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Ottawa mayor pushing for one month of free transit for December

Jim Watson says the money needed to cover the cost of free transit would come from funds that would have gone to the Rideau Transit Group.
2019-07-03 oc transpo bus CK2
OC Transpo bus, July 2019. Chris Kurys/ OttawaMatters.com

With light rail services down and transit complaints from the public piling up, Ottawa's mayor is pushing to make OC Transpo service free for all riders throughout the month of December. 

Jim Watson, along with Ottawa Transit Commission Chair Allan Hubley, will put forward a motion when council meets on Wednesday, September 22. 

Mayor Watson says the money needed to cover the cost of free transit would come from funds that would have gone to the Rideau Transit Group (RTG) if there had been no train failures leading to service shutdowns in recent months. 

The city has power under its contract with RTG to withhold funding if a certain level of service is not met. 

OC Transpo is currently running its R1 emergency bus service in place of the O-Train, along the city's Confederation Line, since a train derailed near Tremblay Station on Sunday, September 19, and that is expected to continue for the next three weeks. 

Since then, the city has heard a number of complaints about a lack of buses and overcrowding on the ones that have been available.

Back in January 2020, Citizen Transit Commissioner for the City of Ottawa Sarah Gilbert requested a month of free transit due to problems with LRT, as she felt a price freeze that had been put in place didn't go far enough.

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