SUDBURY -- Ontario is launching an online survey to get input on what can be done to improve passenger rail and bus services between Toronto, North Bay, Timmins and Cochrane.

Responses to the Northeastern Ontario transportation survey will be used to explore options for passenger rail services and help inform the future transportation plan for Northern Ontario.

"We're inviting everyone, particularly in Northeastern Ontario, to take our survey and help build a transportation network that works for their needs," aid Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, is quoted as saying in a news release Friday.

"The feedback we receive will be an important component to improving transportation options for northern communities and supporting economic growth in the north."

The survey seeks feedback on preferences for passenger rail and bus services in northeastern Ontario, including departure times, train frequency, travel time and cost considerations. The survey is open to public feedback, including municipalities, Indigenous communities, businesses and industry, with the deadline for all submissions on or before Nov. 20.

Input and feedback

"As part of our government's plan for passenger rail services in the north, we are seeking input and feedback on key details from the public," Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and MPP for Nipissing, said in the release. "This survey will allow people in Nipissing and communities across the region to have their say in continuing to improve those vital connections."

The survey builds on the province's recent actions to improve transportation across northern Ontario, the release said. This includes building and upgrading rest areas along highways in the north to provide drivers with safe places to stop and enhancing winter maintenance activities to clear roads faster.

Through 2020-21, the province will spend $625 million to expand and repair northern highways, estimated to create or sustain approximately 4,370 direct and indirect construction jobs.

"Our government recognizes the unique transportation needs and challenges of the North," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. "Improving transportation options and connecting communities will enhance quality of life by providing northerners with better access to services, medical appointments and family."

Ontario is developing regional transportation plans that will help build a better transportation system to keep people and goods moving across the province, including northern Ontario. This project is part of the province’s plan to get people where they need to go and support economic opportunities in the North.

The northeastern rail corridor from Toronto to Cochrane is home to over 3.1 million people.