Ontario has launched an online survey looking for opinions on how to improve passenger rail and bus services between Toronto, North Bay, Timmins, and Cochrane.
Responses to the survey will be used to explore options for passenger rail services and help form the future transportation plan for northern Ontario says a government news release.
"We're inviting everyone, particularly in northeastern Ontario, to take our survey and help build a transportation network that works for their needs," said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. "The feedback we receive will be an important component to improving transportation options for northern communities and supporting economic growth in the north."
The Northeastern Ontario transportation survey seeks feedback on preferences for passenger rail and bus services in northeastern Ontario, including departure times, train frequency, travel time, and cost considerations. The survey is open to public feedback, including municipalities, Indigenous communities, businesses, and industry, with the deadline for all submissions on or before November 20.
The government and Fedeli have been under pressure to re-establish passenger rail to the north.
Rail enthusiast and journalist Éric Boutilier of North Bay has been trying to get access to details behind Queen's Park's strategy to restore passenger rail service in northeastern Ontario.
He discovered this past spring that a rail revival draft plan submitted by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) for review is an extremely close-hold government document that's not for public consumption.
Boutilier was rebuffed in his attempt through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to see the draft and has expressed doubts about whether the Ford government can deliver on a 2018 campaign promise to restore the Northlander, a Cochrane-North Bay-Toronto train service that was axed by a previous provincial government eight years ago.
Meanwhile, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade said today, "As part of our government's plan for passenger rail services in the north, we are seeking input and feedback on key details from the public. This survey will allow people in Nipissing and communities across the region to have their say in continuing to improve those vital connections."
This survey comes on the heels of another effort to improve transportation across northern Ontario by building and upgrading rest areas along highways in the n.
The northeastern rail corridor from Toronto to Cochrane is home to over 3.1 million people says the government release.
With files from Northern Ontario Business.