Upcoming meetings and events

March 10th – Press conference on Transit Challenge – City Hall, councillors’ lounge noon to 1PM / Conférence de presse sur le défi du transport en commun - Hôtel de ville, salon des conseillers de midi à 13h.

March 11th – Ottawa Transit Riders board meeting – open to members (email ottawatransitriders@gmail.com for details) / Réunion du conseil d'administration du groupe des usagers du transport  - ouverte aux membres (envoyer un courriel pour plus de détails).

March 18th – Transit Commission meeting at City Hall (usually starts at 9:30) / Réunion de la commission de transport en commun à l'hôtel de ville (commence généralement à 9h30).

April 27th – Annual General Meeting of the Ottawa Transit Riders - details will be posted soon / Assemblée générale annuelle du groupe des usagers du transport en commun d'Ottawa - les détails seront bientôt publiés.

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Orléans deserves a reliable and functional LRT

Guest post written by Lyse-Pascale Inamuco

My name is Lyse-Pascale Inamuco. I live in Orléans and am excited but anxious at the same time about the arrival of the LRT Phase 2.

Why? We don’t want a replica of phase 1.

It’s true that everyone is looking forward to having the LRT here because it will help a lot of residents get to and from work faster, and will encourage more people to come visit Orléans as it will no longer be a long distance trip. It’s good for our local businesses. However, the people I have talked to since October 2019 keep bringing up a but to this beautiful story.

Well... they dread the delays and technical issues that will cause a lot of discomfort. Having to commute on an overcrowded train during rush hours feeling like salmon in a closed plastic bag is another concern, especially for claustrophobics.

Since things seems to be getting worse with LRT phase 1, we anticipate it will be the same with phase 2 if we keep the same contractor. And guess what? We will look for other alternatives: the only option for Orléans residents is driving, which is equal to traffic traffic traffic. Biking isn’t really an option so...

We can then say that the goal of having the LRT as our main means of transportation would have failed.

Also, keep in mind that during the LRT phase 2 construction, one lane will have to be blocked  and we haven’t been informed of any solution put in place to help us avoid or navigate traffic during rush hour. What’s the plan? Getting on the road two hours earlier than usual?

There is definitely a need for more consultation on phase 2 so we can prevent the mistakes of phase 1. We should incorporate lessons learned from phase 1.

Why can’t the City of Ottawa start looking into what it would cost us to pay for the numerous repairs in the long run versus the cost of getting out of the contract? Which one would cost taxpayers more money? I wonder if it’s the first one or the latter. Big question mark.



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Is Fare Freeze a good thing?

Should transit users be happy about the announcement of the Fare Freeze?


OC Transpo fare freeze extended again


Well no, actually.

Even though the headline on this article seems to suggest that riders have somehow earned a reprieve from the expected fare hike that was due in April 2020, that’s not entirely accurate. What is being reported is that the decision to raise fares is being transferred to City manager Steve Kanellakos and transit general manager John Manconi who “will determine whether standards are being met.”

This news fills me with dread.

The Transit Commission is abdicating its responsibility for fares. It is passing the buck to unelected officials who cannot be held responsible by the public.


Accountability requires the following:

  1. Standards. The public needs to know what service standards will need to be met before Kanellakos and Manconi raise fares. Are the benchmarks anything that transit riders care about? Are they measurable?
  2. Who is responsible? In this case, the Transit Commission should be responsible for making such decisions, not unelected city officials.
  3. Consequences. The Transit Commission is abdicating its responsibility because they know that raising fares will be unpopular and they want to wash their hands of the issue. The public can vote OUT politicians who continue to advocate for higher fares despite poor service. The public cannot do anything to unelected officials.


Our own John Redins is quoted in this article. He says (of the politicians) "They want to wipe their hands clean.”

"Nobody wants to be accountable for anything. It's frustrating for the ridership. It's frustrating for the employees that are working there."

