The Coalition of Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT), an organization of communities, First Nations and concerned citizens in Northern Ontario, vehemently opposes the Provincial Government's decision to sell-off the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and its several divisions including the Northlander passenger service. It is our opinion that the ONTC is a vital transportation system for northerners and that its sale will jeopardize transportation options in the region. Privatization will ultimately reduce services and critical jobs in the northeast corridor of the Province.
In its haste to reduce the deficit, Provincial leaders appear to have not taken the time or the effort to explore opportunities to increase ridership on the Northlander, for example, that would make the service a viable operation. Instead of reduction, the Province should investigate adding services to connect with the Northlander such as a new passenger service between Sault Ste. Marie and Ottawa through North Bay with connecting passengers to add to the Northlander's current service. Also, extending services to other communities such as Hearst and Kapuskasing should be studied to see if rail passenger service is warranted.
CAPT has partnered with other groups interested in adding passenger services for the benefit of the northern travelling public such as Transport Pontiac Renfrew. Other groups such as Muskoka's 'Cottage Country Now' and the communities along the Highway 11 corridor in northeastern Ontario are also concerned with enhancing passenger train service in this corridor.
High fuel costs in the North are just one of the many reasons why better passenger train service is needed. Passenger train service is a safe and reliable, all-season transportation alternative, reduces carbon emissions, has more spacious and comfortable seating than busses, provide better access to health care, will open up opportunities for tourism development and will ultimately reduce the need for new highway construction costs.
Visit the CAPT website at captrains.ca as well as the "Ontario Northland...not for sale" Facebook page.
Sign the on-line petition for reinstatement of passenger trains between Sault and Sudbury at SIGN PETITION HERE There are already hundreds of names on the paper petitions for this.
Sign the on-line petition to stop the selling off of ONR/ONTC at STOP THE SELL OFF OF ONTC