Despite a report that finds it has the lowest passenger service satisfaction of all major Canadian cities, Ottawa will not consider revamping transit under a separate commission.
A city committee opted yesterday to allow time for a recent reorganization of transit services to bear fruit rather than follow a consultant’s recommendation that it form a transit commission to fix OC Transpo’s below-average ranking in terms of cost recovery, cost effectiveness and on-time performance.
“What we’ve seen here is that we don’t compare well against commission or committees, but our only answer is to change what we do internally,” said Mayor Larry O’Brien.
A recent transit union report advised wholesale changes to the governance of a city system that it deemed in “crisis.” But the city has made “significant” organization changes that it “needs to take some time to see what comes of it,” said deputy city manager Nancy Schepers.
For example, this month responsibility for fleet maintenance and finance shifted to transit services director Alain Mercier. But “you are not going to see the benefit for some time,” Schepers said.
The key findings of the $120,000 consultant’s report found that OC Transpo lacked a single point of accountability, with the roles of council, the transit committee and management being not well-defined.
The report identified five different models for running OC Transpo, including various re-organizations within city hall and commissions.
Wendy Turpin, who presented the report, said a commission would be more accountable and transparent.
“The status quo did not (present) the best service and accountability and should not be considered moving forward,” Turpin said.
But Coun. Diane Deans questioned the accountability of a commission when the board members do not have to answer to riders.