New 2014 Ontario Poll Reveals Overwhelming Support for Modernization of Current Inter-City Bus Transportation System

Where's the Bus? Infographic (CNW Group/Where's the Bus?)

--Ontarians ask; Where's the Bus? - Expect Government to make Modernization a Priority in 2014--

PETERBOROUGH, ON, March 4, 2014 /CNW/ - Ontario residents that rely on inter-city bus transportation have been left waiting at their stop out in the cold, thanks to the current government-controlled monopoly, according to a recent poll. Nine in 10 Ontarians believe that residents who live outside of major cities should have more choice and options than offered under the current monopoly; and an overwhelming 85 per cent believe that inter-city bus service in Ontario should be determined by customer demand, not by a government system that currently dictates which routes operators can service.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Where's the Bus? (www.wheresthebus.ca), a new partnership between Coach Canada and Pacific Western Transportation (PWT), found that eight in ten Ontarians (80 per cent) agree that Kathleen Wynne's government should follow up on their promises and make modernizing the current bus system a political priority in 2014. While modernization is on the radar of the key politicians and decision-makers including the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Transportation - both have stated publically that the system needs to change - to date there has been no demonstration that change is coming soon.

Premier Kathleen Wynne in September, 2013, stated: "During my leadership run I said we would look at re-regulating, or modernizing as we call it, the coach industry because there are definite problems with the ability of coach lines to diversify and innovate." At the same time, Glen Murray, Minister of Transportation stated:  "The goal … is to have an affordable, sustainable intercity coach service that meets the needs of Ontarians from Kenora to Cornwall. We have some more work to do with the industry and work is continuing."

"Ontarians have sent a strong message to the government - follow through on your promises because the current bus system needs to change," said John Emberson, president of Coach Canada, partner of Where's the Bus?. "Half of Canada has modernized bus industries and these regions enjoy better service, competitive fares, and more innovation. Creating a similar system in Ontario will bring intercity buses back to abandoned routes, drive down fares, and improve transit within the province. We recently launched Where's the Bus? and a website (www.wheresthebus.ca) where Ontario residents can get further information and find out how they can hold their government accountable."

When faced with the reality that the current inter-city bus system in Ontario is a monopoly and that the government decides which one operator will offer service on a particular route, Ontario residents answered overwhelmingly in favour of the system being modernized. Respondents believe that if the government were to change the inter-city bus system to allow more providers, it would mean more competition between bus service providers (86 per cent) which would provide better options to Ontarians that rely on bus transportation.  These options include:

  • more routes available between more cities (81 per cent);
  • more frequent service between cities (80 per cent);
  • improved service for customers (77 per cent) and;
  • lower prices for customers (72 per cent).

"This poll clearly shows that Ontario residents are frustrated with the current bus system even if they are not aware of the outdated regulatory system that is causing the situation," said Dean Wright, general manager of PWT Ontario, partner of Where's the Bus? ".  The current monopoly favours single carriers and customers know that fares aren't competitive, routes are being abandoned or are inconvenient and that they are riding on aging buses without updated amenities. The goal of Where's the Bus? and the partnership between Coach Canada and PWT Canada is to give Ontarians the opportunity to take action, sign a petition to demand modernization (http://wheresthebus.ca/sign-the-petition/) and tell the government what they want - change."

About the Survey
The poll of 817 Ontarians was conducted by Ipsos Reid through Ipsos' proprietary I-Say panel from February 3 to 6, 2014.  The accuracy of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are considered accurate to within +/- 4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would be had the entire population of Ontario been polled.

About Where's The Bus?
Where's the Bus?  is a partnership between Coach Canada and PWT Canada that is advocating for modernization of Ontario's intercity bus system. Bus services are a vital link between urban and rural communities - and we want to make the system work better for those who use it. We believe that the best way to bring buses back into the communities that need them is to modernize the industry - a step that has already been taking place in provinces including Alberta, Manitoba, and Newfoundland. A modernized intercity bus industry would provide riders with better, safer, and more reliable transportation. Ontarians can help us create a modernized intercity bus system by asking their local and provincial politician's one question: Where's The Bus? More information can be found on how to take action or sign the petition for modernization at www.wheresthebus.ca.

SOURCE Where's the Bus?

Image with caption: "Where's the Bus? Infographic (CNW Group/Where's the Bus?)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140304_C8810_PHOTO_EN_37443.jpg

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For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Mohammad Mahasneh, StrategyCorp, 416-864-7920 (quick response)
mmahasneh@strategycorp.com