Botched upkeep caused about 50 OC Transpo buses to freeze up and led to the cancellation of more than 200 trips this week.Understandably, people are pretty upset about this oversight. City councillors are apoplectic, and transit riders who were stranded in the biting cold without their rides, and without any indication their rides weren't going to show up.
The buses froze because they were not started and moved while sitting idle over the Jan. 1 long weekend, said transit general manager Alain Mercier.
“The team just basically lost the ball,” Mercier said, apologizing to bus users.
Mercier said 141 trips were cancelled on Monday and 74 were cut Tuesday due to the oversight. Service returned to normal levels on Wednesday. OC Transpo normally makes about 9,000 trips per day.
It has left people in the city with questions about OC Transpo, namely: How does this happen?
How does a transit utility, whose sole and explicit duty it is to ensure the proper running of the city's public transit system, seemingly forget such obviously necessary mechanical maintenance?
And how was it not known beforehand that, without said necessary mechanical maintenance, normal service would not be resumed after the holiday? Since it seems common knowledge among managers that OC Transpo didn't have the garage space to accomodate the full bus fleet over the holiday, could riders not have been warned that full service would not resume Monday, and that some routes would have been cut? Still an inexcusable service failing, but at least one with sufficient warning for users to attempt to find alternative arrangements.
All in all, it amounts to a terrible start to a year OC Transpo users hoped would start a lot better than 2009 did.