OTTAWA - Ottawa Transit Riders expressed their disappointment that the 2021 Federal Budget announced no new emergency operational funding for public transit. With the previous round of federal funding having expired at the end of March, public transit agencies like OC Transpo may be forced to make drastic service cuts.
Public transit agencies across Canada are all facing significant financial pressures due to the drop in ridership and lack of fare revenue. Recently, OC Transpo has suspended routes and reduced services in an effort to reduce costs. Without further emergency operational funding from the federal government, OC Transpo will be forced to make further reductions.
“Throughout this pandemic, public transit has been a lifeline for essential workers, seniors, people with disabilities, and newcomers who need access to reliable and accessible transit to get to work or medical appointments,” said Stuart MacKay, a Board Member of Ottawa Transit Riders. “Without further emergency operational funding, transit agencies like OC Transpo will be forced to cut back on services. This will hurt riders and our most marginalized citizens.”
Ottawa Transit Riders is a proud member of the Keep Transit Moving Coalition, a nationwide alliance of public transit advocacy groups. Last week, the Keep Transit Moving Coalition sent a letter to the Finance Minister asking her to extend emergency transit funding that they had committed earlier last year. Sixty organizations including large unions like CUPE, UNIFOR and PSAC and environmental organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation signed the letter, displaying large support across sectors. Further, a poll done with EKOS Research showed that over 70% of Canadians supported extending emergency transit operational funding.
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