A group of protesters took an early stand against Gatineau’s new, overhauled public transit system called Rapibus.

The demonstration on Boulevard de la Gappe began at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday with public transit users carrying signs claiming Rapibus is holding them hostage and causing added stress to their daily commute.

One man even wore shackles around his ankles to symbolize his disgust.

The new system, which kicked off less than two weeks ago, is centred around a central bus route that travels along a dedicated 12-kilometre corridor from Labrosse Boulevard in the city’s east end to Alexandre-Taché Boulevard near the Ottawa River.

Gatineau’s transit authority has also changed all routes in Gatineau, Cantley, Masson-Angers and Buckingham so they filter to the main Rapibus path.

Gatineau protest shackles

A commuter in Gatineau wore shackles around his ankles and held a sign in French that claimed the STO was holding him hostage. (Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

This eliminates express route buses while regular routes take riders to Rapibus stations.

There is also a new high-frequency “red” route for passengers heading to downtown Ottawa that uses reserved lanes along des Allumettières and Maisonneuve boulevards.

The transit authority has said there should only be one connection from a resident’s home to a Rapibus station and half of riders will have faster travel times.

Officials add another third will have the same travel time and some will be left with longer travel times.

But riders say their commute is taking longer and the new routes are not easy to learn.

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