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OC Transpo

OC Transpo greediness…

…and its indefensible position on the use of bus GPS data is getting more print space.

Good article.

If there’s any light at the end of this tunnel, it’s that others at City Hall are starting to speak out. A number of transit commissioners made it very clear they were not on board with OC Transpo’s protectionist views of the transit data. Kudos to councillors Marianne Wilkinson and Tim Tierney, among those who took transit management to task. Indeed, it took this issue to spur civilian-commissioner Emily Rahn to make her very first public statement.

As residents of Ottawa, we shouldn’t have to beg for access to officials, nor for the data that’s collected on our behalf with our money. On the other hand, as taxpayers we also have to be willing to pay for that access, whether it’s footing the bill for proper public consultations or forgoing a little cash in the name of open data.

C’mon Mercier! Get with the program!

And double kudos to Councillors Tierney and Wilkinson!

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Way to go, OC Transpo!

What a great idea!

As reported by the O dot, Ottawa’s bus service will soon included an executive fleet!

I’ll like not having to step over the vomit while exiting the 95 at Hurdman!

OC Transpo President Gilles DuMont hails the new transit option as a breakthrough in city transit service, and hopes people will enjoy the increased commitment to comfort and superior customer satisfaction within the new buses. “The new OC1 option will give riders a chance to actually get to their destination on time and without the inconveniences of regular route service, such as staring through a window covered in head grease or side stepping over a pool of vomit.” DuMont explained. The OC1 bus service will utilize a fleet of 10 new ultra-luxurious coach class buses imported from Switzerland and feature bone china and silverware meal service, beverage options and hot towel service from a tuxedo clad OC Transpo service attendant.

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Public transportation…

… Bus version… Barbados buses versus OCTranspo. Based on recent experience.

There are 3 types of buses to take in Barbados: the full-sized buses that we have here in Ottawa (no A/C though), smaller versions of said buses… and minivans whose sole goals seem to be to cram as many peeps as possible into the van all the while tooting their customised horns and breaking land speed records. We rode on the first two but not the last. Didn’t know if my travel insurance would cover such recklessness.

Commonalities between buses here and buses there…

Lots in common, actually.

  • Land speed records are tested.
  • Timing is unreliable.
  • Corners and braking are for playing the “knock down the rider” game.
  • “Interesting” clientele

Differences:

  • The drivers on the island try to be helpful. Might not understand a word that they’re saying due to the accent… but they are trying. OCTranspo? Well… there ARE exceptions, but…
  • $2 Bajan ($1 US) will pretty much get you anywhere on the island.  Might take a while… but you will get there. OC? What is the cash fare now? $3? And, most of the time, one must change buses at least once to get to where they are going to.
  • The Bajan Transport Board website ain’t very fancy… yet the bells and whistles on the OCTranspo site doesn’t really help much, now does it?

All in all, the two systems are pretty comparable.

Yay for us! Our modern and complex system in Ottawa compares favourably to that on a far-off tropical island.

 

 

 

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Something I just don’t “get”…

… is why OC Transpo just doesn’t “get” why it has an image problem.

Put aside singing drivers, yelling drivers, drivers on phones, etc. for a sec and just consider scheduling. This should be fairly simple. After thousands of runs, you’d think that the gurus who work for Mr. Mercier should have a handle on the number of buses needed on a certain route at a certain time of the day. Furthermore, one would assume that when these same gurus alter a route that has the effect of removing about 50 percent of the buses along a given stretch, that they would increase the frequency of the remaining route to make up for the loss.

But no, I am writing this post on a jam-packed 148. Been jam-packed since the middle of Kilborn, in fact. Standing room only and yes, some have been left at the curb.

This should have been foreseen.

We can only hope that when the gurus go back to their data in planning the winter route changes that it will dawn on them that adding a run or two might go a bit of a way in keeping we paying riders a bit happier.

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Really? Seriously? OC Transpo is whining again?

This guy has gall.

