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BorderPlanner.com: Bus arrival scheduling system at Niagara border crossings designed to reduce border wait times for buses
OMCA
A year since BorderPlanner.com was first introduced as a pilot program involving a number of OMCA bus operator members, it is now fully implemented and available to any bus company that wants to use it. BorderPlanner.com is a joint effort of the two bridge authorities, the US CBP and Canada's CBSA, designed to reduce bus wait times by more evenly distributing bus traffic amongst the three bridges and time of day.

The system allows bus companies to use an online portal to submit the scheduled arrival date, crossing location [Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge or Queenston-Lewiston Bridge], time of day, and the number and citizenship of passengers. Detailed passenger manifests are not required to participate in BorderPlanner.com. Bus companies and border officials are able to view (for each of the three border crossings) the number of buses scheduled for each time slot. This can help bus companies select a border crossing and time with open time slots and fewer buses. It also helps CBSA and US CBP to adjust staffing at each crossing according to expected bus traffic volumes. There is no fee to use the system and while it's voluntary, its use by bus companies is encouraged.

Bus operators are encouraged to select a crossing and time of day based on the number of bus arrivals scheduled in the system for that time. While it must be noted that participation may not always result in expedited processing, and it is not a "reservation" system per se, border authorities have indicated when possible, priority may be given to buses that arrive at or near their scheduled time/crossing, over a bus that arrives about the same time but hasn't used BorderPanner.com.

When bookings are made, the bus operator receives an email receipt that should be given to the driver. The receipt doubles as a windshield placard to indicate to bridge and border crossing officials the bus is participating in the BorderPlanner.com program.

It's easy for bus operators to register. Go to www.borderplanner.com and follow the instructions.
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Floyd Sinton passes away at age 79
OMCA
Ontario's bus industry is mourning the passing of Floyd Sinton, who died on Wednesday at the age of 79. Floyd Sinton was a pillar of the Ontario school bus industry and his home community of Simcoe County.

With busing in his blood for over six decades, Floyd was recognized as one of the founding members of the Ontario School Bus Association and was awarded an Honourary Life Member. Floyd also operated a fleet of motor coaches for many years and was a long standing member of the OMCA. Floyd epitomized the school bus industry as a hard-working, well respected, enterprising businessman committed to student safety. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He honestly cared for everyone who worked for Sinton Transportation, many who never worked for anyone else.

Floyd gave back to his community in so many ways since he began working at age 16. When he sold his company to Landmark Transportation in 2013, he said "We proudly gave all we could to the industry trying to improve it for our employees and the communities we served." Floyd is resting at the Steckley-Gooderham Funeral Home, Worsley Street Chapel at 30 Worsley Street, Barrie, ON. Visitation will take place on Saturday, March 28, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. with a service to follow at 3:30 p.m.

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MTO considers upping collision reporting threshold to $2,000
OMCA
MTO is considering increasing the "property damage only" collision reporting threshold from the current $1,000 to $2,000. A summary of the proposal has been posted on Ontario's Regulatory Registry website in English and French at:

http://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=18102&language=en

http://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?language=fr&postingId=18102

This posting is open for the public to comment for a period of 45 days and will close on May 4, 2015.

OSBA members can provide comments and to share the link with anyone they feel may be interested in providing feedback for the ministry to consider, as part of the development of this proposal.

Alternatively, responses can be sent to Abdul Malik, Safety Policy Advisor, at abdul.x.malik@ontario.ca.

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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
 
Groups Shouldn't Stay Anywhere Else!

There is no better way to visit Atlantic City - by yourself or with a group - than by bus or motor coach. Hop on one with companies and you'll receive front-dorr service to Resorts Casino Hotel.
 


OTE Early Bird Registration fee cut-off is midnight tonight (Friday March 20): Register online now to reserve your place!
OMCA via OTE
OTE is just three 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. Click here to view this year's program 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 on-line at www.ote.ca.

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Mohawk shutting down Brantford shuttle service
Brantford Expositor
A last tie between Brantford and Mohawk College has been severed as the school announced it will end shuttle service between the city and Mohawk's Fennel campus in April.

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Ambassador Bridge moving forward with new span plans
windsoriteDOTca
The owners and operators of the Ambassador Bridge are taking steps to move forward with their proposed Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project.

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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?

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Blue Water Bridge resurfacing project begins in April: Expect delays
OMCA
The Blue Water Bridge between Sarnia, ON and Port Huron, MI will undergo resurfacing and waterproof undercoating of its original span beginning in April. The original span, built in 1937, currently serves U.S.-bound traffic. The Canada bound span, built in 1997, will be used to accommodate all traffic in both directions during the project. Only one lane of traffic will be open in each direction across the bridge, with two lanes available in each direction as vehicles approach the toll plazas at each end of the bridge. The work is expected to be finished by July 1. The bridge co-owners, Blue Water Bridge Canada (BWBC) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) are coordinating the construction project. Reduced lane access during the project will temporarily close the dedicated bus lane, NEXUS and F.A.S.T. lanes. Due to the longer wait times expected at the border, bus operators should consider travel at off-peak hours or using the bridge or tunnel crossings at Windsor/Detroit.

