Sudbury

Ontario Northland bus station cuts will hurt ridership: union

The union that represents Ontario Northland bus drivers is worried cuts to bus stations in the north will lead to lower ridership and reductions in bus service in the future.

The bus line is closing two stations and cutting weekend hours at three others

Come May, people looking to catch a bus in Sudbury, Kirkland Lake and New Liskeard will have to wait outside closed stations on the weekend. (CBC)
The union representing bus drivers for Ontario Northland is worried service cuts will hurt ridership. Bus stations in Englehart and Matheson will be closed and bus station hours will be cut at other locations. We heard from the head of the drivers' union. 4:01

The union that represents Ontario Northland bus drivers is worried cuts to bus stations in the north will lead to lower ridership and reductions in bus service in the future.

Ontario Northland is closing its bus stations in Englehart and Matheson​. It's also setting the new reduced hours for the following stations: 

  • New Liskeard: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday
  • Kirkland Lake:  8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday
  • Sudbury: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday

The cutbacks to the Ontario Northland bus stations could reduce ridership, and eventually lead to cuts to bus routes, said Tony Wentzell, the general chairperson of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference local that represents Ontario Northland bus drivers.

"We are a seven day a week, 24-hour service, and we have buses on the road all times of the night and day," he said. "People need these stations for a place to layover while they are catching one bus and transferring on to another, or just to wait out of the weather for the bus to arrive."

The changes are needed to streamline the service so it is more sustainable, said Ontario Northland spokesperson Rebecca McGlynn.

Cutting weekend hours at bus stations will only affect the way people wait for the bus," she added.

"We want to reinforce that the bus is going to operate on its same scheduled service that it normally does. The bus stations in New Liskeard, Kirkland Lake and Sudbury will act as bus stops [on weekends] and people can go there to catch the bus and be dropped off."

Ontario Northland is also looking for a businesses to partner with in Englehart and Matheson so people can still buy tickets and send packages once the bus stations in those communities close.

The changes to bus stations will take effect on Friday, May 22.

Passenger notices will be issued and posted in stations, agencies and the website, Ontario Northland said, adding it will also be holding community information sessions to update affected communities about changes.​

In December, Ontario Northland buses also stopped going into the Sudbury community of Levack. The bus now stops along Highway 144 at the Windy Lake Motel & Restaurant.

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