OTTAWA—The 2019 Transit Week Challenge concluded with a renewed call for more reliable, more affordable and more equitable transit service in Ottawa. For the week of Monday February 4 to Sunday February 10, city councillors were asked to use OC Transpo for all transportation, other than walking.
Capital Ward Councillor Shawn Menard joined 16 of his colleagues in participating in this event. Councillor Menard took transit to and from City Hall each working day, rode the bus to meetings and events throughout the ward and the city, and relied on OC Transpo for family commitments, including a hospital visit.
As a semi-regular (though not daily) transit rider, last week’s trips reinforced his desire to reduce transit fares, increase service and reliability, and help make Ottawa a transit city.
Today, Councillor Menard joins Free Transit Ottawa in calling for a fare freeze in the upcoming budget. With new concerns about the launch date for LRT, the need to freeze bus fare takes on added importance, especially for people living on low and fixed incomes.
Since 2011, OC Tranpso has lost 8 million rides; meanwhile, the regular non-cash fare has increased by 72.5% since 2008. “Further increasing fares will make transit more unaffordable and unappealing to many in our city. If we want our transit system— including LRT—to succeed, we have to make sure that transit is something people are able to use, and something that they want to use. The city must stop squeezing riders for every last nickel.” – Shawn Menard
There is no question that Ottawa needs a robust, reliable and accessible transit system. With the effects of climate change continuing to threaten our future, and with the fiscalunsustainability of car-centred development, it is incumbent on Ottawa to act and to act now.
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