Senior Project Officer
Mike Sone, senior project officer at GO Transit/Metrolinx in Toronto, Ontario, has always loved transit starting from his childhood in rural outskirts of Barrie, Ontario, (60 miles north of Toronto) when he built and operated his first subway to Africa in his basement to transport his furry friends. Whenever his parents took him to Toronto for a “big city” visit, Sone always wanted to ride the subway. In fact, all family trips to any major city involved at least one trip on the public transit system. On his own and with his wife, Sone has traveled to nearly 40 countries, and still explores their transit systems.
Sone earned his B.Sc. at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and his M.Sc. (Planning) at the University of Toronto with a specialization in urban transit planning. Within 16 months of graduating, Sone fast-tracked obtaining his professional designation as a Registered Professional Planner (Ontario), the first in his class, in a process that normally takes at least two years. In that same year, Sone became an integral transit planning specialist at the consulting firm where he was employed.
Sone joined GO Transit in 2004 first as a transportation planner. He was the project manager for some of the early work on GO Transit feasibility studies on network expansions to Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, Niagara Region and Peterborough, which GO Transit now serves. He was also involved in the planning and consultation for GO Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit project, working together with both the Ministry of Transportation (Ontario) and the city of Mississauga to plan and implement as many segments of GO Transit’s 60-mile Bus Rapid Transit plan from Pickering to Oakville, as possible. Under the direction of the manager of GO Planning, he worked on implementation of various new GO Transit services, administered the $6 million local transit subsidy program (co-fare) that encourages customers to take transit to connect to the GO Station and was instrumental in implementing the very popular business-card sized “Quick-Tables.”
Today, Sone is GO Bus Services’ coordinator for the PRESTO farecard project, a RF-technology smartcard project linking eight municipal transit systems and GO Transit to a single fare medium for improved connectivity and convenience.
He has also presented papers at both APTA and CUTA conferences and has lead technical tours when these respective conferences were hosted in Toronto, where he had the opportunity to meet transit professionals from many different properties across North America.
“I would like to see a dramatic increase in the number of grade-separated or prioritized transit measures in North America that would make transit convenient and better than the automobile, not only in cost but in time as well. But in order for that to happen, we need a continental shift in attitude, beyond the central cores of cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Chicago or New York, that transit is not merely for those without cars or money and that our land resources are not unlimited. It is a necessary urban component that will prevent city region economies from collapsing under traffic congestion and afford its citizens the kind of quality of life and environment that every human being deserves. It is a necessary component to maintain the integrity of the earth for generations to come. Fortunately, for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Metrolinx's Regional Transportation Plan, "The Big Move,” is a comprehensive vision that embodies many of these principals and I look forward to the day (much sooner than later) that it does the "big move" from paper to fruition.”