The City of Ottawa's public transit company will boost the number of seats on buses reserved for seniors in an effort to encourage older Ottawa residents to use the bus.
In addition, OC Transpo will improve the signs identifying the special seating, which will also be available for pregnant women and people with disabilties. The company will also clarify who can use the seating, OC Transpo head Alain Mercier said Wednesday.
"The identification in the bus is not clear enough," he admitted while riding the bus with Mayor Larry O'Brien and a group of seniors at a media event. "We've noticed that around the country, people have been upgrading their signage. It's about educating the public and it makes everybody's life easier."
The event was intended to remind seniors that they can ride the bus for free on Wednesdays throughout the summer and encourage them to take the bus, but many seniors took it as an opportunity to air a volley of complaints.
Kay Ryan recounted a bad experience with a bus driver on Carling Avenue when no one was willing to give her a place to sit with her walker.
"Unless someone gives you a seat, she said, you can't stand there," Ryan said. "I was actually put off the bus."
Mercier said that shouldn't have happened, but signage and better public education should help.
In the meantime, Ryan has signed up for a special OC Transpo card to make it clear that she's entitled to priority seating.