The Ottawa Transit Riders group has long argued that public transit is both an essential service that addresses equity in our communities AND a key tool in our battle against climate change.
We are excited to hear Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna’s announcement today that the Canada Infrastructure Bank is promising a $400-million loan to the City of Ottawa to buy 450 electric buses by 2027.
Electric buses are an essential part of combating climate change. They emit no emissions or particulates which will help to reduce air pollution and benefit those with asthma and other respiratory issues. Electric buses are also quiet, helping to reduce noise pollution in urban areas. From a financial standpoint, electric buses are highly efficient and should have lower operating costs in the long run than diesel buses.
This announcement also signals that Canada is moving towards becoming a leader in producing innovative electric buses. A strong and stable electric bus manufacturing industry in Canadian will help to create good paying, high-quality jobs for Canadians and develop an opportunity to showcase Canadian excellence to the world as more cities continue to electrify their public transit systems.
This investment by the Federal government is a win-win agreement.
However, we still have questions. We ask that the city include experts on their selection panel to ensure that they buy the best Canadian-made buses available. We ask that the complete details of the loan from the Canada Infrastructure Bank be made transparent to the general public. We want to ensure that 100% of our new e-buses are accessible. As such, we are curious when ParaTranspo buses will be upgraded to electric versions.
The Ottawa Transit Riders group is a proud member of the Keep Transit Moving Coalition, which continues to advocate for permanent federal funding of transit operating costs to improve the reliability, accessibility and efficiency of our whole transit system. Electric buses won’t help transit riders if the city continues to raise fares and reduce service.
And finally, the torrent of abuse on social media that Minster McKenna faces for every announcement is unbecoming of all Canadians. The Ottawa Transit Riders group denounces such sexist comments.
We are excited and hopeful that this announcement will lead to cleaner, quieter buses on our streets and throughout our city.
Some information about electric vehicles from environmental groups: