OC Transpo: Where it’s everyone for themselves.
Recently, the LRT has been in the news.
In the beginning, we constantly heard about and dealt with malfunctions, leaky station roofs, delays, and safety concerns. Let’s not forget our already dirty, smelly, and damaged LRT stations.
Welcome to Ottawa! A city built on broken dreams and broken promises.
More recently, the report from the LRT inquiry came out. By now, most of us in Ottawa are aware of the findings and recommendations.
Last week, former Mayor Jim Watson apologized for his mistakes and for letting down the city.
Ok, I’ll give him kudos for apologizing to us, but it’s too late. It’s simply too late, and I don’t believe him. Jim Watson was fully aware of what was happening and simply chose not to inform us.
In doing so, he put all our lives at risk. Pardon my phrasing, but it doesn’t sit well with me. With so many people, including PWD, using the LRT, a letter of apology isn’t enough.
He needs to be more accountable.
I’m not fully aware of our legal rights regarding this. My opinion is that there should be a class action lawsuit. Off the top of my head, many were late for work and possibly laid off due to our faulty LRT system and then R1 buses being delayed.
I’ll leave that to the experts.
Right now, I’d like to talk about safety on the LRT.
Last Thursday, we learned that a serious incident occurred on the LRT in the downtown core. Few details were released at the time. Shortly after, the City of Ottawa said that an alleged assault took place.
By itself, that’s pretty scary, especially for those who were on board. However, it doesn’t end there.
Word quickly spread that one of the passengers pressed the emergency intercom button, but nobody answered.
OC Transpo was quick to release a statement saying that train operators are trained to respond when it’s safe to do so.
My interpretation of the statement is that sheer chaos is acceptable as long as the driver is safe.
Basically, screw the passengers. Help will arrive when they’re able to get to you.
My first thought was if a PWD was on board and trapped at the time. Did anyone try to assist them?
One of the things that I’ve constantly mentioned to OC Transpo, both in person and online, is wanting to know what emergency measures are in place for people with disabilities.
All the answers I’ve received were extremely vague but always included the word “assure.”
How are we supposed to trust and feel safe when PWD don’t trust and, sometimes, don’t feel safe using Para Transpo?
For those unaware, Para Transpo is owned and operated by the City of Ottawa. People often forget that, but hey, so does the city.
Regardless of how OC Transpo riders use the system, OC Transpo is public transportation. The word is right there; they should be more transparent because they’re for the public.
If OC Transpo truly wants more to ride the bus or the LRT, they need to regain our trust. One way to do that is to explain to your riders what happens during an emergency.
Both in regards to people with disabilities and those who are able-bodied.
We need to know, and we have a right to know. We also have a right to feel safe as much as possible.
Whenever we go outside, most of us understand the risks we take. Sadly, the same can’t be said if we’re taking the bus or LRT.
If I were on the LRT at that moment, my first instinct would’ve been to hit the intercom button and hope the train operator understood my voice.
As it turns out, I don’t have to worry about that because the LRT operator will simply ignore me.
Much in the same way, the city ignores everyone, especially people with disabilities.