[Ontario] Poor rail service continues to plague north – by Éric Boutilier (Sudbury Star – April 17, 2017)


Éric Boutilier is a spokesperson with the Northern & Eastern Ontario Rail Network.

I’ve recently made an observation as a lifelong resident of Northern Ontario: if you don’t own or are unable to operate a vehicle, don’t expect the government to care or assist you with your need to travel to and from your community.

If you’re sick, poor, frail or live in an isolated region, both the provincial and federal governments don’t see the need to provide you with a safe, reliable and comfortable means of transportation in order to access health care, education, tourism opportunities, or to visit family and friends.

Since 2012, the Liberals and Conservatives have axed a number essential transportation routes without public consultation. The Grits cut the Northlander, the region’s only daily train, in favour of an “enhanced bus service.” As a result, seniors, students and medical patients are provided with nothing more than reductions in service of the Ontario Northland’s motor coach division and the closure of many public terminal facilities.

The Tories reduced the winter frequency of VIA Rail’s Canadian train from three to two days a week. A service that is far too unreliable due to its poor on-time performance, passengers are subject to regular delays exceeding 12 hours before the arrival of the train.

Both parties have also caused immense hardship to residents, First Nations and business owners along the Algoma Central Railway (ACR). The operational funding for this train was eliminated twice by the federal government even though 85 per cent of this corridor is inaccessible by publicly maintained roads. As a result of CN’s and Transport Canada’s decision in 2015 to select a private operator without sufficient financial footing, people were left stranded.

Meanwhile, Queen’s Park and Parliament have injected billions of dollars to improve public transportation in the Greater Toronto area. On top of the $7.8 billion already allocated by the province, Toronto and Ottawa announced earlier this month an additional $13.5 and $1.9 billion, respectively, to GO Transit.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2017/04/16/poor-rail-service-continues-to-plague-north