A group that began in our community is making a difference. Thanks to Free Transit Ottawa, 17 councillors, including myself are taking part in the challenge to take public transit exclusively for a week.

I took the bus daily in our community from age 8 to age 24. During those years I had a more regular schedule. Since then I still use the bus but am not using it daily. The schedule of a city councillor is hectic at the best of times. For this week I had to make some major adjustments to my schedule in order to attend all my daily activities.

I am glad to participate as I value the importance of transit and see a wide range of challenges with the service. I appreciate the message that Free Transit Ottawa is spreading – our transit system needs improvement.Although there will be some transit improvements with the spring opening of the LRT, we know that this will not directly benefit many communities including Vanier. The new route 20 has created more options for transit users in Vanier and has made the service more reliable on #19; For Vanier residents, the most common complaint is that the route 12 needs more capacity at peak times. I wholeheartedly agree. We are actively working with our community transit riders and OC Transpo to find solutions to increase service and create alternatives for the Montreal Road connection. We realize the challenges with the 12 and continue to advocate for increased options with OC Transpo. While they are hesitant to make changes, we realize there is a need and we’ll continue to advocate for improvements such as adjusting the new route 17 to use Montreal Road rather then Beechwood Avenue, which already has many transit options.

The next biggest complaint

I hear is about reliability. If bus reliability was improved I know that many residents including myself would be happier transit riders. As we head toward the opening of Light Rail Train Phase One, Council and OC Transpo need to turn their efforts to improving transit in urban neighbourhoods like Vanier.

The goal should be making transit a lifestyle and not simply a peak service transit system. I look forward to continuing to advocate for better transit services.

  1. Nick Heisler says:

    Snow tires. That would improve the buses reliability. According to two neigbours – there were 8 OCtranspo buses stuck the other day at my corner – 20s and 19s, four going each way – being pushed – yes pushed around the corner by an OCtranpo truck, one at time, blocking the intersection for an hour. I wished someone would have filmed it. Snow tires – the city since the province pretends there is no snow – should see if they can bring in a bylaw requiring all VEHICLES INCLUDING BUSES – registered to an address within city limits have snow tires.

    Thank you for being one the councillors to take the challenge and admit it was a challenge and that bus service in the city is not good. its barely mediocre on good weather days. Unlike the Mayor who would not give up his chauffeur (who I meant once at an event and is a nice guy – not saying the Mayor does need a driver – he does) for a week or event two days of that week to get a taste of what its like to have to rely on the bus to get to work on time and back. Can’t wait for a melt so I can go back to riding my bike to work, but given the new snow removal regime its just not safe to bike or walk through the winter anymore.

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