The North Glengarry Prescott Russell Transport Board
Operating as TEO
The North Glengarry Prescott Russell (NGPR) Transport Board is an incorporated entity that has adopted as its mission statement the reduction of greenhouse gases and energy conservation through developing a commuter bus/rail service for Eastern Ontario residents traveling into the City of Ottawa.
Our objectives are:
- To coordinate public transportation, including rail transportation, between those municipalities which are members of the Board from time to time.
- To undertake studies concerning public transportation availability and needs, present and future.
- To promote interest in and benefits of public transportation.
- To make representations to all levels of government within Ontario including the Federal Government of Canada.
- To facilitate the exchange of data and information of all kinds relating to public transportation.
- To create, maintain and improve public transportation within the geographical boundaries of the municipalities.
- To provide and present to the public any and all information, including statistics, relating to public transportation.
- To seek funding opportunities to promote and develop a commuter transportation system.
In January 2006, the Transport Board received a report from its consultants, Rail Future Group, on their web survey which clearly indicated that there is an urgent need for a speedy, customer-oriented and cost effective commuter bus/rail service from Eastern Ontario to Ottawa. This service would be beneficial for quality of life of its residents, would address environmental issues and would enhance regional economic development.
The initial concept would consist of the introduction of an integrated bus/rail service that would service communities east and south of Ottawa removing an estimated 515 cars off the highways every day. This is a conservative estimate and in our opinion, once the service is in place, would increase incrementally.
Rural transit systems have the potential of generating significant economic impacts for the communities they serve. They provide dependable, frequent service to their patrons, enabling riders to conduct key activities on a daily basis, including working, attending school and training courses and obtaining medical services. They also target persons in need of this service such as commuters, seniors, students. The environmental benefits are well known - a sustainable commuter transportation system has an immediate and positive effect on air quality by reducing harmful smog and particulate matter.
The NGPR Board has made it a priority to keep the public apprised of its activities and progress in the development of its commuter bus/rail system. Since its inception, the NGPR Transport Board has made regular press releases. As a part of the Business Plan Pilot Project, we have held eight public consultation sessions which were well attended. We have developed a very important rapport with the local media and make sure that the media attend and accurately report on our activities. The public reaction has been gratifying.
The issue of the transit bottleneck to the City of Ottawa affects communities to the east, west and south of the city. The NGPR Board has adopted as a policy the sharing of its activities, decisions, plans and concerns with all of these communities.
City of Ottawa:
The Mayor of Ottawa’s Task Force on transportation presented its final report (Moving Ottawa) on June 1, 2007 which contained some welcome recommendations to develop an integrated region wide light rail/enhanced bus service which would complement any services being provided by the outlying communities. Mayor O’Brien has been proactive in his approach having held a transit summit in 2007 and planning a further summit in May 2008. The debate within the City, however, seems to be undermining his efforts. The Board must maintain its pressure on the City to implement the well developed recommendations in the report.
The cost estimate prepared by our consultants, Rail Future Group, clearly shows the major challenge being faced by NGPR to see this commuter service become a reality. We have completed a business plan for a pilot project for enhanced bus service only. This pilot project will give the Board a clear picture of the absolute need for this service. We have received $40,000.00 in funding from the Community Development Corporations of Prescott-Russell and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry to finance the business plan. All other costs of operations have been paid by the member municipalities, namely North Glengarry, Village of Casselman and The Nation Municipality.