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Ontario Northland to launch Manitoulin bus service

Weekday return passenger bus service will start on April 9.

The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) will introduce weekday return passenger bus service between Manitoulin Island and Sudbury starting on April 9.

In an April 5 news release, the ONTC noted this is the first time bus service has been offered to Manitoulin residents in decades.

“Ontario Northland’s motor coach service will operate five days per week and will add 15 new stops to service Manitoulin Island,” said Tracy MacPhee, director of passenger operations, in the release.

“Our new service will include a stop at Sudbury’s Health Sciences North, providing passengers from Manitoulin Island the ability to attend medical appointments in the afternoon and return home the same evening. The service is ideal for passengers travelling for medical reasons, shopping, school, or family visits.”

The 15 new Manitoulin agencies will be located at small businesses, gas stations, and convenience stores. Customers can buy tickets at an agency or online.

With the addition of the Manitoulin stops, the ONTC said it now serves 150 communities in total.

The expansion is part of the provincial government’s Dec. 1 announcement that it would be spending $5.3 million to buy new coaches for the ONTC in an effort to increase the frequency of service between communities.

The province also announced a Community Transportation Grant Program with a pool of $30 million being made available over five years to fund local community and intercity bus service projects.

An additional $10 million was to be set aside for Indigenous communities, organizations and not-for-profits.

“Our team is excited to provide scheduled bus service to the communities on Manitoulin Island,” MacPhee said. “We look forward to introducing Ontario Northland’s safe and reliable motor coach service to this new market and growing our ridership.”

Headquartered in North Bay, the ONTC is a Crown agency operating rail and motor coach services for freight and passengers throughout the North.