THUNDER BAY – NEWS – The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) are applauding the Government of Ontario for providing an extension to the period for public comment on the future of inter-city bus services until Friday, October 23. NOMA, along with a number of individual municipalities and the Common Voice Northwest Transportation Task Force had called for the extension after it was recognized that no one in the region even knew about the consultation.
“We are obviously pleased with the extension, said NOMA Vice President Iain Angus. “We appreciate that an extension has been granted but continue to express concerns that little has been done to make the public aware of the opportunity to have their views recorded.”
NOMA will be enlisting area municipalities to help spread the word and will be distributing a poster encouraging people to provide comment by October 23.
“If we don’t make our voices heard, then we know the government will assume that we do not value the inter-city bus service we have and will allow it to be reduced even further” warned Angus.
In addition, NOMA is supporting a call for the government to find a mechanism to sustain the operation of the existing inter-city bus service to a degree that allows providers the opportunity to deliver timely and regular service. It is imperative that there be connectivity between communities in the region.
Kasper Wabinski of Kasper Transportation states, “The North is undergoing change, we can’t resist it”.
Kasper Transportation currently operates bus service between Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout. The company has added new modern Mercedes Benz Sprinter buses that have onboard WiFi and a special air suspension to ensure a comfortable ride. The company is in the process of expanding services across the region with service to Dryden coming soon.
That expansion, Wabinski believes is part of the free market where entrepreneurs will fill any voids in the marketplace. The Northwestern Ontario company offers bus service to Sioux Lookout and aviation to points north as well as freight service.
In the mean time the travelling public, those who don’t use the bus but would like to as well as bus operators are encouraged to send their views to the government. On the web go to www.ebr.gov.on.ca and type in Intercity Bus Modernization in the search box.