Volunteer for Transit Advisory Working Group

Are you frustrated with the state of transit in this city?

Who am I fooling? If you’re on this website, you’re likely familiar with the challenges of transit in Ottawa. Well, here’s a chance to make your voice heard. The city is recruiting volunteers to sit on a new Transit Advisory Working Group.

Details can be found here on Councillor Gower’s webpage: Recruitment for the Transit Advisory Working Group - Glen Gower | Councillor / Conseiller | Stittsville

Please consider applying – we need people who understand the value of public transit on this working group.

If you are interested in providing a voice on the future of our city’s transit services, please complete the application form before 5:00 pm on Friday, December 22, 2023. Questions can be sent to [email protected]


Êtes-vous frustré par l'état des transports en commun dans cette ville ?

Qui suis-je en train de tromper ? Si vous êtes sur ce site Web, vous êtes probablement au courant des défis que pose le transport en commun à Ottawa. Voici l'occasion de faire entendre votre voix. La Ville recrute des bénévoles pour faire partie d'un nouveau groupe de travail consultatif sur le transport en commun.

Les détails se trouvent ici, sur la page Web du conseiller Gower : Recruitment for the Transit Advisory Working Group - Glen Gower | Councillor / Conseiller | Stittsville

N'hésitez pas à poser votre candidature - nous avons besoin de personnes qui comprennent la valeur des transports en commun dans ce groupe de travail.

Si vous souhaitez vous faire entendre sur l’avenir de nos services de transport en commun, veuillez remplir le formulaire de candidature d’ici 17 h le vendredi 22 décembre 2023. Vous pouvez envoyer vos questions à l’adresse [email protected].

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Rally at City Hall Wed 6 Dec

Members of the Ottawa Transit Riders will join other community members from groups such as Horizon and Acorn at a rally at City Hall on Wednesday December 6th to battle for a budget that serves ALL residents of the city.

Community services are pleading for more funding even as mayor Sutcliffe has been dipping into emergency reserves to keep property taxes at a level that is unsustainable to maintain even basic services. 

Austerity hurts.

Councillors have proposed to raise the transit levy 1% (about $8 per household) in order to freeze transit fares. That seems pretty reasonable to most people.

Come join us if you can.



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Media stories in November

Transit has been in the news recently:

OC Transpo digs into reserves, weighs layoffs to fill $50M hole | CBC News

Riders warn OC Transpo cuts will hurt most vulnerable | CBC News

OC Transpo bus route overhaul draws public's ire (msn.com)

OC Transpo faces $49.8 million shortfall in 2024 (msn.com)

Ordinary citizens are expressing their frustration. Here is a quote from Reddit (apologies for not crediting the writer)

I’m tired of hearing about OC Transpo’s “deficit”. It’s a public service that benefits everyone, even if you only drive you benefit from reduced cars on the road, pollution, noise, etc. etc.

The military doesn’t turn a profit. Highways don’t turn a profit. Sidewalks don’t turn a profit. Storm sewers don’t turn a profit. We pay taxes and expect these services in return. WHY is public transit the only service that has this self-defeating point-of-service user fee associated? Imagine we had to pay $3.25 every time we used a sidewalk? Or when it rained we had to pay $3.25 to unlock our nearby catch basin? IT DOESNT MAKE SENSE.

Also, an excellent article from Nick Grover of Free Transit Ottawa: Grover: Want better public transit, Ottawa? Invest in it | Ottawa Citizen


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Talk to your councillor about transit cuts

The Transit Commission meeting held on Tuesday, November 14th was very long. There were a lot of delegations – a lot of people tried to make councillors understand that the proposed cuts will make transit worse.

Feeling hopeless?

It’s not over yet.

On December 6th, the councillors will debate raising the transit levy from 2.5% to 3.5%. That works out to about $8 per household.

Are you willing to pay an additional $8 per year to support transit?

Contact your city councillor. Call them, email them, talk to them at an event. Explain why good quality transit is such an important issue. They work for us and they need to vote better.

