Transit forum in KANATA Jan 21st

Are you curious what the expansion of the LRT will mean for people who rely on public transit?

What do you think transit advocates should be fighting for?

The Ottawa Transit Riders are inviting residents to attend an in-person transit forum to discuss local issues. Which buses are always late? Which ones are always over-crowded? Which ones are essential?

When? Saturday, January 21, 2023 from 2PM to 4PM

Where? St Paul’s Anglican Church, 20 Young Rd, Kanata

Nearest bus stops: Stop 3504, buses #61, 88 or Stop 6191, bus 61

Cost? FREE



This is the first in a series of conversations with people in suburban areas of Ottawa to learn what locals need from public transit. Masks will be encouraged. 

We will also host online forums for those who are unable to attend an in-person event. 

Come and talk to like-minded Kanata residents about transit.

RSVP at Eventbrite:


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Ottawa Transit Riders Makes Recommendations on Proposed Transit Advisory Body

The following letter was sent to Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and members of Ottawa city council in regards to the proposed changes to the Transit Commission, which you can read here


Dear Mayor Sutcliffe and members of Ottawa City Council, 

On behalf of the Board of Ottawa Transit Riders, we would like to congratulate you on your recent election to Ottawa City Council. Our organization was formed in 2019 to make public transit in Ottawa more reliable, affordable, accessible, and safe, and to ensure that transit users have a strong voice around the council table. 

We were disappointed to read in the recent “2022-2026 Council Governance Review” that was tabled on November 29 that city staff are recommending the elimination of the Citizen Commissioner position as part of recommended changes to the membership of the Transit Commission. Far too often, decisions concerning public transit are made without input from transit users themselves, and the Citizen Commissioner position provided an opportunity to transit users to have a real voice around the council table. That sort of accountability is badly needed as we begin a new term of council.  

However, we also agree that Citizen Commissions could not always adequately represent the concerns of all transit users, especially those who rely on ParaTranspo. The recommended transit advisory body recommended by city staff could help to provide a broader vehicle for transit users' concerns about the affordability, accessibility, and reliability of our public transit system. Therefore, we have several recommendations about the composition and the mandate of this new transit advisory body:


ParaTranspo Users Need a Voice

We were heartened to see that city staff recommend that this body should include at least one user of ParaTranspo. For years, Ottawa Transit Riders has been concerned that ParaTranspo issues have been relegated to the backburner as concerns with regular transit service and LRT issues predominate Transit Commission meetings. Having a designated seat for a ParaTranspo user would ensure that Para issues remain at the forefront of making a more accessible public transit system in Ottawa. 


A Strong Voice for Transit Dependent Residents

A key component of this new transit advisory group should be people who are transit dependent such as new Canadians, students, seniors, low income residents. Many Ottawa residents rely on a robust and reliable transit system to get to work, appointments, school, and activities. New Canadians, for example, are often not heard when it comes to making public transit policy in Ottawa, resulting in frustrations because of language or cultural barriers. In the formation of this new transit advisory group, we recommend that city staff reach out to stakeholders such as low-income advocacy groups, seniors groups, cultural organizations, local immigration services, and refugee organizations so that this transit advisory group better reflects the lived experiences of transit users. 


Listening to the Transit Users of the Future

Another key component of this transit advisory group must be students. One of the largest groups of transit users in Ottawa is students who rely on public transit to get to class or to work on time. For years, our organization has heard from students about the unreliability of public transit in Ottawa. In the formation of this new transit advisory group, we recommend that city staff reach out to student organizations in secondary and postsecondary education institutions to ensure that this group has student representation.


An Advisory Body that Reflects all Areas of Ottawa

During the last municipal election, we heard concerns from transit users in the exurban and rural areas of the city that their transit needs were not being met. In the formation of this new transit advisory group, we recommend that city staff ensure that there is at least one position for a transit user who lives in the exurban/rural part of Ottawa.


The Need for an OC Transpo Perspective

OC Transpo operators are the human face of public transit in Ottawa and are essential to ensuring that public transit is reliable and safe. But far too often, operators bear the brunt of poor public transit policy decisions when the service is unreliable. In the formation of this new transit advisory group, we recommend that city staff ensure that one position on this group is reserved for a non-management member of OC Transpo, preferably an operator.  


An Advisory Body with Influence

Finally, we want to ensure that this proposed transit advisory body will have real influence in determining public transit policy in Ottawa. Ottawa transit users demand accountability and transparency in the decision-making process. While the mandate and scope of this proposed body has yet to be determined, we recommend that city staff lay out in clear and transparent terms how the recommendations made by this body will be received and implemented by the Transit Commission. 

