After more than three weeks with no light rail services in Ottawa, City Manager Steve Kanellakos is optimistic that he'll soon have at least a plausible timeline to be able to share regarding the system's return.
"We're supposed to get a report this week from [Rideau Transit Group (RTG)]," he explained at a city council meeting on Wednesday, October 13. "As I said though, we have to validate that [return-to-service plan]. We just don't believe them when they say, 'Oh, it's going to be two weeks.' Our safety people are going to validate that. We cannot afford to have another incident."
The City of Ottawa announced on October 4 that it had hired firm TRA Inc. to conduct an assessment of RTG's return to service plan. TRA Inc., based out of Philadelphia, has no prior experience with the city or anyone involved in LRT construction.
Kanellakos says there were rumours that RTG had asked for a three-month shut down, but that is false.
The city's manager also revealed Wednesday, that RTG found the cause of the September 19 derailment: a gear box came loose and dragged along the tracks. Residents have been without O-Train services since that date. OC Transpo has been running its R1 emergency buses in place of the Confederation Line.
Laura Shantz with the Ottawa Transit Riders group says she's not surprised that it's taking the city a lot longer than the initial estimate of three weeks to get the O-Train back on its tracks.
"For riders, we just want some honesty and transparency, and to at least know the steps in the process and get updates that mean something -- it's better than nothing," she told CityNews' The Rob Snow Show. "But it's still not the level of transparency you really need, and frankly, the bus system can't keep up, so [we're also not getting] the level of service that we need."