La réunion de la commission des transports qui s'est tenue le mardi 14 novembre a été très longue. Il y avait beaucoup de délégations - beaucoup de gens ont essayé de faire comprendre aux conseillers que les coupures proposées aggraveront la situation du transport en commun.

Vous vous sentez désespéré ?

Rien n'a encore été décidé.

Le 6 décembre, les conseillers débattront de l'augmentation de la taxe sur les transports en commun de 2,5 % à 3,5 %. Cela représente environ 8 dollars par ménage.

Êtes-vous prêt à payer 8 dollars de plus par an pour soutenir les transports en commun ?

Contactez votre conseiller municipal. Appelez-le, envoyez-lui un courriel, parlez-lui lors d'un événement. Expliquez-leur pourquoi un transport en commun de qualité est une question si importante. Ils travaillent pour nous et doivent mieux voter.

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Transit Commission Nov 14th

The next Transit Commission meeting is Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 9:30 AM.

You can attend by going in-person to Champlain Room, 110 Laurier Avenue West, or you can watch the meeting on YouTube: Ottawa City Council - YouTube

The agenda is here: Transit Commission - November 14, 2023 (escribemeetings.com)

You can email Eric Pelot at [email protected] /  (613) 580-2424, ext. 22953 to ask to speak as a delegate (indicate which agenda item) or you can submit a written letter that will be part of the official record of the meeting (letters are NOT read aloud).

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Councillor Gower takes Para Transpo

By Sally Thomas

As many disability advocates have said, Para Transpo, Ottawa’s paratransit system leaves the user a lot to be desired! Advocates have often asked councillors if they would ride along with Para users to experience the challenges for themselves.

Last week, the Chair of the Transit Commission, Glen Gower, agreed to accompany me on a small errand to the grocery store for one item.

The goal was to demonstrate what it’s like to use Para Transpo for ordinary tasks. I want to show all councillors how decisions made by the City Council and the Transit Commission affect those of us who have to use it as a primary way to get around. In fact, for the majority of Para Transpo’s thousands of users, it is our only way of getting around.

Plans for this began with a challenge made on X (formerly Twitter) for any Councillor to join me and experience it for themselves. Graciously, Councillor Gower accepted.

For those of you who don’t know, Councillor Gower represents Stittsville, which is quite a distance from downtown Ottawa where I live. After a bit of negotiation, we planned to meet on October 17 at 9:30 in the morning. Para Transpo users cannot just hop on a bus and ‘go get milk’. They require 24 hour notice, so before booking a ride for us, I had to confirm that we were still on schedule to go. Para Transpo also requires notice if anyone will be accompanying you on your trip…and whether or not they require a mobility device, to ensure there is space in the vehicle. Of course, we met in Somerset Ward where I live.

To his credit, Mr. Gower also decided to take conventional transit to meet me. Not surprisingly, his commute from Stittsville to Somerset was shorter than our commute to the grocery store, seven minutes by vehicle from my place! It took him 90 minutes to get to me and it took us two hours round trip. As I told him, ‘not too bad’!

Our bus to the store was 15 minutes late. The driver had picked someone else up on the way. We then spent almost ten minutes in my parking lot, securing my wheelchair and paying his fare. My card is registered with Para Transpo, so my fare was already recorded. The card reader that advocates fought hard to have in the buses, did not work. Ultimately, he paid cash.

We can only book rides 90 minutes apart, so when we were done, we had 45 minutes to wait for the ride home. Thankfully we were able to enjoy a hot beverage and a fruitful conversation about his experience. 


I encourage other Para Transpo users to connect with their councillors to share their experiences.


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Recent articles about transit in October

Para-Parity demands greater accessibility for OC Transpo riders - The Fulcrum

As a follow up to the Para Awareness Event in September, several members of the Ottawa Transit Riders talked about demands for Para Parity:

  • Offer same-day booking / on-demand booking
  • Provide 24-hour booking and service
  • Be flexible with cancellations
  • Coordinate how riders/dispatchers choose destination/pick up locations
  • Ensure that Presto readers on new buses are accessible to riders
  • Conduct a planning session with first responders and Para Transpo riders to discuss evacuation options
  • Communicate alternatives when elevators are out-of-service

Para Parity: Transit riders fill city hall with chants to fix transit | CTV News

A report on the transit rally where Ottawa Transit Riders, Free Transit Ottawa, Ecology Ottawa and Horizon Ottawa organized a group of people to march through City Hall demanding better transit.

