OMCA Report
Feb. 28, 2014

OMCA's 1st Quarter Driver Licence Status Check Detects Hundreds of Downgraded and Invalid Licences — and Drivers with "Code W" Medical Condition
On Tuesday, OMCA conducted the 1st licence status check of the year. The licence status for over 46,000 drivers was checked against the MTO driver database and a report was provided to each subscriber identifying drivers with a licence discrepancy. Subscribers could then contact drivers whose licences have been downgraded or suspended to pre-empt any possibility of a driver getting involved in an accident or incident while holding an improper or suspended licence. As with past status checks (this was our 21st quarterly check) many subscribers were surprised by their results, thankful that our system caught these problems before anything happened. For the third time, the status check report flagged any driver having a "Code W" medical condition that prohibits them from driving a bus or truck in the U.S. The next Quarterly Status Check will be Monday May 26, 2014.More

Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) — Information, Ideas & Networking

Get new concepts, cost-saving measures and alternatives for managing your organization at the 2014 OTE. Click here to view full program details or select Read More at the bottom of this article.

Plan to attend OTE April 13-16, 2014 in Toronto! Registration fees remain unchanged since 2011! Conference details and registration info are available online at the OTE site.

Once again, OTE will only accept online registrations. Register now at Hard copy, faxed and scan/emailed registration forms cannot be accepted.

OTE is an excellent place for information, ideas and networking. Why reinvent the wheel? Find out from others in the bus industry how they are dealing with current and ongoing challenges. Set time aside to attend the only trade show in North America combining the school bus, motor coach, public transit and specialized transportation industries all under one roof - Tues. April 15. Guest passes for bus company employees will be sent soon for free trade show admission. Register today! For more information, visit the OTE website at Hope to see you there!More

Register Now for OTE 2014

OTE is just around the corner — April 13-16, 2014 — and it's offering a menu of exceptional educational sessions specifically for coach and school bus operators. Get the latest information on key industry topics and discover new tools that could help improve your operations. OTE is the place to expand your professional network and elevate your business. Take a look at the Program-at-a-Glance and you'll see how this year's OTE business session line-up includes many of the topics and issues facing the motor coach and school bus industry today. Here are just some of the workshops that bus operators won't want to miss:

• What drives coach insurance rates?
• MTO Carrier Safety & Enforcement Branch Update
• The new annual and semi-annual bus inspection standard
• The latest on school bus competitive procurement
• Legal and operational implications of a troubled CVOR
• Dealing effectively with disruptive student behaviour – strategies and techniques
• Emerging issues in workers compensation - how will they impact you?
• How to improve school bus dispatcher effectiveness
• Driver nutrition and wellness
• Special needs school transportation – challenges and solutions
• Driver background checks
• AODA requirements for school bus operators
• MTO's new Driver Certification Program (DCP) - is your organization ready?
• Saving money with propane fuel buses

Reserve your place today by registering on-line at More

Replacing hotel CRCs with mobile service centers
Linchi Kwok
Not long ago, central reservation centers (CRCs) brought in the most sales for the hotel and lodging industry, but people now plan trips online and use online travel agents (OTAs) such as Expedia and Priceline. More

Direct from London's West End: The Canadian Premiere of THE TWO WORLDS OF CHARLIE F
Mirvish Productions
In January 2012, something remarkable happened at the prestigious Theatre Royal Haymarket in London, UK. After lengthy workshops with over 30 medically discharged military personnel and a professional playwright and director, a new play entitled THE TWO WORLDS OF CHARLIE F was unveiled at two fundraising evenings. The audience, which was comprised of many of the UK's leading actors, theatre practitioners and seasoned theatergoers, was astonished to witness such a powerful and unforgettable examination of the cost of war. The response was so great that the show was taken to the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it too received standing ovations, five-star reviews, full houses and was awarded the festival's coveted Amnesty International Award for Freedom of Expression.More

International visitors helping to boost Toronto's tourism sector
CTV News
The number of international tourists who spent a night in Toronto set a new record last year, peaking at more than 1.4 million, according to Tourism Toronto. The total — which doesn't include people visiting from the United States — was marked by a majority of visitors from the United Kingdom, and a sharp increase in the number visiting from China. More

Getaway Coach Lines sold
The Dubeau family has been transporting residents of Penetanguishene and area since Confederation. It was recently announced they are getting out of the bus business with the sale of Getaway Coach Lines to Hammond Transportation of Bracebridge. More

International tourism agreement reached
Atikokan Progress
The Heart of the Continent Partnership (HOCP) has announced that it is partnering with National Geographic Society (NGS) to create an online regional geo-tourism initiative, highlighting northwestern Ontario and northern Minnesota. The finished results will include physical tourist maps, an in-depth website, and smartphone applications. The site will be linked in to existing National Geographic Society geo-tourism sites and their homepage.More

Niagara Falls council commits $300,000 to tourism initiatives
Niagara Falls Review
Niagara Falls will commit $300,000 towards two tourism initiatives. As part of the annual $18 to $20 million the city is estimated to receive for hosting two casinos, Niagara Falls Tourism requested the Honeymoon Capital fork out $250,000 for destination marketing and $50,000 to host a tourism trade show in 2015. It would match contributions made by the tourism agency. More

Hamilton budget ideas range from buses to belt-tightening
Metro News
There is no shortage of ideas on what city council should include in its $1.3-billion budget. Council held a marathon session to hear appeals from the public and they included tackling climate change, more bus service, help for an agency that helps immigrants, supporting gender equity, creating a lobbyist registry and some good old fashion belt-tightening.More

Survey: No free Wi-Fi biggest hotel guest complaint
Digital Journal
One of the biggest complaints that hotel guests have is the lack of free Wi-Fi in their rooms. Guests believe that all hotels should offer free Internet connection and think it is more important that many other hotel amenities.More

In defence of escorted tours
There are several aspects of travel that annoy me no end: airports' obsession with deodorant, notes in bathrooms urging me to help the hotel save the planet, food poisoning. Few things, though, irritate me as much as the contumely heaped generally upon escorted tours and specifically on coach holidays. More

Need a tow? This info you'll want to know
Today's Trucking
There's some room for improvement in the towing industry in Ontario. There's a patchwork of regulation in the province, made up of 444 municipalities, most of which do not have towing regulations. (Even the handful that do, are not harmonized). More

Toronto's downtown relief line, Gardiner 'hybrid' part of early look at Stintz platform
Metro News
Karen Stintz says her administration would pursue a downtown relief subway line, reform the land transfer tax, support a joint Toronto-U.S. bid for the 2026 World Cup and explore a "hybrid" solution for the eastern part of the Gardiner Expressway. Stintz, the three-term midtown councillor who chaired the Toronto Transit Commission from 2010 until she resigned recently, is running for mayor. More

That time when the TTC went to Niagara Falls
Strolling through the art deco-styled Toronto Coach Terminal today, one notices a cathedral window that sits atop a flight of stairs overlooking the main waiting area. Lighting up with the late afternoon sun, it bears the name Gray Coach Lines, a reference to the bus operator that originally called the terminal home back in 1931. Now you're more likely to see a Greyhound than a Gray Coach at Bay and Edward streets, but for 64 years the latter was a common sight on Toronto roads and Ontario highways. More