Sunday, March 23, 2008

Guest column: Rural transit

The following open letter to Mayor Larry O'Brien was printed in the Ottawa Citizen on Saturday. Guest columnist Nicola Gall has given permission to reprint the letter--in its original form--for the benefit of those of you who missed the letters section yesterday:
Hello Mayor O'Brien,

My name is Nicola Gall and I am a student (and transit user) living in Richmond. I wrote the following letter to the Ottawa Citizen today:

"Re: After Kanata trip, mayor boards 'cattle car' to Orléans

I think it's great that Mayor Larry O'Brien took time out of his busy schedule to connect with real transit users in Kanata, Orleans, and Barrhaven, three of the fastest-growing areas in Ottawa, about the City's future transit plans.

I would like to take the opportunity to invite Mayor O'Brien to take a trip out to Richmond and experience our OC bus service next!

I'm warning him now, though, that he'll have to be out waiting for the bus by at least 7:30 AM, when the last of four buses leaves Richmond. We'll stand, unsheltered, in the snow/rain/hail, balancing on a snowbank that used to be a sidewalk, and wait 10-20 minutes for the bus, if it comes at all. Mayor O'Brien will have to pay the $5 fare for the rural express bus, then sit back and relax while the bus attempts to navigate the barely plowed one-car-wide streets of Richmond. Making our way downtown, we'll have to stop at each station after Lincoln Fields to let people on, whether or not they flag down our (supposedly) express bus. We'll arrive to work 20-40 minutes late.

I am in no way suggesting that the mayor considering building light rail out to Richmond (at least, not yet) but I would certainly appreciate his help in getting OC Transpo to provide us with consistent, reliable bus service in the meantime!

I hope to see you soon, Larry!"

I would like to take the time to congratulate you for being so hands-on as to ride the bus with real transit users and listen to their complaints and suggestions. The invitation to ride the bus from Richmond is a real one! I have experienced many, MANY problems with the OC service to Richmond and my numerous complaints and suggestions have accomplished nothing! Buses are consistently late and far too expensive with respect to value for our money. I sincerely hope you will consider my invitation!

I have e-mailed OC Transpo on several occasions and have never seen any results. I'm hoping that you may be able to help me improve the service, simply by agreeing to ride the bus!

Thank you
Ahhh, the rural experience. The mayor's office has contacted Ms. Gall, I will keep you posted on whether or not Mayor O'Brien decides to experience the adventure of bussing from Richmond when information becomes available.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In addition to contacting the mayor's office Gall might considering contacting her city counselor's office regarding snow removal.

Or even the City Manager/Administrator, who often deals with the more nitty gritty items of the city's operation.