Update — December 2016

Press Release: Redesigned Website & Recent Meeting with Minister Garneau’s Staff in Ottawa –

Still on track for passenger rail, the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Stratford transportation advocacy project has a new look! The project has launched a revamped website gettingthere.ca designed to be more user friendly and to present information about the project in a clean, accessible format. Viewers can explore the ongoing story of our campaign for better public transportation by reading the updates, grouped by year. The contact page gives the project email for anyone who wishes to offer assistance or working partnerships to the on-going advocacy for additional intercity public transportation.

The CFUW national organization conveyed the need for integrated public transportation across Canada in a meeting last week in Ottawa with Gurveen Chadha, Policy Advisor in the Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transportation. CFUW was represented by Brenda Robertson, Vice-President, Advocacy, Maddie Webb, National Advocacy Coordinator, and Sheila Clarke, gettingthere Project Chair, CFUW Stratford.

The delegation stressed the transportation needs of those outside major city catchment areas, especially compared to models and investment levels in other OECD countries around the world.. The need for Integrated Public Transportation was raised. Main trunk lines, such as those proposed by VIA and Metrolinx, also require corridor bus routes to enable access by those not on active rail lines., similar to the AMTRAK model in the US.

Recommendations were:

  • a national legislative framework, a comprehensive passenger rail act to increase opportunities for oversight, long-term planning, and public involvement.
  • a renewed commitment to Integrated Public Transportation, especially in more populated regions of our country, for accessibility, and to demonstrate a commitment to our environmental future, to reduce greenhouse gases produced primarily by personal vehicles.
  • the need for coordination and cooperation between national and provincial services, across the country.

Ms. Chadha stressed the commitment of the federal government to public transportation, and noted support for VIA rail’s vision of main lines with renewed rolling stock (passenger cars and locomotives). Infrastructure grants were also cited. These grants bear further exploration and advocacy stressing public transportation needs beyond urban transit, creating a network of public transportation.

As noted by Ms. Chadha, the meeting was the beginning of a dialogue with CFUW. We look forward to future developments. In the meantime, here in Stratford, gettingthere.ca is pleased to continue its advocacy for increased service to Stratford and region- beginning with a commuter train, which is anticipated to begin in 2017 with VIA Rail. Stay tuned to this page.