The four groups that organized Transit Challenge 2020 are calling for a review of transit fares, keeping in mind the needs of low income riders and the imperative to combat climate change by encouraging people to take transit rather than personal vehicles.



Les usagers des transports en commun doivent-ils se réjouir de l'annonce du gel des tarifs ?

OC Transpo fare freeze extended again


Eh bien non, en fait.

Même si le titre de cet article semble suggérer que les usagers ont en quelque sorte gagné un sursis pour la hausse des tarifs prévue pour avril 2020, ce n'est pas tout à fait exact. Ce qui est rapporté, c'est que la décision d'augmenter les tarifs est transférée au directeur municipal Steve Kanellakos et au directeur général des transports en commun John Manconi qui "détermineront si les normes sont respectées".

Cette nouvelle m'inquiète.

La Commission du transport en commun abdique sa responsabilité en matière de tarifs. Elle rejette la responsabilité sur des fonctionnaires non élus qui ne peuvent être tenus pour responsables par le public.

L'obligation de rendre des comptes exige ce qui suit :

  1. Des normes. Le public doit savoir quelles normes de service devront être respectées avant que Kanellakos et Manconi n'augmentent les tarifs. Les usagers des transports en commun se soucient-ils de ces normes ? Sont-ils mesurables ?
  2. Qui est responsable ? Dans ce cas, c'est la commission du transport en commun qui devrait être chargée de prendre ces décisions, et non les fonctionnaires non élus de la ville.
  3. Conséquences. La commission du transport en commun abdique sa responsabilité parce que les conseillers savent que l'augmentation des tarifs sera impopulaire et qu'ils veulent se laver les mains de cette question. Le public peut voter CONTRE les politiciens qui continuent à plaider pour des tarifs plus élevés malgré un service médiocre. Le public ne peut rien faire contre les fonctionnaires non élus.

Notre propre John Redins est cité dans cet article. Il dit (des politiciens) "They want to wipe their hands clean.”

"Nobody wants to be accountable for anything. It's frustrating for the ridership. It's frustrating for the employees that are working there."

Les quatre groupes qui ont organisé le « défiTranspo2020 » demandent une révision des tarifs de transport en commun, en gardant à l'esprit les besoins des usagers à faibles revenus et l'impératif de lutter contre le changement climatique en encourageant les gens à prendre le transport en commun plutôt que leur véhicule personnel.


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Talking radical radio

Board member Kari Glynes Elliott was invited to talk about transit advocacy in Ottawa. Feel free to click on the link to read the article or listen to the conversation.

Public transit advocacy in Ottawa


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Press conference Thursday, February 27th - postponed

The press conference to discuss the results of Transit Challenge 2020 scheduled for Thursday, February 27th has been POSTPONED.


Details on an alternative date will be posted later.


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Transit Commission - February edition!

The next Transit Commission meeting is coming up on February 19, conveniently in the middle of #TransitChallenge2020! If you can come, please do. A few of our board members will be there...and we’ll have a few buttons to share, too!

  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020; 9:30am (end time is variable).
  • City Hall’s Champlain Room, 110 Laurier Avenue West).
  • Agenda.
  • Livestreaming broadcast  (audio only).

To be put on the speakers’ list, contact Christopher Zwierzchowski and indicate that you wish to speak (include the agenda item you wish to address). You can also sign up right at the meeting, when you arrive.

    • Christopher.Zwierzchowski@ottawa.ca or 613-580-2424 x21359
    • You’ll be called up to speak during your chosen agenda item and you’ll have five minutes.
    • You do not have to bring a presentation or any material to share but, if you do, bring it on a memory stick/key and hand it over to the organizers, who will put it up on the council room monitors for you.

There are a number of interesting items on the agenda this month but we’re highlighting a few priorities (including some speaking points/demands) below...feel free to speak to these points or anything else that’s important to you! Want to make sure something is on our radar? Email us: OttawaTransitRiders@gmail.com.


