It’s been a bit discouraging to advocate for transit these days. City council seems to lack vision; they just passed a “status quo” budget that includes a 2.5% annual fare increase that will hit people in January.
I take solace that there are increasing numbers of people in Ottawa who are willing to stand up and fight. The Ottawa Transit Riders were part of a coalition of groups that developed an alternative budget. It is meant to demonstrate that we DO have choices – it would be possible to spend more on some things and less on others if only local politicians were willing. Here are some interesting articles about it:
And during this pandemic, people have taken stock of what is important and who are the truly essential workers in our economy. More and more people are realizing that transit is an essential service and cannot be run as a business.
“EKOS asked Canadians whether they agree that Ottawa should provide funding to transit agencies and, more precisely, “long term” funding. That’s a challenging question during a pandemic, when many people are focused on near-term priorities like emergency benefits and vaccine production. Yet a strong majority — 73 per cent — believe the feds should indeed offer transit this long-range commitment.”
Members of the Ottawa Transit Riders have been vocal about our demands to reduce fares and maintain service.
In which transit chair councillor Allan Hubley is quoted as saying “… So if we don’t do a fare increase, where’s the money going to come from?”
“The city is very concerned about raising taxes on wealthy homeowners and the optics of that, but when you raise the cost of an essential service like transit, you are shifting the burden from people who can afford it to people who can’t afford it, and I find that very disturbing.”