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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.


I’ve never understood why some…

… peeps think it is somehow cool to vandalize someone else’s property. I did a lot of crazy stuff in my youth but never once did I intentionally wreck or deface something that didn’t belong to me. I just didn’t.

And it is quite costly, as reported in this article.

…the city said they responded to 368 requests to repair bus shelters in 2011. There are about 1,400 bus shelters in the city.The City of Ottawa responded to more than 200 reports of shattered glass at bus shelters in 2011. (CBC)

Of those requests, 207 were to fix or clean up shattered glass. It costs $350 to replace one pane of glass.

In 2011 the city spent $225,000 for all bus shelters repairs and another $135,000 to clean up graffiti at the stops.

Crazy. I just don’t get it.


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.


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


  • 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.





Friday miscellany – robots, OC Transpo and the Leafs!

It’s about time the Board moved to do something about the negative image and messages that Christmas imparts!

Way to go Androgynous, Holiday-Neutral Robot! Long may you, uh, live…

Thanks to the O-dot for breaking this story…


So a UBC study has found that we atheists are as distrusted as, um, rapists (?)

The research, led by UBC psychology doctoral student Will Gervais, found distrust to be the central factor motivating antagonism toward atheists among the religious.

“Where there are religious majorities – that is, in most of the world – atheists are among the least trusted people,” Gervais said in a release.

“With more than half a billion atheists worldwide, this prejudice has the potential to affect a substantial number of people.”

Researchers believe the negative perception of atheists may stem from some people’s understanding of morality; a 2002 Pew poll suggests nearly half of Americans believe morality is impossible without belief in god.

Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute here! Do people actually buy this? Seriously? You can’t have morals without believing in a deity?

I suspect that one of two things are happening here. Either, a) the study’s methodology is flawed somehow, or b) we are nowhere as evolved as we pretend to be.

But, unless this is refuted, maybe y’all should give me a wide berth… just in case… no morals, ya know…


So Canada will most definitely pull out of Kyoto – but not because of our backwards environmental policies, nope. There is a much better reason than simply refusing to acknowledge the obvious that we are dinosaurs when it comes to the environment.

Yup – we don’t like the meeting facilities in Durban.

Rumours were rife around Durban’s “International Conference Centre” today as it became apparent that Canada has expressed intention to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol having seen the state of the meeting facilities in the South African city. Already rattled by being told not to walk the streets after dark, the discovery that the delegation offices are in a bona fide underground car park was just too much for the reticent North American delegation. “I don’t care if they’ve put a carpet down and scattered a few pot plants”, said one senior delegate, “it’s still a f***ing parking lot. If that’s the best they can do then we’ve had it with Kyoto. We’re outta here”. On leaving they added “what’s more the wifi is rubbish. I can’t even facebook during KP plenaries”.

Meanwhile, all is happy and blonde back home as Michelle Rempel minds the shop for the “Environment” Minister.

Then, with surely her finest 30 seconds so far, she took aim at Justin Trudeau. “Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague opposite of a few things with regard to environment policy and energy policy. First, emissions increased in this country under their government, and a policy that he should be especially familiar with, the National Energy Policy, lost thousands of jobs across the country.”

The House erupted in noise. The Speaker called for order. Ms. Rempel added an Al Gore reference—”inconvenient truths”—for good measure.

She had looked serious in her interventions all afternoon, but back in her seat she beamed. She will probably be Foreign Affairs Minister by summer.

Oh goody. Another Con Cabinet Minister with little between the ears.



“MLSE teams are among the most popular major-league franchises in North America, iconic sports brands watched and loved by millions of fans across our nation. As Canada’s largest and most established communications company, Bell is proud to be part of this all-Canadian acquisition of a world leader in sports and entertainment,” said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE in a statement.


OC Transpo! Get with the friggin’ program!!!!

Good to see Councillor Tim Tierney pushing the issue and forcing the transit authority to move quicker in its implementation of full system GPS coverage! Having real-time data will improve service and increase productivity all over Ottawa!  Think about it – if my bus is running ten minutes late, those are ten minutes that can be used in a more productive way than standing at the bus stop.


Manchester United and Manchester City – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!




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!


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.


Friday miscellany…

The Ontario election is underway. The latest Harris-Decima poll is somewhat encouraging, but it is early.

Yet,  11 points is significant.

Maybe that old Ontario tradition of going one way federally and the other provincially will hold true again.


The great debate: Is it “dinner” or “supper”?

I call it “dinner” but grew up knowing it as “supper”. Made the switch somewhere.

What do you call that meal that you have sometime during the early evening?


The NFL is back. Word.


Re: KHL tragedy. I will never, ever fly on a domestic airline of a country with a long history of corruption. Never.

Thoughts to the families and friends.

