Airport authorities out of control, tarifs reduits pour les moins bien nantis

The Canadian Press reports the Safety Board has
issued another warning about post-crash fires.
Airlines snake oil, the North Mainline, Via Rail Canada's transcontinental is a jewel, 100,000 pound trucks, Cato Institute dumb growth, Train de l'Est: aussitôt relancé, aussitôt stoppé and more in today's Transport Action Hotline.

Transport 2000 Québec, Call for reduced fares for the poor

"The Montreal Transit Corporation says it has no plans to alter its fare structure to accommodate the poor. Advocacy groups say with rising costs, the buying power of people who live near the poverty line has eroded to the point that often choices have to be made between riding a bus or eating," Andrew Peplowski reported for CJAD on Feb. 10.

"They suggest a monthly pass rate for the poor could be set at around 22-dollars instead of the full fare price of 75. The Transport 2000 lobby group says current fares promote social exclusion and isolation of the poor," CJAD reported.

Pickering Airport? What about better passenger rail

On Jan. 19, 2012 Transport Action Ontario wrote the federal Transport Minister Hon. Denis Lebel about the planned Pickering Airport. The watchdog group says an improved passenger rail system serving Ottawa-Montreal-Toronto is a more practical way to meet future travel demand. The text of Natalie Litwin's letter is available at

Bob Broughton, Harper government goes after passenger rail again

"Passenger trains have made it onto the radar screen of the Harper government again, and that's always bad news. This time, it isn't about nickel-and-diming Amtrak over customs inspections. They are taking a page out of the Republican playbook by talking about “privatizing” Via Rail, which is a euphemism for putting it out of business," Vancouver blogger Bob Broughton reported on Feb. 9.

"Now, why would be the Conservatives want to rid us of one of Canada's major tourist attractions, just to save approximately $350 million per year? That's about 0.1% of the Federal budget, in an era when we should be talking about reducing fossil fuel dependence, instead of increasing it. A big reason is Rocky Mountain Railtours, which wants a monopoly on passenger rail travel in Canada. They have a long history of blocking efforts by Via Rail to move into more markets, such as Vancouver-Calgary. Now, they have lobbyists in Ottawa trying to sell the idea that they can not only run Via Rail off the tracks in Western Canada; they can take over passenger trains in Eastern Canada, too," Broughton reported.

Marcus Garnet, What did Via’s $262-million 2010 deficit cost?

"(There are) two fascinating paradoxes about public transport funding that arise when we consider the effects of individual travel choices and the costs of public programs to individual taxpayers. Whenever someone boards a train, they are not adding to the amount of money needed to provide the service. They are reducing the amount. They are paying a fare to fill an otherwise empty seat. That seat will incur costs whether or not someone pays to fill it. So one way to minimize Via’s bill to the taxpayer, is to fill the trains that are already running," Marcus Garnet wrote to the editor of the National Post on Feb. 5.

"What did Via’s $262-million 2010 deficit cost the average taxpayer? The last available Census numbers (albeit 2006) counted 16 million employed Canadians. Dividing Via’s deficit by that number, we get the princely sum of $16.37. Spreading this amount over 26 biweekly paycheque deductions, gives me an average bill of 63¢ every two weeks. I spend more than that on coffee every morning," the National Post letter said.

Des tarifs reduits pour les moins bien nantis, Transport 2000

« Des personnes défavorisées et des groupes prenant leur défenseré clament la création d'untarif réduit de transport en commun à Montréal. Il s'agirait là d'un outil pour briser l'isolement et favoriser le retour au travail » Sarah Bélisle a écrit pour 24 Heures le 10 février.

« Les tarifs en vigueur «favorisent une plus grande exclusion sociale des gens qui on un statut précaire chez puisque le prix a l'unite est parmi les plus eleves, previent de son cote Normand Parisien, directeur de Transport 2000.» 24 Heures a rapporté.

Michael Janigan, Airlines snake-oil jig is up

"Consumer advocacy groups lauded the decision Wednesday by Air Canada and Porter Airlines Inc. to begin advertising the all-in price of fares this week ahead of new federal regulations," the National Post reported on Feb. 9.

