'They have failed the city:' City manager blasts LRT consortium
Published Wednesday, November 6, 2019 4:00AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 7, 2019 12:26AM EST
Ottawa's city manager placed the blame for OC Transpo's LRT problems squarely at the feet of the consortium responsible for building and maintaining the system.
"They have failed the city and its residents," Steve Kanellakos said of Rideau Transit Group in a rare appearance at a special transit commission meeting Wednesday.
"We have not received what we paid for, and I can say that categorically," he said, criticizing RTG and RTM for what he called "inadequate management oversight, poor planning, under-resourcing, and failure to anticipate predictable issues."
Kanellakos apologized that the system has not met expectations, acknowledging it "has not been good enough." He noted the city withheld a $2.8 million payment from RTG this month, and money will continue to be withheld until service improves.
OC Transpo general manager John Manconi echoed the city manager's comments, saying "the system isn't good enough yet."
"We've run out of patience with (RTG)," Manconi said after the meeting concluded. "Some of this stuff is typical, but some of it is not. They're the experts, they need to fix things (or) they're not getting paid."
The new light rail transit in Ottawa has come with deep changes to commute times, connecting route numbers, and bus availability. Ahead of Wednesday's meeting, the City pledged $3.5 million to restore some of the buses which were retired for the transition to light rail.
CTV News has been closely monitoring rider feedback. Many have reported improvements during Monday’s commute which saw the first wave of buses making a comeback. However, a movement calling for a fare freeze is also up for discussion.
The Ottawa Transit Riders group is advocating for what they call “fair fares.” Members of the group say it would be unfair to ask users to pay more for a service they feel isn’t adequately being provided.
A 2.5 per cent fare hike is included in the City’s 2020 budget , with fares expected to jump as early as Jan. 1. Meanwhile, the cost for transit had just gone up on Oct. 1. A single fare currently sits at $3.60.
Read the full presentation from Wednesday's transit commission: