Solution on the way to bus woes at Good Companions Centre
What's that saying: The squeaky wheel gets the grease? Well in this case, it might get the whole bus. CTV reported last month about concerns over a change in bus service at the Good Companions Centre. It appears a solution is in the works.
The Good Companions Centre raised the alarm about their bus routes disappearing once LRT came on-line. The centre is a lifeline for seniors and suddenly, for many of them, that lifeline was cut off.
A few weeks ago, a bingo game here at the Good Companions Centre would have drawn a full house. Not anymore.
Mary Bowman is among the players, “Have a look around the room,” she says, “Have you camera take a look. There’s nobody here; not because we don't want to come but because we can't get here.”
The Centre used to be served by a number of buses, arriving every few minutes right outside the door here. Now, it's only the number 16 every half hour or the LRT three hundred metres away at the Pimisi Station.
“This cannot be forgotten about,” says Bowman, “It's such a hardship for people, who's it’s their only lifeline and they could die because they're lonely.”
The mayor made it clear in Wednesday’s budget speech that it won’t be forgotten.
The councillor for the area says a fix is in the works.
“A solution has been found,” he told council, “and will be announced in the near future.
It's just not clear what that fix is.
Catherine Mckenney is the Ottawa councillor for the area and has been working on finding that solution, “
“There are a couple things that we know would work,” she says, “but we need to look at the cost of that, ridership numbers and want to make sure we are capturing as many seniors as possible.”
It may be a question of increasing the frequency of the 16 or looping another bus to the Centre.
“The mayor has committed to it,” says McKenney, “and I have no doubt it will happen.”
Monique Doolittle-Romas, the Executive Director of the Good Companions Centre is counting on that, “
“The winter is coming, there was snow this morning,” she says, “So, they were worried this is it, that they won't be able to come until this spring and we wanted to be able to reassure and now we can. We know there will be a solution.”
Just before 3:00, the bingo game comes to an abrupt halt as Mary and her friends frantically rush outside to catch the bus so they won't have to wait another half hour shivering in the cold.
“We don’t want to miss this one,” she says, “We can’t. We have no other way of getting home.”
There will be competing interests for solutions to all the busing problems throughout this city. But the mayor has been a frequent visitor to the Good Companions ; this will be high on his priority list.