Two to go – five Niagara Region municipalities onboard with region-wide transit as Grimsby and Port Colborne say yes


Published December 14, 2021 at 11:02 am

Last night (December 13) saw a big shift towards getting a single, integrated transit system across the entire Niagara Region as the councils in both Grimsby and Port Colborne voted in favour of it.

With five councils on vote – Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, St. Catharines and now Grimsby and Port Colborne – that leaves just two more councils to give the “Moving Transit Forward” proposal the “triple majority” it needs.

At this point, only Welland, the sole dissenter so far, has given it the thumbs down. The triple majority entails the Niagara Regional Council saying yes (it did late November) and then getting a majority of the municipal council representing a majority of the region’s population to also give it the thumbs up.

That was achieved when St. Catharine voted yes as the combined population of Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines equals almost 246,000 of the region’s total population of 481,000, passing the majority of residents needed.

Now, Port Colborne’s population of 19,500 and Grimsby’s population of 29,200 is added to the total, representing roughly 294,000 of Niagara’s population.

Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan was pleased with his council’s near-unanimous vote in favour.

“The overwhelmingly positive response to NRT (Niagara Regional Transit) OnDemand’s first year of operation is a fantastic testament to resident demand for a consolidated transit system,” said Jordan afterwards.

“Harmonized service hours will provide the Grimsby community with increased access to essential services and will improve residents’ quality of life for years to come.”

In fact, Port Colborne announced last Friday (December 10) it was getting the NRT OnDemand set up for the city. NRT OnDemand is a transit service that runs to Niagara cities and towns through an appointment system, operated by VIA.

The NRT OnDemand service is provided to the Niagara communities which do not have a localized transit so now Port Colborne will join Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham, Wainfleet and West Lincoln as part of the service.

To Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley, the city’s eagerness to get the NRT OnDemand only underlines the need for region-wise transit service.

“The expansion of on demand transit service to Port Colborne is just another example of how well a singular transit provider will be across the Region, said Bradley.

“The launch of this service takes place on the heels of Regional Council showing their overwhelming support for the creation of a transit commission, and I trust that Port Colborne’s experience will be exceedingly positive as it has been in so many other communities.”

(Below: Port Colborne Mayor Bill Steele, Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley and Port Colborne CAO Scott Luey pose beside a NRT OnDemand van last Friday)

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