May Transit Commission meeting cancelled despite requests from Commissioners
An east-bound OTrain pulls in to Rideau Station on the Confederation Line of the Light Rail Transit system in Ottawa, ON. (Brenda Woods/CTV Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- Plans for a Transit Commission meeting have been parked for a third straight month.
The City of Ottawa reports the scheduled Transit Commission meeting on May 20 has been cancelled. It’s the third straight commission meeting cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, Councillor Riley Brockington and Citizen Transit Commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert wrote Transit Commission Chair Allan Hubley, requesting a meeting be held virtually in May. The last Transit Commission meeting was held in February.
“We are aware that the City’s primary focus is on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” writes Brockington and Wright-Gilbert.
“However, it is vital that important discussions on other businesses, including public transit proceed to ensure that members of Council, the Transit Commission and the public are provided the opportunity to receive vital information and updates and to provide direction, where appropriate.”
Brockington and Wright-Gilbert wanted the Transit Commission meeting to discuss budget pressures due to a drop in fare revenue, an update on COVID-19 mitigation measures being taken by OC Transpo and an overview of OC Transpo’s plans for returning to full bus/rail service as the pandemic measures are lifted.
OC Transpo estimates fare revenues will be $98 million under budget if the physical distancing restrictions and other COVID-19 measures remain in place until September.
The two Transit Commissioners also want an update on Rideau Transit Group’s plans to address issues with the Confederation Line. City Staff had promised to report back to Council on discussions with RTG about its plans to address the issue identified by the city.
In a letter to Wright-Gilbert and Brockington on Tuesday, Hubley writes “after consultation with staff, I am of the opinion that this scheduled regular meeting is not necessary at this time, as there are no substantive reports for the Commission to approve.”
Hubley says he will forward their questions and concerns to City Manager Steve Kanellakos and Transportation Services General Manager John Manconi, and they can determine the appropriate venue and timing to provide the information to Council and the Transit Commission.