Last week, the City of Ottawa’s transit committee met to discuss Transplan 2009, a report recommending transit route changes that would take effect in September.

The overarching goal of the proposed changes is to make the system “more efficient.”

It sounds both positive and simple on the surface, but when you’re dealing with a system that affects thousands of riders every day, changing anything is rarely easy — even if the intention is to make it better.

Commenting on route changes that would affect her neighbourhood, Crystal Beach/Lakeview Community Association president Ruth Tremblay told Metro Ottawa that “the city should just leave things the way they are — it’s working right now for us, so why change it?”

Certainly the “if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it” philosophy was probably on the minds of many of the 2,100 citizens who wrote, emailed and faxed city councillors to express their thoughts on the plan. In fact, 1,650 of those commenting were in clear opposition to the changes.

Opposition doesn’t necessarily mean the city nor the transit committee will abandon plans that they hope will build new ridership, and reduce the number of buses that travel through an already congested downtown core.

But the fact they are listening closely to concerned citizens suggests the plan has not been drafted hastily.
After hearing loud opposition from members of his community, Orleans Coun. Bob Monette met with transit general manager Alain Mercier, as well as two OC Transpo drivers, to discuss the proposed route changes.

The result was small changes to the plan that will see a new route for the ward, and revised schedules to ease crowded buses.

No matter what ultimately results from Transplan 2009, the changes are sure to please some riders and city residents, and infuriate others.