An online survey is underway by the province to look at improving rain and bus transportation in Northern Ontario. The responses will be used to look at options about a future transportation plan. Kapuskasing Mayor Dave Plourde, who served on the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission board for eight years, applauds the government’s move but says the first step is for MPPs to take a trip.

“If they just try to book some travel from Toronto to Thunder Bay that would be my first start,” he said. “They would see the complexity to get from Point A to Point B and exactly how inconvenient it is for the residents of Northern Ontario to have services such as that.”

Under the old passenger rail service in the 1990s, residents in Hearst had to leave at 4 am in order to catch the train in Cochrane.

He adds it’s important to have transportation services and good schedules that make sense to northerners.

“If we can make it so residents of Northern Ontario have an easier time and opportunity to transportation to and from larger centres, and get them off the roads during the worst part of the year,” he said. “I think that would really help in northern Ontario’s problems as it pertains to transportation.”

The government is looking for feedback on preferences for rail and bus services in the northeast, including departure times, train frequency, travel time and cost considerations. It`s open to municipalities, Indigenous communities, businesses and industry.  This survey is available until November 20th and here is a link to it.