    • We are still asking for #ParaParity; Para customers are forgotten the second there’s an issue on the LRT and this is unacceptable.
    • We want the ParaParity group to be included in testing the online booking web form/suite.
    • We want a firm deadline for the start and finish of testing the interim online booking web form; originally scheduled to launch by the end of 2019 and now very much delayed.
    • We want a firm deadline and date for the roll-out of the interim web form.
    • We want more transparency of the whole ParaTranspo online booking process, including delays and timelines. Please communicate!
    • We want increased capacity on ParaTranspo (i.e. more buses/drivers; not just taxis).
    • We want ParaTranspo service to be available at the same times as conventional service; as such, we want it extended to 2am every day, 12am on Sunday, and 4am on New Year’s Day. 
    • We want accountability for trips, with bookings given a reference number. Too many are cancelled or rescheduled without the knowledge of the passenger; better tracking is needed.


    • Thank the councillors who are taking part in #TransitChallenge2020 and express disappointment that so few OC Transpo decision-makers even responded.
    • We want Transit Commission to retain power over approving any further fare freezes; this should be a democratic process.
    • We want clarity on how service improvements will be measured ahead of any future fare increases.
    • We want the City to share the air quality test results done in the LRT tunnels.
    • We want the City and OC Transpo to commit to working with local advocacy groups (e.g. Ottawa Transit Riders, Healthy Transportation Coalition, Para Parity, and Ecology Ottawa) to develop a plan to grow transit ridership, including:
      • Community consultations on any upcoming changes to transit;
      • Making the EquiPass more affordable, accessible, and easily attainable; and 
      • Early consultation on phase 2 of the LRT across ALL wards (only some are currently being briefed).


    • We again want the City and OC Transpo to commit to working with local advocacy groups (e.g. Ottawa Transit Riders, Healthy Transportation Coalition, Para Parity, and Ecology Ottawa) on improving communications related to the day-to-day operation of bus routes and the LRT system (e.g. delays, cancellations, disruptions, etc).
    • We want OC Transpo to commit to improving the number of cancellations reported; these should be as close to 100% as possible (instead they are as low as 10%).

Please share all of this information with your friends, family, co-workers, and fellow bus/train passengers and encourage them to attend and speak, too...as we’ve said before, our power is in numbers, here and at City Hall. We hope to see you there on Wednesday...and if you haven’t signed up as a member yet, please consider doing it here! 

(French copy to come!)


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Who has accepted the Challenge?

Ottawa Transit Challenge 2020  / Le Défi du transport en commun d'Ottawa 2020

It’s that time of year again … time to take the Ottawa Transit Challenge.

The second annual Ottawa Transit Challenge is being organized by Ottawa Transit Riders, Ecology Ottawa, Free Transit Ottawa, and Healthy Transportation Coalition.

From Monday, February 17 to 23, 2020, councillors and key OC Transpo officials will be encouraged to use public transit for all their transportation needs.

All city councillors have been invited to participate. Members of the Transit Commission are shown in BOLD. 

Tous les conseillers municipaux ont été invités à y participer. Les membres de la Commission de transport en commun sont indiqués en caractères gras. 

(Table will be updated once per day / Le tableau sera mis à jour une fois par jour): 


  Name (ward) Accepted challenge? Evidence of participation?

Jim Watson


Did not RSVP, but tweeted Yes!

Mathieu Fleury 


Yes Yes!

Matthew Luloff


Yes Yes!

Laura Dudas


On vacation (or else would have participated)


Jan Harder


Yes Yes!

Jenna Sudds

(Kanata North)


Yes Yes!

Eli El-Chantiry

(West Carleton-March)

No; declined  

Glen Gower



Yes Yes!

Theresa Kavanagh



Yes Yes!

