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Community groups calling for maintenance contract cancellation, full investigation into Confederation Line

The joint call to action comes from Horizon Ottawa and Free Transit Ottawa.
2021-09-20 light rail lrt derailment o-train oc transpo
Rideau Transit Maintenance crews investigate derailed O-Train, September 20, 2021. Ryan Lowe/ CityNews

A pair of local community groups are calling on Ottawa city council to end the 30-year maintenance contract with Rideau Transit Group (RTG) and to hold a full independent investigation into the Confederation Line's construction, operation and maintenance.

This comes after similar motions were introduced to council during its last meeting

Horizon Ottawa Board Member Sam Hersh feels the city is stuck in a contract with a private corporation that is not doing its job and doesn't see the point in continuing with the current maintenance contract.

"We shouldn't keep taxpayers hostage to this terrible deal," Hersh told CityNews Ottawa. "We know that we can bring this in-house and do a better job of it. We already have people who are skilled, who are unionized workers, who are good workers."

Hersh also wants a proper independent investigation into the Confederation Line, since the group called upon by the city to conduct safety checks (STV Group) had previously worked on the construction of the LRT Line 1.

Overall, he thinks Mayor Jim Watson's handling of the most recent derailments on the Confederation Line has been unacceptable.

"Frankly, it seems Mayor Watson is more interested in protecting the reputation of his corporate friends, rather than looking out for the interest and safety of transit riders and the residents of Ottawa," Hersh explained.

“Residents and taxpayers deserve better than wasting $4 to $5 million a month on a private maintenance contract that doesn’t even deliver, we need to cancel the RTG contract now and put an end to disastrous public-private partnerships that hurt our transit system,” said Nick Grover, a representative of Free Transit Ottawa.

A rally to bring further attention to these issues is slated for outside Ottawa City Hall on Tuesday, October 12 at 5:30 p.m., the evening before the next council meeting.




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