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.