Updates on Para Transpo Challenge

This year, the Ottawa Transit Riders is trying something new for our transit challenge – we’re calling on all city councillors and senior OC Transpo executives to take a ride on Para Transpo with an Ambassador.

Media are welcome too!

This week, Para Ambassador (and disability rights advocate) Terrie Meehan took CBC journalist Amanda Putz on Para Transpo. Their interview can be heard here:

https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-100/clip/16067463

Kudos to Glen Gower and Marty Carr who have taken multiple trips!

We are also very pleased that OC Transpo manager Renée Amilcar participated.

So far, these people have participated:

Glen Gower

Marty Carr

Joel Harden

Renée Amilcar

Wilson Lo

Don’t see your city councillor here? Drop them an email to remind them that they should take advantage of this opportunity to learn more abut Para Transpo.

Mayor and City Councillors | City of Ottawa

 

 

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Upcoming events

 

Would you like to meet members of the Ottawa Transit Riders in person? Would you like to help staff a table at one of our events and talk about transit (that’s always fun!).

 

Here is a list of upcoming events where we will have a table. Please swing by to say “hello”.

 

June 1st

Sandy Hill Eco Fair

June 29th

Main Market (Grande Allee Park)

July 21st

Barrhaven market

July 28th

Lansdowne market

August 17th

Westboro market

 

New dates and events will be added as we confirm.

 

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OC Transpo offers early morning start for Marathon

You may remember that last year, participants and spectators of the Ottawa Marathon were rather shocked that the LRT did not start operating until 8am, a full hour after the race began. This meant that people were forced to use other means to get around, on a day when traffic is horrific.

We always like to give credit where credit is due so let’s acknowledge that OC Transpo learned a valuable lesson from the criticism.

This year, the LRT will start in plenty of time to give people the option of taking public transit to the race.

Ottawa LRT Line 1 service starting early on Ottawa Marathon day

Whether you attend the Marathon or not, you can breath a sigh of relief at this decision to encourage people to leave their cars at home on a day that is legendary for traffic woes.

 

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Transit Advisory Working Group

Do you remember the city recruiting volunteers for its transit advisory board? We promoted it on our website hoping that some passionate transit advocates would be selected.

Well, we still don’t know who was selected, but many members of the Ottawa Transit Riders, including board members and advocates for Para Transpo received rejection letters this week. It seems that the city does not want people who speak up about transit – they are likely looking for yes-men (yes-people?).

Democracy is about more than voting every few years – it’s a system where ordinary citizens can express opinions and advocate for their causes.

It’s frustrating that city council sees people who care about the city as adversaries, rather than as allies.

Citizen representatives get boot from transit commission

Vous souvenez-vous que la ville a recruté des bénévoles pour son comité consultatif sur les transports en commun ? Nous en avons fait la promotion sur notre site Web en espérant que des défenseurs passionnés du transport en commun seraient sélectionnés.

Nous ne savons toujours pas qui a été choisi, mais de nombreux membres du groupe des usagers de transport en commun d'Ottawa, y compris des membres du conseil d'administration et des défenseurs de Para Transpo, ont reçu des lettres de refus cette semaine. Il semble que la ville ne veuille pas de personnes qui s'expriment sur le transport en commun - elle cherche plutôt des béni-oui-oui.

La démocratie, c'est plus qu'un simple vote à quelques années d'intervalle - c'est un système dans lequel les citoyens ordinaires peuvent exprimer leurs opinions et défendre leurs causes.

Il est frustrant que le conseil municipal considère les personnes qui s'intéressent à la ville comme des adversaires plutôt que comme des alliés.

 

 

 

 

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Today is the Launch of Para Transpo Challenge 2024

Remember the Ottawa Transit Challenge where Ottawa Transit Riders asked city councillors to use transit for a week?

Well, we’re doing it again, but with a twist.

Today, we launched a new challenge, asking the mayor and city councillors to take a ride with Para Ambassadors on Para Transpo. The Para Transpo Challenge will take place from March 28th to May 31st (end of National AccessAbility week).

Why, you ask?

Because these are the people who make all sorts of decisions about transit and it seems important that they know a little about the service that they are talking about.

Did you know that people who use ParaTranspo have to book their rides at least 24 hours in advance? That means no spontaneous drinks with friends; no taking advantage of last-minute tickets to an event …

Did you know that if you cancel a booking, you may have to justify your decision?

Did you know that Para users can’t specify what time they want to be dropped off so they end up guessing (and wasting time)?

Did you know that OC Transpo considers Para Transpo to be “on-time” if they arrive within a 30 minute window?

We hope that city councillors take advantage of this opportunity to speak one-on-one with Para users. It’s a great way to get to know residents who get around the city by a different mode.

We hope that journalists join in the Challenge - email the Ottawa Transit Riders if you want to participate.

As for the rest of us, follow this blog to see who has taken the challenge and what they noticed.

Encourage your own councillor to participate - a more accessible city is a better city to live in and we’re hopeful that this (relatively) new city council can make some meaningful improvements.

