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Ottawa calling on cities 'across Canada' for backup buses

The chair of Ottawa's transit commission says the city is making calls to buy or borrow buses from other cities as it explores options to alleviate pressure on the problem-plagued light rail system.

City looking to take pressure off problem-plagued LRT system

Ottawa is calling cities across Canada to ask to borrow or buy buses, Coun. Allan Hubley says. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The chair of Ottawa's transit commission says the city is making calls to buy or borrow buses from other Canadian cities as it explores options to alleviate pressure on the problem-plagued light rail system.

"Calls are going out, I understand, across Canada to see where there's available buses that we could use," Coun. Allan Hubley told CBC's Robyn Bresnahan, host of Ottawa Morning, on Friday.

We will look everywhere, including other transit systems, to see if anybody's got some buses that we can borrow or buy.- Coun. Allan Hubley

"We will look everywhere, including other transit systems, to see if anybody's got some buses that we can borrow or buy."

OC Transpo is also recalling retirees and asking trainers to drive additional buses, he said.

Hubley said the city is still considering a range of options in an effort to address delays on the new Confederation Line.

If the city decides to grow its fleet of buses, there's no clear sense of how it will pay for them — or their drivers — but Hubley said staff will delve into the budget to find the money. The city could borrow from its road work budget, for example, to pay for vehicles, he said.

"We will look at anything. It will depend on how much money we have to get."

Backup buses have been called in more than a dozen times due to breakdowns on the Confederation Line since it took over from core bus routes on Oct. 6.

Earlier this week city councillors demanded more buses be brought back to alleviate pressure on the LRT and hopefully reduce the number of delays riders experience. 

Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod offered the province's help to Mayor Jim Watson on Thursday. She told CBC she also requested the federal government offer additional support.

Hubley said more details about the city's plan to add more buses will be provided by the time the transit commission meets on Wednesday.

All of Ottawa's 40 reserve buses were put back on the road last week, leaving no spares behind. 

CBC's Ottawa Morning

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