History was made yesterday with the creation of the Niagara Transit Commission, which will bring the operation of public transit in Niagara into one organization. Niagara Regional Council approved the Niagara Transit Commission as a legal entity at a Special Council meeting on May 26. This is an important milestone in the transition process leading up to the Commission operating all public transit effective January 1, 2023.
The Niagara Transit Commission is the realization of a vision of many at Niagara Region and the 12 local area municipalities to connect all of Niagara through a single transit system. It will facilitate better access to jobs and services in Niagara, opening up new options for residents in neighbouring municipalities, and new markets for businesses.
Providing residents with more sustainable and environmentally friendly public transit options will help our local environment by reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Having one transit system will prepare Niagara for the future, by making sure our transit options can scale up to meet the needs of our growing population and job market as well as support the expansion and connectivity of GO Transit service to the region.
Council approved the first Commission Board and the elected representatives recommended by their local councils to serve on it. The Board has representation from Regional and local municipal councillors to ensure that all municipalities have a voice.
Regional Council approved the appointments of the following individuals to the board:
- Mayor Wayne Redekop (Fort Erie)
- Regional Councillor Wayne Fertich (Grimsby)
- Town Councillor JD Pachereva (Lincoln)
- City Councillor Chris Dabrowski (Niagara Falls)
- Regional Councillor Barbara Greenwood (Niagara Falls)
- Town Councillor Norm Arsenault (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
- Town Councillor Wayne Olson (Pelham)
- City Councillor Angie Desmarais (Port Colborne)
- City Councillor Greg Miller (St. Catharines)
- Regional Councillor Mat Siscoe (St. Catharines)
- Mayor Walter Sendzik (St. Catharines)
- Regional Councillor Tim Whalen (Thorold)
- Town Councillor Donna Cridland (Wainfleet)
- City Councillor Leo Van Vliet (Welland)
- Town Councillor William Reilly (West Lincoln)
The Niagara Transit Commission’s first ever Board Meeting will take place in June on a date that is to be determined. The election of the Chair and Vice-Chair will be at this meeting.
The appointment of a Commission Board is the first of many pieces required to move toward a consolidated transit system. It is also the culmination of years of work by regional and local councils and transit staff to achieve the objective of providing greater access to public transit for more people in Niagara.
Niagara Region and local transit staff will continue to operate existing local and regional transit and are collaborating on the plan for the transition of services through 2022. Existing routes and services will operate at current service levels when the Commission assumes operational responsibility in 2023.