The $10.8 million mistake

Bad decisions have repercussions – transit riders pay the price

In a spectacular case of counting their chickens before they hatch, OC Transpo announced last summer that they would be laying off hundreds of drivers in anticipation of the LRT launch. Considering that the LRT is now more than 400 days late, this decision has had serious repercussions.

345 OC Transpo drivers will get layoff notices by Aug. 3


In addition, last September, OC Transpo cut a number of routes – notably #11, #12, and #28. None of the routes that were cut overlap with the LRT – it appears to be merely a case of OC Transpo saving money on busing to pay for the much-delayed LRT.

As drivers (and other OC Transpo staff) leave, OC Transpo has struggled and failed to maintain an acceptable level of service. Customer complaints are rising; the transit challenge in February highlighted serious deficiencies. Even the head of OC Transpo, John Manconi, admitted that the system was struggling with reliability.

OC Transpo has resorted to offering bonuses and incentives to encourage staff to work overtime.

OC Transpo drivers offered rich incentives to work OT


It is now being reported that OC Transpo spent 30% more on overtime this year than in the year before. From May 2018 to April 2019, they spent $17.3 million on overtime, which is $4.2 million more than the year before.

Overtime costs soar as LRT delay drags on


This does NOT include the additional $6.6 million that the city is spending on incentives and bonuses to encourage drivers to take on the extra hours.

According to my calculations, that is $10.8 million dollars in one year to correct a decision to lay off drivers when it was obvious to anyone at the time that the LRT was not ready for launch.

Just think of the other things that OC Transpo COULD have spent their money on … like online booking for ParaTranspo or restoring routes #11, #12, and #28.


EVERY person in Ottawa has an interest in good public transit. I think Ottawa residents should be asking their councillors why OC Transpo is getting a free pass to spend taxpayer money so carelessly.

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