#Ottawa; #PublicTransit; #FreeWiFiOnGoTransit; #FreeWiFiPlus
Ottawa, Sep 28 (Canadian-Media): With its commitment to improving public transit across the province, Ontario government is offering free Wi-Fi, beginning Sep 28 for passengers on all GO buses and approximately 50 percent of GO trains, media reports said.
GO Transit. Image credit: Wikipedia
Once connected to GO Wi-Fi Plus, a user-friendly portal offering free Wi-Fi, GO Transit riders will get 10MB of data per trip, for a four-hour period, to access free Wi-Fi as well as a variety of unlimited entertainment content such as TV shows, audiobooks, e-books, music, podcasts, etc.
Even more data of 50 MB per trip would be provided to riders signing in with registered PRESTO accounts.
"More than 80 per cent of GO customers named Wi-Fi as their most desired amenity, and our government is committed to make life easier for the people of Ontario by keeping commuters connected throughout their journey," Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation said Sept 28 in a press release.
"This initiative will make an important difference as it will help people work more efficiently, finish school projects or get important news and updates from family and friends."
Metrolinx has partnered with Icomera Canada Inc., a global leader in providing wireless Internet connectivity for public transit, to connect all 1,399 GO buses and trains to Wi-Fi.
GO trains' full rollout of GO Wi-Fi Plus is expected to be completed in early 2021.
"With hundreds of entertainment options to choose from, GO Wi-Fi Plus is more than just Wi-Fi, and will make the onboard experience even more convenient and enjoyable for customers," Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster said Sep 28 in a news release. "We are so excited to bring GO Wi-Fi Plus to our customers on our buses and trains."
#India; #UNEP; #IndianRailways; #TERI; #GreeningTheRailways
India/UNEP, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): Serving over 8 billion passengers annually, the Indian railroad network is one of the largest and most intricate in the world, UNEP reports said.
But moving billions of people over tens of thousands of kilometers of rail every year is no small feat – it requires enormous amounts of energy, even though passenger-mile emissions are much lower than vehicle traffic.
India's Railway Network. Unsplash
India’s transport sector contributes to 12% of the country’s GHG emissions [Biennial Update Report to UNFCCC 2018], with railways accounting for about 4 per cent of that. To reduce overall emissions from transportation, India committed to increase the amount of freight moved by Indian Railways from about 35 per cent in 2015 to 45 per cent by 2030.
The Indian Government has been working on greening the railways, with over half of the network electrified, and a target to electrify the entire network in the next 3-4 years. Electrification would introduce a more centralized, efficient power system in lieu of higher emitting diesel engines.
In July 2020, Indian Railways went even further, announcing that the national transportation system will be a net zero carbon emitter by 2030. This would mean eliminating emissions of 7.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year, about the same as two coal power plants.
“Due to economic development and increased consumption, there is an increasing demand on the resources,” said Vinod Kumar Yadav, Chairman of the Railways Board. “We need to take care of the environmental concerns along with the economic development to ensure sustainability. Indian Railways has embarked on a mission to improve energy efficiency and replace fossil fuel sources with renewable energy sources like solar and wind to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.”
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has long supported the Indian Railways’ efforts. In July, UNEP led a capacity building programme for Indian Railways management and staff on sustainability and green economy. The training was conducted under the UNEP-led Partnership for Action on Green Economy with support of the National Academy of Indian Railways.
Over 60 participants joined the week-long training to learn how to incorporate sustainable public procurement, green buildings, waste management, and biodiversity and conservation into green initiatives at Indian Railways. Participants ranged from upper management to entry-level officials and included representatives from training institutes who will become Master Trainers. This is the first time this type of interactive virtual training programme has been deployed for an organization of this size and environmental footprint.
Atul Bagai, Head of UNEP’s India Office, said, “India’s rail network has long been an integral part of the country’s societal fabric. Greening the railways not only is vital to achieve the Government’s climate objectives but is also an important symbol of India’s environmental initiative. UNEP is proud to assist these efforts through trainings like this and other support.”
Speaking about the training, Yadav said, “Capacity building of officials across all levels is key for achieving the vision of Indian Railways. I look forward to further collaboration between Indian Railways and UNEP in this endeavor.”
With more people and more freight set to ride the rails as India’s economy grows, it will be more important than ever to ensure that the future of India’s renowned rail network is sustainable.
Emissions from power generation are only one part of the equation. Indian Railways is also looking to make stations and installations green certified. Over 100 water treatment and recycling plants have been established.
