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Ottawa’s terrible transportation system

Yesterday, the Ottawa Citizen reported yet another (possible) increase in the price of bus fares.

All you need to know is in the title of the article: OC Transpo Fares might rise more than 15% for adults.

It appears the key word of that sentence is might. Like there's a chance the transit commission will overturn the proposal.

This article reminded me how much I don't like Ottawa's transportation system. Why am I not impressed, you ask?

  1. The buses are always late. I have to wait half an hour outside for the next bus to arrive!
  2. I need to take at least two buses, sometimes three, to get to where I need to go. Transfers are a real pain, and they turn a 20-minute trip into hours.  
  3. The city has been overtaken by Vinci parking lots — a French corporation that has doubled/tripled the price of parking downtown. As you can read here and here, the company is loved everywhere it goes.
  4. Our light rail will be ready in 2018, so they say . . .
  5. I don't feel safe biking downtown. Even the new lane on Laurier St is dangerous. 
  6. I own a scooter and I know of only one parking complex downtown that has spots for motorcycles/high-speed scooters. And why should I pay the same price to park it as someone with a car? It's not fair — the scooter is greener and smaller; I should be rewarded for this alternative mode of transportation. 

We're the capital of Canada. We deserve to be treated like the rest of the world's capitals when it comes to transportation. And please don't tell me Ottawa's too small — Amsterdam and Geneva are small, too, and yet they have buses, tramways, (gasp!) metro and even boats!

How about the city provide its citizens with public boat rides from downtown Ottawa to Little Italy's Dow's Lake? 

I think that OC Transpo's proposed price increase should be turned down. There is no real competition and the service they provide is mediocre at best.

If the citizens of Ottawa have no real alternative, then council should freeze the cost of their only public transportation option. Especially given that so many Ottawans will be laid off in the following weeks/months. 

I understand the OC Transpo union is trying to get a deal for its members — an 8.5 percent wage increase over four years. I personally don't mind the wage increase; I can't imagine how hard it must be to drive a bus all day long. Still, sometimes I wonder: what if, instead of focusing money and energy on OC Transpo, the city shifted gears and focused on the bigger picture? 

Like safe biking lanes all over downtown? Like parking for scooters. Like a public boat that goes up and down the canal. Why not build a dock near the Somerset Bridge and Dow's Lake? Or, how about allowing a private company to compete with OC Transpo? Then maybe we'll have buses that come on time . . .

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