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Jul 09

Maritime Bus owner wins 2019 John Pearce Award

By Transport Action Atlantic | Atlantic

Mike Cassidy, president and owner of Maritime Bus, (left) accepts the John Pearce Award for 2019 from TAA president Ted Bartlett.

Transport Action Atlantic has selected Prince Edward Island
entrepreneur Mike Cassidy as the winner of the 2019 John Pearce Award. The
citation was created by the association two years ago to commemorate the
lifetime achievements in public transportation advocacy by Mr. Pearce, a
founding father of TAA’s predecessor Transport 2000 Atlantic, a past president,
and long-time member of the board. John passed away in Dartmouth NS on June 6,
2019.

The award is given annually to recognize an outstanding
contribution to the public transportation cause. This year’s selection
committee chose to recognize Mr. Cassidy primarily for his determined efforts
to rescue and maintain scheduled intercity motorcoach service in the Maritimes.
In the fall of 2012, his company stepped in where others had failed, and is now
in its seventh year of successful passenger and parcel operation from Halifax
and Sydney NS to Rivierè-du-Loup QC, serving most towns and cities in the
region on a daily basis and providing onward connections to Quebec and Ontario.
The citation also noted his success in providing urban transit in Charlottetown
PEI, and his ongoing advocacy seeking government support for a national bus
network in Canada, following the failure of Greyhound West.


Source: TAA

Jun 08

TAA mourns the passing of president emeritus John Pearce

By Transport Action Atlantic | Atlantic

John Pearce, May 7, 1934 – June 6, 2019

Transport Action Atlantic mourns the passing of its president emeritus. John Pearce was a tireless crusader for the cause of convenient, affordable and sustainable public transportation.

At age 85, John passed away peacefully in Dartmouth on June 6, 2019. He was born in Toronto to the late Perezel and Helen (Munro) Pearce. John obtained his Masters in Math and Physics at the University of Toronto on his path to becoming a Meteorologist. His career in which he served with distinction for many years would lead him to Nova Scotia. There he met his wife of 47 years at a Sports Car Club meeting.

John joined Transport 2000 Atlantic in the mid 1970s, served for many years as its president, and remained an active volunteer and board member as the organization rebranded itself as Transport Action Atlantic. His primary focus was always passenger rail, and until only a couple of years ago he could be frequently found in the Halifax VIA station, promoting the cause and chatting with passers-by and railway employees. His influence and contributions to the cause have been recognized by an annual award that TAA named in his honour.

The United Church was also a focus of John’s life and he was a fixture in the congregation and choir of St. Matthew’s for many decades. John is survived by sister, Judith (John); wife, Karen; sons, Ian (Maria) and Lorne (Laura); grandchildren, Stella and Owen.

Visitation was held on Monday, June 10th from 2-4pm & 6-8pm in A. L. Mattatall Funeral Home, Dartmouth. Celebration of Life was held on Tuesday, June 11th at 11am in St. Matthew’s United Church, Halifax. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Parkinson’s Society of Canada.

TAA Treasurer Don MacLeod presents the inaugural John Pearce Award, for outstanding public transportation advocacy, to John Pearce on November 18, 2017.

May 14

Newfoundland Ferry rate concerns aired before parliamentary committee

By Transport Action Atlantic | Atlantic , Aviation & Marine

There’s been more progress in the campaign for fair and reasonable ferry rates between Cape Breton and Newfoundland. One of Transport Action Atlantic’s allies – the Town of Channel-Port aux Basques – was granted an audience to press the case before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transportation.  The appearance was scheduled to take place on May 14, and Mayor John Spencer, who’s been in regular contact with TAA in recent months, was delighted at the opportunity.

Under the Terms of Union that brought Newfoundland into Confederation in 1949, Canada was to provide a ferry service “in accordance with the traffic offering” between North Sydney and Port aux Basques. To mitigate the cost of living on the island, the language of Term 32 clearly implies that the 100-nautical mile Cabot Strait crossing was to be treated like a bridge, with rates equivalent to transporting people and goods over an equal distance by land. But ferry charges have skyrocketed in recent years, following a Transport Canada directive under the Harper Government for 65% cost recovery by operator Marine Atlantic.  During the 2015 election campaign, Justin Trudeau declared this demand “unreasonable” – but the Liberals have not addressed it since taking office.

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May 08

TAA’s 2019 AGM is this Saturday!

By Transport Action Atlantic | Atlantic

Transport Action Atlantic’s annual general meeting is happening this Saturday in Halifax!

Saturday May 11 – 2:00pm

Halifax North Memorial Library Auditorium

2285 Gottingen St.

Halifax, NS

We are delighted to announce that the AGM agenda will include a panel discussion on current transportation issues in the region, with panelists including Bridgewater mayor David Mitchell and Maritime Bus president Mike Cassidy. This promises to be an interesting and engaging discussion – you won’t want to miss it!