BWBC, a non-appropriated federal Crown corporation, owns and operates the Canadian side of the Blue Water Bridge. The U.S. side of the bridge is owned and operated by MDOT.

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  PRODUCT SHOWCASES
ONTARIO MOTOR COACH ASSOCIATION SHOWCASE


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Beef and Wine Tour

Explore the University of Nebraska Extension Center were the latest agriculture research on beef nutrition, week ecology, wind drift and irrigation is being done. Then take a short drive to Feather River Vineyard and learn how to pair foods and wines together while the chef cooks for you.
Crestline Bus Product Lineup

Crestline is a nation-wide Canadian Bus Dealer and a leading supplier of transit, tour, shuttle and wheelchair accessible buses. Crestline vehicles have proven to be a cost-effective and reliable choice across the industry.


Upcoming Toronto road closures and traffic updates
OMCA
As Toronto enters into the spring season, the city continues to prepare for the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, in addition to marathons and other events that will take place. The links below provide more information on traffic disruptions, current and pending road closures and route changes. Please check back frequently for updates.

City of Toronto: Expressway and Major Road Closures (updated frequently):

Upcoming Toronto Marathons

2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games Road Closures

2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games: transit, driving and traffic routes

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Ontario increasing minimum wage
OMCA
Ontario is raising the general minimum wage from $11 to $11.25 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2015. Minimum wage rates for jobs in special categories (liquor servers, homeworkers, students, etc.) are also increasing at the same time. The increase is the result of recent changes to the Employment Standards Act that tie minimum-wage increases to Ontario's Consumer Price Index. This was recommended by the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel in its final report last year.
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Industry News


Canada, U.S. announce new agreement on customs clearance
CTV News
Canadians travelling to the United States will eventually be able to get pre-clearance from U.S. customs agents before they cross the border, helping to ease lines at busy border crossings. Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the new agreement at a press conference in Washington. The agreement will provide a legal framework allowing new pre-clearance options for land, rail, marine and air travellers.
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With Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games just months away, concerns remain over cost, traffic and lack of enthusiasm
National Post
The announcement for the Pan American Games, and the presence of politicians — at least one from all three levels of government — drew a handful of public sector union picketers to one of the intersections. Inside, the stage for the news conference blocked off an area normally used to hold demonstrations for children, clogging access to exhibits.
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Finding the better way: Metrolinx to 'harmonize' wayfinding in GTHA
Metro News
Tim Fendley wants to make it impossible to get lost on transit in Greater Toronto. The head of Applied Wayfinding in the U.K. is one of the people tasked with harmonizing the signage and directions given to users of 10 different transit agencies from here to Hamilton.
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Ontario drivers battle change to Ontario traffic courts
Today's Trucking
"The days of going to court and winning because the right to defend yourself or the officer not showing up will be gone." That's how Toronto-based paralegal Jason Pearce sums up proposed changes to the way the Province of Ontario deals with traffic tickets. And it's only one of the reasons he's leading a charge against the changes. He also says time is of the essence.
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MTO gets down to the nitty gritty of roads
Daily Commercial News
In Ontario there are 29 different grades of sand, ranging from limestone to granite base to quartz and each has different wear and abrasion capabilities. While it doesn't make much difference if you're spending a day at the beach, when it comes to building roads, there's a big difference.
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Transit funding for future
Castanet.com
Many people think of Canada as a landscape of forests, mountains, water and ice, but the Canadian experience is fast becoming focused on glass and concrete. Our 2011 census revealed that 81 per cent of us now live in cities. And despite taking up less land space, our environmental impact continues to grow. As the UN notes, cities cover only two per cent of the world's land area but produce 60 per cent of CO2 emissions — including a significant proportion from urban transportation, as people commute to school and work on increasingly crowded roads and transit networks.
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City of Burlington buying 9 buses for $4.23 million
InsideHalton.com
The City of Burlington is getting nine new public transit buses. Metrolinx, on behalf of 13 Ontario municipalities, has facilitated the purchase of 86 high-floor and low-floor, buses.
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Hammond Transportation honoured after 70 years
MuskokaRegion.com
Bracebridge council honoured hometown business Hammond Transportation during a special presentation last Wednesday. Following a recounting of the long history of the Bracebridge-based transportation company with its simple beginnings and rise to success, as told by Greg Hammond, Mayor Graydon Smith honoured Greg and his father, company founder Orville Hammond, with a certificate and a memento, in the form of a framed plaque, on behalf of council with thanks for dedicated service to the town and continuing best wishes for the future.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Ontario Northland closing motor coach stations (Canada Newswire)
Governments need to deliver big infrastructure projects honestly (The Globe and Mail)
Sorry, Toronto commuters: Liberty Village bus will not be back on the road (CTV News)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.
 

OMCA Report
Frank Humada, Multiview, Director of Publishing, 289.695.5422
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Oliver Kirby, Multiview, Content Editor, 289.695.5401   
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Disclaimer: Please note that the views expressed in those articles not written by OMCA staff do not reflect the views of OMCA and are presented here merely for the information of our members.

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