I can’t imagine it’s been a fun two days for Coun. Stephen Blais as chair of the transit commission. The new Trillium Line service is having problems for the second day in a row. Naturally, reporters were waiting to speak with him after today’s finance and economic development committee meeting.
Archive for the ‘Transit’ Category
Councillors and media were on a tour of OC Transpo today and they received a presentation about the business. It’s one of those things that’s handy to have if you’re writing about transit or just interested in the operations. Thought I’d share with you…
Council will be asked to approve the citizen members of the 2015-2018 transit commission. The nominated candidates are Francois Malo, Blair Crew, Graham Milner and Susan Burt. Here’s a memo to council with their bios:
Not only are Presto cards getting a redesign, they could pop up in stores and vending machines one day in Ottawa.
A Presto report for the Metrolinx board of directors, which is meeting today, says the agency has been experimenting with selling pre-loaded cards at some grocery stores in Hamilton. Transit users can also add funds to their cards at the stores.
The Toronto Transit Commission plans to offer pre-loaded Presto cards in its transit pass vending machines at two stations as part of a pilot project.
As for the redesign, Metrolinx says its new cards will have braille and larger fonts.
By the way, if you regularly fly from Ottawa to Toronto’s Pearson Airport it might be a good idea to stash a loaded Presto card in your wallet. It’ll be much cheaper to take the new rail link downtown Toronto if you’re paying with Presto. Still a good chunk of change, but cheaper than cash.
— Metrolinx (@Metrolinx) December 11, 2014
No one knows how this spat between the city and National Capital Commission will play out but it’s the first time during the western LRT work that there is some serious doubt about the future of extending rail past Tunney’s Pasture.
Even Mayor Jim Watson said the entire second phase — which formed the cornerstone of his re-election campaign — is in jeopardy if the western LRT can’t cut across federal land the way the city wants it to.
That would effectively stymie two western lines: One to Algonquin College and another to Bayshore Shopping Centre.
Watson pulled no punches in a scrum with reporters today. He (again) criticized the unelected makeup of the NCC board and slammed it for making a decision in secret. He wonders why the federal Conservatives don’t like the city’s transit plans and he suggests LRT should be a ballot question for Ottawa voters in the 2015 federal election.
The discussions between the city and the NCC will continue.
I had a chat tonight with Mark Kristmanson, CEO of the NCC. He has two meetings scheduled with the city next week, including a meeting with city manager Kent Kirkpatrick.
The analysis the NCC did on the city’s LRT info will likely be part of those discussions.
“We obviously have very different understandings about the data and western light rail,” Kristmanson said.
As for Watson’s allegations the NCC is operating in secret, Kristmanson said the board had to meet in-camera on LRT because it involved land issues and proprietary information.
“I’m reluctant to get into a process struggle over this,” Kristmanson said.
Kristmanson likes that Watson brought up the need for discussions with local stakeholders and board members. It sounds like it’s something Kristmanson been wanting to pursue even outside the western LRT issue.
But the relationship between the NCC and city is now called back into question after what seemed like some very good months of co-operation and softened rhetoric.
For example, the two sides worked well together on the bus shuttle route to Lansdowne Park. And Kristmanson, who has only been on the job since February, has seemed to impress folks at City Hall.
So, now we wait to see who will budge on western LRT. The NCC seems to have a lot of the leverage. As always.