OMCA Report
Mar. 13, 2015

OTE 'Early Bird' fee cut-off is March 20: Register online now to save money and reserve your place!
OTE is just four weeks away — April 12-15, 2015. OTE 2015 promises to offer excellent education sessions and networking opportunities. Get the latest information on key industry topics that affect your operations and discover new tools to improve your organization. OTE is the place to expand your professional network and elevate your business. Take a look at the program here and you'll see how this year's OTE business session lineup covers many of the topics and issues facing the bus industry today. The following topics will be of particular interest to coach operators:
• Collision Investigation and Preventability
• Transporting Children with Autism
• Leading Edge Advice Relating to WSIB
• Railway Crossing Safety at Protected Crossings
• International Registration Plan IRP (Effective Jan.1, 2016)
• Electronic Onboard Logging Devices
• MTO Carrier Safety & Enforcement Update
• Driver Certification Program — Audit and Training Curriculum Update
• The New Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection (PMVI) Standard
• How to Get Your Drivers to do it Right — the First Time, Every Time!

Reserve your place today by registering online at More

Toronto's Yorkdale Mall construction project affects motor coach parking
This week we heard from a bus operator member whose driver was asked by Yorkdale Mall staff to not park in the mall's parking lot after dropping off a group of shoppers. We contacted the mall's Tourism and Guest Experience Manager, Lesley Boughen to inquire about the mall’s policy on coach parking. We were told the motor coach industry is an important market to Yorkdale and they want to continue to welcome OMCA members and their groups throughout the year.

Yorkdale is presently undergoing extensive construction as part of the 2016 expansion, which has restricted available parking space. They want to make the arrival and departure process as easy as possible for coach drivers, especially during peak times and weekends so they have partnered with the Holiday Inn Toronto-Yorkdale to provide complimentary motor coach parking. The Mall absorbs the cost of coach parking. Once the group has disembarked at the mall, mall staff invites the driver to proceed to the hotel across the street (Dufferin) where there is parking space for the coaches. The hotel front desk will provide the driver with an access pass which will allow them to leave the lot at no charge. Coach drivers and tour directors of pre-registered groups will get a $20.00 Yorkdale Gift Card and they invite them to spend time in the shopping centre while they wait for their group. Coach and Tour Operators can contact Lesley directly at for further information. More

GroupConnect : Google announces major changes in search results
Beginning April 21, Google will increase the ranking of mobile-friendly websites much higher than non-mobile-friendly websites.

From Google Webmaster: "This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices."

Is your website ready for this change? Will your prospective customers not find you because your site isn't mobile-friendly?

GroupConnect can create mobile-friendly websites for your company at a fraction of the cost of our competitors. Contact GroupConnect at 866-644-1664 or today! More

GO Transit talking Quiet Zones on buses
Toronto Star
GO Transit is quietly exploring the possibility of adding no-talking sections to its buses. The transit agency hasn't formally decided to go ahead with the idea, and there's no timeline yet. But GO has been surveying customers on whether they would like to see Quiet Zones, introduced on trains in 2013, added to the bus service.More

Governments need to deliver big infrastructure projects honestly
The Globe and Mail
The least surprising news of the year is that the Spadina subway extension is going way over budget. After what has happened with the St. Clair streetcar line, the Queens Quay rebuild and the renovations of Union Station, the Sony Centre and Nathan Phillips Square, news of construction delays and cost overruns have become dog bites man for the weary residents of Toronto. More

OPP: Distracted driving remains a killer on Ontario roads
CBC News
Ontario Provincial Police say distracted driving is expected to surpass impaired driving as a factor in fatal crashes on roads they patrol, for the seventh straight year. More

Ontario Northland closing motor coach stations
Canada Newswire
Transformation is underway at Ontario Northland and we are focused on increasing our efficiency, containing our costs and increasing revenue. Our motor coach services are vital to Northern Ontario and we need to streamline our services in order to be sustainable.More

Sorry, Toronto commuters: Liberty Village bus will not be back on the road
CTV News
A privately-run bus service that was supposed to provide TTC-weary commuters with an alternative to the crowded 504 King streetcar will not be returning to the road after all. More

Tentative agreement reached between Ontario Northland and Local 1976 USW
Canada Newswire
Tentative agreement on a five year contract has been reached today between the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (Ontario Northland) and the United Steelworkers Union Local 1976 (Local 1976 USW). "We are very pleased by the leadership shown by our organization and Local 1976 USW to reach a tentative agreement," said Corina Moore, Interim President and CEO. More

York Region seeks return of photo radar
Toronto Star
Photo radar is back on the table in York Region, after councillors voted to make a pitch to the province for permission to reinstate the contentious speed-enforcement system. Newmarket Mayor Tony Van Bynen said he was thinking of safety first when he put forward a motion last month that asked regional staff to come up with a proposal to send to Queen's Park. More

B.C. looking to eliminate left lane hogs; will Ontario be next?
The Globe and Mail
Until B.C. makes good on its threat, Quebec's the only province in Canada where the left lane of a highway is reserved for passing. If you're hoping for Ontario to catch up, you'll be stuck waiting. More

Second GO Transit track in the works for Barrie
CTV News
A second GO Transit track is in the works for Barrie. Metrolinx recently announced that work is underway to bring a new GO Line to Barrie, which would allow more train trips to and from the Toronto-area. More

New London interchange unique in its development
Daily Commercial News
Once the work is done, there won't be much to distinguish London's new Wonderland Road interchange from all the others along Ontario's Hwy. 401. Sure, unlike the nearby London interchanges, the road that crosses the 401 will travel below the highway rather than above. But in all other aspects — for example, the spacious ramp terminals to accommodate long combination vehicles and the signage to mark them — this interchange will be indistinguishable from the many others that have been upgraded in recent years along the 401's 800-km stretch from Windsor to the Quebec border. More

Metrolinx convenes resident panel ahead of next big build
Toronto Star
Metrolinx has a new plan to win over the support of west-end residents before it even begins its next massive construction disruption in the heart of Toronto. It wants to assemble a panel of 36 people in the affected area to talk about how newly freed-up railway lands can be repurposed for the community. More

Hoteliers readying for wearable tech
Hotel News Now
Technology giant Apple made a splash with a keynote address providing more detail about the much-anticipated release of its new venture in wearable tech, which will soon be available for purchase. Several hotel companies are getting in front of that launch date with news of their own tailor-made apps for the device. More

The path to a successful career in the hospitality industry
By Linchi Kwok
I recently attended this year's Collins Connection event at Cal Poly Pomona, where the faculty and staff members in the Hospitality College met with the incoming students and their family. The cohort of this incoming class had a diverse background, but they were all excited about coming to our college and were looking forward to their future in the hospitality industry. I spent three hours speaking with the students and their family members. Yet I often heard of the same question: how can I prepare for a successful career in hotels or restaurants? More