Grover: Want better public transit, Ottawa? Invest in it

By Nick Grover, Ottawa Citizen Op-Ed, November 13, 2023

As a rule, people use transit when it works and don’t when it doesn’t. This helps explain why OC Transpo ridership is still at only 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

After three years of inaction, decades of neglect, and several rounds of cuts to the bus fleet, it’s no wonder so few people are riding. To make matters worse, OC Transpo wants to raise fares and cut 15 connector routes that, somehow, don’t have enough riders despite graciously running four hours a day, four days a week. So rather than fixing that, the buses will be redeployed to “more important” routes, none of which include the city’s 10 most popular or three worst performing.

A net reduction in service hours will mean worse service in many places, since new routes are being added at the expense of others being reduced, cut or overextended.
... Unfortunately the mayor and council have been unwilling to invest in improved and expanded bus service, tying its own hands with sub-inflationary tax increases and self-inflicted budget deficits. When transit can’t be counted on, people must either fork over $10,000 a year to own a car, Uber everywhere, or stay home. 

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