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Ottawa transit union wants to 'scale back' service during snow storms to avoid stranding vehicles

According to ATU Local 279 president Clint Crabtree, over 300 OC Transpo buses and 40 ParaTranspo buses were stranded during Monday's snow storm, some for up to eight hours.
2020-01-17 OC Transpo bus winter DD1
OC Transpo bus, January 2020. Dani-Elle Dubé/

The union representing transit workers in the capital is calling on OC Transpo and the City of Ottawa to better plan for winter weather.

According to Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 279 President Clint Crabtree, more than 300 OC Transpo vehicles and 40 ParaTranspo vehicles were stranded during the snow storm on Monday, January 17, some of which took up to eight hours to free.

The union president says there was a lack of communication between the stranded drivers and OC Transpo, which he says left many unsure how long they would have to wait for assistance to arrive.

In order to avoid these issues during future storms, Crabtree suggests "scaling back" service on residential streets, and instead focus on major arteries in Ottawa.

"The main arterties in the city are well taken care of, well maintained -- the streets are cleared frequently," Crabtree told CityNews Ottawa's The Sam Laprade Show on Thursday, January 20. "It is going down the residential areas and the side streets in this city where the buses are getting stuck."

He adds, scaling back service in those areas would make it necessary for riders to walk to a major artery to catch a bus.

"If they are getting that bus in the residential area or off a side street, the chances are they're going to get stuck on that bus anyways, so you might as well walk out a little bit."

Crabtree also feels OC Transpo should be "open to anything" in order to avoid issues such as this in the future.

"We do not need our buses stuck across this city," Crabtree stated. "300 buses and 40 ParaTranspo buses... it's unacceptable."

Listen to the full interview with Crabtree below:

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