OTTAWA -- Frustration is mounting for Para Transpo users who say they are often left waiting for hours on the phone to book rides.

Patricia Ghadban says she was on hold for 3.5 hours Thursday.

Ghadban says, “I first called at 10 o’clock in the morning and left a message. By one o’clock I didn’t hear back so I left another message for a call back.” Ghadban called back again at 4 pm; “I was put on hold for 3 and a half hours, just to get through Para Transpo booking.”

On Thursday, OC Transpo tweeted out “our OC Transpo and Para Transpo Customer Service phone lines are currently experiencing higher than normal call volumes.”

Transit Chair Allan Hubley says, “That particular day there were technical issues going on with the phones, so Para and OC Transpo phones were having trouble.”

Ghadban understands it was a busy time ahead of Black Friday, but says better options need to be available for families- such as online booking.

She says, “I would use that for sure, if we could book a couple of days in advance that would be great even if it is for just an appointment. We should have that option. But we don’t.”  

Hubley says they have also added more staff. “We have added a lot more client service representatives. We are up to 88 hires and another 12 are coming. So we will be up to 100 hires.”

OC Transpo is working on an online booking system to decrease wait times. An interim web form is expected in the coming months. There is still no firm date for the complete roll out.

A city report presented to the Transit Commission says, “There have also been increases in staffing and training, and an extension of work hours to complete administrative work during off hours, so that more staff are able to take Para Transpo calls during the day. While these changes have resulted in some overall improvements in the time it would take to make a reservation, staff acknowledge that the current wait times, that can average 30 minutes and 35 seconds, are not satisfactory and they continue to work to shorten the wait times experienced by Para Transpo customers.”