Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 Election: Maguire on the hub-and-spoke system

Over the course of the 2010 Mayoral Election campaign, Public Transit in Ottawa will be sitting down with as many mayoral candidates as are available, discussing their platforms and thoughts on transit in this city, and what they hope to achieve during their mandate, if elected mayor.

Mayoral candidate Mike Maguire has had a number of ideas to reorganize OC Transpo, and this idea is no difference: Maguire calls for less rural service, and a true hub-and-spoke system for the organization.
We serve kind of a modified hub-and-spoke system right now. One of the things that we introduced ourselves, as a municipality, that probably hasn’t served us all that well, was to insert almost a competing bus service: We operate an express route, as well as normal, standard pick-up routes. Again, I’m quoting from my colleagues who are transit experts, they tell me that operating a parallel express and normal-run services is not only expensive, it’s not very efficient. Bottom line, for us, I think you need to look at, starting at the very minimum, the outlying extremities of Ottawa. Bus service through Manotick, for instance, through Richmond, parts of Goulbourn, Munster-Hamlet; having OC Transpo do that route is a terrible idea, because OC Transpo has to do—I hesitate to say they get to do—OC places a surcharge on every property within the catchment area when they do rural pickup.
What Maguire is proposing is an elimination of express routes, which would be unnecessary if his GO Ottawa commuter rail proposal was supported, anyway. The commuter rail system may seem like a "competing" service to OC Transpo in the same way express buses are, but Maguire would still have suburbs served by routes like the 95, 96, and 97.
I have no reason to believe they wouldn’t run. Right now, the people who are taking the 95 or the 96 in Barrhaven are doing so because it meets their needs, and I presume they’ll continue to do so. We want to get the guys in their cars off the road, the guys who say, “I can’t spend 40 minutes on a bus, make three transfers, and end up 12 miles from here.” That’s the kind of person we want to entice.

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