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I think for people in Niagara, it's far more important to have strong inter-city service within the region than to be connected with the GTA. Realistically i think it would much better for the region if only St Catharines and Niagara Falls had direct trains to the GTA. I've said it before, but Niagara is not a bedroom community or a series of bedroom communities for the GTA. Commuting outside of the region is a really foreign concept in the region. We've had some debates elsewhere about whether Niagara should remain a somewhat isolated region, but I truly believe that if it is going to get itself back on its feet it has to be self-sustaining as it has been throughout history. When I say this, I mean that there should be sufficient jobs in Niagara to service the population.

I would just hate to see Niagara lose its character because it becomes just an extension of the GTA.

I've made a mock route map as to how GO could expand into Niagara. Obviously nothing in it would be set in stone, but it's a bit of an idea anyways.
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=U...981123615186291928.000474eb65837a305611a&z=10
 
I think for people in Niagara, it's far more important to have strong inter-city service within the region than to be connected with the GTA. Realistically i think it would much better for the region if only St Catharines and Niagara Falls had direct trains to the GTA. I've said it before, but Niagara is not a bedroom community or a series of bedroom communities for the GTA. Commuting outside of the region is a really foreign concept in the region. We've had some debates elsewhere about whether Niagara should remain a somewhat isolated region, but I truly believe that if it is going to get itself back on its feet it has to be self-sustaining as it has been throughout history. When I say this, I mean that there should be sufficient jobs in Niagara to service the population.
I would definitely not want that, as Jonny5 has paralleled to Durham Region. But Niagara could certainly interact with the GTA more, and become more of a region than an arbitrary group of communities. I honestly think the region would be a lot better off interacting with the rest of the GGH more, but not in the suburban sense, but by sort of exchanging people sense. There might be an equal number of jobs to workers in the region, but maybe half will commute to the rest of the GGH, while people from outside Niagara will come in to work in the region. That way, the region's cities and towns will evolve as real cities and towns, but both the population and industry have more of a pool to pick from in terms of jobs.

For instance, I see St. Catharines as a great place to develop more of an information industry and light manufacturing in Niagara region, serving as a hub for more modern industry, and possibly connecting with Hamilton. The thing is that for more advanced industry like that, it's hard to expect each of the little towns to have their own little pocket of industry that requires more specialization than the more traditional heavy industry in the region. That's why it needs to have a solid link with the other municipalities, and it'd also prevent a brain drain in the region towards the suburbs of Hamilton and Toronto. By having those two rail lines, a large part of the population can connect to more advanced industries in Niagara, without needing people to live their old towns. By making the connection rail, it should also be a hard hit to suburbanization.
Obviously, Niagara Falls would want to be looking at a bigger tourism industry, and the entire industry (hotels, amusement parks, casinos, shops, to name a few,) could potentially employ thousands upon thousands of people, drawing those from the region, Hamilton, and maybe other GGH cities and towns. I like to think of it as the family-friendly Vegas, and Great Wolf Lodge should be the first of that trend, imo. Also, the picturesque landscape along the river through Niagara Falls could provide a great place for condos, who's residents could work in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, or Hamilton or even Toronto. But two things: first of all, Niagara Falls's industry would be able to support a large population, and so people in St. Catharines or Hamilton could work there. Also, creating a high density strip along the river would make a good downtown core and doesn't really scream suburbanization, especially when there's also thousands of new jobs.

Me personally, I don't like the idea of Niagara being isolated from the rest of the GGH. Obviously, I would never want Niagara region to become a big suburb of Hamilton and Toronto, but mingling with the other regions with people commuting in either direction is certainly healthy, and could help the development of more specialized industries. Heavier or less specialized industries could move into some of the smaller towns, and creating better farming techniques (green ones, I hope,) will ensure they don't become real suburbs. One of the big reasons I like to call the big monstrosity we know as the GGH the GGH is because I don't see it evolving as a completely Toronto-centric area. If the governments wanted to be smart, they would make the region instead into a large network of highly interconnected cities and towns, who can be successful through the huge density of scale that the size of the region creates. If Niagara region wants, they could choose to be left out of such a chain, but I think it's in their best interests to participate. It just needs to be planned properly and especially, ESPECIALLY, in conjunction with the plans of other cities. Hence, my big anger at Places to Grow.

