Ticket to Ride
by Dr. Rouba Fattal
Up until October 2019, I drove 10 minutes from my house to the Kanata Park-and-Ride. A lengthy bus ride to the park-and-ride was not an option. I then took a standing-room-only express bus that stopped a 10 minute walk away from my work. On a normal day the whole trip would take about an hour. Rush hour trips home usually left me standing squished like a sardine in a can. Spending more than 2 hours commuting every day isn't my idea of time well spent.
When the LRT was launched, I continued to drive to the park-and-ride and take the bus to the Tunney’s Pasture station and then the LRT to Kent station. The LRT was frequently problematic resulting in lengthy delays. With not enough buses available to supplement the malfunctioning train, we often had to walk 30 minutes from Tunney’s Pasture to the office.
Needless to say, this was less than an ideal way to start the day, especially during the cold winter months. It was a very stressful time and certainly a less than pleasant experience for many riders. Physical and mental health were negatively impacted. As Canada’s capital city, we should be leading the charge with innovative and reliable public transit.
It is important that residents want to use and trust in public transit to save money and help reduce greenhouse gasses given our new climate reality.
One of the more valid arguments in returning to the office and using public transit is the need to revitalize businesses in the downtown core. Both federal and municipal governments have already begun to refurbish and retrofit office buildings into residential units. In light of work from home mandates and the housing crisis, I support continuing with this initiative as this will help in reducing homelessness. It's a win/win for our city.
Perhaps the public service could consider establishing city-wide shared work spaces, not only as a way to support local businesses but to provide a healthy option for staff to meet, especially given recent public health indicators.
Adopting shared work spaces in Kanata would require pre-existing effective intra-transit bus schedules that connect within the communities.
An efficient transit service should not take an hour to travel from Trailwest in Kanata South to the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata North.
If we want people to use public transit, we have to make it accessible, reliable, and more affordable. Fare capping is one option that can be used to reward and encourage folks to use public transit. As an example, and possibly integrating into the Presto pass, nine bus trips at full fare and the 10th trip is free.
Bus scheduling has come a long way, however, there is still lots of room for improvement to make our communities more connected and bus routes in Kanata South more efficient and frequent. Having dedicated express buses run exclusively on Eagleson and March Road connecting Kanata South and North is but one simple idea for improvement.
To be considered along with recommendations on transit are the needs of the bus drivers by ensuring that their schedules are flexible and realistic to provide critical public transit services to the best of their abilities. Without our drivers, we cannot build the best transit system in the country.
This election you can count on me to help revitalize Ottawa’s transit system into one that is more sustainable, accessible and reliable.
On October 24th, vote for me, Dr.Rouba Fattal, to help bring fresh ideas to Ottawa’s City Hall.