-mode transit did with the congestion charging scheme. It not only reduced auto congestion in central London, but made funds available to buy 300 more buses," Jeanes told the Globe and Mail online forum.

Transport Action calls on Metrolinx to hurry up with the revenue tools as TTC cuts service 

On November 24, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) confirmed a leaked report that bus and streetcar service will be slashed on 62 routes, starting January 8, 2012.  The cuts are driven by Mayor Ford’s directive that all city departments and agencies slash spending by 10 per cent. In the case of the TTC, these cuts will save $15 million per year.

“These cuts are a tragedy,” said Natalie Litwin of Transport Action Ontario. “They come at a time when ridership is growing, traffic congestion is up, the economy is under stress, and fewer people have transportation alternatives”.

Transport Action Ontario believes that these cuts also demonstrate that the TTC, the City, and Metrolinx must immediately address long term funding for transit, both capital and operating.

Metrolinx promptly needs to release their recommendations about new funding instruments, such as road tolls, regional gas or sales tax, or parking taxes. The service cuts are a one-time saving, and the TTC will be facing a similar challenge next year, unless significant progress is made on long term funding sources.

Transports collectifs : Transport 2000 suggère

« Transport 2000 suggère de diminuer les tarifs des transports collectifs hors des périodes de pointe afin de désengorger le réseau aux heures les plus critiques. L’organisme en a fait la proposition lors de son forum national, mercredi à Montréal » Sarah Bélisle a écrit pour le 30 novembre.

« Les prix en période de pointe seraient, eux, gonflés. Les usagers seraient ainsi incités à modifier l’horaire de leurs déplacements s’il s’avère possible pour eux de le faire. Et les coûts d’opération du réseau en période de pointe chuteraient, assure Transport 2000. « Ca créerait un nouveau marché », explique l’économiste Anthony Frayne, trésorier de Transport 2000. La mesure a remporté un vif succès à Sidney, en Australie, de même qu’à Londres, en Angleterre, continue-t-i » a rapporté.

Google+ transport action, maps, meetings, organizing, communications

On Wednesday a Transport Action working group met in a Google+ hangout ( a video conference with shared access to documents). The group used the meeting to:
- further develop a mapping workshop for transport activists
- tested a simple Google document  “submit form” in chat mode
- posted, in 15 minutes, a powerpoint file via YouTube to a demonstration web site

The hangout which included people in Quebec City, Toronto and Vancouver is suggesting the organization use Google+ to:
- hold board and committee meetings
- hold weekly transport action discussions
- help organize the corridor passenger rail conference planned for next year
- compare AMT, Metrolinx and Translink
- reach out to other people interested in transportation solutions
- network with like-minded groups

Follow Transport Action Canada's test site at:

Passenger counts in Halifax up considerably

Transport Action Atlantic’s John Pearce reports: “Partly due to Remembrance Day 2011 falling on a Friday (Long weekend), traffic sampled from official VIA counts in Halifax ONLY on 9 random days in November (Mostly Thu., Fri., & Sun) show an increase of 56% in Nov. 2011 over the same month last year.  Much of this is due to innovative marketing by VIA (yield management).  Even eliminating the Remembrance Day long weekend, traffic is up 32%.

This increase has not been nearly as noticeable in Moncton, due to the 59 mile slow order on the North Shore of NB, which has increased travel time from Campbellton and Bathurst to the bilingual major City of Moncton by 20 to 25%, cutting popular local trips, especially same day travel where the "dwell time" in Moncton has been cut by 45 minutes.

Daily handlings since July 2011 are as follows (with 2010 in brackets) for Halifax only:

July  238 (219)  +9%
Aug  252 (228)  +11%
Sep. 173 (132)  +31%
Oct.  124 (124)     0%
Nov.  120  (77)   +56%

STM fare hikes are unreasonable Transport 2000 says

“Better service - and some higher fares. That's what public transit users in Montreal can expect in 2012, according to the Société de transport de Montréal's budget unveiled on Friday.A regular monthly pass will cost $75.50 as of Jan. 1, up from the current $72.75. The cost of a single trip and two tickets will remain unchanged at $3 and $5.50, respectively,” the Montreal Gazette reported on November 26, 2011.

“Normand Parisien, executive director of Transport 2000, a transit users' group, called the 3.8-per-cent increase in the monthly pass "unreasonable."Vision Montreal and Projet Montréal also pounced on the hikes, pointing to the large percentage increase in the cost of monthly passes during the 10 years of Mayor Gérald Tremblay's administration,” the Montreal Gazette reported.

Wheat flow post-CWB, Farmers want to stop the steamroller 

“The end of Western Canada's grain marketing monopoly next year will ripple across the region, redrawing transportation patterns …  In Canada, grain handlers are likely to push more wheat through the busy Port Metro Vancouver on the Pacific Ocean instead of through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, said Keith Bruch, vice-president of operations for Paterson GlobalFoods,” Rod Nickel reported for Reuters on Nov. 24.

“Without its monopoly to market Western Canada's wheat and barley for milling and export, the Wheat Board will no longer coordinate the loading and movement of rail cars from grain-handling sites to port. Grain handlers, who include Viterra Inc. and Cargill Inc., will prefer to move grain through their networks of country elevators and to port terminals they own, suggesting Vancouver will take priority over terminals along the Great Lakes and the Seaway, Bruch said. More spring wheat and winter wheat may also flow south into the United States as farmers shop for the best prices, Bruch said at the Canada Grains Council conference,” Reuters reported.