"What I take from it is that they've figured out that the snake-oil jig is up," said Michael Janigan, executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, who has been lobbying for a change in the way airlines advertise for nearly a decade as part of the Travellers' Protection Initiative. He said Ottawa was forced to implement the new regulations in Canada to bring advertising policies for airlines in line with those in the United States and Europe," the National Post reported.

"Mr. Janigan applauded the move by the Canadian airlines Wednesday. "Any effort that is made to enable one to be able to better compare prices between the airlines is a good move," Mr. Janigan said. "Transparency in the market is a necessity for competition. It will put the airline on a level playing field with travel agents who have had to comply with these kinds of restriction for much of the last decade," the National Post reported.

Mary Pappert, Write our politicians, The North Mainline

Transport Action's Mary Pappert wrote MP Olivia Chow to thank her for sending a copy of Chow's private member's Bill C-305 - An Act to Establish a National Public Transit Strategy in Canada.

"I encourage your efforts on behalf of all Canadians who understand and value public  transportation and their need for fast, efficient, financially feasible travel for all. I have been actively involved for more than twenty-five years with the  promotion of passenger train travel in Canada and in particular with the improvement of the service along the Via Rail "North Mainline Route" - from  Toronto - through Brampton, Georgetown, Guelph, Kitchener, Stratford, London - and through London to Sarnia or Windsor - to connect on to the  U.S.A.," Pappert wrote.

"The Ontario government has recently initiated "GO Trains" along our route - but it is not the most efficient method of moving passengers along  our route, nor is it the most financially feasible and efficient  way of  using taxpayers dollars.  We need an efficient  intercity service all along  our route - all day - every day - for everyone - not just commuters," Mary Pappert wrote in an email to Opposition Transport Critic Olivia Chow.

Bruce Budd, Toronto can do more with less

On Feb. 7, Transport Action Ontario outlined a transit plan that promises more for less. "If we do things a little differently we can make better use of the money," says Transport Action Ontario spokesperson Bruce Budd. He points to $1.5B in savings of by cutting unnecessary tunnelling on Eglinton and another $1B to 4.1B for the two different options for a Sheppard subway (to Victoria Park, or all the way to the Scarborough Town Centre).

The report advocates sizing the Eglinton tunnel for eventual subway use, a bus rapid transit corridor for Finch West and a downtown relief line. The report is at

Via Rail Canada's transcontinental is a jewel 

"I am 84 years old and my wife and I just returned from a train trip from Vancouver to Winnipeg and back. The purpose of the trip was to see the Rockies and the Prairies in the winter. They were both beautiful, but even the beauty of Jasper on a sunny day, with snow on the mountains, was surpassed by the fantastic service, gourmet meals and exceptionally friendly greetings given us by the crew," Ken Atkey wrote to the editor of the Vancouver Sun on Jan. 21.

I talked to a young fellow who frequently travels from Ontario to Alberta and had never taken the train before. He said he would never travel any other way from now on. More Canadians should give it a try the next time they want a really good time crossing Canada or are just going to the Prairies," the Vancouver Sun letter said.

Vancouver Airport Authority, Out of control 

"If you're leaving on a jet plane out of Vancouver International Airport starting in May, you'll be leaving 33 percent more money behind for YVR's Airport Improvement Fee. That's because an unelected, unaccountable YVR board of directors, led by a $500,000 a year chief executive officer, want to raise $1.8 billion primarily to handle baggage faster for international passengers transiting through YVR to and from Asia, mainly China," Bill Tieleman wrote for Straight Goods on Jan. 31.

"And don't expect a public hearing or consultation on the Airport Improvement Fee — because YVR's structure is among the most undemocratic you can imagine. In 1992, it went from federal government control to become a strange not-for-profit that doesn't answer to either the federal nor provincial government. Here's who appoints a director under YVR's rules: the Vancouver Board of Trade, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC, the Law Society of BC, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, the cities of Richmond and Vancouver, and Metro Vancouver. The Canadian government, which controls air space, gets two directors," Bill Tieleman wrote.

South Fraser OnTrax, Smart Growth Debate on Feb. 23 

"Nathan Pachal has asked me to post a press release from South Fraser OnTrax. They have invited Todd Litman to debate Smart Growth with Randal O’Toole. Even if I was in town on that day, I would not be going. I have the greatest of respect for Todd but I have nothing but contempt for Randal O’Toole and the Cato Institute. There is, in general, a desire to see “both sides of the question” – media are required to provide “balance” – but this has been exploited by the rabid right to present arguments on issues where there really isn’t any controversy," Stephen Rees blogged on Feb. 1.