And, in a unique development, the railroad operator has fitted long-distance coaches with bio tanks to deal with human waste from passengers. In the tank, waste is digested by bacteria, which release innocuous gases and wastewater that is treated before discharge. Along with reducing effluent and providing health and hygiene benefits, a study carried out by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) found that these bio tanks may prevent emissions of up to 155 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually.
#UN; #Covid19; #Tourism; #SustainableTourism; #UNTWO
UN, Aug 30 (Canadian-Media): The Policy Brief “COVID-19 and Transforming Tourism”, was launched this week by the United Nations Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, UNTWO reports said.
Image credit: Website
This landmark report makes clear what is at stake – the threat of losing tens of millions of direct tourism jobs, the loss of opportunities for those vulnerable populations and communities who stand to benefit most from tourism, and the real risk of losing vital resources for safeguarding natural and cultural heritage across the world.
Tourism needs to thrive, and this means that travel restrictions must be eased or lifted in a timely and responsible manner. It also means that policy decisions need to be coordinated across borders to face up to a challenge which does not care about borders! “COVID-19 and Transforming Tourism” is a further element in the roadmap for the sector to regain its unique status as a source of hope and opportunity for all.
Sustainable tourism. Image credit: Pinterest.ca
This is true for both developing and developed nations, and all governments and international organizations have a stake in supporting tourism.
But we can only call on governments to back up strong words with equally strong actions if we move first and take the lead. As destinations open up again, we are resuming in-person visits, to show support, to learn, and to build confidence in international travel.
On the back of our successful visits to destinations in Europe, UNWTO delegations are now seeing first-hand how the Middle East is ready to restart tourism safely and responsibly.
In Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his government made clear how strong, targeted support, has saved jobs and allowed tourism to weather this unprecedented storm. Now iconic sites such as the Pyramids are ready to welcome back tourists, with the safety of both tourism workers and tourists themselves a priority. Similarly, the government of Saudi Arabia has warmly welcomed UNWTO and expressed a firm commitment to continue building the Kingdom’s tourism sector, first for domestic visitors and then international visitors.
The pandemic is far from over. As cases across the world make clear, we must be ready to act fast to save lives. But it also now also clear that we can also take decisive action to protect jobs and safeguard the many benefits tourism delivers, both for people and planet.
#AB; #WestJet; #SafetyUpdates; #MandatoryMasks
Calgary (AB), Aug 28 (Canadian-Media): Multiple safety updates were announced Aug 28 by the WestJet Group, which includes WestJet, WestJet Encore, WestJet Link and Swoop, including the potential for denied travel and a one-year WestJet Group travel ban for those who fail to comply with the airlines' mask regulation.
Image credit: Twitter handle
Effective Sept. 1, 2020, Westjet will implement an escalating response to those resisting mask use.
WestJet has till date encountered about 30 issues with passengers refusing to wear a face covering.
Everyone over the age of two is required by Transport Canada to wear a mask on board all flights with the exception of those with an official doctor's note are exempt from mandatory masking.
"Canadian travellers and all of our WestJet Group employees are counting on us to keep them safe and it is our utmost priority to do so," said Ed Sims, The WestJet Group President and CEO in a news release. "Masks are mandated by our regulator and the vast majority of our guests are happy to keep themselves and each other safe by complying. This enhanced policy provides clarity on how we will enforce the regulation for those who don't. Travellers must understand if they choose to not wear a mask, they are choosing not to fly our airlines."
The WestJet Group also announced that effective Sept 1, the input of contact information of check-in of all guests is mandatory at online and kiosk to facilitate Public Health Agency of Canada and the provincial public health agencies across Canada with contact tracing in the case of infected individuals on board.
"We continue to work collaboratively with our health partners to adapt our procedures," added Sims in a news release. "A coordinated approach is essential, and we are advocating for contact tracing enhancements along with the introduction of testing."
#Quebec; #Tourism; #liftingBansOnFestivals; #ComplianceWithHealthAuthorities
Quebec, Aug. 5 (Canadian-Media): Quebec's Minister of Tourism, Caroline Proulx announced Aug 5 lifting of the cancellation of festivals and events for all regions of Quebec following Quebec government's proclamation to allow a maximum of 250 people for outdoor gatherings, media reports said.