Keith Egli




Tim Tierney

(Beacon Hill-Cyrville)


On vacation (or else would have participated)


Rawlson King





Catherine McKenney





Jeff Leiper





Riley Brockington





Shawn Menard





Jean Cloutier

(Alta Vista)

Vice-Chair of Transit Commission




Stephen Blais



No; declined

Further, did not RSVP after the invitation was extended to him as an MPP candidate. 


George Darouze



No; declined


Scott Moffatt



No; declined 



Carol Anne Meehan

(Gloucester-South Nepean)

Yes Yes!

Allan Hubley

(Kanata South) 

Chair of Transit Commission


Yes Yes!

Anthony Carricato

(citizen commissioner)

Yes Yes!

Michael Olsen

(citizen commissioner)



Leah Williams

(citizen commissioner)


Yes Yes!

Sarah Wright-Gilbert

(citizen commissioner)


Yes Yes!

Rick Chiarelli



On leave  

Pat Scrimgeour

(OC Transpo)

Yes Yes! (we received an email)


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 #TransitChallenge2020 or #défiTranspo2020.

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

Register above by clicking on CAMPAIGN or by clicking this link: Ottawa Transit Challenge 2020/Défi transport en commun d'Ottawa 2020 

C'est encore cette période de l'année ... le temps de relever le Défi du transport en commun d'Ottawa.

Le deuxième Défi annuel du transport en commun d'Ottawa est organisé par les usagers du transport en commun d'Ottawa, Ecology Ottawa, Free Transit Ottawa et la Coalition pour un transport sain.

Du lundi 17 au 23 février 2020, les conseillers et les principaux responsables d'OC Transpo seront encouragés à utiliser le transport en commun pour tous leurs besoins de transport.

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

Les participants sont encouragés à gazouiller leur expérience en utilisant les hashtags #TransitChallenge2020 ou #défiTranspo2020.

Vous n'avez pas besoin d'être invité à participer - n'hésitez pas à vous inscrire, à répondre à nos sondages ou simplement à gazouiller les observations des conseillers sur le transport en commun. 

Inscrivez-vous ci-dessus en cliquant sur CAMPAGNE ou en cliquant sur ce lien : Ottawa Transit Challenge 2020/Défi transport en commun d'Ottawa 2020

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Report on last year's Transit Challenge

The 2019 Report on Ottawa's Transit Challenge

Last year (2019), Free Transit Ottawa challenged city of Ottawa councillors to ride transit for one week in February.

The results were impressive - transit was in the spotlight and the problems with OC Transpo were laid bare for all to see.

Attached is the report in English and French clarifying what was learned.

2019 report on Transit Challenge

Le défi du transport en commun à Ottawa 2019

In 2020, the Transit Challenge is being organized by Ottawa Transit Riders, Free Transit Ottawa, Healthy Transportation Coalition and Ecology Ottawa. Participants will be asked to complete two surveys - one mid-week and one at the end.

Results will be presented on Thursday, February 27, 2020 at a press conference in the councillors’ lounge at City Hall.


Anyone can participate in the Challenge – register by clicking on this link or by clicking on the CAMPAIGN button at the top of the page. Tweet out your experiences using the hashtags #TransitChallenge2020 or #défiTranspo2020



Rapport sur le défi du transport en commun de 2019

L'année dernière (2019), Free Transit Ottawa a mis au défi les conseillers de la ville d'Ottawa de prendre le transport en commun pendant une semaine en février.

Les résultats ont été impressionnants : le transport en commun a été mis en avant et les problèmes d'OC Transpo ont été mis à nu.

Vous trouverez ci-joint le rapport en anglais et en français qui clarifie ce qui a été appris.

2019 report on Transit Challenge

Le défi du transport en commun à Ottawa 2019

En 2020, le Défi du transport en commun est organisé par Ottawa Transit Riders, Free Transit Ottawa, Healthy Transportation Coalition et Ecology Ottawa. Les participants devront répondre à deux enquêtes, l'une en milieu de semaine et l'autre à la fin.

