Denley: Making OC Transpo 'free' won't fix quality issues

By Randall Denley, Ottawa Citizen, February 12, 2019

Free Transit Ottawa deserves a lot of credit for putting the spotlight on the deficiencies of Ottawa’s transit service. The idea of challenging councillors to use the transit system for which they are responsible was simple, but effective. This kind of transit-rider activism is long overdue.

It wasn’t much of a surprise to see councillors discover that bus stops are difficult to get to at this time of year, buses often run late or not at all, and they are usually packed. This is a system for which adequacy is still just a dream.

Those problems suggest OC Transpo needs more spending, better management, or both. Instead, Free Transit Ottawa is calling for a fare freeze this year and a pilot project to test the merits of free transit. Shifting the cost burden from transit riders to property taxes won’t address the problems the transit challenge underlined, unfortunately.

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