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‘There’s a high level of frustration:' Mayor Watson responds to LRT complaints, pledges money
OTTAWA - For the first time in days, Mayor Jim Watson is responding to the public’s ongoing LRT and bus service complaints and pledging money to address the issues.
"We're not satisfied," said Watson on Wednesday at a public event. "We need to get these problems resolved."
On Tuesday, councillor Carol Anne Meehan called out Watson during an appearance on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s ‘Ottawa Now.’
"Where is Mayor Watson on this? Where is the mayor? He's the first one there when there's good news to share but Jim has been absent on this issue and he's put Councillor Hubley out in front," said Meehan on Tuesday.
Watson said he is not hiding.
"My job is to get action on the problems we have. Councillor Meehan has never talked to me about bus service so I can't comment on her allegations, but I've been front and centre, because I've been meeting to get the problem solved. Maybe I haven't held a daily press conference but I think it's more important to get the issue resolved and meeting with our staff who is under pressure to perform," said Watson.
He also said additional money will be announced at next week’s transit commission meeting to solve bus service issues.
"We'll be announcing extra funds in the budget next week for enhanced bus service to solve a lot of the problems."
John Redins with the Ottawa Transit Riders Group says the broken trains have pushed riders to a breaking point.
"Get things cleaned up, have some transparency and accountability, get it done," said Redins.
Watson also said experts have been brought in from across North America and Europe to assist with solutions.
The 2020 draft budget will be tabled Nov. 6. OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi will also be providing an update on that day, addressing key causes of issues and actions to be taken.