Thunder Bay·Video

Thunder Bay to get Ontario Northland bus service

Ontario Northland bus service to connect eastern and northwestern Ontario, with stops in Thunder Bay, White River, Wawa, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, provincial cabinet minister Greg Rickford announced Wednesday.

Bus connects eastern and northwestern Ontario, with stops in Thunder Bay ; service to start in April 2020

Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy,Northern Development and Mines said having affordable transportation availble to the north is a priority for the government. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) will start providing bus service  to Thunder Bay in the spring of 2020, Greg Rickford, the provincial minister of energy, northern development and mines, announced Wednesday in the city.

The new route will connect Thunder Bay to eastern Ontario, including stops in Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie, Wawa and White River.

Affordable transportation for people in northern Ontario is a priority for the provincial government, said Rickford.

"I called on ONTC a little over a year and a half ago to start taking a look at the prospect for expansion in northwestern Ontario," he said. "I firmly believe that this is a tax payer funded bus service that if it is going to be called Ontario Northland, it should serve Ontario North."

The new, six days-a-week schedule for service to Thunder Bay will begin in April 2020, and will include stops in the city such as Lakehead University and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

The buses will provide some modern services for users, said Corina Moore, ONTC president and chief executive officer.

Corina Moore, President and CEO of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, said "Expanding our services into the northwest to Thunder Bay and providing a seamless link between the communities along Highway 17 from Ottawa is critical to northerners since the departure of Greyhound." (Gord Ellis/CBC)

"We are providing essential connections for passengers, helping to better connect the north with the rest of the province," she stated in a written release Wednesday. "Our friendly drivers, free WiFi, on-board washrooms and new coaches are just a few reasons passengers will be amazed at their experience on an Ontario Northland Motor Coach."

In 2018, Ontario Northland extended service to Espanola, Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa and White River.

Greyhound bus lines discontinued  bus service west of Sudbury in October of 2018.