"In the case of the South Fraser, our provincial government has determined that there will be little or no Smart Growth there. The freeway is being widened, there is no prospect of any significant transit alternative – such as low cost light rail using the former BCER Interurban track. And where there is no adequate transit you simply cannot expect Transit Oriented Development. OnTrax with the support of a City of Langley grant will be hosting this debate on Thursday, February 23rd from 7:00pm to 8:30pm at the Township of Langley Municipal Hall (20338 65 Avenue)," Stephen Rees reported.

Congress committee nixes 100,000 pound trucks

Progressive Railroading reported on Feb. 3 that the "House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passe(d) a bill without truck weight, size increases ... instead directed the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a study of the impact of increased truck weight and size limits on U.S. highway and bridge infrastructure, as well as traffic safety.

London International Airport, 460,000 passengers last year

"Mike Seabrook will soon be sliding into the pilot's seat at London International Airport. … He said the airport has made substantial progress since it was divested by Transport Canada in 1998 and taken over by a local independent board," Hank Daniszewki reported for the London Free Press on Feb. 7.

"The environment we've worked in since we became a local independent authority has been totally different," Seabrook said. "We operate like a business now and it's been a good formula to help us grow." … The airport handled about 460,000 passengers last year and Seabrook said he will go after more routes and more airlines," the London Free Press reported.

Train de l'Est: aussitôt relancé, aussitôt stoppé

« Le premier appel d'offres en sept mois lancé par l'Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) dans le cadre du projet de train de banlieue Montréal-Mascouche a été annulé par ordre du Conseil du Trésor lundi après-midi, seulement quatre jours après sa publication, a appris La Presse. L'AMT, responsable du développement de ce projet dont les coûts ont explosé de 70%, l'an dernier, a dû annuler cet appel de soumissions pour la construction d'une gare et de voies ferrées, à Mascouche, parce que le comité de gérance qui encadre la poursuite du projet ne s'est pas encore réuni » Bruno Bisson a écrit pour La Presse le 9 février.

Amtrak at 110 mph in western Michigan northern Indiana

"Amtrak passenger trains sped up to 110 mph for the first time Tuesday in western Michigan and northern Indiana on two routes serving Chicago, officials announced. But the railroad crossings lack safety mechanisms that will be installed on Illinois' high-speed corridor to prevent vehicle-train collisions. The faster service, which is the first expansion of regional high-speed trains outside the northeastern U.S., is occurring on about 80 miles of a 97-mile stretch of Amtrak-owned track between Kalamazoo, Mich., and Porter, Ind.," Jon Hilkevitch wrote for the Chicago Tribune on Feb. 8.

Safety Board issues yet another warning about deadly post-crash fires in planes

"The Transportation Safety Board has used its report into a horrific, deadly plane crash next to a busy Vancouver-area road to sound alarm bells again over Transport Canada's refusal to respond to six-year-old recommendations the board believes could help save lives when downed aircraft burst into flames," Terri Theodore wrote for The Canadian Press on Feb. 9.

Waterloo airport, Probe examines final seconds of chopper crash
Jeff Outhit, Waterloo Region Record, Feb. 4 2012

Florida: High-Speed Rail Would Have Been Profitable, State Report Says

Transport Action Canada
Hotline 1152, Feb. 10, 2012
(formerly Transport 2000 / anciennement Transport 2000 Canada)
(613) 594-3290
RSS: feed://


March 6, 7pm to 9 pm, New Westminster, Transport Action BC, Waves Coffee shop, 715 Columbia St., near the New Westminster SkyTrain station

28 et 29 mars 2012, Québec. TRAQ, Le Colloque ferroviaire annuel du Québec

April 21, Toronto, Transport Action Ontario Annual General Meeting, Metro Hall, Toronto, 55 John St., Room 303. 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.,Business meeting and election of officers and directors for 2012/13. Afternoon program: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. tba.  

les 26 et 27 avril, Granby, Le Colloque 2012 de l'Association des Transports collectifs ruraux du Québec (ATCRQ) se tiendra à Hôtel Spa et Confort à Granby, Québec