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Para Transpo riders express frustration as OC Transpo on-demand transit kicks off


OC Transpo launched a new pilot project to provide on-demand transit for riders in Blackburn Hamlet on Sunday.

Residents in the area can now request a bus at anytime between 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays and "select holidays."

The project will shuttle riders to and from Blair Station using idle Para Transpo minibuses.

"I’m so excited, 25 people so far have taken the on-demand transit," said OC Transpo's general manager, Renee Amilcar. "Ridership is very low here and Ottawa transit we cannot use a big bus, but we want to continue to give service to our customers."

Amilcar adds the benefits also include shorter wait and travel times, shorter walking distances, lower emissions and increased travel options for customers.

But those who use Para Transpo, the city's accessible transit service, say they have been asking for a similar on-demand model for years.

"It’s kind of frustrating when you see this for conventional on-demand and we can’t get on-demand," said John Redins, a Para Transpo user and a member of Ottawa Transit Riders.

Redins relies on Para Transpo to get around. He says he’s required to book at least a day in advance, which means he can’t make same-day appointments, go out with friends or pick up extra shifts at work.

"We got to be treated like equals right now and we’re not," said Redins. "It improves our lifestyle if we can go out in the community on the same day."

Right now, Amilcar says the on-demand pilot project is only offered in a limited area and does not offer door-to-door rides. It’s unclear if that will change in the future.

Riders can book a trip for the new on-demand transit service by calling OC Transpo at (613) 560-5000 or by using an on-demand transit rider app. Top Stories

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