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OC Transpo

So, OC Transpo…

… when did it become OK to allow Christian proselytizing on your buses?

I find this offensive:


And just a couple of ad slots along is yet another ad for a church in Kanata!

What gives? As I recall, there was quite a to-do when (if I recall correctly) the Canadian Freethought Association wanted to put atheist-oriented ads on buses. Initially, the ads were refused but then subsequently approved by City Council.

But I don’t recall any column inches or Council discussion being devoted (forgive the pun) to these new ads. Did I miss something?



OC Transpo… stay classy

This incident where an OC Transpo driver refused to stop and let off a mom who was accidentally separated from her child is almost too appalling to be true.

But considering the number of witnesses and the fact that the police are involved, I suspect it may be.

I can see where a parent could easily get separated from a child on a crowded bus. Routes like the 94, 95, 97. etc are often packed like sardines thus making it difficult to get to an exit upon arrival at one’s stop. Unless you are carrying your child, he or she may not make it to the door in time. I’ve seen this “almost” happen quite a few times in my 15 years of riding the big red limos.

Add this to the tendency of many an operator to get away from the stop as quickly as possible with little regard for those customers who are struggling to get to a door, and a scenario like this is almost expected.

Operators need to understand that it is the service to the public that is paramount and not their eagerness to get to their next lay-up!


Presto- here’s the thing…

… as one of my somewhat disloyal readers has pointed out, proximity payment has been around for a while.

Quite a while.

So what happened with Presto?

Please. Explain this to me. Help me understand.


Presto! Like magic, it’s gone!!!

Well, sort of.

I don’t want to rag on this – plenty of naysayers will do that in fulsome manners, I reckon. But I really do have to wonder why there was an elaborate pre-rollout without first knowing that the systems did indeed work. Bizarre.

At least there is a bit of a silver lining for we EcoPass holders:

Deans planned to introduce a motion at transit commission on June 20 asking OC Transpo to reinstate the EcoPass program for one year. The discounted payroll reduction transit passes were cancelled, along with student passes for college students over age 19, to align Ottawa’s transit fares with the categories Metrolinx uses in Toronto, because users will be able to use the cards wherever Presto is in use.



Things are still messed up…

… in Prestoland!

And it’s looking more and more like I may be able to use my EcoPass a little bit longer than I thought!

Which is important to me as the service generally sucks – especially during the afternoon rush – and I don’t agree with paying more for a substandard product and having to go through hoops to have the “privilege” of buying the service.


Glitches in the new Presto transit cards…

… are forcing OC Transpo to delay the handout of the cards by at least 10 days to do some more testing.

To me, this is good news. Hopefully there will be even more glitches and I’ll be able to use my EcoPass a little bit longer.

Officials with the city and the province’s transit agency said the pilot project is being extended by at least ten days, meaning handout of 200,000 free cards won’t start Sunday.

“The Family and Friends pilot is designed to assist Metrolinx in identifying critical technical issues so that they can be fixed before our customers begin using the system in large numbers,” said transit commission chair Diane Deans in a memo.

“The pilot is working as planned and the problems with this new-generation Presto system are being identified and addressed. However, we have heard from Presto that more needs to be done and therefore the launch will be delayed.”

Deans said Metrolinx will give the city status reports during the next ten days, then the city will give an update.



The elimination of the ECOPASS program…

… might turn me back to my car as my way to get to work…

Flawed logic alert here folks:

Termination of the ECOPASS program

The introduction of PRESTO will allow former ECOPASS holders to customize their travel experience while providing the convenience and flexibility to purchase as many months of transit service as they need.   As a result, it is recommended that the ECOPASS Program be eliminated during the fall of 2012.

Further, OC Transpo is no longer able to sustain annual fares that are deeply discounted below operating costs.

In 2011-12, an ECOPASS subscription costs $990 per year, and with the 2.5 percent increase applied, it would cost $1,014 in 2012-13. By choosing to purchase 10 monthly passes and 10 days of pay-per-ride e-Purse fares, a typical current ECOPASS subscriber would pay $1,015 per year in 2012-13.

The cost of an ECOPASS will increase to the cost of an Adult Regular or Express monthly pass as of July 1, depending on what the customer has chosen.  ECOPASS subscribers will have the option to withdraw from the ECOPASS program by notifying their employer and taking advantage of paying less for their reduced transit needs during the summer. Although ECOPASS holders can continue with payroll deductions until the fall, they also will have the option to transition to PRESTO when they choose.  Each employer will be provided with proper termination notices in accordance with the terms of each employer’s respective ECOPASS contract.

ECOPASS holders, once they convert to PRESTO, will be able to take advantage of the new transferable bus pass.  This provides the benefit of allowing customers to transfer their bus pass within the same class. 

 Staff will provide notification of the fare change to employers of ECOPASS subscribers and will  work with them to issue new PRESTO smart cards through the fall of 2012 to provide a seamless transition.

Why flawed logic?

The bolded text is assuming that current ECOPASS holders take 6 weeks of holidays in the summer! I don’t know ANYONE who takes off this much time within a 2 month block… or even spread through the year! Most take 2 weeks off – max 3.

For me, the fare will increase from $990 / year to $1,155… assuming I get the Presto card for 12 months… which I would do due to the convenience factor… not going to waste my time starting and stopping automatic debits.

I want to stay on the transit wagon… for environmental reasons alone and 150ish bucks may not seem like much, but combine that with the service that alternates between abysmal and barely acceptable… and, well, I think some may rethink their options.

I know that I’ll be one of them.


Upper deck of a…

… OC Transpo #40!

Yeah, I’m just a kid at heart!



I’m surprised that this…

…hasn’t happened before.

Sightline-wise, it’s a helluva bad spot for buses coming on to the westbound Transitway. They do have to nose out to see if the way is clear in both directions if intending to get to the eastbound lanes of the Transitway.  Add this to the high rate of speed of some busses going westbound through the station and you have a recipe for disaster.

This could have been much, much worse…



Just a thought…

…but seeing that there is so much empty ad space on OC Transpo busses, why doesn’t the City offer the space to charities, community associations and not for profits to advertise their services or fundraisers?

These are group that normally would not be able to afford this primo ad space and could certainly benefit from such exposure. The group would be responsible for the design and of the ads. Plus, they could be removed with advance notice if paying customers needed the space. The ads could even be targeted to specific routes!

I’m sure there are a gazillion reasons why this couldn’t work, but, as the post title says…

Just a thought…