OC Transpo collision settlements add up for city
City paid out more than $1.4 million to settle lawsuits involving OC Transpo
The City of Ottawa paid out more than $1.4 million in the last three months of 2013 to settle lawsuits involving motor vehicle collisions involving OC Transpo vehicles.
Details of the settlements were not disclosed in a report from the city's legal department given Tuesday to the city's finance committee. But the settlements do not include lawsuits involving last fall's deadly collision between an OC Transpo double-decker bus and a VIA passenger train.
Diane Deans, the chair of Ottawa's Transit Commission said many of the personal injury claims involving OC Transpo are unavoidable.
But she said driver training is the key to keeping the city's legal costs down.
"Obviously we'd always like to have those lower and that's something we can always strive toward," said Deans.
"We're carrying 400,000 customer trips every day, when you are carrying 400,000 customer trips things are going to happen...but that's not to say we can't improve and we should improve and look at ways to improve," she said.
In the period from October 1 until the end of last year, the city paid out $1,769,901.94 in seven claims; five were personal injuries involving transit vehicles, one was a personal injury involving public works and the other was a property damage claim.
One settlement totalled $2.7M
There were a total of 57 personal injury claims in 2013 involving motor vehicle collisions, which includes but is not limited to OC Transpo vehicles but doesn't include claims where there is no collision, such as injuries when commuters walk off a bus.
The city paid a total of $5,013,823.45 in those claims, about double the amount paid in the previous year.
Most of that amount was paid out in one large settlement totalling $2.7 million.
The city is facing more than 300 outstanding lawsuits.
Last month saw the first claim related to last fall's fatal collision between an OC Transpo bus and a VIA passenger train. The family of Michael Bleakney, 57, one of six people killed in the crash, is suing the City of Ottawa and the estate of the bus driver for $1.8 million.