Residents of communities in Northern Ontario have been very outspoken in recent days at the joint decision by the Ontario government and Ontario Northland Transportation Commission to dissolve the services of the financially-strapped carrier, and what this will mean for the communities that have relied on its services for nearly a century.
“The potential loss of a service such as this has far-reaching implications for the communities in Ontario’s North,” said Sandy Smith, president and general manager of Caribou Coach Transportation Company Inc.
“The residents of the communities serviced by Ontario Northland are well within their right to be upset at this decision,” noted Smith.
“Any disruption in service will have rippling effects for bus patrons across the province . . . from the travelling public to those who depend on the reliability of freight services.”
Caribou Coach currently offers scheduled bus services in Northwestern Ontario, including through to Hearst, where it currently meets Ontario Northland.
“Regionally-based carriers have the best understanding of the geography and demographic of the areas that we are dealing with here . . . unlike the big Toronto-based carriers who promise great things but in the end are simply looking for a quick buck rather than a sound solution,” charged Smith.
“If the government continues to turn its back on the outcry of the people in these communities, then we want to be able to step up and offer the best regional solution we can in order to keep the wheels turning, the public moving, and employment in the north by local northern companies.”
Caribou Coach has set up an online petition page in an effort to show there is public support in Northern Ontario, and throughout the province, for maintaining services to the communities that need it the most.
The petition can be found at www.cariboucoach.ca