Statement to media and letter to the Ombudsman regarding the LRT

This morning some of my Council colleagues and I held a news conference regarding the LRT. Here’s what I said: Read the draft letter to the Ombudsman

Good morning.

We are here today to talk about next steps in the LRT saga.

Residents are frustrated and they are angry.

They need to be able to count on our city’s transit system to get to work, or to the hospital, or to run their errands.

Day after day, week after week, we see problems with the trains and stations.

  • The catenary system coming loose and tearing out cables
  • Faulty inductors and electrical arcing
  • Cracks in the inductors
  • Odours at Parliament and Rideau
  • Cracks in the tracks
  • Frozen track switches
  • Computer failures
  • Jammed doors
  • Brake issues, caused by emergency braking
  • Wheel flats
  • A piece of a train falling off, damaging more of the same train
  • Elevators broken over 65 times

It has become clear to everyone that these trains were not well-designed for our winter weather. Something HAS to change.

At the same time, problems with the LRT are affecting the bus system.

We’re pulling buses from regular routes to supply the S1 and R1 train relief.

We promised residents that the constantly late or cancelled buses would be addressed as soon as we had the trains running. Instead, we removed critical routes, failed to fix problems with the GPS system, and continued to operate bus transit and ParaTranspo without any reliability.

So what is to be done?

Here’s our plan:

  1. We will bring a letter to the Ombudsman of Ontario as a motion to  Council requesting a full investigation into the LRT Stage I problems and into the LRT Stage II contract process. We have copies of the letter available to you.
  2. Seek independent legal advice – from a law firm not associated with SNC-Lavalin – to review the terms of the warranties with Alstom. We want to know when we can execute the “Epidemic defects warranty” and send these trains back for a full refund
  3. Seek additional independent legal advice regarding Rideau Transit Maintenance’s contract and when and how we may consider dissolving that agreement due to failure to perform. That would allow us to bring maintenance services in-house, as we have with the O-Train that’s been running smoothly for over 20 years.
  4. Hire a mass transit expert to advise and help design a full bus and train system that will effectively move people by transit across the entire city.

The people of Ottawa deserve – and are paying for – a transit system that works. They deserve reliable trains and buses that meet their daily needs.

Let’s stop going back to the same contractors, again and again, hoping something will change. It’s time that we, as Council, take charge of fixing our broken transit system.

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