OMCA Report
May. 1, 2015

OMCA responds to AMP system proposal
OMCA has expressed concern on behalf of coach operators regarding the proposal of an online Administrative Monetary Penalty system. OMCA President Doug Switzer recently addressed the POA-AMP Consultation at the Ministry of the Attorney General citing the concerns of the motor coach industry. These concerns include impact on safety rating systems (specifically CVOR); the complexity of charges laid against commercials operators compared with personal automobile operators; and a decline in, or elimination of, the fairness and accountability found in the current established systems.

Click Read More to view the response in full. More

OECM posting notice for Coach and Bus Transportation Services: Request For Proposal (RFP) #2015-231
The Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace (OECM) invites prospective suppliers to submit a proposal for Coach & Bus Transportation Services RFP. Through the RFP process, a certain number of suppliers will be qualified to enter into an agreement for one (1) or both the following two (2) categories:

• Category A – Coach Transportation Services; and/or
• Category B – Bus Transportation Services.

OECM clients consist of publicly assisted School Boards, Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, Universities and potentially other public sector entities.

The RFP documents have been posted on Merx™ on April 23, 2015 and are currently available via the following link: Merx™

Subscribers to Merx™ and Biddingo may download the RFP documents free of charge. A proponent information session, which may help suppliers to enhance their understanding of the RFP, will be held at 1:00 p.m. on May 6, 2015 via teleconference and/or webinar. A proponent wishing to participate should register, noting its full legal name and representatives' names by emailing the RFP Coordinator prior to 11:00 a.m. on May 6, 2015. Access information will be emailed to all registered proponents.

Suppliers are also encouraged to review all RFP documents thoroughly and submit any questions to the RFP Coordinator by 5:00 p.m. on May 6, 2015.

For further information, contact the OECM RFP Coordinator — Zakir Shaikh, Business Analyst, at: zakir.shaikh@oecm.caMore

Comment on the OECM RFP Notice
In regard to the OECM RFP notice above, OMCA contacted OECM to get more information regarding OECM and the current RFP for coach and bus transportation services. Our understanding is that OECM acts as a resource to broader public sector agencies, including school boards, colleges, universities, etc. They pre-competitively-select suppliers of all sorts for these "clients" who then can use their "marketplace" when looking for a service.

The advantage for a school board, etc, is that: a) if they have no idea about how or where to go to find a qualified coach operator or how to choose between operators, it provides them with pre-screened options to choose from, and b) those choices are all selected in a way that is compliant with the competitive bidding process required by the Ontario government. It's a Broader Public Sector version of Angie's List, or any of the other consumer websites that screen, review and recommend suppliers.

We understand that the schools are not mandated to use this service, and coach operators don't have to respond, but it is a quick and easy way for schools and school boards to select suppliers, and many of them will use this, so it's to an operator's advantage to respond to the RFP.More

As teachers' strikes loom over Ontario, the fight isn't about salaries, though it is about the bottom line
National Post
It's been over a week since public high school teachers in Durham went on strike, closing schools for 21,000 students, and no one seems to be able to explain why. "Perhaps someone (either side) can actually tell us why talks are not being held? There is such a lack of concrete information," Trish Scovil Taylor, a parent, wrote on the Durham District School Board Facebook page. On that site and on Twitter, parents are pleading with the board for answers, questions it deflects to the teachers' union.More

Ontario school boards feel like pawns in fight between province and teachers
The Globe and Mail
Another Monday, another strike: that's been the pattern for the last two weeks at Ontario public high schools, with a third strike possible this coming Monday. But some of the school boards facing work stoppages by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation say they don't know why they were singled out, and that getting teachers back to work is mostly out of their hands.More

City wants employers to help cut traffic during Pan Am Games
Toronto Sun
The City of Toronto doesn't want a gold medal in traffic chaos during the 2015 Pan Am Games. Officials are trying to get businesses to reduce their employees' impact on traffic during the summer event. More

Ontario awards $1.2 billion contract to build provincially-owned stretch of Highway 407
National Post
Ontario has awarded a $1.2 billion contract for the completion of Highway 407 East, a provincially owned portion of the toll road. More

GTA West highway: Forward thinking or retro mistake?
Toronto Star
It's a thought that crosses every driver's mind while sitting bumper to bumper in the middle of Highway 401 — considered the busiest highway on the continent — on any given day: when will things change? Why can't they just build another highway? More

'No-board' report sets stage for elementary school teachers' strike
CTV News
Ontario elementary school teachers could soon join high school teachers on the picket lines if contract negotiations fail next month. Talks between teachers and the government are in progress, but teachers would be in a legal strike position as early as May 10. More

York Region bus riders welcome new transit funding in provincial budget
Hefty transportation improvements announced in the recent provincial budget can't come soon enough for York Region transit riders. "This is welcome news," Anthony Laloggia said at the Newmarket GO bus station as he faced his two-hour commute to Humber College. More

Toronto plans to spend $550 million on road, sewer and watermain work
680 News
City of Toronto officials released a long to-do list of road work, as it unveiled its $550 million infrastructure plan for the construction season. Councillor Jaye Robinson, chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, said $270 million will be spent on improving roads, expressways and bridges — an increase of $55 million from last year. More

Auditor: Ontario's winter roads 'less safe' since privatization
Hamilton Spectator
Ontario saved money for taxpayers by contracting out winter road maintenance but safety was compromised when snowstorms weren't cleared quickly enough, the province's Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk says in a damning new report. "Over the past five years, winter highway maintenance service levels have declined," Lysyk said in her 43-page report following an investigation requested by the legislature's public accounts committee. More

Feedback period for Ambassador Bridge's twin proposal attracts 400 submissions
Windsor Star
The community feedback deadline passed recently for people interested in responding to the Ambassador Bridge's proposal to build a twin span just metres away from the existing 85-year-old Windsor-Detroit crossing. Transport Canada officials indicated they received about 400 submissions during the 60-day response period. More

Ontario moving forward with Finch West Light Rail Transit Project
Government of Ontario
As part of the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario's history, the province is moving ahead with the $1.2 billion Finch West Light Rail Transit (LRT) project — a priority transit investment in the City of Toronto that will bring much-needed rapid transit to communities along Finch Avenue West. The LRT will create 11 new kilometres of rapid transit along Finch West from the new Finch West subway station on the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension to Humber College. More

The future of wearables in travel
Though the wearable category is young and many use cases are in their early days, one thing is already quite clear: travellers want to remove obstacles and stressors along every step of their journey, and engaging with wearables in a way that simplifies their lives. As consumers increasingly embrace wearables, those in the travel and hospitality industry are turning to this hardware to reach and engage their audience, and improve the customer experience. More

Opponents: Push to move traffic offences online denies rights
Toronto Sun
The provincial government is eyeing changing how Ontario handles some traffic offences. The Ministry of the Attorney General has been seeking input since last month from Ontarians on an online "administrative monetary penalty system" (AMPS) that would replace the current procedures for paying and disputing charges under the Provincial Offences Act (POA). More

York St. GO Transit concourse opens to the public
CBC News
The 62,000-square-foot York Street GO concourse at Union station is officially open to the public. Part of GO's effort to accommodate rising ridership, the new concourse is nearly double the size of its predecessor, the Bay Street concourse. More