The Ottawa Transit Riders, Free Transit Ottawa, Horizon Ottawa, and Ecology Ottawa organized a rally for better transit in Ottawa on September 26th.
There is huge frustration in this city at the disconnect between what riders want and what city officials are willing to fund.
Here is an excellent CBC interview with Matti Siemiatycki, the Director of the Infrastructure Institute at the School of Cities, University of Toronto, and Professor in the Department of Geography & Planning on the risks of a “transit death spiral”.
We’re experiencing the undeniable evidence of climate change. Good public transit is a tool to mitigate the harms of climate change. But right now, transit is in decline in Ottawa, so people are avoiding it. We will never grow ridership with more route cuts and fare increases. We can do better, we deserve better.
Last year Council cut $47M in "cost savings" from the transit budget and left a $39M hole hoping upper levels of government would pick up the slack. The post-COVID recovery has been made more difficult by decades of neglect and mismanagement.
We are asking City Council to step up and make our transit system something people actually WANT to use. That means:
Make the Community and Equi Passes free for low-income riders and ODSP recipients. End costly fare enforcement and punitive fines.
Sign a petition to demand free transit for people on OW and ODSP
FREQUENCY and RELIABILITY
We need more buses and more operators to achieve service levels that will attract new riders — and permanent dedicated lanes on major roads, including Bank, Carling, Robertson, St Laurent and Baseline, to keep routes out of traffic and on schedule.
Ensure all stops are safe and accessible. Same-day booking for Para Transpo and service past midnight.
Involve riders in route planning and service levels to give us a say over the service we rely on. Create agendas for public meetings that clearly indicate when delegates are likely to be called upon so they don’t wait all day for a chance to speak for 5 minutes.
COMMUNICATION and ACCOUNTABILITY
Commit to real time updates when buses are delayed or canceled at least 20 minutes before routes are scheduled to start, and enable all routes with GPS by Q3 of 2024 so that transit apps can provide accurate information.
Redirect the $50M road widening budget, scrap corporate subsidies, raise City parking rates, and increase the Uber/Lyft surcharge to $0.70 to support improved and expanded transit operations.