Should people whose butts do not fit on one seat on the bus (I am currently perched on 1/3 of a bus seat as I write this due to a rather, uh, wide load beside me) have to pay for two seats / double bus pass or fare?

I know. I’m being unfair.


Speaking of buses, I think OCTranspo is going to have to rethink some of their route changes. If Twitter talk is any indication, there are a lot of unhappy riders. Loads of hate! And that includes me to a degree. The 149 was rerouted to miss my area but another 148 or two is not added to make up the slack. This has resulted in very crowded buses and some unwanted changes to works schedules for some.

I’ll be sending a note to them shortly.

I’m hoping that the mandarins at OCTranspo will listen to constructive ideas for improvement.


Ward 18 Ottawa Councillor Peter Hume has been very helpful lately. First, he was very supportive in our daycare’s continuing effort to somehow slow down traffic on Russell Road.

Then, as you may remember from a previous post, he followed up on his promise to have the City designers draft a plan for the redesign or upgrading of Canterbury Park.

And, here it is!You can go to this website to register your comments if you are so inclined.


Finally, school is back in play so watch out for munchkins and yellow buses. Already saw one moron in a BMW blow past a bus with its lights flashing… Ee-dee-ot!

As a sidebar, why does it seem like the biggest assholes on the road drive Beemers? Something to do with the plush upholstery off-gassing in the interiors?



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?



X predictions for MMXI

I. Ottawa City Council’s love-in with one another will end when the ATU threatens to strike in February. The Council is split between turning the whole transit system over to Blue Line taxi… and eliminating buses completely to replace them with red dirigibles piloted by OCDSB Trustees.

II. While meeting with Mayor Watson in March, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford inexplicably chugs a fifth of rye on camera, kicks the Watson in the shins and then seizes him in a headlock until Mayor Watson passes out. Ottawa City Council promptly declares Ottawa a “No Ford” zone which Don Cherry immediately decries as unpatriotic and an affront to the troops.

III. Also in March, Don Cherry will finally lose his job on HNIC after going berzerk – live and on camera – on the head of a CBC cameraman who happened to have a peace sign button pinned to his shirt.

PM Stephen Harper appoints Cherry to the Senate the very next day.

The next week, the Senate passes a dress code motion that prohibits loud and tacky attire in the Red Chamber. Cherry immediately decries this as unpatriotic and an affront to the troops.

IV. Stephen Harper will NOT be caught on YouTube doing hits from a bong.

Laureen, however, will be. The clip goes viral. The Prime Minister is informed that “viral” means a lot of people are viewing it. He is livid, blames Igantieff, then then drags a piano onto Sparks Street. Astounded tourists and pedestrians are treated to the sight of the prime Minister of Canada belting out Piano Man. In his pajamas. With his arm around Senator Cherry.

V. In the midst of an August election campaign forced by the Opposition, Laureen Harper joins Twitter under the pseudonym Lady LaLa. Under the influence of said substances in said bong, she begins a series of “tell-all” Tweets that bring about the resignations of 8 cabinet members. The media quickly dubs the Tweets HarpiLeaks.

VI. Julian Assange is cleared of all misdeeds and buys the rights to HarpiLeaks for an undisclosed sum. The following Friday, Assange is gunned down while attending an I/T security conference in Kitchener, Ontario. Rumours abound on the Hill that Harper himself ordered the hit. John Baird can not be reached.

VII. While on vacation in Ireland, ex Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams calls CBC News to disclose that John Baird showed up at his door raving about being framed by that bastard Flanagan. Somewhat surprisingly, Williams is hailed as a hero by a nation desperately in need of one.

VIII. In spite of HarpiLeaks, PLUS a leader gone ga-ga, PLUS an Interpol investigation of the Harper Cabinet involvement in the Assanage assassination PLUS a late campaign revelation that former GG Michaëlle Jean was blackmailed into allowing prorogation (the details of which will be revealed in MMXII)… the CPC STILL wins another minority government, losing 3 seats to the Bloq. Voter turnout is 12%.

IX. McGuinty wins another majority after receiving the blessing from the now national hero, Danny Williams. Voter turnout is 89%.

X. In November, Blue Line is awarded the City transit contract and the drivers immediately go on strike.

They are replaced by red dirgibles piloted by OCDSB Trustees that carry on the routes above the Transitway until they are replaced by the newly acquired F-35s – whose pilots were bored with chasing Russian turbo-props, weather balloons and Danish biplanes.

And then they strike after being forced to call out the stops.

Rob Ford states that this would have never happened in Toronto.

Senator Cherry immediately decries all of this as unpatriotic and an affront to the troops.

And Mayor Watson calls Larry to ask if he wants his old job back.

Larry declines.

Happy 2012!


Should City transit be an essential service?

Ottawa City Council?

Are you following this?

Toronto City Council has voted in favour of a motion declaring that the TTC is an essential service:

Maybe…. or maybe not… what do you think?