Retailers, non-profit groups and organizations in Ottawa are thrilled to have transit return next week, but many believe it will take time for the city to recover from what will be more than two months without buses.
The strike has had a “dramatic impact” on non-profit organizations that depend on volunteers, said Angela Campbell, director of fundraising at the Shepherds of Good Hope.
Even though transit is back next week, Campbell said she doesn‚t expect changes right away.
“The volunteers have been away for so long that they might have fallen out of the routine, and volunteering isn’t something they’ll think of right away,” she said. “We might have lost volunteers permanently. We’re already down to the bare minimum.”
Over at the Ottawa Mission, spokeswoman Shirley Roy said staff and clients are pleased that the transit strike has come to an end.
Clients are “anxious to get to their appointments for new apartments, new jobs and medical appointments,” she said. “And it will be a relief for volunteers, many of whom have had to pay for parking to volunteer here or walk long distances to get to their shift.”
Students living off-campus — many of whom depend on transit to get to classes — are relieved to see that transit services are back, said Dean Haldenby, president of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa.
Haldenby said this is a good opportunity for the city to go forward with a universal bus pass “to restore the transit system, guarantee a sustainable source of revenue and improve transit in the future.”
“We’re definitely looking forward to having buses back,” said Bijoux Jewellers employee Mareta Rasmuson.
“We were affected–I think we will see a significant difference,” she said.