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Hey all, I noticed there isn't a thread for North Bay transit , so I thought I'd start one. I'll post local transit related news items and later on I'll get around to posting some photos of of our local fleet and new transit terminal.

Some good news to start things off!

Province boosts city transit

The City of North Bay received more than $800,000 Monday to help improve its public transit system.

Nipissing MPP Monique Smith announced one-time funding of $807,356 at the Peter Reid Transit Terminal on Oak Street.

The funding is part of $94 million allocated to 86 municipalities.

Mayor Vic Fedeli said the money will go toward supporting the transit fleet and facilities.

"It's great news. We are always appreciative of new money," he said. "The gas tax was made permanent so that kind of money can be put in the budget and when you get one-time surprises, it is always a pleasant surprise."

The funding is part of the economic stimulus package announced in last fall's economic update and will help municipalities modernize their public transit systems' equipment and facilities.

The money can be used to buy vehicles and security equipment, or for fare collection, communications and GPS systems.

Fedeli said the lists of allowable purchases will be studied and the city will likely spend the funds to expand its fleet with two new buses and a para bus for special needs users this year.

He said it wasn't that long ago the city retired its oldest bus built in 1973.

"It is important to modernize the fleet. The average age of a bus should be 12 years."

With a fleet of 24, "it will require two buses to be purchased every year from now on to keep a modern energy-efficient fleet," he said. Since 2003, Ontario has committed $6.65 million to help the city expand its transit system, including funding to help build the new terminal on Oak Street.

Smith said part of the provincial government's focus is to assist municipalities with infrastructure needs.

"Certainly transit systems are important to municipalities. It is a greener way of moving people around and it really ties together a community," she said.

Girl pinned between bus, plow

By Nugget Staff

A 17-year-old was pinned between a North Bay Transit bus and a sidewalk plow Tuesday at 9:05 a.m. on Ski Club Road.

The teen was getting off the bus when the plow that was sanding the sidewalk slid as it approached the rear of the bus, skidding sideways and pinning the teen between the two vehicles.

She was taken by ambulance to North Bay and District Hospital with injuries to her chest and arm, which are believed to be non-life threatening.

North Bay Police Service stated in a media release that no charges are being considered at this time.

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More transit buses on the road

September 07, 2008 - 2:50 pm

By: David Sheridan

North Bay Transit putting 3 more buses on the road this fall to accommodate new and returning students. City Councillor Mike Anthony says 16 buses head out every morning with more going up to the college and university. He says ridership spikes every fall as well. Last year they saw an increase of just over 4,000 transit users during September. Also of note, North Bay Transit has been selected as the site of a pilot project by the Canadian Urban Transit Association. CUTA will train drivers on how to be even more environmentally friendly and more efficient behind the wheel.

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From Today's NB Nugget:

Transit users get a break


The city is making it cheaper to ride the bus in attempt to increase ridership and provide some financial relief.

Council adopted a motion Monday, tabled by councillors Mike Anthony and Dave Mendicino, to reduce cash fares by 25 cents as of Jan. 1.

Anthony said ridership has dipped since 2006 when the city introduced a 25- cent hike, which brought the cost of a city bus ride to $2.25.

Mendicino said the reduced fare is expected to help increase ridership, offsetting the $120,000 the move will cost up-front.

Anthony also suggested ridership is likely to increase now that the extensive reconstruction of Oak Street has been completed. And he suggested cutting fares now would help those who need it the most while the economy falters.

Councillors Judy Koziol and Sarah Campbell, however, raised questions about the move.

Although Campbell applauded the direction of the motion, she suggested upcoming budget deliberations would be a better venue to consider such a move. She also said the issue should be looked at on a larger scale, suggesting the city consider partnering with school boards to provide transportation to high school students.

Koziol, however, wasn't convinced the city would be able to cover the costs through increased ridership.

I don't know how we're going to cover our costs," she said, reminding councillors the city will be shouldering a lot of financial pressure as it enters budget deliberations.

Meanwhile, Coun. Tanya Vrebosch-Merry suggested the city also consider reductions for bus passes.

I would have been hard pressed to support the increase in the first place," said Vrebosch-Merry, who wasn't serving as a councillor when the fares were raised to $2.25.

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From the North Bay Nugget:

City driving teens toward transit

Program urges students to consider public buses to cut greenhouse gas emissions

By Dave Dale

North Bay Transit wants more high school students to get hooked on the city’s bus system, and a federal program is providing up to $50,000 to get its plan rolling.

Coun. Mike Anthony, chairman of the city’s community services committee, said Transport Canada’s ecoMobility program is funding seven projects in Ontario that support environmentally friendly transportation.

North Bay’s proposal is to reach out to students and let them know how they can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Packages will include route maps to show how convenient and cost-effective transit can be when they travel to part-time jobs, the mall or school when their schedules clash with what school buses offer.

Anthony said staff has recommended coupons for up to five free rides to get students on the new fleet of buses.

“It’s to raise awareness and answer questions,” he said, referring to the visits staff will make to the high schools in the city.

Anthony said students this age are often tired of taking the school bus and look forward to driving cars when they reach a certain age. But he said modern teens are also more aware of environmental issues.

“I know the feeling. They love to use a car at that age,” Anthony said, adding that concerns about releasing more carbon in the atmosphere may trump the urge to drive for driving sake.

“Using the bus will save them from putting four more wheels on the road.”

Part of the funding North Bay is eligible to receive will be spent on promoting the transit system’s accessibility to people with disabilities.

North Bay is in the process of replacing its entire fleet with buses that drop down to the curb so it’s easier for people with leg and back problems to get on and off.

And the city has invested in audio equipment to help drivers announce each stop so people with visual impairments are better served.

The Canadian Ecology Centre gave North Bay Transit an award last year in recognition of its SMART Driver Training program that helps drivers reduce fuel usage by changing how they brake, accelerate and operate vehicles.

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I thought I'd share some of my photos from the time I've been there (In July 2008):

T742, a 1990 MCI Classic (ex-CT Transit)

T751, a 1990 Orion V:

T758, a 1991 MCI Classic:

T762, a 1992 MCI Classic:

765, a 2005 D40LF:

Rear of 767, a 2005 D40LF:

771, a 2007 D40LF:

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More residents hopping on board

Transit use is up so far this year

The city’s decision to make it cheaper this year to ride the bus in an attempt to increase ridership and provide financial relief to those who may need it the most is paying off.

Coun. Mike Anthony, chairman of community services, said figures for the first five months of 2009 show ridership is up 3%, or 30,000 rides, compared to the same period last year.

“That’s a good sign,” said Anthony, recalling how there was concern when council decided to reduce cash fares by 25 cents as of Jan. 1 about whether or not the city could recoup the lost revenue through increased ridership.

He said there were 890,000 rides during the same five-month period in 2008 compared to 920,000 this year.

Reducing cash fares was seen at the time as an opportunity for the city to give residents a small financial break during tough economic times, while providing an incentive to use public transit.

Ridership numbers have dipped since 2006, when the city introduced a 25-cent hike that brought the cost of a city bus ride to $2.25. Coucnil hoped that reducing the fare would help restore previous numbers.

It also hoped to make up the $120,000 cost of cutting fares through increased ridership.

Anthony said it appears to be working, at least early on in the year.

In addition, he said an government-funded initiative aimed at encouraging youth to ride the bus more often is expected to be launched before the school year begins in September and is sure to help.


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