We believe that these recommendations as to the composition and mandate of the transit advisory body will help begin to rebuild the trust between Ottawa’s transit users and their municipal government. 

Once again, congratulations on your recent election to city council and thank you for your continued service to the City. We look forward to collaborating with you as we try to make public transit more affordable, reliable, accessible, and safe for all residents of our city. 

All the best,

Sam Boswell

Kari Glynes Elliott

Rory Lewis

Stuart MacKay

John Redins

Laura Shantz

Sally Thomas

Board of Directors, Ottawa Transit Riders

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Let's discuss the LRT report on Wednesday

The much anticipated release of the report on the LRT inquiry will be Wednesday at 11AM. To watch the presentation live, go to the website at:

On Wednesday evening, after we have had time to read the report, Horizon Ottawa and Ottawa Transit Riders will host a Twitter Spaces event to discuss the findings and debate what comes next. Former Transit Commissioner, Sarah Wright-Gilbert will attend along with other transit advocates.

To participate, click on this tweet:

You can also follow Horizon Ottawa (@HorizonOttawa) or Ottawa Transit Riders (@OttTransitRiders) for further details.

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Hope for new Transit Commission

In recent years, there has been a tendency among bad faith politicians to put people opposed to specific services in charge of that service … someone who supports private school in charge of public education, someone beholden to private health insurance in charge of public healthcare, etc.

This, of course, leads to poor decisions, stagnation, and frustration.

During his campaign, Mayor Sutcliffe promised a “unifying vision” and an end to divisive tactics. The appointment of councillors to various commissions is the first test of his willingness to be a mayor of ALL residents of Ottawa.

The Ottawa Transit Riders is calling on the new mayor and city council to appoint people who value transit as a public service to the Transit Commission. A number of city councillors participated in the 2022 Transit Challenge, allowing them to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of our transit system. We need people who are looking for solutions.

The Ottawa Transit Riders reserves at least one seat on our Board of Directors to people who have lived experience using ParaTranspo as we feel that personal experience is essential to understanding the needs of ParaTranspo users. We call on the city of Ottawa to do the same – appoint at least one person who uses ParaTranspo to the Transit Commission.

The Ottawa Transit Riders believes that OC Transpo workers (the people on the ground) can provide valuable insight into transit issues and potential solutions. We ask the city to appoint one OC Transpo employee (not management) to sit on the Transit Commission.

Transit is in a downward spiral in this city, but there are many good councillors willing to work towards solutions.

Let’s hope the new mayor signals some hope for beleaguered transit riders.


Ces dernières années, les politiciens de mauvaise foi ont eu tendance à confier la responsabilité de services spécifiques à des personnes qui y sont opposées... un partisan de l'école privée responsable de l'enseignement public, un partisan de l'assurance maladie privée responsable des soins de santé publics, etc.

Cela conduit bien sûr à de mauvaises décisions, à la stagnation et à la frustration.

Pendant sa campagne, le maire Sutcliffe a promis une « vision unificatrice » et la fin des tactiques de division. La nomination des conseillers à diverses commissions est le premier test de sa volonté d'être un maire de TOUS les résidents d'Ottawa.

Le groupe des usagers du transport en commun d'Ottawa demande au nouveau maire et au conseil municipal de nommer à la Commission du transport en commun des personnes qui considèrent le transport en commun comme un service public. Un certain nombre de conseillers municipaux ont participé au Défi transport 2022, ce qui leur a permis de souligner les forces et les faiblesses de notre système de transport en commun. Nous avons besoin de personnes qui cherchent des solutions.

Le groupe des usagers du transport en commun d'Ottawa réserve au moins un siège au sein de leur conseil d'administration à des personnes qui ont une expérience vécue de l'utilisation de ParaTranspo, car nous estimons que l'expérience personnelle est essentielle pour comprendre les besoins des usagers de ParaTranspo. Nous demandons à la ville d'Ottawa de faire de même - nommer au moins une personne qui utilise le ParaTranspo à la Commission du transport en commun.

Le groupe des usagers du transport en commun d'Ottawa croit que les travailleurs d'OC Transpo (les gens sur le terrain) peuvent fournir un aperçu précieux des problèmes de transport en commun et des solutions possibles. Nous demandons à la Ville de nommer un employé d'OC Transpo (pas la direction) pour siéger à la Commission du transport en commun.

Le transport en commun est dans une spirale descendante dans cette ville, mais il y a beaucoup de bons conseillers qui sont prêts à travailler pour trouver des solutions.