Sign a petition demanding “no more cuts to public transit



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How to speak up on the budget

Consultations for the budget are coming up. Click on the link to sign up for a session.

Councillor-led consultations

Such consultations are a way to have your voice heard and push councillors to approve a budget that serves local residents.

Consultations start on Wednesday, October 18th. 


If you want more information about the budget process and how to participate, Sam Hersh from Horizon Ottawa and Inez Hillel from Vivic Research will host a brown bag lunch on Thursday, October 19 · 12 - 1 PM.

Click on the Eventbrite invitation for details.

City Budget 101: How to Get Involved 

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Budget consultations 2023

Democracy is more than just voting every four years.

In a healthy democracy, residents have an opportunity to communicate our needs to our councillors.

The city budget should reflect our values.

Most city councillors will host “consultations” in their neighbourhoods over the next few weeks to discuss the upcoming budget. Some councillors in neighbouring wards will host joint-sessions. Please contact your own councillor to find out when their session will be held or check the list on the city of Ottawa website.

Budget 2024 Information | City of Ottawa

Such sessions can be an excellent way to meet your councillor, advocate for causes that matter to you, and network with like-minded neighbours.

The pandemic has shone a light on our inequalities and frailties. Where would we be without essential grocery staff, pharmacy employees, and healthcare workers? Do you feel that the city is moving in the right direction? Do you feel that the city is taking care of residents?

We’re hoping to convince councillors to support a fare freeze (why should people pay MORE for the level of service OC Transpo is offering?) and improved service. We also want OC Transpo to clarify how much money they need to provide adequate service. Then, we can debate where the money will come from. Would you be willing to pay a few dollars more in taxes per year for better transit?

Sign up and talk to councillors.

La démocratie ne se résume pas à un simple vote tous les quatre ans.

Dans une démocratie saine, les habitants ont la possibilité de communiquer leurs besoins à leurs conseillers.

Le budget de la ville doit refléter nos valeurs.

La plupart des conseillers municipaux organiseront des « consultations » dans leur quartier au cours des prochaines semaines pour discuter du prochain budget. Certains conseillers de quartiers voisins organiseront des sessions conjointes. Veuillez contacter votre conseiller pour connaître la date de sa séance ou consultez la liste sur le site Web de la ville d'Ottawa.

Informations budgétaires 2024

Ces sessions peuvent être un excellent moyen de rencontrer votre conseiller, de défendre les causes qui vous tiennent à cœur et de nouer des contacts avec des voisins partageant les mêmes idées.

La pandémie a mis en lumière nos inégalités et nos fragilités. Que serions-nous sans les employés des épiceries, des pharmacies et des services de santé ? Pensez-vous que la ville va dans la bonne direction ? Pensez-vous que la ville prend soin de ses habitants ?

Nous espérons convaincre les conseillers municipaux d'appuyer un gel des tarifs (pourquoi les gens devraient-ils payer PLUS pour le niveau de service qu'OC Transpo offre ?) Nous voulons également qu'OC Transpo précise le montant dont elle a besoin pour offrir un service adéquat. Ensuite, nous pourrons débattre de la provenance de cet argent. Seriez-vous prêt à payer quelques dollars de plus en impôts par an pour de meilleurs transports en commun ?

Inscrivez-vous et parlez aux conseillers.




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Ottawa Transit Riders at Elgin Market Oct 1

You might like to know that members of Ottawa Transit Riders will be staffing a table at the Elgin Street Market (Boushey Square) on Sunday, October 1st.

Come by and say “Hi!”

Vous aimeriez peut-être savoir que des membres du groupe des usagers de transport en commun d'Ottawa tiendront une table au marché de la rue Elgin (Boushey Carré) le dimanche 1 octobre.

Venez nous rendre visite et dire « Bonjour ! »


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