Manconi open to external audit of LRT launch
OTTAWA — OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi says he’s open to having an external audit of the process leading up to the launch of LRT, and the issues immediately afterward, saying he has nothing to hide.
“Council can make that decision anytime,” Manconi told CTV Morning Live.
Manconi said external advisors have examined the system from top to bottom already as the City got ready to accept the transfer of the $2.1 billion Confederation Line from the Rideau Transit Group. He says he told the Mayor and City Council four times the system wasn’t ready before the final announcement the line would open in September.
Manconi said by then, they had to launch.
“We didn’t have a choice. Why? They met the criteria for moving into launch,” he said.
He told CTV Morning Live’s Leslie Roberts the issues the LRT is experiencing now didn’t come up during testing, something other OC Transpo staff have said.
“If we had the computer failures during the 12 days we wouldn’t have launched and RTG wouldn’t have launched,” he said.
Manconi didn’t give a timeline for when issues with doors, switches, and computer systems on the LRT line would be fixed, but he said the situation is improving.
“Everybody wants a date. I don’t give a date unless I can guarantee that date,” he said. “Things are all trending in the right direction. RTG has stepped up on multiple fronts because of our unrelenting pressure. The other incentive RTG has is they make very good profit margins if they get this thing running it’s intended to run.”
The City has been withholding payments to RTG because of the ongoing problems. Manconi said the amount is now up to $8 million.
“We have an iron-clad contract that says if you fail at this threshold, which they did in September and October, we have a bunch of rights and we don’t have to ask you to invoke those rights; we will invoke those rights.”
Manconi said if RTG can fix the train control system, it will inject “a lot of confidence” into the transit system.
He added having more buses on standby for R1 service from day one would have been helpful, but they didn’t anticipate so many problems.
“I’m happy for people to be critical of what we could have done differently but if the mission is to take care of the customer every step of the way, which is our mission, we’ll take the criticism, we’ll take the suggestions.”