Ontario Launches Critical Bus Service for Northern Ontario

Published on May 14, 2020

Ontario Northland Introduces New Bus Routes to Winnipeg

NEWS May 14, 2020

TORONTO – Ontario is taking action to deliver immediate and vital public transportation to communities across the northwest by providing new emergency bus routes expanding to Winnipeg. The province is responding to a critical need for accessible transportation by putting intercommunity buses back on the roads and reducing service gaps in Northwestern Ontario.

“Public transportation is a lifeline for many people to ensure access to medical and essential services. This is especially true for the communities and residents in the North,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Our province is committed to ensuring critical access to safe, reliable and affordable bus service in northwestern Ontario.”

Starting on May 17, 2020, the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) will start offering three return trips per week from White River to Thunder Bay. Ontario Northland will also expand its intercommunity bus service departing from Thunder Bay, heading west to Dryden, Kenora and all the way to Winnipeg, with two return trips per week, starting May 18, 2020.

The expanded service will provide stops at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg to allow for essential medical travel, as well as at the University of Winnipeg.

“By providing essential transportation services during these difficult and unprecedented times, we will ensure Ontarians have access to the goods and services they rely on when they need it the most,” said Minister Mulroney.

“For too long Northwestern Ontario has been excluded from Ontario’s passenger transportation network and today our government is keeping our promise to bring reliable and safe bus transportation to the Northwest,” said MPP Greg Rickford, Kenora-Rainy River, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. “I am proud to see the ONTC connect people and communities to reliable bus service from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg and to the many towns and cities in between,”

“Ontario Northland is pleased to be providing service to Thunder Bay and continuing west connecting to Dryden, Kenora and Winnipeg,” says Corina Moore, ONTC President and CEO. “This route extends the integrated transportation system that is growing throughout the province to provide passengers with more convenient connections and direct stops at hospitals, post-secondary education institutes and other transportation providers.”

Quick Facts

· The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission is an agency of the Government of Ontario that provides efficient and vital transportation services to Northern Ontario.

· In February 2020, the province announced that Ontario Northland would extend its existing bus services from White River to Thunder Bay by April 2020. The service was postponed as a result of COVID-19.

· On April 1, 2020, oversight of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) was transferred from the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (MENDM) to the Minister of Transportation (MTO) to centralize oversight of government agencies that deliver public transportation to create opportunities to improve services.