Niagara Council puts pedal to the metal on amalgamated cross-region transit plan

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Published November 26, 2021 at 12:01 pm

At a special meeting last night (November 25), Niagara Regional Council pushed through a motion to amalgamate all existing municipal transit systems – Forth Erie, St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara Fall – as well as Niagara Region Transit and NRT OnDemand into one large regional system.

The move was expected prior to the meeting so the outcome came as no surprise since Niagara has been working towards this for the past decade.

Next up, every municipal council will now vote on the motion starting December 5. The majority of the region’s 12 independent municipal votes will be the next yardstick as the final tally must represent a majority of the regional population.

Since only Welland is opposed at the moment, citing the need for more time to do the finances on the move, it should pass easily. Welland’s population of just over 50,000 only represents 11 per cent of the entire region, rendering their potential objections moot.

“Regional council made an historic, progressive and courageous decision this afternoon which will set into motion that process that will hopefully strengthen public transit across Niagara for generations to come,” said Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley after the vote.

“Council’s vote is the culmination of thousands of hours of negotiation, consultation and debate across the region which aims to create a singular, enhanced transit service for all residents. I look forward to seeing the support of local councils across Niagara as we work together to modernize public transit and deliver results for our region.”

A online taken in the early autumn that included a cross-section of regional residents showed overwhelming support for the plan, albeit from a small amount of people (2.200).

A full report containing the details of the proposal and the results of that engagement is http://available online.

(Below: Mary Lou Tanner, an urban planner with Niagara Planning Group, watched the proceedings and happily tweeted the outcome.)

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