Thursday, March 25, 2010

O'Brien calls for independent transit commission

Mayor Larry O'Brien has recently called for OC Transpo management to be handed over to an independent transit commission rather than answer directly to city council, is reporting.

On Rogers 22's Talk Ottawa program on Monday night, O'Brien cited declining customer service ratings and the politicization and micro-management of OC Transpo as problems he's come to understand, and he believes an independent commission would help address them. He pointed to the recommendations of his 2007 Task Force on Transportation and also of a report by consulting firm Oliver Wyman in June 2008, both suggesting the city would benefit from establishing an independent commission.

Although O'Brien has yet to publicly say whether or not he's going to be running for re-election, a transit commission may figure to be a key issue in the upcoming municipal elections. Mayoral candidate Alex Cullen, currently Bay Ward Councillor and chair of the transit committee, challenged O'Brien's contention that the current management structure breeds politicization of the issues, and also questioned the accountability of an independent commission.


Dean said...

Alex Cullen if you are elected mayor you will get to see how much good will you really have with the union.
The commission in the end will have more accountability than city council does. It's far easier to fire management after bad decisions than it is to get rid of a councillor. Add to that the council will still control the money. An independent commission does not get to vote on it's own budget like council does. The commission is also having to plan service around riders needs not their own need to get re-elected.

Anonymous said...

Never, EVER did I think I'd agree with a policy proposal from Larry O'Brien but here it is. I couldn't agree more with his call (and that of the transportation task force before him) for a more arms-length transit commission. We don't have to look far for a better model - try the STO in Gatineau where, as throughout Quebec, transit is governed by a commission that *gasp* even includes representatives of transit users.

Anonymous said...

You're not posting often enough.