Hobbs Finishing Travel Experiment

- January 4th, 2012

If OC Transpo is looking for someone to promote public transit, perhaps it should look to Coun. Katherine Hobbs.

For the past five months, she has left her vehicle parked and travelled the city by hitching rides, biking, walking and using Transpo. She has decided this will likely be the last month of her no-car experiment and today said she was looking to get her winter tires installed on her vehicle.

I asked Hobbs if she had any frustrations from her Transpo experience. She couldn’t name a single thing.

Living in Ottawa before becoming a city councillor, Hobbs wasn’t convinced you could get around the city without a car.

(I would say that perception is shared by many)

“I never felt like you could do that in Ottawa, but you can,” Hobbs said. “My whole life in Ottawa I never considered the bus.”

She had little experience with the public transit system in Ottawa, so she set off to learn about it firsthand. She got to see where this “Hurdman” place is everyone talked about (a major Transpo hub east of downtown).

She learned from her mistakes trying to decide which routes to take.

And she was a frequent user of the next-bus-arrival text messaging system.

“I love it. I love the rapid transit,” she said.

Fortunately for Hobbs, her Kitchissippi ward offers several bus routes and includes the Transitway. Plus, it’s not a long commute to City Hall. But, she also relied on non-vehicle travel to get to her offsite meetings and to visit family in Stittsville. Her office staff always made sure to schedule enough commute time on her agenda for work-related events.

The most significant challenge, she said, was getting to and from the mayor’s charity golf tournament near Barrhaven last summer. She hitched a ride back to the Transitway with Coun. Marianne Wilkinson.

While she rode the bus often, Hobbs has never taken the O-Train, but it’s on her to-do list since she has friends in the south end of the city.

The most significant advantage travelling without a car was meeting people, she said. (Probably not a bad thing for a politician)

And one of the things she learned about taking the bus? Bus drivers deal with a lot of grief from passengers.

Categories: Transit

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