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As some of you may know, Ottawa Transit Riders was fortunate enough to win the 2019 Healthy Transportation Coalition (HTC) $1,400 Mini-Grant last spring. Our grant proposal was specifically for the creation of this group and the start of work on a range of campaigns, including online booking for ParaTranspo, improved accuracy for OC Transpo route tracking and communications (e.g. GPS and apps), a focus on reducing cancellations, restoration of certain key routes (e.g. the 12), and much more. The Mini-Grant is awarded based on votes by HTC membership, so we were thrilled to have won it! One of the requirements of the Mini-Grant was that we commit to report on our progress in 2019, including any monies spent, by December 31, 2019. (Note that, since the grant was for an ongoing project, we did not have to spend the entire dollar sum by the end of the year, we just had to account for how we'd spent it so far and provide some information on how the remainder of it would be spent.)
Since we believe in good communication and in being transparent with our members and supporters, we are pleased to be able to share this report with you. As you'll see, we have made some very good progress in the first eight months of our existence, despite a very challenging transit environment...and we have big plans for 2020!
Comme certains d'entre vous le savent peut-être, les usagers du transport en commun d'Ottawa ont eu la chance de remporter le printemps dernier la mini-subvention de 1 400 $ de la coalition pour les transports sains de 2019. Notre proposition de subvention visait précisément la création de ce groupe et le début du travail sur une gamme de produits livrables, notamment la réservation en ligne pour ParaTranspo, l'amélioration de la précision du suivi des itinéraires et des communications d'OC Transpo (p. ex. GPS et applications), l'accent mis sur la réduction des annulations, le rétablissement de certains itinéraires clés (p. ex. le 12), et bien plus encore. La mini-subvention est accordée en fonction des votes des membres de la coalition pour les transports sains, nous sommes donc ravis de l'avoir gagnée ! L'une des exigences de la Mini- subvention était que nous nous engagions à faire rapport de nos progrès en 2019, y compris les sommes dépensées, avant le 31 décembre 2019. (Notez que, puisque la subvention était pour un projet en cours, nous n'avions pas à dépenser la totalité de la somme en dollars avant la fin de l'année, nous devions simplement rendre compte de la façon dont nous l'avions dépensée jusqu'à présent et fournir quelques renseignements sur la façon dont le reste serait dépensé).
Puisque nous croyons en une bonne communication et en la transparence avec nos membres et nos partisans, nous sommes heureux de pouvoir partager ce rapport avec vous. Comme vous le verrez, nous avons fait de très bons progrès au cours des huit premiers mois de notre existence, malgré un environnement de transport en commun très difficile... et nous avons de grands projets pour 2020 ! (Le rapport n'est malheureusement disponible actuellement qu'en anglais ; cependant, nous le mettrons à jour dès qu'une version française sera disponible.)
Ottawa Transit Riders: 2019 Healthy Transportation Coalition Grant Report
- We held our formal Founding Meeting on April 27, 2019, and elected our first Board of Directors. There were more than 100 people in attendance and it was a huge success.
- Since then, we have been working on group infrastructure, including committees (Membership, Governance, Government Relations, Finance and Fundraising, Equity and Accessibility, Communications, and Campaigns and Political Actions), the creation of an Ottawa Transit Riders Code of Conduct, the migration of our website to our own NationBuilder account, the building of membership data, mailing lists, and improving our social media presence.
- We have also held monthly Board of Directors meetings to plan events and discuss next steps. In 2020, we plan to hold more regular members’ meetings, as well.
- Instagram (153 followers).
- Facebook (789 followers).
- Twitter (2,716 followers).
- Active website.
- 40+ media interviews on Ottawa transit (examples available on request).
- In June, we sponsored the Leap’s Green New Deal stop in Ottawa. It was a successful event and we were able to add almost 100 people to our mailing list.
- On Labour Day weekend, we sponsored Ottawa’s infamous Merry Dairy truck for move-in weekend at the University of Ottawa.
- We set up at the community booths at Barrhaven Farmer’s Market (September 8) and Beechwood Market (October 26).
- We were also fortunate enough to be invited to the formal launch of Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, which was an excellent outreach opportunity; Sam Boswell and John Redins attended on behalf of the Board of Directors.
- In addition to planning and outreach, we also prioritized attending councillor meetings on LRT and OC Transpo’s big service change and spoke up about the 2020 City of Ottawa budget. For example, please see the following posts: Major route changes, Will OC Transpo listen to customers?, How is the big change working out?, and Important transit meetings for advocates.
- We met and talked with dozens of supporters and potential supporters at community associations, town halls, and city outreach events (e.g. ward budget consultations); we attended the Chinese Canadian Collective and the Federation of Citizen Associations annual general meetings; we met with Ecology Ottawa; and we were represented by Sally Thomas, Ottawa Transit Riders member and Para Parity advocate, on a panel at Joel Harden’s November transit town hall).
- We prepared a Transit Commission 101 and speaking points for our supporters and members and five of our Board of Directors attended and gave multiple delegations at the November 20 Transit Commission. We also “live-tweeted” the entire event.
- We held our first Campaign Meeting on November 2, which helped to define upcoming campaigns for 2020.
- We supported the #ParaParity campaign and contributed to getting online booking on the radar at City Council, including giving delegations at the first Transit Commission meeting to discuss the online booking issue, in September. We helped to keep the media engaged, largely through John Redins’ efforts. Sadly, more work is needed in 2020;
- We were instrumental in getting City Council to recognize the ongoing public transit crisis in Ottawa and implement a three-month fare freeze in 2020;
- We convinced OC Transpo to restore the route 12 (it will now service Parliament Station, providing a vital connection to the downtown core, other bus routes, and the LRT station);
- We met with an accessibility lawyer in early October to explore our options regarding lawsuits or complaints about ParaTranspo service and accessibility issues on conventional transit; more work will be done on this in 2020; and
- We were nominated for a 2020 Ottawa Award for best Volunteer Organization.
- Continuing to support the #ParaParity campaign;
- Advocating for continued system-wide fare freezes in 2020 through #Fight4FairFares;
- Pushing for better communication from OC Transpo and the City of Ottawa;
- Hosting the 2020 Transit Challenge in conjunction with Healthy Transportation Coalition, Free Transit Ottawa, and Ecology Ottawa;
- Starting a new data collection campaign in March;
- Pushing for more accountability and transparency from OC Transpo and the City of Ottawa;
- Talking to bus drivers about how we can work with them on transit improvements; and
- Supporting the work of Healthy Transportation Coalition, Ecology Ottawa, Free Transit Ottawa, and other advocacy groups with shared goals.
Expenses in 2019:
- Ottawa Transit Riders NationBuilder account and website: $325.24.
- Business cards: $50.84.
- Posters: $22.37.
- Campaign committee meeting refreshments: $33.52
- TOTAL SPENT TO DATE: $431.97.
Expenses upcoming in 2020 (tentative and subject to change):
- Cost of listing data collection app on iTunes: $100.
- Honorarium for people developing our apps: $100.
- Business cards, posters, and promotional merchandise: $350.
- Microphone or other accessibility purchases for live-streaming meetings: $200.