OTTAWA -- Mayor Jim Watson says the Rideau Transit Group needs to be better prepared for winter weather after snow got the blame for issues on the Confederation Line this past weekend.

Speaking on CTV Morning Live Monday, Watson said he’s asking RTG for more information about switch issues reported Saturday and Sunday.

“We’ve asked RTG, ‘What is the root cause of that?’ because, at one point, they took the covers off because that was one of the problems, and that seemed to solve the issue,” he said, “but they created another problem, obviously, if the snow is affecting the switch system.”

R1 bus service was required both Saturday and Sunday on part of the Confederation Line because of switch issues. OC Transpo also said blowing snow tripped a sensor that detects intruders on the track Saturday afternoon, prompting a train driver to brake suddenly approaching Blair Station.

The Mayor compared RTG’s response to the storm to the City’s.

“We had a record day of snow and I want to give a shout out to our snow plow folks: they’re on top of their game and they’re planning for the worst-case scenario. RTG was not in that position. They have to be much more proactive,” Watson said.

Watson still defended the system, but admitted there’s room for improvement.

“We have to strive to do much better and so does RTG and so does our management team,” he said. “Obviously, I’m not satisfied with the performance of RTG and I’ll continue to push them for much better service and we continue to hold back money because we’re not paying for a service that is not up to the standards we expect.”

Watson couldn’t say how much money has been held back so far, but said it was “several million dollars.”

Legal action is an option, Watson said, but the City isn’t there yet.

“We’re in the driver’s seat, holding the money back. It’s not as if we’re chasing them for the money so we have all the responsibility and power with the dollars and it hurts their bottom line. They have shareholders to report to and so on,” he said.

“The reality is … we have to do much better job and that’s the pressure I’ve been putting on both our staff and our partners with RTG and RTM to get the job done.”