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The Ministry of Transportation (“MTO”) is taking a closer look at what motivates the decisions Ontarians make about how they travel from city to city.

More specifically, the MTO is interested in how people travel between communities in Ontario by intercity bus. As stated in a proposal posted to the Environmental Registry, the MTO is seeking to modernize intercity bus services and encourage more intercity travelers to take the bus over single-occupant passenger vehicles:

The ministry is considering different ways of modernizing these rules and regulations in order to both increase the number of intercity bus users and to improve the overall intercity bus traveling experience. Input is being sought from the general public on their perceptions of and experiences with travelling by intercity bus, as well as, from the intercity bus operators on how intercity bus services can be improved. The information being collected will be used as one part of the ministry’s evaluation process on how to modernize intercity bus services in Ontario.

The bus offers a surprisingly environmentally friendly means of intercity travel in Canada (and elsewhere). For example, a 2002 report by the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications recognized that buses far outperform single-occupant vehicles and trains in terms of per-passenger fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions and saw “an urgent need for further study of methods to encourage the use of intercity buses and to improve even further their environmentally related efficiency.”

More recently, similar findings were made by the Council of Deputy Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety in a 2010 report.

So what will it take to get more people travelling between cities out of their cars and onto buses? Answers to this questions, and other comments, can be provided via the Environmental Registry until September 25, 2015.

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