Espérons que le nouveau maire donnera un peu d'espoir aux usagers du transport en commun.

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What's next?

It’s fair to say that the Ottawa Transit Riders had high hopes for the municipal election in 2022. So now that it is over, what do we do next?

First, there are a number of new city councillors to work with. We have reached out to all city councillors to indicate that our role in the city is to be the “voice of transit riders” and to say that we hope to work with councillors to improve service.

Second, we are planning to host transit forums in neighbourhoods across the city to discuss local needs. The first one will be in Kanata – keep an eye on this website for a schedule and location.

We will also hold online consultations as not everyone can attend these events in person.

Third, we intend to reach out to members through a survey and online meetings to get feedback on what our priorities should be in 2023. What are your pet peeves? Do you have ideas on how OC Transpo can improve service? Let us know. [email protected]


Et après?

Il est juste de dire que le groupe des usagers du transport en commun d'Ottawa avait de grands espoirs pour les élections municipales de 2022. Alors, maintenant que c'est terminé, que faisons-nous ensuite ?

Premièrement, il y a un certain nombre de nouveaux conseillers municipaux avec qui travailler. Nous avons contacté tous les conseillers municipaux pour indiquer que notre rôle dans la ville est d'être la « voix des usagers du transport en commun » et pour leur dire que nous espérons travailler avec les conseillers pour améliorer le service.

Deuxièmement, nous prévoyons d'organiser des forums sur le transport en commun dans les quartiers de la ville pour discuter des besoins locaux. Le premier aura lieu à Kanata – gardez un œil sur ce site Web pour connaître l'horaire et le lieu.

Nous organiserons également des consultations en ligne car tout le monde ne peut pas assister à ces événements en personne.

Troisièmement, nous avons l'intention de communiquer avec les membres par le biais d'un sondage et de réunions en ligne pour obtenir des commentaires sur ce que devraient être nos priorités en 2023. Quelles sont vos bêtes noires ? Avez-vous des idées sur la façon dont OC Transpo peut améliorer le service? Faites le nous savoir. [email protected]

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Ottawa Transit Riders’ position on the Brian Coburn Extension

* French to come *

Ottawa Transit Riders believes that we can have great transit in the City of Ottawa when we ensure that people can get where they go quickly, reliably and in an accessible manner. We want to see transit connections that offer these benefits with minimal disruption to the environment. Aligning rapid transit near people allows us to build smarter by creating transit-oriented development, encouraging walkability and reducing car dependence, as we need to do in order to minimize the effects of climate change. These are all goals that have been outlined in the City’s new Official Plan, and which we should be striving to achieve.

When it comes to the possible alignments for an east-end transitway, Ottawa Transit Riders believe that it is important to ensure transit is routed where riders are. We support the initial agreed-upon alignment that the City of Ottawa and National Capital Commission developed in 2013 which ensures that transit would be routed near riders in Blackburn Hamlet, and which would minimize threats to greenspace and farmland, particularly Mer Bleue. This alignment was also included in the Transportation Master Plan and other City planning documents.

Background: The City of Ottawa developed several proposed alignments after the 2013 consultation; these are not the initial agreed-upon alignment which the NCC supports. Of these options, we would be supportive of options that put rapid transit near people in Blackburn Hamlet (options 1 and 4). 

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Results from 2022 Transit Challenge

The third Transit Challenge in Ottawa took place September 11th to 17th during the municipal election campaign.

How did it go?

First, it was very popular - a majority of candidates participated in the challenge. People in rural areas talked about lack of options; people in suburban areas talked about poor reliability, poor connections, and uncomfortable bus shelters.

At least two candidates organized races: Erin Coffin who is running in Kanata South (ward 23) versus Transit Chair Allan Hubley posted this video to YouTube showing her and her son taking the bus from Kanata Superstore to Tanger Outlets. They raced a friend who ran the same distance. Do you want to guess which method was faster?

Kevin Hua, running in Stittsville (ward 6) posted this video: Ottawa Transit Race where he rode the bus and a friend ran from Stittsville to Bells Corner. 

Here is the 2022 Transit Challenge report with more details.

We had so many great examples of people taking the challenge seriously that it was very hard to narrow down - our report could have been 20 pages long. We hope no-one takes offense that their favourite post did not make the cut!

Here some examples of Twitter posts.

It was disappointing that some decision-makers - Allan Hubley (Chair of the Transit Commission) and senior officials at OC Transpo (for example the new General Manager Renée Amilcar) did not respond or participate.

