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ONTC makes cuts to Cochrane District bus service

By JENNIFER HAMILTON-MCCHARLES, The Nugget

Ontario Northland is changing its motor coach service due to low ridership, according to the Crown agency.

Ontario Northland is changing its motor coach service due to low ridership, according to the Crown agency.

Ontario Northland is changing its motor coach service due to low ridership, according to the Crown agency.

 

The changes, announced earlier this week by the ONTC, are scheduled to take effect Nov. 15. They involve service reductions to several routes, including Iroquois Falls/Matheson, Cochrane/Timmins and Hearst/Kapuskasing.

 

We are shaping our motor coach services to be sustainable so we can continue to provide transportation to the communities we serve,” said Tracy MacPhee, director of passenger services. “We will continue to monitor passenger volumes and will make operational adjustments as required and in response to customer demands.”

 

MPP Gilles Bisson (NDP — Timmins-James Bay) called the reductions a “huge disservice to Northern Ontario.

 

GO Transit is fully subsidized, yet Northerners were promised once they took the train off the rails the bus service would be enhanced,” he said Wednesday.

 

MPP John Vanthof (NDP — Timiskaming-Cochrane) raised the issue in the legislature earlier this week.

 

In 2012, this government cancelled our only passenger train in Northern Ontario. The reason was because they had an equivalent bus line and they were going to provide enhanced bus service,” he said.

 

Since then they’ve closed bus stations and yesterday we learned that they’re making even more cuts to bus routes. While they claim their commitment remains strong, as we speak, services are being cut. Now it takes three days to get to Ottawa.”

 

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle said the province remains committed to serving every Northern community previously served by the Northlander.

 

He said it is investing $6 million to refurbish motor coaches.

 

At the same time, we need to make some tough decisions. The ONTC is a sustainable long-term operation and we're determined to keep motor coaches in public hands.”

 

MPP Vic Fedeli (PC — Nipissing) said the Liberals are known for saying one thing and doing something totally different — ONTC and Hydro One are prime examples, he added.

 

They cut the train and said they would enhance the bus service, now they’re reducing the bus service.”

 

Following are the changes to the local motor coach schedule:

The Cochrane to Iroquois Falls/Matheson route will now have daily service once a day (previously twice a day);

 

The Cochrane to Timmins route will now have daily service twice a day (previously three times a day);

 

The Timmins to Cochrane route will now have daily service twice a day (previously three times a day);

 

The Hearst to Kapuskasing route will no longer have daily service, but will instead have Monday, Wednesday and Saturday departures from Hearst;

 

Departure from Timmins to Sudbury will be at 9:15 a.m. instead of 11:30 a.m.; and

 

Departure from North Bay to Timmins will be at 7 a.m. instead of 5 a.m.



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