Peter Lacey, vice president of Transport Action Canada has written about the negative impact on the Port of Churchill, the shorline railway industry, road-building costs and government expenses.

Michigan receives $150 million to expand HSR in Midwest          

“The Federal Railroad Administration awarded $150 million to the Michigan Department of Transportation for a high-speed rail project that will increase the safety and reliability of Amtrak's Wolverine and Blue Water services between Detroit and Chicago and put more than 800 Americans back to work this spring,” Railway Track & Structures reported on Nov. 23.

“The grant will enable MDOT to acquire ownership over much of the Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac High Speed Rail Corridor within the state of Michigan and pave the way for them to begin a track and signal improvement project between Detroit and Kalamazoo, Mich., in the spring of 2012. These improvements will allow for speeds up to 110 mph on 77 percent of Amtrak's Wolverine and Blue Water services between Detroit and Chicago, resulting in a 30 minute reduction in travel times between those destinations,"  Railway Track & Structures reported.

It's not too late to save the E&N

“Truly, Vancouver Island has placed all its transport eggs in the same highway basket. The next time a chemical truck overturns on the Malahat and closes the road, or someone misses an important meeting through being stuck in a traffic jam, it might be worth remembering that the island once had an alternative to road transport and that forwardlooking countries the world over are realizing that rail is an efficient, environmentally friendly way to move people and goods in the 21st century,” Chris Leigh wrote for the Times Colonist on Dec. 1.

“Here in the United Kingdom, we're spending fortunes rebuilding railways that were ripped up in the short-sighted 1960s and people pack the trains and leave their cars at home. It's not yet too late for the E&N, but it needs some powerful voices to come forward now,” Leigh wrote for the Times Colonist.

Teamster oppose plans to ship 'Ring of Fire' refinery work to China

"Premier Dalton McGuinty's government has called the Ring of Fire the most promising mining opportunity in Canada in a century. We urge his minority government to stand tall, protect Ontario jobs and help Northern Ontario's economy by denying the exemption. If you mine it here, then refine it here or go away and leave it in the ground. We have been urging this for the past year since we first heard about the China plan,"  the Teamsters’ William Brehl said on Nov. 25, 2011.

"This is a simple win for Ontario. There is infrastructure in Timmins to refine where a former Falconbridge refinery closed recently, there are trained workers there, there is a potential for more jobs in Ontario's North and fewer tax dollars required to subsidize the ONR because shipping the minerals will add needed money to ONR's coffers" Mr. Brehl said. See a subsequent Toronto Star story.

Via gains revenue, pares loss
“Travellers liked the Canadian, Via Rail's flagship train in the West, this summer while the Ocean in the east and the Quebec City-Windsor trains also did well. So revenue for Via's September quarter gained 5.2 per cent from a year earlier to $83.7 million and for the first nine months of the year 5.3 per cent to $214.5 million,” Robert Gibbens reported for the Montreal Gazette on Nov. 24.

“Total passenger miles in the latest quarter were 258 million, up 1.9 per cent, and for the nine months 648 mil-lion, up 1.5 per cent. On-time performance reached 83 per cent this summer, up six percentage points from a year earlier. Via also stepped up travellers' mobility with more connections with other transportation modes and ease of trip planning,” the Gazette reported.

Can incentives get people out of their cars?

“Remember, sprawl is one person’s slice of the North American dream,” said (Michael) Fenn (former Metrolinx CEO). “If we have policies that ignore 3 million people in the region that have chosen the North American lifestyle, they’re not going to be well accepted. ”We need to approach (transportation) as consumer products,” he said, adding that the industry also needs to recognize there’s more than one customer,” Tess Kalinowski reported for the Toronto Star on Nov. 25.

British government steps up rail funding to help stimulate economy

“Britain's chancellor, Mr George Osborne, has announced that more than £1.4bn will be invested in rail projects in an attempt to stimulate the country's ailing economy. The main benefits will be electrification of the Manchester - Leeds mainline, government support to reopen the Oxford - Bletchley line, permission for Southern to acquire 130 emu cars to increase capacity on its network south of London, and limiting train fare increases to 1% above the rate of inflation,” International Railway Journal reported on Nov. 30.

Public transit ridership une croissance remarquable 

Nov. 28, 2011 - Canadian public transit ridership statistics for the first six months of 2011 show an increase of 4.93% as compared to the same January to June period in the previous year, according to the Canadian Urban Transit Association.

« Cette hausse de l'achalandage du transport collectif est impressionnante et démontre une forte demande pour ces services », a déclaré le président-directeur général de l'ACTU, Michael Roschlau. « Les améliorations visant à accroître la capacité et la qualité du service ont des répercussions positives. »

Le Train à vapeur Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield restera dans la région
SRC, Mise à jour le lundi 28 novembre 2011

TRAQ,  Road & Rail buses for rail bridges

TRAQ, Le ferroutage d’autocar, vieux concept mais actuel!

CAPT, Revive Algoma Passenger Rail petition

Transport Action Canada
Hotline 1142, Dec. 2, 2011
(formerly Transport 2000 / anciennement Transport 2000 Canada)
(613) 594-3290
RSS: feed://


Dec. 14, Vancouver,  Meeting of Transport Action BC, 5:45pm to 7:45 pm,
Firehall Library, 1455 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC