OttawaMatters: 'We can't go on like this:' A call for 24/7 OC Transpo communication, other measures

City Councillors Shawn Menard and Catherine McKenney released a statement, offering suggestions on how the city should be dealing with light rail and bus problems.

By: Mike Vlasveld

From broken train doors to bad smells and slippery stairs, Ottawa City Councillors Shawn Menard and Catherine McKenney say problems with OC Transpo's

Confederation Line have continued with no improvements made to the city's public transit service. 
 
The two wrote a statement, released Friday afternoon, titled, 'Statement on Ongoing Transit Problems and City Leadership."

In it, they describe aspects of OC Transpo's current level of service, which they deem unacceptable.

"We can’t go on like this. It’s not fair to our residents and it’s having a detrimental impact on the City of Ottawa as a whole," the statement reads. "Residents deserve better. The city needs to be up front with riders and show leadership."

The councillors are calling on Transit Chair Allan Hubley, Mayor Jim Watson and General Manager John Manconi to implement four measures:

  • Appoint communications personnel, dedicated to providing 24/7, up-to-date, transparent information to the public and to City Councillors.

  • Accept immediate assistance of external and independent help to solve ongoing mechanical and operational problems with light rail transit.

  • City leadership to hold twice-weekly press conferences, as well as provide transparent memos to council.

  • An evening public meeting on the issues with bus service that residents are still experiencing after the launch of LRT, with solutions offered by OC Transpo.

Read the full statement below:

"Statement on Ongoing Transit Problems and City Leadership

We are six weeks into the full transition to LRT, and we are seeing no improvements to the service we are providing residents. Problems have persisted from the start and although we have seen some improvement, many issues continue through today.

From broken doors and bad smells, to stalled trains and slippery stairs, and finally to cracked tracks forcing trains to creep along at 10 km/h, this roll-out of LRT has confirmed the worst fears of the P3 procurement undertaken.

We can’t go on like this. It’s not fair to our residents and it’s having a detrimental impact on the City of Ottawa as a whole.

Make no mistake, transit is the future for our city, and light rail will play a key role in that future. The transition to LRT should have been the first step in our transition to a Transit City. Unfortunately, residents are losing faith in OC Transpo.

They aren’t being informed regularly. They don’t know when the problems will be fixed and what we are doing to fix them. They don’t know that they can trust transit anymore. Soon, more and more people will turn to other modes of transportation, furthering congestion on our streets.

Residents deserve better. The city needs to be up front with riders and show leadership.

I am calling on Transit Chair Allan Hubley, Mayor Jim Watson and General Manager John Manconi to provide sustained leadership on LRT and Ottawa’s transit system, both on good days and especially on bad days.

My office is calling on them to implement the following four concrete actions:

  • Provide 24/7 coverage by communications personnel dedicated to providing up-to-date, transparent information to the public and to City Councillors.

  • The immediate assistance of external and independent help to solve the ongoing mechanical and operational problems with LRT.

  • For city leadership to hold twice-weekly press conferences and providetransparent memos to council.

  • An evening public meeting on the issues with bus service that residents are still experiencing after the launch of LRT, with solutions offered by OC Transpo.

The LRT launch and resulting bus service has been a disaster, taking a toll not only on train service, but also our bus system. 

Riders have suffered through inadequate service for years, waiting for LRT to finally launch. The city owes it to them to take every step necessary to communicate properly and fix our broken transit system.

I implore the Chair, the Mayor and the General Manager to take up this call."

Phone: 613-580-2484
Address: 110 Laurier Ave W, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1