That map looks good though. Apart from changing the St. Catharines-Port Colborne route to a train, it's just about exactly how I'd imagine it. The Yellow route 4 would be a more local bus serving the Lakeshore, right?
If we see a HSR proposal from New York to continue up to Toronto, I've said it many times before that the entire corridor should be upgraded to HSR standards, with all the tracks capable of high speeds (maybe 240 km/h on all the lines except the express one, which should definitely be the HSR standard 320 km/h.) If that existed, it'd mean speedy, speedy transportation across the entire lakeshore line. Then, people would have the right to smack another across the head when they say they'd rather drive from Whitby rather than take the train :rolleyes:

EDIT: And RR, I'm in love with your RailOntario proposal. I wouldn't mind to revive that thread, because it could use some more discussion, and I think a lot would agree that it's actually quite feasable. All the little green lines do end up slowing my Google Earth/Maps down to about 1 fps though, but it's interesting to see how comprehensive the province's rail network once was :)
 
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Is there any sign that people who live in those cities actually want those services? In all my dealing with North Ontario, I have never heard of anyone longing for a train from Sudbury to Ottawa, or a train to anywhere for that matter. That is despite these operations typically being highly subsidized as is. Most people I talk to from Sudbury are pretty happy about getting the 400 extension and care more about improvements to the Trans-Canada highway than being able to take a train to Toronto. CN/CP obviously don't think this region is in need of major rail expansion, air carriers aren't ramping up their schedules and Greyhound is treading water, so I really don't see where this demand would come from.

Yes its old.. but I have to make the point. No one in Sudbury in there right mind wants anything to do with Via because the only two stations is eithier a) a 1.5 hour drive from downtown... and an even longer ride on the bus. and b) the other station, while closer to downtown is on a dirt road and the station looks more like a shack. To get the railway popular again you need to re-open the downtown station which is the on CP route. It should also be noted that CP is highly protective of there railyards in downtown Sudbury, and with the station located on those railyards, CP prolly will put up a fight.
 
b) the other station, while closer to downtown is on a dirt road and the station looks more like a shack.

What do you mean the other station is a shack on a dirt road? It is right downtown on Elgin Street across from the Sudbury Community Arena and is a beautiful old station building which is likely a heritage site. If a Toronto-Sudbury service was established it would certainly use this station. The other station exists because the Canadian is a tourist train ride across Canada above all else and a detour into downtown Sudbury doesn't benefit the bulk of its passengers. I get the distinct feeling you don't know what you are talking about.
 
Kitsune is referring to Caperol (which is 45 minutes to Downtown Sudbury by bus, I rode that bus, it 30 minutes by car), and Sudbury Junction, which are the two stations near Sudbury on the Canadian (the CN route). Sudbury Junction isn't quite at the end of a dirt road - it is paved - but it is isolated even though it's less than 10 minutes from New Sudbury Mall by car. The only way to get to it without a car is taxi.

The Downtown station - the lovely CP Station - is used by VIA only for the thrice-weekly RDC service to White River. It was the main station until Mulroney axed the CP Transcontinental and moved the "Canadian" to the more isolated CN route (before there were two transcontinental routes - the daily Canadian on CP, the thrice-weekly CN Super Continental which the "Canadian" now replicates.
 
Who in their right mind would consider Capreol station a Sudbury station and why would anyone from Sudbury go there? It is further from downtown Sudbury than Richmond Hill is from Union. Any service to Sudbury would use the downtown station and they wouldn't need to fight for access because they already have it... they own the station and use it currently 3 times a week. Personally I think the best way to serve Sudbury is on the CN Newmarket Subdivision to North Bay and then onto the OVR Cartier Subdivision and CPR Cartier Subdivision to the downtown Sudbury station.
 
Having grown up in the region we're talking about, Fort Frances to be precise, it's not a shock to see the bus service dry up.

I've taken the bus maybe twice in 20 year to Winnipeg, each time there was maybe 5 other people on the bus. In the last few years the direct bus was closed and you had to spend the night in Kenora.

The number of people this affects is likely very small. Namely people who don't drive, and if you live in Northern Ontario and you don't drive you're probably used to being stuck in the middle of nowhere and like it.

I don't see a rail alternative being likely either, as it would be just as empty unless it did some commuter stops in all the small villages and townships. Hell our trainstation was converted into offices for Howard Hampton. We'd need a new one.
 
I've been involved with transit advocacy for some time in Toronto, as well as being a daily transit rider (I do not, and most likely never will, own a vehicle). One thing that mystifies me is the lack of a map of intercity bus service in Ontario; produced either by the provincial government or a third party. Yes, Greyhound does publish a very poor map of their North America wide routes here: http://extranet.greyhound.com/Revsup/schedules/sa-50.pdf but it is hardly user-friendly and gives no idea of any connecting services, local transit etc.

If we want to have people truly embrace a car free/car lite lifestyle, would it not be important to give people an idea of where it's possible to travel on public transport? With this in mind, I am trying to put together a beta version of just such a map and need some help from the Urban Toronto community.

-Does anyone know if any such map actually exists? I have not found one in searching the internet but it may exist.

-What program is the best to use? Google Maps has an editor function but limits the number of layers one can add to the map. Some competing programs don't have layers at all and this is essential to actually indicating all possible bus routes.

-Finally, would anyone be interested in helping this project once it gets off the ground? I have another colleague working on this with me and we make up the core team but will need some other interested people to help research routes, make changes as necessary and just help keep the project going overall.

