June city council - fare freeze

On June 12, 2019, councillors participated in a rather contentious city council meeting.

OTR Board Member John Reddins attended.

The first item of interest to our members was a proposal from councillor Catherine McKenney (Somerset Ward) to study the merits of ‘Vision Zero’ – “a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.”

It is a strategy pioneered in Sweden that has been highly successful in reducing traffic fatalities and creating infrastructure to encourage cycling. Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto have already started working towards ‘vision zero’.

In Ottawa, the proposal was sparked by the tragic death of a cyclist on Laurier Avenue right in front of City Hall. Two more cyclists were hurt on Tuesday morning. Vision Zero was also invoked after the Westboro bus station tragedy this past December. It is an issue since residents are at risk of being injured on Ottawa’s roads while crossing streets to get to bus-stops, waiting at bus-stops, or walking/biking to transit stops.

The proposal was defeated.

The second item of interest was a proposal from councillor Diane Deans (Gloucester-Southgate) to reduce transit fares as a way of acknowledging that transit riders are not getting quality service for their fares.

"The very principle of fairness would suggest that we should not be charging full fares for a partial or unreliable system," she said.

The proposal was defeated.

A follow-up motion to freeze transit fares until the LRT is operating was accepted.

OC Transpo fare freeze extended until LRT opens

 

Then things got bizarre as the Mayor threw his full support behind the transportation manager who has been at the helm while transit service declines, frustration rises, and costs skyrocket.

John Manconi is one of the most noble, sensible, competent general managers of transit that we have ever seen in the history of the City of Ottawa and to be casting aspersions on him and our senior staff is an absolute disgrace for political posturing and points,” Watson said before councillors banged their desks in support.

TRANSIT FARE FREEZE, NO REDUCTION: Things get heated at council meeting

 

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