Their refusal to ride transit is very telling.

The Ottawa Transit Riders hopes that voters will consider candidates’ views on transit when they make their decision on October 24th. Transit is an essential service in Ottawa and good, reliable service benefits us all - even people who don’t use it.

How the Ottawa Transit Challenge continues to fall short of addressing PWD’s concerns

CBC: Transit challenge returns right in the middle of an election

Ottawa transit challenge returns, ahead of municipal election | Ottawa Morning with Robyn Bresnahan


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Participants: #OttTransitChallenge2022 / #OttDéfiTranspo2022

And here's the final list of participants of the 2022 transit challenge! Note that three mayoral candidates have expressed support, though we recognize that it will prove difficult for them to do all their campaigning by transit given the gaps in our transit network...a problem in itself for municipal participation! Is it fair and democratic that you can't easily run for mayor unless you drive? / Et voici la liste finale des participants au défi transport 2022 ! Notez que trois candidats à la mairie ont exprimé leur soutien, bien que nous reconnaissions qu'il leur sera difficile de faire toute leur campagne en transport en commun étant donné les lacunes de notre réseau de transport en commun... un problème en soi pour la participation municipale ! Est-il juste et démocratique que vous ne puissiez pas facilement vous présenter à la mairie à moins de conduire et d'avoir accès à une voiture ?

While the turnout is quite good, we're disappointed to see that nobody from the city or OC Transpo wanted to even try for seven days. And extra disappointed that Allan Hubley, current chair of the transit commission, wasn't interested in participating. The people who make the decisions about our transit should be using the transit, don't you think? / Bien que le taux de participation soit assez bon, nous sommes déçus de voir que personne de la ville ou d'OC Transpo n'a voulu même essayer pendant sept jours. Et très déçus qu'Allan Hubley, actuel président de la commission des transports, n'ait pas voulu participer. Les personnes qui prennent les décisions concernant nos transports en commun devraient utiliser les transports en commun, ne pensez-vous pas ?

Name / nom Ward (if applicable) /
Quel quartier (si applicable)
Incumbent? / Titulaire ?
Tessa Franklin Ward 1 – Orléans East-Cumberland  
Rosemee Cantave Ward 1 – Orléans East-Cumberland  
Lori Stinson Ward 2 – Orléans West-Innes  
Christine Moulaison Ward 4 – Kanata North  
Kevin Hua Ward 6 – Stittsville  
Kevin Wright Ward 7 – Bay  
Adèle Rousselle-Farough Ward 7 – Bay  
Vilteau Delvas Ward 8 – College  
Wendy Davidson Ward 8 – College  
Melissa Fraser-Arnott Ward 8 – College  
Laine Johnson Ward 8 – College  
Pat McGarry Ward 8 – College  
Granda Kopytko Ward 8 – College  
Amanda Presley  Ward 9 – Knoxdale-Merivale  
Michael Wood Ward 9 – Knoxdale-Merivale  
Laura Arnold Ward 9 – Knoxdale-Merivale  
John Redins Ward 10 – Gloucester-Southgate  
Hussein El Hajj Hassan Ward 10 – Gloucester-Southgate  
Miranda Gray Ward 11 - Beacon Hill - Cyrville  
Laura Shantz Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier  
Julie Fiala Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier  
Hicham Boutaleb Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier  
Sylvia Johnson Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier  
Stephanie Plante Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier  
Kim Leclerc Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier  
Rawlson King Ward 13 – Rideau-Rockcliffe Yes
Stuart MacKay Ward 14 – Somerset  
Brandon Russell Ward 14 – Somerset  
Ariel Troster Ward 14 – Somerset  
Jeff Leiper Ward 15 – Kitchissippi Yes
Riley Brockington Ward 16 – River Yes
Ethan Sabourin Ward 16 – River  
Rebecca Bromwich Ward 17 – Capital  
Dan Rogers Ward 17 – Capital  
Jessie-Lee Wallace Ward 17 – Capital  
Shawn Menard Ward 17 – Capital Yes
Marty Carr Ward 18 – Alta Vista  
Carolyn Kropp Ward 18 – Alta Vista  
Yvette Ashiri Ward 19 – Orléans South-Navan  
Bina Shah Ward 23 – Kanata South  
Erin Coffin Ward 23 – Kanata South  
Kathleen Caught Ward 24 – Barrhaven-East  
Dominik Janelle Ward 24 – Barrhaven-East  
ATIQ QURESHI Ward 24 – Barrhaven-East  
Richard Garrick Ward 24 – Barrhaven-East  
Kathleen Caught Ward 24 – Barrhaven-East  
Catherine McKenney Mayoral  
Jacob Solomon Mayoral  
Brandon Bay Mayoral  
Steven Warren Zone 4 (Ottawa Catholic School Board)  
Josh Rachlis Zone 9 (Ottawa Carleton District School Board)  
Lyra Evans Zone 6 (Ottawa Carleton District School Board)  
Anthony Hope Zone 6 (Ottawa Carleton District School Board)  
Alysha Aziz Zone 2 (Ottawa Carleton District School Board)  


