LRT and transit in Alberta, les trains de passagers

Mobility pricing conference in Toronto on May 31.
Transport Canada aviation safety operation has no rationale and no minimum mandate, Dietrich Bergmann, TransLink ridership up 8.6 per cent in 2011 and more news in today's Transport Action Hotline.

Ontario Northland workers say Northern Ontario needs passenger rail investment

"Moving forward in the fight to save the ONTC from being divested General Chairperson’s Association President Brian Kelly debunked Premier Dalton McGuinty’s numbers … “The truth is ridership has seen increases year over year in all passenger services. The Northlander ridership in 2009/10 was 31,746 and it increased by 10% in 2010/11 to 34,959. This year, ending March 31, ridership count is expected to jump an additional 16% to 40,552 riders,”  Kate Adams wrote for North Bay today on Apr. 5.

Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains says the Ontario Northland is not for sale. ONTC workers have a Facebook page at

Regulator denies P.E.I.-N.B. shuttle service bid

"Energy and Utilities Board has denied the application from a Summerside-based company to start up a shuttle service between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. … Advanced Shuttle Services proposed to run two shuttles which would leave P.E.I. and make stops in Port Elgin, Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton. David Anderson, the company's owner, had proposed starting with four days a week, 11 passengers per shuttle," CBC News reported on Apr. 5.

Meanwhile PEI and New Brunswick remain without interurban bus service as the lockout of Acadian coach lines workers heads towards it sixth month. Transport Action Atlantic leaders are calling on governments to support the industry and the people who depend on buses to get around.

Budget fédéral et réseau des trains de passagers Via Rail

L’association Transport 2000 Québec se réjouit des nouveaux investissements en capital de l’ordre de 105 millions de dollars ($) annoncés dans le nouveau budget Flaherty pour le réseau des trains de passagers Via Rail, tout en déplorant néanmoins des compressions cumulatives de quelque 40 millions sur trois ans.

De toute évidence, à l’instar de ses cousines canadienne et ontarienne l’Association craignait que des compressions sévères ne viennent grever davantage les ressources disponibles et ainsi compromettre les efforts des dernières années consentis par le gouvernement Harper – sous la tutelle de l’ex-ministre des Transports Lawrence Cannon (700 millions de dollars) – dans le contexte d’une période d’austérité à prévoir au cours des prochaines années.  La modernisation des trains de passagers dans l’axe Québec-Ontario demeure l’une des sept priorités nationales de l’organisme.

Dietrich Bergmann passed away on April 3

"We in Canada who were privileged to work with Dietrich deeply regret his sudden passing. We shall miss him. Dietrich is not someone you can replace, as he had a unique blend of concerned caring and applied intelligence," Harry Gow, founding president of Transport Action Canada writes.

"He was an effective advocate for a more rational set of transborder links that that proposed by the road lobby and the Ontario and Canadian Governments.  His allies and colleagues are now deprived of Dietrich's keen analytical skills and his persuasive way of stating the case for sustainable solutions. Most of all, his readiness to work with people on both sides of the border made international cooperation a reality and not just a pious mantra," Gow writes.  

Dietrich Bergmann worked with Transport Action Ontario in opposition to a new $5 billion bridge between Windsor and Detroit know as DRIC. Among Bergmann's contributions was this note on lower cost alternatives to the Detroit River International Crossing.

Edmonton Journal, David Staples, Alberta election and public transit

"When I vote, I will be voting for the party that has the best plan for Edmonton and Calgary. Apparently, I'm not alone on this point of view, especially when it comes to mass transit. In the recent Leger public opinion poll, 66 per cent of Edmontonians said they support the province kicking in $1 billion to fast track development of an LRT line to Millwoods," Edmonton Journal columnist David Staples wrote on Apr. 3. 

"That's an overwhelming level of support. Incredible, really, when you consider how many people hate paying for any major infrastructure, how many drive only their cars, and how many who use transit but will never use the Millwoods line. In Calgary, there's also mass support for mass transit. Fifty per cent of all people who travel to their downtown take public transit. Knowing this, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is pushing all the parties to detail their positions on various municipal issues, including transit. "We are going to make sure that as much as people are talking about health care and education, they're talking about municipal financing and municipal governance as well," Nenshi says of the election," the Edmonton Journal columnist wrote.

Passenger rail, the core problem 

A reader writes, "The core problem of rail in Canada is the monopolization of rail opportunities by individual freight companies. If the trans-Canada highway were owned by a freight company it would be a single lane dirt track across Canada. We need better transportation and rail policy in both levels of government, but especially federally. And the smart thing to consider would be either that rail infrastructure is owned by government just like highways, or government regulate rail infrastructure so that ownership of rail infrastructure must be separate from any type of operations. 

"Governments forced Microsoft to separate into different entities so they could not abuse their monopoly on operating systems. Government forced Bell Canada to act as a carrier to their competition in communications. There are many examples of government legislating owners of monopolies so they are not a bottleneck on opportunity. We need that type of legislation on rail so that all rail in Canada is open to passenger and any freight company in Canada can invest in rail without having to buy track," a Transport Action Hotline reader wrote. 

Transport Canada aviation safety, no rationale, no minimum mandate

"Transport Canada failed to conduct planned inspections of about 500 airlines and other aviation companies that could be "higher risk" operations, Canada's auditor general found. … In addition, the audit found that while postponing planned inspections "should be supported by a risk assessment," management "did not analyze and document its rationale" for them putting off," Sarah Schmidt wrote for Postmedia News on April 3, 2012.