Long term, we hope to have this project will provide the impetus for the province to create and popularize a map of bus services in the province, if not, our own map will ideally become a go-to point for anyone looking to travel car-free in Ontario!
 
One thing that mystifies me is the lack of a map of intercity bus service in Ontario;
Welcome! Great idea, you might want to post a 'heads-up' to this string in the map forums here.

I know exactly what you mean about the lack of published routes. I'm a distance cyclist, and prepared to put my bike in a box if need be and dispose of it at my bus destination to then cycle a 100 kms or so to another destination at which I can take rail or bus back to Toronto. I searched for hours to even find Greyhound routes alone, to no success. Turns out they don't go many places anymore! But you'd figure *someone* still does those routes (like to Midland, for instance). I can find nothing on-line.

Looking forward to seeing what others can post in this string.
 
Don't know if this helps: Ontario Northland has a pretty eye-pleasing map of their bus service here.

Can't really find anything else for Greyhound, Coach Canada, and Can-ar.
 
Don't know if this helps: Ontario Northland has a pretty eye-pleasing map of their bus service here.

Can't really find anything else for Greyhound, Coach Canada, and Can-ar.
Hey! Thank you! The 711 bus is perfect for Barrie and Orillia. It's too cold now to use it for distance cycling, but will be really helpful come the Spring. Going to look into whether they have bike racks on front or not, if not, if cardboard box needed for shipping bike underneath. (I carry complete set of tools to detach, re-attach pedals, seat, if necessary).

I'll get back to this forum with details on carriage.
Bicycles
Bicycles must be checked as baggage and meet the following criteria:

  • It is the responsibility of the passenger to ensure the bike is packaged properly and ready for loading onto the bus at departure time.
  • Ontario Northland will not be held liable for damage that may occur during transport, as we cannot verify the contents prior to packaging. If you wish to purchase insurance, the bike must be shipped via Bus Parcel Express and freight charges will apply.
  • Passenger must pay a fee of $20 plus HST to check the bike as baggage.
  • The bike charge is valid for a one-way trip on Ontario Northland lines only. If connecting to another carrier, please contact the carrier directly for their information on shipping bikes.
  • Bike boxes are available for purchase, at an additional cost of $25 plus HST, at select stations. Please call us at 1-800-461-8558 to confirm bike box availability. If no bike boxes are available at your departure location, we will make every effort to ship a box to your nearest Ontario Northland station or agency, in advance of your departure date.
For further information, please call one of our helpful customer service agents at 1-800-461-8558.
http://www.ontarionorthland.ca/en/travel-information/baggage-information#bikes
 
I find it interesting/odd that Greyhound Canada considers cities like Kamloops, Banff, Brandon and Flin Flon as "major transfer points", but Toronto is not?
 
Just remembered an initiative by the Quebec Ministry of Transportation.

Espacebus.ca allows Web-users to plan travel to destinations throughout Quebec. Whether their search concerns group travel, intercity transport, paratransit or rural transport, espacebus.ca provides access to a full range of information about schedules, depots, routes, terms of use, fares and Quebec tourism packages.


Espacebus.ca is the outgrowth of a partnership between the Association des propriétaires d'autobus du Québec and the provincial transport and tourism ministries. "We are very proud of this portal, which we hope will help to increase the customer base for public transportation and contribute to government efforts to reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions," noted Mr. Romain Girard, vice-president of APAQ.

It was pretty much what the original poster was looking for. A website that included all forms of transportation, including private intercity buses. Unfortunately, it seems the site is no longer around.

Included was this map of intercity carriers:

carte-reseau-quebecois-2013.jpg
 
The lack of bus connections is what also hurts VIA ridership.

As a glaring example, there is no bus service between London & St.Thomas even though downtown to downtown is about 15km and London and St.Thomas actually border each other. The only way to get to downtown London {and the VIA rail station} is a $50 cab ride.

What VIA SHOULD be is not a train service but rather a transportation serice. It should run not only trains but also an effective and well timed bus service to connect to the next major station. This would make VIA accessible to many more people in the Corridor and yet speed up service as the trains wouldn't then have to stop at every little dinky town on the way. Think of it this way, the hundreds of thousands of people who live south of the 401/403 in SWO have absolutely no access to VIA. Small wonder the 401 between London and Woodstock is nearing capacity.
 
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The lack of bus connections is what also hurts VIA ridership.

As a glaring example, there is no bus service between London & St.Thomas even though downtown to downtown to downtown is about 15km and London and St.Thomas actually order each other. The only way to get to downtown London {and the VIA rail station} is a $50 cab ride.

This is a very good point considering that Gare de Palais is the bus depot for the city providing connections shown in the Quebec map.

T.O.Fanatic, do you have access to ArcGIS? That would be your best bet to create lines based on a map of Ontario.
 

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