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Ottawa mayor sees LRT, double-decker bus issues as blip in what's been 'very reliable' transit service

"Last week it was not reliable, but we've worked really hard to get it up and running and that's what we see today: the full service is up and running," says Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa.
2021-08-17 ottawa mayor jim watson
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson celebrates the completion of construction on Rideau Street, August 17, 2021. Chris Kurys/ CityNews Ottawa

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is ready to move past axle bearing issues on the city's light rail line and a problem that's taken a handful of double-decker buses out of service.

He says an emergency Transit Commission meeting would be unnecessary, given the extensive information that has been released by city staff. 

"My number one objective is to ensure that our staff are working 100 per cent of the time on fixing any core problems. They've done that and we're going to move forward," Watson explains, Tuesday, August 17. "The memos we have received are actually quite thorough, [containing] information that's specific to the issues that we have raised as members of council as well as members of the public."

Transit Commission Chair Allan Hubley declined a special meeting request made by City Councillors Catherine McKenney and Diane Deans, Tuesday.

Watson says the duty of the city is to identify the problem, to fix it and to get the system up and running again, which it has done. 

"No question about it we're not happy with RTG, and they won't get paid for that period that they weren't operating [the trains] obviously, and we have to continue to do more [to improve services]," he states. 

"I have to say, and this is something that people often overlook, in the last year-and-a-half we've had an about 98 to 99 per cent on-time service, and the fact is that the service has been very reliable. Last week it was not reliable, but we've worked really hard to get it up and running and that's what we see today, the full service is up and running."

Underlining the request made by councillors McKenney and Deans, the mayor of Ottawa adds, if any of the city representatives or members of the public have any further questions on last week's system failures, they can address their inquiries directly to General Manager of Transportation Services John Manconi.


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