When the Liberal Government cancelled the Northlander passenger train in 2012, it ended an era of consistent and available transportation for Northerners. Since that decision was made, there has been no cohesive public transportation in the North.
Although enhanced bus service was promised to offset the loss of train service, it never happened. The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) was mandated by the Liberal Government to implement full cost recovery for bus services without subsidy; in response, routes were cut, bus fares were raised and stations closed to meet the ONTC’s targeted financial expectations.
An NDP government under Andrea Horwath will give Northerners the tools they need to re-instate train service and develop a stable, service-oriented rail/bus system that meets the needs of small and large communities throughout the vast geography of Northern Ontario.
Once elected, the NDP will direct a revitalized Ontario Northland Transportation Commission to work with industry, unions, communities and individual citizens on how best to provide proper rail and bus service. Like the GO Transit service in Southern Ontario, the ONTC will be provided with both infrastructure capital and a proper operating subsidy.
It will then be up to Northerners themselves to help decide on how best to:
Return passenger train service to North Eastern Ontario
Enhance bus service
Establish practical rail & bus schedules
Identify communities of Interest/Need
Utilize equipment resources
Enhance freight service, possibly to support a future Ring of Fire
Resolve other related issues