Ottawa

Advocacy group gets earful from bus riders frustrated by LRT

The delay-ridden Confederation light rail line has frustrated commuters since it launched in September, and one advocacy group says it's being bombarded with complaints.

Ottawa Transit Riders held a public meeting Saturday at the University of Ottawa

Kari Glynes Elliott, co-founder of Ottawa Transit Riders, says people have been complaining about how the city's bus network has changed since light rail launched in September. (Olivier Plante/CBC)

The delay-ridden Confederation Line has frustrated commuters since it launched in September, and one advocacy group says it's being bombarded with complaints.

"We have, actually, a spreadsheet about specific issues and things like that," said Kari Glynes Elliott, co-founder of Ottawa Transit Riders.

"The big thing is the frustration with the buses."

The group, which formed to be a voice for disgruntled OC Transpo riders, held a public meeting Saturday at the University of Ottawa, attracting a few dozen attendees.

The meeting came one day after two more LRT delays led Mayor Jim Watson to declare he was "furious" with the state of the light rail line.

Watson then announced some immediate fixes — including spending $3.5 million to put 40 buses back on the road later this week.

But it's not just train riders who've been frustrated with the Confederation Line: bus users are also unhappy, Glynes Elliott said, as many routes were modified or removed altogether following its launch.

Carolyn Lecorre, who uses transit to take her two-year-old daughter to daycare, attended Saturday’s meeting to voice her concerns. (Olivier Plante/CBC)

Stronger together

Glynes Elliott said her group intends to make specific demands to the city. They include making the transit more affordable and accessible, while also improving communication with riders.

"When we are many people together, we can achieve bigger things," said Carolyn Lecorre, who uses transit to take her two-year-old daughter to daycare.

The Vanier resident, who's also a volunteer for the group, said the new system isn't helping anyone — especially those who rely solely on buses.

And with winter on its way, Lecorre is worried her transit woes will only be compounded by the snow.

"We can put more pressure on on city council and on OC Transpo to make the changes that we demand," she said.

Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper poses with a camera near Holland Cross on Nov. 2, 2019. Leiper was inviting residents to come and share their concerns, on camera, about Ottawa's transit system. (Claudine Richard/Radio-Canada)

Not the only meeting 

On the city's west side, one city councillor also gave the public a chance Saturday to air their frustrations. 

Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper set up a camera at Holland Cross and invited constituents to come and record their complaints.

"We've obviously been having a rough time with the service switch-over," the councillor said.

With files from Hillary Johnstone

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