Recent Transit News

Transit has been in the news lately. Here is a list of recent articles:

An excellent summary of the trials and tribulations of our “beloved” LRT.

Ottawa’s Transit Gong Show | The Walrus

Serious concerns about the effects of the new mayor’s austerity budget:

Community groups take aim at what's missing as city council contemplates 2023 budget | Ottawa Citizen

Planned cuts to transit alarm Ottawa coalition warning of further erosion of public system - Capital Current

Tight budget could leave transit riders exposed to the elements | CBC News

 

A small bit of good news:

Ottawa green-lights purchase of 350 electric transit buses (electricautonomy.ca)

 

Remember that Ottawa Transit Riders and Free Transit Ottawa continue to advocate for FREE transit for people on ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) and OW (Ontario Works).

Sign the petition here:

Free Transit for OW and ODSP Recipients | Free Transit Ottawa

 

The Ottawa Transit Riders will be in Orleans on March 25th to talk with locals about their local routes and what can be done to improve neighbourhood transit.

Join us: Orléans Transit Forum / Forum sur les transports en commun à Orléans Tickets, Sat, 25 Mar 2023 at 1:00 PM | Eventbrite

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Orléans Transit Forum / Forum sur les transports en commun à Orléans

On March 25th, the Ottawa Transit Riders will host a forum for local residents to talk transit. Come join us. We want to hear about your frustrations – which buses are cancelled often, which ones are often over-crowded?

We want to hear solutions too. Would you re-instate express buses? Are there routes that need more capacity? Are there destination in Orleans that need more service?

Sign up here on Eventbrite so we know how many cookies to buy.  

Transit is an essential service – let’s make it a priority for this new council.

 

Le 25 mars, le groupe des usagers de transport en commun d'Ottawa organisera un forum pour les résidents locaux afin de parler de transport en commun. Venez vous joindre à nous. Nous voulons entendre vos frustrations – quels autobus sont souvent annulés, lesquels sont souvent surchargé? Nous voulons aussi entendre des solutions. Rétabliriez-vous les bus express ? Y a-t-il des lignes qui besoin de plus de capacite ? Y a-t-il une destination à Orléans qui nécessite plus de services ?

Inscrivez-vous ici pour que nous sachions combien de biscuits acheter.

Le transport en commun est un service essentiel - faisons-en une priorité pour ce nouveau conseil.

 

A poster advertising the Orleans Transit Forum. It is red, black, and white. On one side, there are speech bubbles that say "COME SHARE YOUR CONCERNS" and "VENEZ PARTAGER VOS PREOCCUPATIONS". There is a bus line drawing in the lower left of the poster (on a red background) and black silhouettes of a diverse range of people across the bottom, also on a red background. One is quite tall, one uses a wheelchair, one is scratching their head, the second last is gesturing, and the last one is heavier and is gesturing with one hand. On the upper right of the poster, there's a white text box with the address and time/date of the forum. Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex - Hall H. 1490 Youville Dr. Orleans. March 25, 1 to 4pm.

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What can residents do about the city budget?

The city of Ottawa released its draft 2023 budget that includes serious cuts to transit. What can residents do to influence the budget process?

On Monday, February 6th (7:00pm – 8:30pm EST), Horizon Ottawa will host an online training session on how to make your voice heard regarding the city budget.

Click Budget 101 for more details or to sign up.

On Thursday, February 9th (9:30 AM), the Transit Commission will hold its first meeting of the new council session. The proposed agenda is here.

To sign up as a delegate, email Eric Pelot, Committee Coordinator at [email protected] Indicate which agenda item you wish to speak to. 

Most city councillors will host “consultations” in their neighbourhoods over the next few weeks to discuss the 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 provided on the city of Ottawa website.

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 city of Ottawa has a list of upcoming ward consultations and further information on how to participate.

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Heads up about new policy on transit during winter storms

The Ottawa Transit Riders would like to encourage transit riders to review the NEW policy on transit during severe winter storms – when more than 31cm of snow is expected (or when heavy snow, ice, or freezing rain is predicted), OC Transpo will provide a modified service.