 

 

 

 

 

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Joel Harden talking about transit on Saturday

On Saturday, March 16th, MPP Joel Harden will hold a Community Canvass, starting at McNabb Park (180 Percy street) from 11:30 to 1:30.

After that, he will hold a Transit Townhall at McNabb at 2:30 PM.

For details on both events, go to his website at Day of Action Events - Joel Harden

The Provincial government has a role to play in supporting public transit – come and talk to Joel about what you want to see in our city.

 

Le samedi 16 mars, le député provincial Joel Harden fera du porte-à-porte dans la collectivité, en commençant par le parc McNabb (180, rue Percy), de 11 h 30 à 13 h 30.

Ensuite, il tiendra une assemblée publique sur le transport en commun au centre communautaire de McNabb à 14 h 30.

Pour plus d'informations sur ces deux événements, consultez son site web.

Le gouvernement provincial a un rôle à jouer dans le soutien au transport en commun - venez parler à Joel de ce que vous voulez voir dans notre ville.

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Looking for Para Ambassadors

Do you use Para Transpo?

Are you frustrated with issues like scheduling?

Do you wish that city councillors understood the concerns of people who use Para Transpo?

Do you have ideas on how to improve service?

The Ottawa Transit Riders are looking for people who use Para Transpo to act as Para Ambassadors for an upcoming transit challenge from March to June.

Would you like to participate? Contact [email protected] for details.

 

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Beyond the Carbon Tax

Free Transit Ottawa, City for All Women Initiative (CAWI), Ecology Ottawa, Fridays for Future, Horizon Ottawa and Justice for Workers invite you to a presentation on “Fighting Climate Change: Beyond the Carbon Tax”.

It will be held on Monday, March 18 at 7:30 PM

PSAC building, 233 Gilmour street, 1st floor.

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Putting Wheels on the Bus - we need govt funding

Transit advocates are talking about a report called “Putting Wheels on the Bus” published by the Environmental Defence and Équiterre that calls on all levels of government to support public transit.

The pathway to doubling public transit use by 2035

Public transit is an excellent use of public tax dollars – good quality transit helps everyone (even people who don’t ride transit).

Good transit provides freedom to those who can’t drive. Good transit allows low income residents to get to school and to work and to appointments.

Accessible transit, along with well maintained sidewalks and other infrastructure, provides independence to people with mobility challenges.

Good public transit allows people to leave their cars at home, thus contributing to the battle against climate change. It reduces traffic and pollution and competition for parking.

All in all, good, reliable, affordable, accessible public transit is something worth fighting for.

Federal government must step up transit funding to cut emissions

A useful quote from the article:

Municipalities are not allowed to borrow money for their operating budgets and are restricted in what taxes they can levy. This has led to reduced service and increased fares. This in turn leads to even lower ridership, which inevitably translates to more service cuts and fare increases – a vicious downward spiral. 

The Environmental Defence and Équiterre is an environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

The study discusses how Canada can double public transit ridership by 2035, which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 65 million tons between 2024 and 2035; the equivalent of the annual emissions from 20 million cars.

Click to read the report, “Putting Wheels on the Bus”.

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Environmental Defence and Équiterre report

We all have our own reasons for advocating for better transit – it improves equity, it helps people who are low income, it offers freedom to people who don’t drive, it reduces pollution and traffic …

The Environmental Defence and Équiterre, an environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities has just released a study on how Canada can double public transit ridership by 2035. Improving public transit can reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 65 million tons between 2024 and 2035 which is the equivalent of the annual emissions from 20 million cars.

Home - Environmental Defence

The report, “Putting Wheels on the Bus” can be found here: PUTTING WHEELS ON THE BUS - Environmental Defence

In the report, they list five specific things that Canada can do to promote public transit:

1.Fund Public Transit Operations to Get More People Riding on Transit

This means making full use of all the extra buses and trains, designing public transit networks to encourage trips beyond "the commute to work" by providing frequent, all-day bus service, and incentivize cities to build dedicated transit right-of-way infrastructure, like bus lanes.

2.Build More Houses Near Public Transit

This would mean implementing zoning policies that require a minimum level of housing density to be built near public transit and eliminate parking minimums.

3.Use Public Transit as a Tool to Advance Equity Goals

This means ensuring that the travel patterns of equity-seeking groups and marginalized people are met through tools like: increased service outside of peak periods, federal operations funding for low-income fare discounts and anti-displacement strategies to ensure those who are most likely to take transit can actually afford to live near it.

4.Implement Zero-Emission Bus Requirements

This would mean shifting one-off electrification funding projects to making zero-emissions public transit a core feature of ongoing, permanent capital funding. The federal government should introduce procurement requirements for zero-emission buses as a condition to receive funding, whilst allowing for flexibility based on city size.

5.Set Clear Goals to Shift People from Cars to Sustainable Transportation

This would mean setting targets to double public transit ridership by 2035 (compared to 2023 levels) and reduce vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) by 35% by 2035 (compared to 2019 levels). This can be done through funding deals that require municipalities to meet minimum targets based on community size that collectively achieve national goals. That also means getting started now by accelerating the Permanent Public Transit Fund to begin in 2024 rather than 2026.

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