"Meanwhile, no minimum acceptable level of surveillance has been established so Transport Canada inspectors know how long a company should operate without being inspected," Postmedia News reported. The story notes that a new safety regime called "safety management systems" (SMS) was introduced in 2005. SMS place the primary responsibility for public safety in the hands of the corporations. Critics say the government's retreat from aviation safety is a violation of its fundamental duty to protect its citizens. 

Mobility pricing, Transport Futures conference taking place in Toronto on May 31 

The one-day conference will discuss case studies and a range of perspectives on mobility pricing implementation barriers related to technology, equity, investment, governance and leadership -- and generate strategies that might be acceptable in the GTHA and Ontario. Speakers and panelists include:
Ian Parry, International Monetary Fund (IMF), 
Washington, DC, USA
José Holguín-Veras, Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 
Albany, NY, USA
Andreas Kossak, Principal, Kossak Research & Consulting, 
Hamburg, Germany
Stephen Laskowski, Senior Vice President, Ontario Trucking Association, Toronto, ON, Canada
Robin Lindsey, Professor, University of British Columbia, 
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Lisa Salsberg, Manager, Strategic Policy & Systems Planning, Metrolinx, Toronto, ON, Canada
John Dolbec, President & CEO, TransHub Ontario, 
Hamilton, ON, Canada
Wayne Scott, Director, HOOF&CYCLE Courier Coalition, 
Toronto, ON, Canada

David Turnbull, President & CEO, Canadian Courier & Logistics Association, Toronto, ON, Canada

Canadian Urban Transit Association, $53 Billion for the Next 5 Years

"A new national survey released by the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) shows that the total value of transit infrastructure plans for the 2012-2016 period amounts to $53.5 billion. Thanks to strong commitments by all orders of government, $40 billion can be drawn from existing funding streams. The remaining $13.5 billion will have to come from new or additional sources. "Over the last decade, the federal government has given high priority to improving transit infrastructure and services. Investment has grown substantially, now averaging $1 billion per year," says CUTA President and CEO Michael Roschlau. 

"Investment in transit shows an impressive economic return.  The economic benefit of Canada's existing transit systems is at least $11.5 billion annually, or almost 1 per cent of Canada's entire gross domestic product.  Over the last few years, all orders of government have made record-level investments in public transit. These investments have paid off: ridership is on a steady rise with all-time records being set every year; and transit is enhancing the global competitiveness of Canadian cities, which helps attract new foreign investments," CUTA reported on April 2.

Association canadienne du transport urbain, 53 milliards de dollars requis pour les 5 prochaines années

Un nouveau sondage national publié par l'Association canadienne du transport urbain (ACTU) indique que la valeur totale des plans relatifs aux infrastructures de transport collectif pour la période de 2012 à 2016 s'élève à 53,5 milliards de dollars. Grâce à des engagements fermes de la part de tous les ordres de gouvernement, 40 milliards de dollars seront fournis par les voies de financement existantes. Les 13,5 milliards de dollars restants devront provenir de sources supplémentaires ou nouvelles. « Au cours de la dernière décennie, le gouvernement fédéral a accordé une grande priorité à l'amélioration des infrastructures et des services de transport collectif. L'investissement a augmenté de façon substantielle et se chiffre maintenant, en moyenne, à un milliard de dollars par année », affirme Michael Roschlau, président-directeur général de l'ACTU. 

« L'investissement dans le transport collectif apporte des avantages impressionnants du point de vue économique.  Les  avantages économiques des réseaux de transport collectif actuels du Canada se chiffrent à au moins 11,5 milliards de dollars chaque année, ce qui représente presque 1 pour 100 du produit intérieur brut total du pays.  Au cours des dernières années, tous les ordres de gouvernement ont fait des investissements records dans le transport collectif. Ces investissements ont porté leurs fruits : l'achalandage ne cesse de croître et atteint des niveaux records chaque année, tandis que le transport collectif améliore la compétitivité des villes canadiennes à l'échelle internationale, ce qui contribue à attirer de nouveaux investissements étrangers » ACTU a rapporté le 2 avril.

TransLink, Ridership up 8.6 per cent in 2011, 233 million trips 

"Ridership grew on Metro Vancouver's public transit system last year, but declining revenues from TransLink's gas tax and lower-than-expected use of the Golden Ears Bridge contributed to the transportation authority's deficit, according to its annual report. In all, TransLink took in $1.2 billion in revenue in 2011 - but spent $34 million more than that, requiring it to dip into dwindling reserve funds," the Vancouver Sun reported on April 6. 

Revenue generated from the gas tax in 2011 - a total of $312 million - was $12.5 million less than anticipated and $11.4 million less than the amount brought in in 2010.

Transport Action Canada
Hotline 1160, April 9, 2012
(formerly Transport 2000 / anciennement Transport 2000 Canada)
(613) 594-3290


April 21, Toronto, Transport Action Ontario Annual General Meeting, Metro Hall, Toronto, 55 John St., Room 303. Business meeting 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. : 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Via Rail, LRT in Ontario 

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

May 9, Vancouver, Transport Action BC 17:45 to 19:45 at the Vancouver Firehall Library at West 10th and Granville.  Annual General Meeting will be from 19:00 – 19:15.

May 31, Toronto, Metropolitan Hotel,