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Ottawa Transit Challenge 2022 / Le Défi du transport en commun d'Ottawa 2022

It’s BACK … time to take the Ottawa Transit Challenge.

The third Ottawa Transit Challenge is being organized by Ottawa Transit Riders. It is the first challenge since the pandemic started.

Click to sign up if you want: 

Transit Challenge sign up 

From Sunday, September 11th to September 17th, 2022, councillors, candidates, and key OC Transpo officials will be encouraged to use public transit for their transportation needs.

During this week, participants will be encouraged to use public transit for all their travels – taking kids to daycare, conducting their shopping, going to appointments, visiting friends – just like so many Ottawa residents who rely on public transit.

Participants are encouraged to tweet their experience using the hashtag #OttTransitChallenge2022.

Councillors and candidates are also encouraged to consider what good public transit means to constituents and neighbours with disabilities. Whether they are navigating sidewalks and inaccessible bus pads or using ParaTranspo, people with disabilities need good, reliable, accessible transit.

You don’t have to be invited to participate – please feel free to sign up or just tweet out sightings of councillors on transit. 


C'est de retour ... il est temps de relever le Défi du transport en commun d'Ottawa.

Le troisième Défi du transport en commun d'Ottawa est organisé par le groupe des usagers du transport en commun d'Ottawa. C'est le premier défi depuis le début de la pandémie.

Cliquez pour vous inscrire si vous voulez : 

Inscription au Défi transport 

Du dimanche 11 septembre au 17 septembre 2022, les conseillers, les candidats et les principaux responsables d'OC Transpo seront encouragés à utiliser le transport en commun pour leurs besoins en transport.

Au cours de cette semaine, les participants seront encouragés à utiliser le transport en commun pour tous leurs déplacements - emmener les enfants à la garderie, faire leurs courses, se rendre à des rendez-vous, rendre visite à des amis - comme tant de résidents d'Ottawa qui comptent sur le transport en commun.

Les participants sont invités à tweeter leur expérience en utilisant le hashtag #OttDéfiTransport2022.

Les conseillers et les candidats sont également encouragés à tenir compte de ce que signifie un bon transport en commun pour les électeurs et les voisins handicapés. Qu'il s'agisse de se frayer un chemin sur les trottoirs, de se déplacer sur des aires de stationnement inaccessibles ou d'utiliser ParaTranspo, les personnes handicapées ont besoin d'un transport en commun de qualité, fiable et accessible.

Vous n'avez pas besoin d'être invité pour participer - n'hésitez pas à vous inscrire ou simplement à tweeter des apparitions de conseillers dans les transports en commun. 

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Free (or low cost) transit in various cities

Everyone’s talking about free transit these days. We’re in a climate emergency and getting people to use public transit is a good way to reduce our impact on the environment.

During the recent provincial election, all parties made promises about public transit – the PCs said that they would give $75 million to restore the Northlander passenger-rail system in northern Ontario. All the parties promised to invest in transit reliability and integrated transit fares in the GTA.

Here is an article about cities that offer free fare for all or some of their riders. Kirstin Pulles of Free Transit Ottawa is quoted.

No fare is fair: Should Ontario get on board with free transit? 

The mayor of Boston, Michelle Wu has said, “free public transportation is the single biggest step we could take toward economic mobility, racial equity, and climate justice.”

Here is an article where she explains her argument.

During appearance on Freakonomics Radio, Mayor Wu argues for free transit

Here is an article about the movement towards free transit in Ottawa. Laura Shantz, a board member of Ottawa Transit Riders and a candidate for Rideau-Vanier is quoted in this article.

Free Transit Ottawa has proposed making transit free for specific groups of people – they have a petition on their website advocating for free transit for people who receive Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program. Click here to sign the petition

Free transit movement making inroads, advocates say 

The amalgamated transit union (ATU) posted a well considered argument on their website in 2020.

Free Public Transit in Canada? 

Here’s an article about what cities have learned from experimenting with free transit.

The Case for Making Public Transit Free Everywhere 

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