No shortage of ideas for $27M in transit cash

More buses, reliable weekday routes and better weekend service top the wish lists of city transit riders who heard Ottawa has an extra $27 million to spend on OC Transpo.

Public transit users yesterday had a laundry list of improvements they’d like OC Transpo to start after the Ontario government announced $27 million in funding for Ottawa’s transit services heading into the weekend.


The funding, which will be delivered by March 31, is earmarked for bus upgrades and purchases and other costs to boost efficiency, including new engines and GPS systems. But Faye Borden said yesterday she hopes all that translates into more reliable service.

"If they want to have a city that relies on buses, they need to have better service," said Borden.

Jesse Redden, who works a retail job downtown, said it’s just as important that OC Transpo’s weekend service reflect the city it serves. "They reduce service on weekends, but life doesn’t stop just because it’s Saturday," he said. "You have to wait like half an hour or more for the same bus on weekends."

Commuter Casey Thomas wants to see better service outside of the core as a result of the money.

"I’m down in Barrhaven, so I’d want to see more express route buses," he said. "They’re always jammed during rush hour."

OC Transpo has struggled to offer seamless service lately due to a combination of staff shortages and vehicles scheduled for repairs. Christine Coultish wants the money used to fix the problems.

"I don’t know if that’s the lack of buses or drivers," said Coultish. "If buses are breaking down, I’m all for fixing them."

Better yet, use the money to charge less for the service, said Katherine Jamer.

"They could lower the price of an ecopass," said Jamer, who takes the bus everyday to work.

A good shovelling in the wintertime is all Kanata resident Aurele Lafontaine has on his list. Using the cash to ensure passengers don’t have to step into snowbanks to board buses would be a great help.

"It would make it easier for all people," he said.

weeks in waiting

  • After weeks of speculation, the city will reveal options for the Downtown Rapid Transit Network, today. The city is reportedly considering an estimated $3.6-billion plan that includes a light rail tunnel through the downtown on tracks that stretch east and west from Lincoln Fields to Blair Road and south to Riverside Road, with buses to service the rest of the way. The city will be holding a series of open houses to discuss the long-term transit plan over coming days and residents can also comment online at until March 31.

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