At its Nov. 25 meeting, Niagara Regional Council made an historic move to improve and modernize public transit, voting in favour of combining all of Niagara’s existing services into one single, integrated transit commission serving all of Niagara.
The Moving Transit Forward proposal would bring together independently operating local transit systems in Fort Erie, St. Catharines, Welland, and Niagara Falls, as well as Niagara Region Transit and NRT OnDemand, in order to offer consistent operating hours and fares, new digital payment technology, and better connections for riders across Niagara.
Regional Council’s vote is a critical first stage in the triple majority process needed to transfer responsibility for public transit to the Region. Starting the week of Dec. 6, all of Niagara’s 12 local municipalities will also vote on the proposal. To move forward, a majority of those councils, representing a majority of Niagara's electors, must vote in favour of the plan.
Niagara’s proposal for consolidated transit is based on over 10 years of research, experience, consultation and feedback. Through the Linking Niagara Transit Committee, representatives from Niagara Region, local municipalities, transit operators and community stakeholders have all been working together towards this goal.
Earlier this fall, a public online survey also collected feedback from over 2,200 residents across Niagara. That survey showed strong support for the proposal, with over 79 per cent of respondents approving of the governance structure, financial model and service standards strategy that make up the proposal.
A full report containing the details of the proposal and the results of that engagement is available online.