As always, the agenda will also include annual reports and financial statements, appointment of an auditor, election of a board of directors, and any other business that may arise.

Further, we will be presenting the third annual John Pearce Award recognizing outstanding public transportation advocacy.

And finally, we are also pleased to welcome noted railway photographer and author Bill Linley, who will be signing copies of his new book “Trackside Newfoundland”. This will be a great opportunity to meet and chat with Bill, as well as to pick up a copy of his book if you haven’t already. http://www.billlinley.com/products-page/books/trackside-newfoundland/

As always, our AGM is open to the general public and the media. Invite your friends!

We hope to see many of you there!

 

Minutes of 2018 AGM

The minutes of last year’s AGM are now available for review. These minutes will be tabled at this year’s AGM on Saturday, so please come prepared with any corrections or additions that you may be aware of, as appropriate.

The minutes can be found on the documents section of our website: http://transportactionatlantic.ca/documents/


Source: TAA

Nov 07

Advocates have questions on National Railway Day

By Transport Action Atlantic | Atlantic

Transport Action Atlantic is asking why it is taking so long for VIA Rail and the Government of Canada to deliver on an outstanding promise to improve frequency of passenger rail services in the Maritimes. Today is National Railway Day – the anniversary of the last spike ceremony that marked completion of Canada’s continuous rail link from coast to coast on November 7, 1885.

“It’s a very appropriate occasion to pose this question,” says Ted Bartlett, president of the regional public transportation advocacy group, “and not just because it’s a date that was so important in the development of Canada’s nationhood. It was three years ago this week that VIA’s CEO unveiled a plan to reintroduce regional service within Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, using the same type of rail diesel cars (RDCs) that had been discontinued in January 1990 as part of sweeping cuts mandated by the Mulroney Government. His timeline called for the routes between Moncton and Halifax and Moncton and Campbellton to be operational by late summer or early fall of 2016.

“That goal, unfortunately, was not met. Neither were several other target dates subsequently offered. We’re still waiting, and VIA management is no longer even suggesting possible start dates. Furthermore, we understand that there will be no additional frequency or capacity offered during the holiday travel season this year, something that had become standard practice in recent years to augment the very limited schedule normally offered in this region.”

Bartlett acknowledged that the Government of Canada has committed a major investment to re-equip all of VIA’s aging rolling stock in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor, but has shown little interest in upgrading service elsewhere.  He added, however, that it would be unfair to blame the current situation entirely on VIA’s management team.

“If our political leaders considered passenger rail in this region to be important, VIA as a federal Crown corporation would be directed to get on with it,” he said. Our elected MPs – all of whom belong to the governing party – should be insisting that the needs of this region not be forgotten.

“Our mantra at TAA has become ‘Canada doesn’t end at Quebec City’” Bartlett continued. “Rail passenger service in the Maritimes remains a national embarrassment.  For example, we still have that sorry picture of the oldest named passenger train in North America crawling along a 60-mile stretch of badly deteriorated track in northern New Brunswick at 30 miles per hour or less. Forty years ago the Ocean safely ran at 75 miles per hour over most of that route – and it took nearly two hours less to travel from Moncton to Campbellton than it does today. Certainly it’s not something we want to celebrate on National Railway Day 2018!”

“VIA’s so-called ‘regional service’ using 60-year-old RDCs was not a concept that we wholeheartedly endorsed,” says TAA vice-president Ashley Morton. “We extended a lukewarm welcome to that announcement three years ago largely because it promised something better than the existing bare-bones service – a situation that VIA’s management now acknowledges isn’t meeting local needs. We also considered that regional service to Moncton might be a good fit with the Halifax commuter rail proposal. But our ultimate goal remains to have the Ocean restored to its former status as a daily through train between Halifax and Montreal.

“There’s no question that the long-overdue modernization of VIA’s corridor services was the right thing to do,” he said. “But we need to hold the feet of our elected representatives to the fire, and pressure them to insist that Canadians elsewhere in the country have legitimate needs and expectations as well. What we are asking is reasonable, and will not bankrupt the treasury.”

Transport Action Atlantic maintains that a well-marketed and better-equipped daily train could enhance ridership revenues to the point where they would cover the major portion of incremental costs, resulting in a greatly reduced subsidy requirement per passenger-mile and far better value for Canadian taxpayers. Analysis of figures released by VIA indicate that savings realized by the ill-advised 2012 decision cutting service to tri-weekly were negligible.

Transport Action Atlantic is a regional advocacy group, promoting convenient, affordable, safe and environmentally-friendly transportation solutions in the four Atlantic provinces. The organization will hold its semi-annual board meeting in Dartmouth on December 1. The agenda will focus on urban, rural and intercity public transportation, with particular emphasis on new initiatives to restore and strengthen options that reduce dependency on automobile use.

 


Source: TAA

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