And is about as arrogant as one can get. Way to build positive relations, you idiot!

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For the record, I have ridden these buses for more than 14 years. And only once have I seen an incident where a driver was verbally abused by a customer. Only once.

However, I have witnessed operators:

– yell at customers for not holding their passes right side up
– slam the front door shut as someone is boarding
– do a hard brake for nor apparent reason and chuckle about it as passengers were thrown forward

– tell a young Mom of two with a large stroller : “didn’t you learn when you got knocked up the first time?”
– countless times, drive away from the curb when a customer was within a few feet of the bus

And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

ATU? You can bite me.

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OC Transpo, why dost thou…

…sucketh so mightily?

I have been keeping a log of OC Transpo misfires over the past little while. And I guess it’s time to publish them.

For the record, I didn’t log those trips that were only a minute or two late… no need to be THAT fussy, but still, the 148 is the local run through Alta Vista. Aside from the odd wheelchair and stroller, there really shouldn’t be much of a delay to Hurdman to make the 15:23 run back to Elmvale.

So, for what it’s worth:

Sept 22 Hurdman 148, 15:38 bus…driver laid up until 15:45 for no reason apparent reason. He seemed to be reading the Ottawa Sun.

Sept 27. 15:22 148 showed up at Hurdman at 15:32

Sept 29 Hurdman 148, 15:38 bus arrived at 15:48

Oct 13 14:23 148 7 minutes late.149
at 15:21 was a no show

Oct 13 8:15 149 at Haig and Pleasant Park was a no show.

Nov 4 – Hurdman 15:23 148 arrived at 15:29

Nov 7 – Hurdman 15:23 148 arrived at 15:30

Nov 8 – Hurdman 16:38 148 arrived at 16:43

Nov 15– Hurdman 15:23 148 arrived at 15:33

Not pretty, is it?

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Public transportation – I must like it…

If you have read this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a big supporter of public transportation – or transport en commun as they say in French.

I have used OC Transpo as my wheels to work ever since moving to Ottawa in 1997. Figure 220 work days x two trips per day x 14 years minus some days where I brought the car or was on holidays etc. and you come up with about 6,000 trips!

Wow. Never thought of it like that before…

But aside from the odd pain in the ass strike and missing buses and various other quirks, it remains the most convenient and cost effective way for me to get to the place where I earn my pay.

And I have taken public transportation elsewhere too. I kind of feel that you get a good feel for the Volks of a place by riding their buses or rails.

Beijing, Paris, London, Mexico City, Cuba, Bridgetown, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Regina, Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary, Guelph, Peterborough, Halifax… in all these places I have ridden public buses, trains, subways or boats…

How about you? Where have you experienced public transportation? Which has the best/worst system?

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Don’t like the OC Transpo route changes?

Then go to one of these Open Houses and express your concerns!

No guarantee that the staff or Councillors will listen and implement what they hear at these sessions, but if ya don’t open your gob about it now, it will be too late later!

Public Consultation


Please join us at an Open House, which will include a presentation and an opportunity to talk with OC Transpo staff about the proposed changes:

Open Houses


Tuesday, March 29th
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Ottawa City Hall, Jean Pigott Place, 110 Laurier Avenue West

Wednesday, March 30th
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Presentation will begin at 8 p.m.
Kanata Recreation Complex, Hall B, 100 Walter Baker Place

Thursday, March 31th
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Presentation will begin at 8 p.m.
Nepean Sportsplex, Halls C and D, 1701 Woodroffe Avenue

Monday, April 4th
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Presentation will begin at 8 p.m.
Jim Durrell Recreation Complex, Ellwood Hall, 1265 Walkey Road

Tuesday, April 5th
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Presentation will begin at 8 p.m.
Shenkman Arts Centre, Music Rehearsal Hall, 245 Centrum Blvd.

The approved route changes would be implemented September 4.

 

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OC Transpo service changes – Alta Vista

There were many (MANY!) service changes announced at today’s Ottawa Transit Commission meeting, but this one caught my eye.