Les résultats seront présentés le jeudi 27 février 2020 lors d'une conférence de presse dans le salon des conseillers à l'hôtel de ville.


Tout le monde peut participer au Défi - inscrivez-vous en cliquant sur le lien ou en cliquant sur le bouton CAMPAGNE en haut de la page. Tweeter vos expériences en utilisant les hashtags #TransitChallenge2020 ou #défiTranspo2020


Traduit avec www.DeepL.com/Translator (version gratuite)

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What is a conflict of interest?

A conflict of interest is a situation in which an individual has competing interests or loyalties because of their duties to more than one person or organization. A person with a conflict of interest can't do justice to the actual or potentially conflicting interests of both parties.

Ottawa is a government town and plenty of people are familiar with the basics of “conflict of interest”. Public servants attend training sessions where we’re warned against even the potential appearance of conflict of interest. Public servants may scoff at the idea that a box of chocolates can sway a decision, but we’re expected to avoid small gifts and small favours none the less.

For a government, it is not necessary for a corrupt practice to take place in order for an accusation to taint their legacy. The public can’t measure what actions might create an unconscious bias, but they worry that people in positions of power are susceptible to corruption.

Appearance is key, not the public servant's or politician’s actual integrity or good faith.

Why am I talking about conflict of interest?

Because one of the many worrisome details about phase two is the fact that the city of Ottawa hired an SNC Lavalin lawyer to advise on a procurement process in which SNC Lavalin was successful despite not meeting the minimum technical requirements.

Conflict of interest? Questions persist about law firm working for both city and SNC-Lavalin


If this situation were used in a training session, students would no doubt complain that it was too obvious to be credible.

Really, this lawyer, this law firm, was the only one available for the city to use?

The important thing to remember about conflict of interest, is that it’s often very, very difficult to prove. But in general, governments … federal, provincial, and municipal … are encouraged to err on the side of caution and avoid even the perception of a conflict.

Clearly, the city of Ottawa did not do that.

Everything you wanted to know about the SNC-Lavalin LRT contract, but were too confused to ask


Kudos by the way to councillor Diane Deans for asking the right questions (even though they weren’t answered) and to journalist Joanne Chianello who has been tenacious in her search for facts.



Qu'est-ce qu'un conflit d'intérêts ?

Un conflit d'intérêts est une situation dans laquelle une personne a des intérêts ou des loyautés concurrents en raison de ses devoirs envers plus d'une personne ou organisation. Une personne en situation de conflit d'intérêts ne peut pas rendre justice aux intérêts réels ou potentiels des deux parties.

Ottawa est une ville gouvernementale et beaucoup de gens connaissent les bases du "conflit d'intérêts". Les fonctionnaires assistent à des séances de formation où l'on nous met en garde contre l'apparence même d'un conflit d'intérêts. Les fonctionnaires peuvent se moquer de l'idée qu'une boîte de chocolats puisse influencer une décision, mais nous devons néanmoins éviter les petits cadeaux et les petites faveurs.

Pour un gouvernement, il n'est pas nécessaire qu'une pratique de corruption ait lieu pour qu'une accusation entache son héritage. Le public ne peut pas mesurer les actions qui pourraient créer un parti pris inconscient, mais il s'inquiète du fait que les personnes en position de pouvoir sont susceptibles d'être corrompues.

L'apparence est essentielle, et non l'intégrité ou la bonne foi réelle du fonctionnaire ou du politicien.

Pourquoi est-ce que je parle de conflit d'intérêts ?

Parce que l'un des nombreux détails inquiétants de la phase deux est le fait que la ville d'Ottawa a engagé un avocat de SNC Lavalin pour conseiller sur un processus de passation de marché dans lequel SNC Lavalin a réussi malgré le fait qu'elle ne remplissait pas les exigences techniques minimales.

Conflict of interest? Questions persist about law firm working for both city and SNC-Lavalin


Si cette situation était utilisée dans une session de formation, les étudiants se plaindraient sans doute qu'elle est trop évidente pour être crédible.

