Archive for the ‘Transit’ Category

All Quiet On Taxi Fare Increase

- August 14th, 2014

One issue that has died down over the summer is the cabbies’ call to increase fares by 7%.

“There’s not much happening on that issue yet,” taxi union president Amrik Singh told me today.

No meetings are being held with city staff and it didn’t sound like anything was scheduled. It’s hard to arrange meetings in the summer since staff are taking vacation. Singh himself just got back from being off.

I don’t think there would be much motivation at City Hall to mull a fare increase anyway. Mayor Jim Watson and Coun. Mark Taylor, chairman of the committee that oversees taxi licences, have said 7% is a bit much.

Maybe it’s one of those issues that will pop up in the election campaign. But right now there’s not a lot of momentum.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Watson Gathers Input On Bus/Train Crash Memorial

- July 11th, 2014

From: Watson, Jim (Mayor/Maire)
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2014 10:40 AM
To: =City Councillors
Cc: =City Councillors Assistants; Kirkpatrick, Kent; Manconi, John; Kanellakos, Steve; Schepers, Nancy; Bowles, Cathy
Subject: Information Memo / Mémo d’information


I am writing today with respect to the approaching time when all will remember last year’s tragic bus/train collision. In the last two months I have consulted with the families involved to determine the most appropriate way to commemorate those who lost their lives last September 18th.

My desire was to find ways to remember loved ones lost in a manner that all families could comfortably share. I believe that a complete understanding and concurrence is necessary, as we do not want to do anything that could put any one family into an uncomfortable situation at any point in time.

The input that we have received, both written and in discussions that some families have had with Ward Councillor Jan Harder and the Chief of Protocol, Cathy Bowles, has led me to conclude that our focus for a lasting memorial can and should be twofold. There was not complete agreement amongst the families on other ideas that have been mentioned.

We learned that the retirement of Route #76 is desirable and this will be done. Similarly, everyone has indicated that a commemorative plaque or marker of some type would be a suitable enduring remembrance. This too will be done and a location will be determined in consultation with the families, Councillor Harder and Councillor Deans.

In addition, we will be flying flags at City facilities at half-mast on September 18th and there will be an observation of a minute of silence in a memorial tribute at a Transit Commission meeting scheduled for September 17th.

I trust this information will be of interest to each of you. I am sure that it was not easy for the families to consider these matters and I have told them how much I appreciate their input.

Jim Watson


Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Falling Panel Caused Transitway Detour

- June 18th, 2014

During today’s transit commission meeting, Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli asked OC Transpo management what happened on the Transitway last weekend.

To which some of us in the press gallery said, huh?

Turns out, indeed, there was an incident.

Transpo GM John Manoni said a decorative panel on the Transitway fell at Pleasant Park. Buses detoured, engineers responded and when it was deemed safe, bus service returned to the Transitway. Manconi said infrastructure staff are making sure other panels are safe.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Deans To Address Senate Committee On Bus Assault Bill

- June 17th, 2014

Sen. Bob Runciman was with Coun. Diane Deans at Ottawa City Hall on April. 24, 2014 to introduce his bill to protect transit drivers. Sarah Taylor/Ottawa Sun

Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans, chairwoman of the transit commission, will be on the Hill late tomorrow afternoon addressing a Senate committee on proposed legislation to stiffen penalties for assaults on transit operators.

Sen. Bob Runciman was at City Hall a couple months ago to promote the bill.

Deans says she’ll tell the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs — which Runciman chairs — why there needs to be more legal protection for public transit drivers.

“Our transit operators have a lot of contact with the public and our drivers are not immune to some negative contacts with customers,” Deans told me today.

Deans said “it’s an honour and opportunity” to speak to senators, especially since City Hall has limited interaction with Parliament, despite the proximity.

“It’s an opportunity to effect a message that our transit operators need to be protected,” she said.

Between January and May this year there were 22 assaults on Transpo drivers. In all of 2013, there were 72.

Also scheduled to present are members of Unifor, the Canadian Urban Transit Association and the Amalgamated Transit Union, including OC Transpo bus driver Suzanne Burgess, who shared her story in April about being assaulted.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Transit Workers Start Button Campaign

- May 12th, 2014

ATU Local 279 president Craig Watson was a busy guy Monday.

He attended the Transecure awards at the Shenkman Centre and was preparing to meet other union execs to lobby MPs on Sen. Bob Runciman’s proposed legislation to stiffen the penalties for criminals who assault bus drivers.

Watson said ATU members plan to be on downtown street corners in the early hours Tuesday handing out buttons, like the one he was wearing today.

ATU Local 279 president Craig Watson said union leaders will be downtown handing out buttons in support of proposed legislation to protect bus drivers.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at