Ottawa bus riders over age 65 won't have to pay to use the service on Wednesdays during July and August.

Alain Mercier, OC Transpo's director of transit, said the city's public transit company is trying to get more people to use buses, and convince seniors thatthey're safer and more comfortable than they might think.

"So the best way of doing that … was essentially taking the summer, where it's a nice environment outside, where our ridership is a little bit lower, and saying, 'Let's open the system to all seniors,'"MerciertoldCBC on Tuesday evening atOC Transpo's first public open house at city hall.

Accessible transit specialist Kathy Riley said OC Transpois also trying to address seniors' concerns about buses that lurch forward suddenly from a stop.

"Some of the seniors are fearful of taking the bus … because they don't want to fall," she said.

The drivers will be asked to ensure all seniors are seated before putting the bus in motion.

Besides chatting withtransit users about its summer seniors program, OC Transpo officials also listened to their criticisms, suggestions and comments about:

  • Cancelled bus routes.
  • Bike racks on buses.
  • OC Transpo's online travel planner.
  • Other transit service issues in the city.

The company said it plans to hold similar open houses elsewhere around the city.

Corrections

  • The free bus rides for seniors will be offered in July and August, not beginning on June 15, as originally written.
    May 16, 2007 4:47 PM ET