We’re introducing a Severe Storm Schedule this winter

Since this change has not been well communicated, we encourage all transit riders to check the OC Transpo website to understand how this policy will affect you.

Tell your neighbours, tell your colleagues …

  • On weekdays, bus service will be based on a Saturday schedule, with limited service early mornings and on weekday-only routes. Trips will be added to select routes servicing hospitals.
  • ParaTranspo customers should expect delays
  • Some articulated buses will be replaced with shorter 40-foot buses or double-deckers

OC Transpo recommends that transit riders sign up for “My Alerts” as information about reduced schedules and route changes will be communicated on this app.

 

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Le groupe des usagers du transport en commun d’Ottawa aimeraient encourager les usagers du transport en commun à revoir la NOUVELLE politique sur le transport en commun pendant les tempêtes hivernales violentes – lorsque plus de 31 cm de neige sont attendus (ou un mélange de neige lourde et mouillée, de glace et de pluie verglaçante), OC Transpo fournira un service modifié.

Nous mettons en place un Horaire Tempête Sévère cet hiver | OC Transpo

Comme ce changement n'a pas été bien communiqué, nous encourageons tous les usagers du transport en commun à consulter le site Web d'OC Transpo pour comprendre comment cette politique vous affectera.

Parlez-en à vos voisins, à vos collègues...

  • En semaine, le service d'autobus sera basé sur l'horaire du samedi, avec un service limité tôt le matin et sur les circuits réservés aux jours de semaine. Des trajets seront ajoutés sur certains circuits desservant les hôpitaux.
  • Les clients de ParaTranspo doivent s'attendre à des retards
  • Certains autobus articulés seront remplacés par des autobus plus courts de 40 pieds ou des autobus à deux étages.

OC Transpo recommande aux usagers du transport en commun de s'inscrire à « Mes alertes », car les informations concernant les horaires réduits et les changements de trajets seront communiquées sur cette application.

 

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Community conversation about East-End LRT - Tuesday Jan 17th

The city of Ottawa is holding an update on how the East-End LRT expansion is coming along. The online meeting will be held today, Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at 7PM

Details can be found on the city of Ottawa website at: Upcoming work | City of Ottawa

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WFH could be a golden opportunity for better transit

Office workers working from home could provide OC Transpo with a golden opportunity to provide better transit service across the city without needing additional resources.

Historically, OC Tranpso has focused on serving suburban to downtown commuters, sometimes to the detriment of local bus routes.

Serving these regular Monday to Friday commuters puts enormous stress on a transit agency. They need to muster all their resources (bus and operators) for a short commuting window in the morning, then a mid-day downturn, and then a return to full service for the afternoon commute.

This causes challenges with hiring, with staffing, with labour relations, logistics, etc. As operators rise through the ranks, they resist being paid for x number of hours while needing to be available for longer.

In recent years, many office workers have worked full or part-time at home and they have reduced their commuting by transit. Many people are happier working from home and want to continue.

People still need transit. But people may be commuting to malls or employment centres outside the downtown core. People take transit to school, to medical appointments, to social events, and to visit friends and family. They need local routes.

The Ottawa Transit Riders will conduct transit forums in different neighbourhoods, starting on Saturday, January 21st in Kanata. We plan to ask locals what transit services they need. Come join us to discuss transit options. Transit forum in KANATA Jan 21st - Ottawa Transit Riders / Le groupe des usagers de transport en commun d'Ottawa

Change is not always scary – sometimes it can be exciting.

 

Remote Work Flipped the Commuting Script. Now Transit Must Adapt. (govtech.com)

How Mass Transit Can Adapt to Post-Pandemic Needs | Planetizen News

 

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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: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/kanata-transit-forum-tickets-511939132727

 

Poster by https://www.vonallan.com

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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: ottawalrtpublicinquiry.ca

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:

https://twitter.com/HorizonOttawa/status/1597610831755497473?t=8KSFg8aaOgLJ5dCsU-GdCw&s=19

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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