Bus strike over, but hardship continues
Published Tuesday, February 3, 2009 5:46PM EST
Although Ottawa's bus strike is over, the suffering is not.
"We were left stranded pretty well -- you can't go anywhere," said Jeff O'Reilly, a single dad who says bus service can't be restored soon enough.
O'Reilly and his 20-month-old daughter were stranded and homeless during the strike. Without buses, he couldn't get around the city to find an apartment. He couldn't even make it to the food bank to put food on the table.
"Because I'm a single father, I don't get a whole lot of money, so I sort of depend on the (food) bank," he said.
Although O'Reilly's parents agreed to take him and his daughter in, the strike presented many other problems for the young family.
"She had her 18-month doctor appointment and I couldn't bring her to that because it would cost me almost $40 in taxi one-way and I can't afford that," he said.
"I couldn't bring her to playgroups because of the strike. There was a lot of things we couldn't do."
Many experience hardship
O'Reilly is not alone in experiencing hardship because of the transit strike. Many Ottawa residents of all ages were stranded in their homes and unable to make it to work and other appointments.
"People think everybody in the suburbs has a car, that's not true," said Coun. Marianne Wilkinson.
"I have seniors with no cars. I have low-income people with no cars, people who have lost their jobs because they couldn't get to work."
Council discusses bus plan
As residents wait for bus service to resume, city council will discuss possible changes to how service is restored on Wednesday. Currently, many express routes to the suburbs are last on the list of priorities.
"I'm hoping we will have a little better balance. I know we won't have all the buses, so we can't have full service. But there should be a balance, as I say --share the pain and not give all service in one area and very limited service in another," said Wilkinson.
In the meantime, O'Reilly has managed to find an apartment and is anxious for life to return to normal once buses get back up and running.
"It was a long two months," he said.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Natalie Pierosara