Cancelled OC Transpo trips have been mounting in recent weeks, and now the transit service has implemented its plan to address the issue --- adding more drivers.
More than 30 new recruits started work this week as OC Transpo hopes to reduce the number of cancelled trips which have left Ottawa commuters scrambling to get to their destinations.
Over the past two weeks, hundreds of individual trips have been cancelled each day, a rate of about four per cent, often at the last minute.
The transit service has blamed a shortage of drivers, citing a high level of vacations and sick leave, something the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) has balked at.
The City hopes the additional drivers will allow for a more reliable service heading into the fall and says more applicants are expected to be trained in the coming months.
In a statement emailed to CityNews Ottawa on Monday, Aug. 15, Ottawa's Director of Transit Operations, Jim Greer, said the following:
"OC Transpo has implemented a robust recruitment campaign to increase the number of bus operators as quickly as possible, and in turn, provide more reliable bus service. Recruitment of new bus operators is a multilayer process to ensure the highest level of safety is achieved and maintained. The process includes road tests, written assessments, reflexes and cognitive tests, and criminal background checks. The target is to fill approximately 300 positions by the end of 2022 to address the significant and ongoing impacts from Canada Labour Code changes, other short-term factors, and to prepare for future requirements.
To date, we have received approximately 2,800 applications, of which 90 positions have been filled, and 32 new bus operators from those 90 positions started today. The operators will be assigned work as per the guidelines established in the Operator's Collective Agreement with ATU 279. Additional applicants are expected to commence and conclude their trainings throughout the next few months."