FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - Ottawa Transit Riders, Free Transit Ottawa, Horizon Ottawa and Courage Ottawa are urging Ottawa’s Transit Commission to reject another fare increase ahead of tomorrow’s transit commission meeting which would see transit fares rise by 2.5% meaning a single fare would now cost $3.70 and a monthly pass would rise by $3.00 to $125.50. Ottawa has one of the highest transit fares in North America. Its single fare is already one of the most expensive, beating out other big cities including Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver and several others.
“If our city’s goal is to get transit riders to come back to the system post-pandemic, they are failing.” Said Kari Glynes Elliott of Ottawa Transit Riders. “We already have some of the highest fares in all of North America, does our transit commission really think making it more unaffordable will draw more people back to it?”
In a bid to regain the confidence of riders after the debacle with our light rail system, Mayor Jim Watson and Transit Chair Allan Hubley passed a motion which would see transit be free for the month of December. Many residents and advocates have called this move extremely cynical as transit fares are scheduled to go up the following month.
“Unlike the Mayor and Transit Chair Allan Hubley, we support free transit not just for one month but all twelve.” Said Donald Swartz, a representative of Free Transit Ottawa. “For people who ride transit every day, free transit isn’t just a cynical gimmick but could eliminate having to choose between affording groceries or paying for rent.”
There will also be three motions proposed at the Transit Committee by Councillor Catherine McKenney that are looking to among other things freeze fares for holders of the EquiPass, Community Pass and Access Pass. Another motion is trying to push council to write a letter to the federal government for more transit operating dollars.
“Along with a freeze, we also want to urge transit commissioners to approve the three motions from Councillor McKenney that will make transit more affordable for low-income riders and put more money in the city’s pockets for operational funds.” Said Sam Hersh, Board member of Horizon Ottawa. “Continuing down the path of heavily burdening transit riders for the cost of transit has not made our transit system better. It’s time to try something different and make affordability a priority over cheap political gimmicks.”
For Media Inquiries:
Ottawa Transit Riders
Kari Glynes Elliott
Free Transit Ottawa