Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Otawa fined another $12.5k for failure to call out stops

The Canadian Transportation Agency fined the City of Ottawa $12,500 today for failing to call out stops along bus routes. The fine stems from a decision made back in 2007, where it was found that OC Transpo's failure to announce stop names posed an undue obstacle to the visually impaired, and is the second fine that has been levied on the city since said decision. In July of last year, Ottawa was fined $5,000 for failure to call out stops.

The city had made steps toward retrofitting their bus fleet with SmartBus technology, which would have met the requirements (and offered further technical benefits, including real-time location tracking) for $12M, but that was kiboshed by council when peculiarities in the bidding process raised the prospect of a lawsuit from opposing bidders. Since that October 2009 decision was made by council, nothing further has been done to address the problem. Although the deal was cancelled initially, council ultimately voted in favour of the SmartBus enhancements in order to avoid lawsuits.

Realistically, this situation can not continue. Obviously, it's not desirable to continue being fined by the CTA, particularly given the fact that the fines are increasing. There's also the ethical fact that this failure is posing an undue obstacle to those with visual impairments. The city needs to get serious about one (or both) of two things: Either get serious about installing some automatic system to have stops called out [Ed: or get serious about getting it done quickly], whether that's covered under SmartBus technology or something else; or get serious about ensuring operators are consistently calling out stops. Until one of those is implemented, we're going to continue hearing about this--and continue paying for it.

2 comments:

David Reevely said...

I'm pretty sure council's getting the automatic stop-callers installed:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Unhappy+council+call+contract/2235380/story.html

Peter said...

Thanks for that note, David, I must have missed that development.