Vraiment, cet avocat, ce cabinet d'avocats, était le seul disponible pour la ville ?

Ce qu'il faut retenir à propos du conflit d'intérêts, c'est qu'il est souvent très, très difficile à prouver. Mais en général, les gouvernements ... fédéral, provincial et municipal ... sont encouragés à pécher par excès de prudence et à éviter même la perception d'un conflit.

Il est clair que la ville d'Ottawa n'a pas fait cela.

Everything you wanted to know about the SNC-Lavalin LRT contract, but were too confused to ask


Félicitations d'ailleurs à la conseillère municipale Diane Deans pour avoir posé les bonnes questions (même si elles sont restées sans réponse) et à la journaliste Joanne Chianello qui a été tenace dans sa recherche des faits.

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Transit Panel February 13

What should Ottawa do for better transit?

On Thursday, February 13th, there will be a transit panel of local advocates discussing how to make transit better in Ottawa.

Speakers will include

    • Taras Matkovsky - Free Transit Ottawa
    • Kari Glynes Elliott - Ottawa Transit Riders
    • Sally Thomas - ParaParity organizer
    • Ryan Lythall - ParaTranspo advocate
    • Trevor Haché - Healthy Transportation Coalition
    • Erik Pervin - Ecology Ottawa (Vision Zero)

The panelists plan to discuss a path forward - concrete suggestions towards improving the whole system to meet the needs of transit users in Ottawa. We will be talking about accessibility, affordability, and efficiency.

Got ideas?

Want to get involved?

Want to learn more about any of these local advocacy groups?

Come join us - the audience will be encouraged to ask questions.


When: Thursday, February 13, 2020, 7:00 to 9:00 PM 

Where: University of Ottawa, 100 Louis-Pasteur, Room C307

Accessibility: The building and room are accessible. 

Cost: This event is free to attend but please RSVP at this link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/what-should-ottawa-do-for-better-transit-tickets-89828450313

Copies of the report on Transit Challenge 2019 will be available at the event so that attendees can see the results from last year and consider what has changed for Transit Challenge 2020. 



Que devrait faire Ottawa pour améliorer les transports en commun ?

Le jeudi 13 février, un panel de défenseurs locaux du transport en commun discutera de la manière d'améliorer le transport en commun à Ottawa.

Parmi les orateurs figureront

  • Taras Matkovsky - Free Transit Ottawa
  • Kari Glynes Elliott - Les usagers du transport en commun à Ottawa
  • Sally Thomas - organisatrice de ParaParity
  • Ryan Lythall - Défenseur de ParaTranspo
  • Trevor Haché - Coalition pour un transport sain
  • Erik Pervin - Écologie Ottawa (Vision Zéro)

Les panélistes prévoient de discuter d'une voie à suivre - des suggestions concrètes pour améliorer l'ensemble du système afin de répondre aux besoins des usagers du transport en commun à Ottawa. Nous parlerons d'accessibilité, d'abordabilité et d'efficacité.

Vous avez des idées ?

Vous voulez participer ?

Vous voulez en savoir plus sur l'un de ces groupes de défense locaux ?

Venez nous rejoindre - le public sera encouragé à poser des questions.


Quand : Jeudi 13 février 2020, de 19h00 à 21h00 

: Université d'Ottawa, 100 Louis-Pasteur, salle C307

Accessibilité : Le bâtiment et la salle sont accessibles. 

Coût : La participation à cet événement est gratuite, mais veuillez confirmer votre présence en cliquant sur ce lien : https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/what-should-ottawa-do-for-better-transit-tickets-89828450313 

Des copies du rapport sur le Défi Transit 2019 seront disponibles lors de l'événement afin que les participants puissent voir les résultats de l'année dernière et examiner ce qui a changé pour le Défi Transit 2020. 


Traduit avec www.DeepL.com/Translator (version gratuite)

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