(Photo: Canadian Press)
With another morning commute on the LTR Confederation Line causing havoc in Ottawa, the 12th in the past four weeks, Mayor Jim Watson has initiated urgent revamping to the transit system starting November 4th.
“Over the last few weeks, we have been as frustrated as our transit users with the poor performance of LRT and the unreliability of our bus system. Following a number of issues taking place this morning, we once again convened a meeting with the City’s senior leadership team to see what can be done to bring some short-term stability to the system and enhance reliability for all users, both on LRT as well as our bus network” said an exasperated Mayor Watson.
In a written statement, the Mayor has approved $3.5 million in additional spending authority to ensure staff will have the resources required to increase the current level of service for transit users. OCTranspo General Manager, John Manconi, has been instructed to take action and implement —
- the use of 40 buses recently taken out of service are to be brought back into service;
- these additional buses will be deployed on routes that have faced chronic issues since the October 6 service change;
- on January 1, 2020, an additional 19 buses will join the fleet and further improve service; and
- working hand in hand with ATU 279 president Clint Crabtree, Mr. Manconi has found a solution to extend the current service booking past December 31, which will free up the bus drivers needed to operate these additional buses.
“Chair Hubley and I also want to reassure residents that these LRT issues are being taken extremely seriously. Finding solutions to these problems continues to be the number one priority at City Hall – both at the political and staff level” continued the Mayor.
Mayor Watson also assured residents and ridership that “the City is holding RTG/RTM to account for this ongoing poor performance of the system. As a result, and consistent with the Project Agreement, we have instructed staff to deduct $2.8 million from RTG’s October payment. Similar deductions will be made until the performance of the system improves and stabilizes.”
At the November 6 Transit Commission meeting, Mr. Manconi will provide substantial details on the ongoing work to find permanent solutions to the LRT issues.
The City’s 2020 draft budget, to be tabled November 6, will divulge further transit investments to improve the issues experienced by transit users.
Mayor Watson ended with “we want to once again apologize to our transit customers as we work through the growing pains of launching the Confederation Line.ˮ
OC Transpo users will have to wait to see what improvement these immediate initiatives will bring to Ottawa’s transit system.
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