Caroline Proulx. Image credit: Twitter Handle
Organizers of the festivals and events will be able to resume their activities as of Aug 5 subject to their compliance with the directives of the public health authorities of allowing 250 as maximum number of people on the outdoor site and maintenance of a distance of 2 meters between participants who do not reside at the same address.
Festival and event organizers will also be able to hold indoor events for up to 250 people, as authorized by public health since August 3, and will have to comply with sanitary measures and other guidelines related to these activities.
This announcement marks an important first step for the relaunch of the tourism sector in Quebec as well as the economy of all its regions.
“This is great news for festival and event organizers as well as for workers, artists and all businesses related to this sector. Since the start of this crisis, our promoters have shown remarkable resilience and creativity. Today, we support them in restarting their activities, while ensuring everyone's safety by means of clear guidelines. Festival and event planners are professionals in managing gatherings, and I have no doubts that this takeover will be done responsibly," said Proulx in a news release.
#Canada; #AirTransat; #WesternCanada
Ottawa, Jul 31 (Canadian-Media): Cancellations of all flights from Western Canada to sun destinations and the United States this winter are being planned by Air Transat, with refunds en route to customers, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Image: Air Transat. Image credit: Twitter handle
All southbound routes that were scheduled to take off from Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria are being cancelled by the airline, Air Transat parent Transat AT told customers this week.
Between Nov. 1 and April 30 the only routes out of western gateways will be from Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal, and some connecting flights to Europe via Toronto.
A full refund will be received by the would-be passengers automatically rather than the company credit that has previously been offered for flights cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, Transat said.
"Since the current situation does not allow us to foresee resuming routes from Western Canada in the near future and there will therefore be no direct flight options to use vouchers with Air Transat from their location, customers impacted by cancellations resulting from this suspension will receive a refund in the amount on file," Transat spokesperson Marie-Christine Pouliot said in an email, CBC News reported.
#Canada; #US; #CanadaUSBorderClosure; #HealthSafety
Ottawa, Jul 14 (Canadian-Media): It has been confirmed by CBC News confirmed that the agreement to restrict travel across the Canada-U.S. border will be extended into August, media reports said.
Canada-US Border. Image credit: Flickr
The agreement was set to expire on July 21 and is now being renewed for the fourth time since the border closed to non-essential traffic on March 21.
The extension comes after a range of issues that included the border closure were discussed Monday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump over the phone.
Despite calls from U.S. members of Congress to consider a phased plan for reopening, Canadian government officials say they expect the border to stay largely closed for the foreseeable future.
The fact that U.S. states are being hit record daily highs in a large number of COVID-19 cases, any resumption of pre-pandemic travel a would cause significant health threat to Canada.
"We recognize that the situation continues to be complex in the United States in regards to COVID-19," Trudeau said Monday at a press conference. "Every month, we have been able to extend the border closures to all but essential goods and services and those discussions are ongoing."
80 percent of Canadians, according to recent polls, favour keeping the border restrictions in place.
It has also been suggested by some leading public health experts the border should remain closed until at least the end of the year.
Owing to the differences in the epidemiological climates in the two countries, the border closure continues to make sense from a public health perspective, said Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy public health officer.
"Canadians have made tremendous sacrifices to date in terms of flattening the curve and we're seeing the fruits of our labours," Njoo said. "We don't want to ... waste these efforts by potentially ... reintroducing the virus into Canada and increasing the risk of further transmission."
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet told reporters that the border should remain closed because the pandemic is still out of control in the U.S.
"If we take examples of countries who managed well this crisis, in the list of those who did well, you won't find the United States," Blanchet said.
"As long as the border appears to be a threat in the health of Quebecers and Canadians, it should remain closed."
#Montreal; #AirCanada; #SuspendedRoutes; #CancelledRoutes; #Covid19Pandemic
Montreal, Jun 30 (Canadian-Media): 30 domestic regional routes are being indefinitely suspended and eight stations at regional airports across Canada are being closed by Air Canada due to an unprecedented decline in demand for air travel as a result of COVID-19, media reports said.
Air Canada. Image credit: Twitter handle
Canada's largest domestic and international airline, Air Canada is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2019 served over 51 million customers. Being a founding member of Star Alliance, Air Canada is the world's most comprehensive air transportation network.
Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to An independent U.K. research firm Skytrax, which also named Air Canada the as 2019 Best Airline in North America.
The Montreal-based airline said Tuesday that these cuts are the result of continuing decline in demand for both business and leisure travel because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and border closures.
