Durham Regional Council renews dedication to transit funding following Unifor campaign

Source: Unifor National

April 10, 2024


Unifor is thrilled its Fund Durham Region Transit campaign propelled Durham Regional Council to reaffirm its dedication to working towards fully funding the 127% service growth needed – or 625,000 hours – for its transit system by 2032.

“Quality public transit systems create equitable, sustainable and vibrant communities that can benefit working communities across the country,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne.

“We are proud that the work of Unifor activists resulted in a commitment from Durham Region to continue to fund a vital lifeline for its growing population, which in turn supports good jobs for our members.”

The national union worked closely with Unifor Local 222 to put pressure on the region’s councillors on the transit and budget committees to make clear that without sufficient funding, Durham’s transit services will move from crisis-to-crisis, undermining public trust in transit.

This year, Durham Transit is expected to experience a projected ridership growth to 13.4 million passengers, exceeding peak-pre-pandemic ridership by 30%. The region’s population is also forecasted to reach around 1.3 million by 2051.

Last April, Durham Region identified the transit challenge before us. It announced a commitment to more than double bus service provided by the transit authority over the next decade, which would see service hours increase by 127% by 2032.

The approved reasonable 10-year plan also includes capital investments towards making the fleet electric and the construction of new terminals.

We made it clear to Regional Council, that taxpayers demand and deserve tangible results for their tax dollars,” said Unifor Local 222 President Jeff Gray. “An enhanced transit system is not an option, it’s a responsible investment that ensures nobody from our region is left behind.”

During the Fund DRT campaign, hundreds of signatures were submitted to an online petition that went directly to councillors, mayors, and Durham’s Regional Chair. Unifor maintained a strong presence at the region’s Transit Executive Committee and budget meetings and spread the importance of the campaign through the union’s social media channels.

Several councillors indicated to Local 222 that they received a large response from the public through the Fund DRT campaign, which proves that the public wants a transit system they can rely on and that the funding for the population growth needs to be honoured.

“Our campaign for funding has made Councillors aware that Durham Region Transit needs to be a viable option for all members of the public and not just an option of last resort,” said Ian Sinnott, Local 222 Durham Region Transit Unit Chair.

“The campaign has also built solidarity amongst Durham Region Transit members, who are very appreciative of Unifor’s unwavering support.”

Unifor continues to call on all levels of government, including municipalities, to address the growing transit crisis and move to fill the funding shortfall.