FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COMMUNITY GROUPS DEMAND EMERGENCY TRANSIT COMMISSION MEETING OVER SAFETY CONCERNS AMID CONSTANT NEWS OF FAILING LRT SYSTEM
OTTAWA – Ottawa Transit Riders, Free Transit Ottawa, and Horizon Ottawa are calling on Ottawa’s Transit Commission to hold an emergency meeting over discovery this week that 10 out of the 39 cars that make up the LRT are under need of repair due to axle bearing issues. Earlier this month, a broken axle shut down the whole Confederation Line for almost a week. Several City Councillors, as well as Citizen Transit Commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert, have called for an emergency meeting; nonetheless, the mayor and the Transit Commission Chair, Councillor Alan Hubley, have denied that such a meeting is needed.
“The public is demanding leadership right now in light of serious safety concerns with the LRT, but our supposed leaders are denying the public any transparency,” said Stuart MacKay, a Board Member of Ottawa Transit Riders. “You cannot simply govern by memo, and transit riders across Ottawa are demanding more transparency and accountability from OC Transpo and City Council.”
When asked about the emergency meeting, both Transit Commissioners: Stittsville Councillor, Glen Gower and Kanata North Councillor, Jenna Sudds, have said that the meeting is unnecessary because they have been receiving up-to-date memos. However, the public has remained in the dark about this issue, an issue even the former director of rail investigations at the Transportation Services Board of Canada says is a huge cause for concern. According to him, axle bearings on trains are supposed to last for ten years at minimum, yet those on the ten LRT cars have only lasted for two.
“The mayhem this week around the LRT is yet another example of the ills of P3s and the privatization of our transit system as Rideau Transit Group continues to cut corners,” said Sam Hersh, Board Member of Horizon Ottawa. “We need a City Council and a Transit Commission that prioritizes the safety of residents over the reputations of their wealthy corporate buddies.”
The LRT has faced significant issues in Ottawa ever since it opened in 2018, including multiple stoppages, train derailments, technical issues, and a huge lack of transparency around issues of procurement. The city is also embroiled in a high-profile, multi-million-dollar lawsuit with its own private partners, RTG, over building delays.
“Residents are frustrated but unfortunately not surprised at the most recent issues surrounding the LRT,” said Kirsten Pulles, a representative of Free Transit Ottawa. “As a result of the news, transit riders are afraid that a train could malfunction at any moment. If we want to get people back on our transit system, refusing to go to the table and solve the issues isn’t going to do it.”
For Media Inquiries:
Ottawa Transit Riders
Free Transit Ottawa