Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Transit system doesn't serve Ottawa's needs

A lot of people say that Ottawa has a pretty good public transit system. And, when you've arrived into the downtown corridor, that is often the case. The problem with the infrastructure--as has been the case for some time--is getting into Ottawa's heart.

And that might be an explanation as to why Ottawa commuters are largely declining to use services provided by OC Transpo. According to an article by the Canadian Press:

On the outskirts of major cities such as Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver the process of transferring from a local bus to the main subway system adds to a commute that some say would take a fraction of the time in a car.

"Every time you add a transfer piece to a trip you're tacking on anywhere from five to 15 minutes," said Lorenzo Mele, chairman of the Association for Commuter Transportation of Canada. "That's when our systems fall apart."

"There's no point in trying to convince somebody to turn a 30-minute car ride to work into an hour and a half journey across the transit system," he said.

That same argument can be made in Ottawa, where recent attempts to get people into the centre of the city--in Kanata at Eagleson and Terry Fox, in Barrhaven at Strandherd and Fallowfield, in South Keys at Greenboro, and all other Park'n'Rides in Ottawa--shift the onus of getting into the main transit system onto the commuter commuter.

As for the Ottawa transit situation, it's not pretty. An article on CBCNews.ca gives the numbers:
About 70 per cent of the 560,000 commuters in the Ottawa-Gatineau region still travel to work in personal vehicles, according to a new report by Statistics Canada.

That means not even one person in five in the region uses public transit, the report says.

Those statistics are largely reflective of the city's failure to properly assess and address the needs of people in Ottawa.

No comments: