Councillors won’t yet commit $8 million to an automated system that calls out stops on city buses, demanding instead that drivers make the announcements, with consequences for those who don’t.
Ottawa’s transit committee voted yesterday against a request to spend $8 million on a system that tracks buses by satellite and automatically announces upcoming stops. And until OC Transpo learns if the project will be included in the 2008 budget, councillors want managers to ensure drivers make the calls.
Kitchissippi ward councillor Christine Leadman said some OC Transpo operators need an “attitude adjustment” after passenger complaints that stops were not being announced led to a ruling against Ottawa by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).
OC Transpo wanted the system to guarantee compliance with the ruling and its existing policy that requires stops along transit routes to be announced. The CTA ruled few drivers follow that policy after investigating a complaint by Ottawa’s Terrance Green.
“It is a matter of respect and courtesy,” Leadman said.
While OC Transpo waits to see if automation is coming, Green said yesterday that “all I want is for OC Transpo to follow their policy.”
The rejection was followed by motions for OC Transpo to strengthen drivers’ consistency in calling stops, add the job to drivers’ training, and discipline drivers that don’t follow the policy.
Bus drivers’ union head Andre Cornellier told Metro this week that it’s unreasonable to expect operators to remember to call every stop when they must focus on safely driving.
Alain Mercier, OC Transpo’s director of transit services, said the intent has “always been to include (an automated system), but it is a step-by-step process.”
For now, he said, OC Transpo takes “these issues very seriously” and will investigate all complaints about drivers.