Oh, and if you don’t live in the Alta Vista/ Elmvale Acres / Urbandale areas of Ottawa, you won’t care at all about this:

Route 149

Service would be reduced to operate only until approximately 8:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, with one late evening trip after retail closing time and evening classes. The service in the midday would be reduced to three trips. There would be no weekend service.

Section Time period Change
Mon-Fri peak periods No change
Mon-Fri midday Limited trips
Mon-Fri evening Last trips 8:00 p.m. plus late trip
Saturday Service removed
Sunday Service removed

The red line below is the route along Pleasant Park Drive that the 149 runs along… and now weekend plus late night service is being eliminated…. to me, this is a bad decision.

While true that there seem to be more bus-dependent indivduals along Kilborn (the 148 route), this service reduction will leave a non-trivial number of families in a lurch on weekends.  Some will be able to walk south to Kilborn or north to Smyth, but this simply won’t be possible for many – especially in the winter.

OC Transpo should rethink this one. Perhaps a reduction in the number of weekend runs – but not the wholesale elimination.

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Friday miscellany – Harper Dry edition

So the Harperites have deemed it proper to once again “re-brand” something… this time, the nation’s name. Yup, no longer is the government of the land to be referred to as, well, the government of  “Canada”, but rather as “The Harper Government” (insert threatening music here).

I’m not making this up.

But I for one welcome this news! I see this as a major step forward for honest and open government! Gone are the days where the ReformCons masqueraded as the Government of Canada, because, face it –  they have never actually represented the majority of those of us north of the 49th.

While at this re-branding gig, might I suggest that we also consider the following:

  • Harper Dry, the champagne of kool aid
  • Harper Tire: the new money has a different image of Dear Leader for every denomination !
  • The Royal Bank of Harper: just returning the favours done for the banks over the past 5 years.
  • Harper’s Football League- maybe he will write a book about our sport now!

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James Travers passed away yesterday.

Look, we bloggers are nothing more than rank amateurs who stoop to (in the words of a journalist friend) give words away for free. Mr. Travers was a man whose work was worth it’s weight in gold.

I’ll miss his columns and send out my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

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I attended a very informative evening the other night on the future of early childhood education in Ottawa

The forum, entitled The future of public and non-profit childcare in Ottawa was lead by a panel representing some key players in our childcare network. One of the panelists was former OCDSB Chair, Cathy Curry. Theresa Kavanagh was also in the crowd of about 200ish attendees.

It is good to see public board Trustees engaging in this conversation. But what is really needed right now is leadership at the City level and a better coordinated strategy among the parents who serve on Boards of Directors. As early learning kicks into full gear in this province, there are going to have to be some innovative thinkers taking the helm.

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OC Transpo was crawling along through the downtown on Monday at a pace that was slow even for them. A few Tweets when hither and yon and it turns out that the delay was due to downtown garbage pick-up.

OK.

Is there not a way that the City, OC Transpo and the firms contracted to do the downtown commercial garbage collection can work together so that pick up can take p^lace OUTSIDE the rush hours periods? It cannot be THAT tough to coordinate this, can it?

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The latest in the Harperite follies:

OdaGate – faded away as Canadians moved to the next scandal:

The Conservatives have been in defensive mode since last week, when it was revealed that four senior members of the party, including two senators who sit in caucus, were charged by Elections Canada in connection with allegations that the Tories broke their advertising spending limits in the 2006 election.

Oh. That’s already old news too because now we see this:

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has apologized following revelations Thursday that his office used government resources to raise money for the Conservative party.

The allegations were raised by the New Democrats after they obtained a letter, sent Thursday by Kenney’s office on parliamentary letterhead, that was seeking $200,000 in donations to support a Tory strategy targeting “very ethnic” ridings.

James Kenney!!! – this couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. And he should resign. But he won’t. The ReformCons are once again declaring themselves above the law!

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