OC Transpo buses resume service to all routes
For the first time in two months, all OC Transpo bus routes were back in service.
"Today was nice to have the 37 back because it stops right here and I live right here, so you can't beat it, " said transit user Jason Currie, who was thrilled to ride his Orleans express bus for the first time since the transit strike ended.
Parking and traffic regulations were also back to normal Monday after being relaxed to help the city cope with an influx of traffic during the eight-week work stoppage.
According to the City of Ottawa:
- All-day on-street parking at one-, two- and three-hour unmetered parking locations will no longer be permitted;
- Carpooling discounts at municipal paid-parking lots will cease;
- On-street metered parking rates will return to $3 per hour;
- On-street residential, visitor and special consideration permit parking fees will return to normal rates;
- Parking lots temporarily opened by the City will close, as will carpooling lots at City facilities.
But even with all bus routes back up and running, the rumbles of the transit strike were still felt across the city.
Some transit users talked of rumors of drivers bypassing stops where many were waiting for a ride. Others spoke of tactics that might be considered part of a work-to-rule campaign.
"This morning my husband and I saw a bus on Richmond Road, half on the sidewalk, half on the road, and it went that way for a good half block," said one Ottawa resident.
But among riders CTV Ottawa talked to on Monday, many transit users gave OC Transpo drivers a good grade, complimenting their courtesy.
"If you smile and say 'good morning,' they smile and say 'good morning.' And, I think they've been very pleasant and I think you give what you get,'" one transit user told CTV Ottawa.
"They're just doing their job now and everything in my opinion is a-ok," said another transit user.
"It's great service. They're talkative. Prices were good when they came back on," added another.
But even with all bus routes back in service, tension between management and the Amalgamated Transit Union is still high.
The two sides met with a federal arbitrator Monday to discuss the contentious scheduling issue and proposed changes to work-rest rules for bus drivers.
The meeting, which was called after OC Transpo managers moved to cap bus driver schedules last week, is scheduled to continue on Tuesday.
OC Transpo managers want to enforce new rules that would limit drivers to 14 hours of work in one day with at least eight hours between shifts. Under the current system, drivers can work as much as 22 hours in one day.
Although both sides are meeting with an arbitrator about the issue, federal Transport Minister John Baird has already said he's willing to step in and introduce rules to cap the number of hours bus drivers can work.
Ottawa's transit system is currently exempt from federal work-rest regulations.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Norman Fetterley