Ontario makes it easier for businesses to launch new bus routes

TORONTO – The Ontario government is cutting red tape and making it easier for companies to provide passenger transportation services between communities in Ontario effective July 1, 2021. This is part of the province’s efforts to improve transportation options for Ontarians as the province recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Under the previous system it was difficult for businesses that offered bus service to begin operating on a new route, even in situations where there was no service being offered,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “By cutting red tape, we are making it easier for carriers to offer transportation services to communities where there is a need.”

Previously, one carrier was given a licence to operate a certain route for a particular destination or city. Effective July 1, carriers do not need a license to operate a new route and multiple carriers may offer service along the same or complimentary routes, helping to improve travel options for Ontarians.

Safety was a critical consideration while consulting with industry on ways to modernize the sector. Intercommunity passenger transportation carriers will still be required to meet safety requirements under the Highway Traffic Act and through the Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration process.

Quick Facts

  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost two million people did not have access to an intercommunity passenger transportation route, and half of all municipalities did not have an intercommunity passenger transportation stop within their boundaries.
  • Improving intercommunity bus services is one of the actions in Ontario’s regional transportation plans for the southwest and North.
  • Ontario is supporting transportation services in 38 unserved and underserved communities through the Community Transportation Grant Program.
  • The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC), a government agency, operates intercommunity bus services throughout Northern Ontario connecting to Toronto, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and into Manitoba to Winnipeg.

Additional Resources

Photo credit: Rebmcg, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons