Niagara Regional Council voted in favor of merging all existing services into one integrated transportation commission serving the entire region.
In a press release after the vote on Thursday, the council said the Advance transit The proposal would lead to an improvement and modernization of transit in the Niagara region and called the decision a “historic move.”
The proposal “would bring together independent local transit systems in Fort Erie, St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara Falls, as well as Niagara Region Transit and NRT OnDemand, to provide consistent hours of operation and fares, a new digital payment technology; and better connections for bikers across Niagara, ”he said.
Then, starting the week of December 6, all of Niagara’s 12 local municipalities will vote on the proposal as well. To move forward, a majority of these councils must vote in favor of the plan.
“The Regional Council has made a historic, progressive and courageous decision… which will set in motion this process which will hopefully strengthen transit through Niagara for generations to come,” said Regional President Jim Bradley.
“A transformative decision”
Mary Lou Tanner, Senior Planner at NPG Planning Solutions in Niagara, said she was extremely happy to see this “very positive vote” from the area council.
“It’s such a transformative decision for the region. It’s going to provide access across the region in a way that doesn’t currently exist,” Tanner told CBC Hamilton.
“It builds on the work that has been going on for almost seven years, maybe more, to bring GO transit to Niagara. It’s the next logical step, but in many ways it’s a big step forward for Niagara.
Tanner – who worked for seven years as the region’s chief planner – said the voice of every community was heard and the Niagara Regional Council took the time to do a significant amount of analysis.
She said the council had also consulted with citizens and listened to the community about the outlook on transit, what people wanted to see and what people were experiencing without transit.
Benefits for companies
Tanner said that a single integrated transportation system would expand access for people, among others.
“This will give people the ability to make choices about public transit rather than owning or traveling by car. This will facilitate the integration of active transportation. You might not want to cycle all over Niagara, but if you could take public transit and part of it will make this activity easier, ”Tanner said.
“We also know that from an economic standpoint, when people go whether it’s to do groceries or to another store or to do their shopping on public transport, businesses do better because they have access to it. to more customers. “
Niagara’s proposal for consolidated transit is based on more than 10 years of research, experience, consultation and feedback, the council said.
Earlier this fall, a public online survey collected comments from over 2,200 Niagara residents. This poll showed strong support for the proposal, with over 79 percent of respondents approving the governance structure, financial model and service standards strategy that make up the proposal.