Time for Plan B? Councillors, Transit Commissioners express frustration with LRT parnter
An east-bound OTrain pulls in to Rideau Station on the Confederation Line of the Light Rail Transit system in Ottawa, ON.
OTTAWA -- An Ottawa Councillor is wondering if it’s time to look at “Plan B”, while a Citizen Transit Commissioner says it’s time to rip up the maintenance contract for the Confederation Line.
Councillors and transit riders expressed frustrations after an infrastructure failure halted service between Hurdman and Blair stations for over eight hours on Wednesday.
OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi said one of the components on the overhead catenary system became loose just east of St. Laurent station. There was no word on the cause of the issue.
Citizen Transit Commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert suggests it’s time for the City of Ottawa to cancel the 30 year maintenance contract with Rideau Transit Group/Rideau Transit Maintenance.
“It’s time that I saw publicly what I have been saying semi-privately for a couple of months: RTM is not up to the job and we need to find a company that is.”
Shortly after, Coun. Shawn Menard quote-tweeted Wright-Gilbert’s statement, saying “how can you conclude differently at this point?”
“The last 6 months have been a painful experience for so many LRT users. It’s been 18 months of hardship for bus/para users with substandard service directly related to the delayed LRT launch and this #P3Fail. Is it time for Plan B yet?”
Menard says he has asked staff about the details of the 30 year contract with Rideau Transit Maintenance.
Meantime, Councillor Carol Anne Meehan wonders if the city can replace the new trains.
“Is it time to inquire whether we have the option to replace these problematic new trains with a model that actually works? System probably too integrated, but can we stand another year of this kind of mess?”
Speaking on The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll on News Talk 580 CFRA, Transit Commission Chair Allan Hubley suggested the city should look at walking away from the contract.
“I’m in communication with the city manager and the mayor’s office. We’re going to have to sit down and look at what we can do to bring in another company to do the job that RTM clearly cannot do,” said Hubley.
“It’s time for us to sit down and say ‘is this the day to pull the trigger,’ get (RTG) out of there and get somebody in who can do the job.”