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Express bus return time 'grossly unfair': Councillor

<span style="font-size: 10pt">A suburban </span><span style="font-size: 10pt">Ottawa</span><span style="font-size: 10pt"> councillor has expressed concern over the length oftime it will take for express buses to come back in service.</span>

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A suburban Ottawa councillor has expressed concern over the length of
time it will take for express buses to come back in service.

Kanata North
Coun
. Marianne Wilkinson
said the planned return to service is “grossly unfair for taxpayers living
outside the
Greenbelt.”

”It’s still a very poor
program for areas like mine,” she said. “The local buses are going to be picking
people up and taking them to the Transitway for buses that are going to be
jam-packed. They probably won’t be able to get on a bus and that could to lead
to serious problems.”

Wilkinson said that many
people in her ward won't see normal service return for more than a month and
has warned OC Transpo general manager Alain Mercier that she will recommend
changes to the roll-out plan at Wednesday afternoon‚s transit committee
meeting.

However, deputy city manager
Nancy Schepers said there is very little room to modify the plan because of the
time it takes to book drivers and they wanted to ensure a reliable schedule for
passengers.

“We’ve built in a bit of
flexibility, so we can make adjustments, but the basic plan is what it is,” she
said. “If there is not a reliable schedule to it, it will be much more
infuriating to customers and we cannot risk that.”

With only 570 buses available
to run a system that requires 846 buses, Transit Committee Chairman Alex Cullen
said focusing on Transitway must be the priority, since the system relies so
heavily on it.

“We’re looking at the most
effective way to move the most people,” he said. “The majority of our
population lives within the
Greenbelt,
within access to the Transitway. It takes two-thirds of our ridership, so it
makes sense to build out and then have the feeder routes coming in later.”

 
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