As the company has previously reported, Air Canada expects the industry's recovery will take a minimum of three years. As a consequence, other changes to its network and schedule, as well as further service suspensions, will be considered over the coming weeks as the airline takes steps to decisively reduce its overall cost structure and cash burn rate.
As a result of COVID-19, Air Canada reported a net loss of $1.05 billion in the first quarter of 2020, including a net cash-burn in March of $688 million. The carrier has undertaken a range of structural changes including significant cost savings and liquidity measures, of which today's announced service suspensions form part.
Other measures include: Approximately 20,000 employees were reduced from the workforce through layoffs, severances, early retirements and special leaves, representing more than 50 percent of its staff; around $1.1 billion in savings to date by a company-wide Cost Reduction and Capital Deferral Program; Its system-wide capacity reduced by approximately 85 percent in the second quarter compared to last year's second quarter and an expected third quarter capacity reduction of at least 75% from the third quarter of 2019; the permanent removal of 79 aircraft from its mainline and Rouge fleets; and raising approximatively $5.5 billion in liquidity since March 13, 2020, through a series of debt, aircraft and equity financings.
Further initiatives are being considered.
A full list of route suspensions and station closures is below.
The following routes will be suspended indefinitely as per applicable regulatory notice requirements. Affected customers will be contacted by Air Canada and offered options, including alternative routings where available.
Maritimes/Newfoundland and Labrador: Deer Lake-Goose Bay; Deer Lake-St. John's; Fredericton-Halifax; Fredericton-Ottawa; Moncton-Halifax; Saint John-Halifax; Charlottetown-Halifax; Moncton-Ottawa; Gander-Goose Bay; Gander-St. John's; Bathurst-Montreal; Wabush-Goose Bay; Wabush-Sept-Iles; Goose Bay-St. John's.
Quebec/Ontario: Baie Comeau-Montreal; Baie Comeau-Mont Joli; Gaspé-Iles de la Madeleine; Gaspé-Quebec City; Sept-Iles-Quebec City; Val d'Or-Montreal; Mont Joli-Montreal; Rouyn-Noranda-Val d'Or; Kingston-Toronto; London-Ottawa; North Bay-Toronto; and Windsor-Montreal
Western Canada: Regina-Winnipeg; Regina-Saskatoon; Regina-Ottawa; Saskatoon-Ottawa.
The Regional Airports where Air Canada is closing its stations are Bathurst (New Brunswick); Wabush (Newfoundland and Labrador); Gaspé (Quebec); Baie Comeau (Quebec); Mont Joli (Quebec); Val d'Or (Quebec); Kingston (Ontario); North Bay (Ontario)
Toronto, Jun 18 (Canadian-Media): Consulate General of India, Toronto office provides Vande Bharat mission flights' schedules, as follows.
#CanadaUSBorderCrossing; #FlyingToUSPermitted; #CBP; #TravelRestrictions
Ottawa, Jun 12 (Canadian-Media): Many Canadians are unaware of the fact that even if they are currently barred crossing the Canad-US border for driving to the United states for leisure travel can still fly to the country, media reports said.
CBP. Image credit: TwitterHandle
CBCNews said that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had told CBCNews that its travel restrictions apply only to Canadians trying to enter the U.S. at land border crossings, which includes travel by car, train, ferry and pleasure boats, said CBC news.
Canadian traveling by air can still enter the country subject to the condition that they haven't visited Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the U.K. or 26 European countries in the Schengen Area 14 days prior to their flight.
It is also not required by Canadian travelers to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
Although it is recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that international travelers should isolate, but it's not a requirement unless specified by a particular region or state. For example, Hawaii requires that air passengers self-isolate for 14 days.
But after Canadians returning home, they must self-isolate for 14 days — as per federal rules.
The U.S. air travel rule isn't widely known on either side of the border.
U.S. immigration lawyer Len Saunders said he only became aware of the details recently.
The permission to fly does not apply on the US side of the border.
Canada prohibits U.S. visitors from entering the country via all modes of transport — including by plane.
However, this week, travel restrictions were loosened by the Canadian government to allow U.S. citizens with immediate family in Canada to enter the country.
Canadians will still be able to fly to the U.S., unless the country revises its rules.
CBP didn't provide CBC News with an explanation. Instead, it sent a link to a Department of Homeland Security document that states that "non-essential travel between the United States and Canada poses additional risk of transmission and spread of COVID–19."
But the document doesn't state the reason why travel restrictions for Canadians only apply to land border crossings.