FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
14 June 2021
OTTAWA - A coalition of community groups from across Ottawa are calling on the City to include the public in the decision around hiring the new General Manager of Transportation ahead of Wednesday’s Transit Commission meeting. John Manconi who has served as Ottawa’s GM of Transportation for a decade is set to step down at the end of September.
A letter addressed to the mayor and City Council signed by Free Transit Ottawa, the local Ottawa transit union, ATU 279, Ottawa Black Diaspora Coalition, ACORN Ottawa, Horizon Ottawa and Ottawa Transit Riders says that it is critically important that the process used to select the new General Manager of Transportation be a transparent and accountable one. The letter notes that the public ought to have a voice in the appointment of someone like the GM of Transportation whose decisions have such a great effect on people’s daily lives.
“The new head of Transportation needs to be someone who understands that transit is not a business.” Said Donald Swartz of Free Transit Ottawa. “It is a vitally important public service that should be publicly owned and financed, accountable to its users, and managed so as to realize its full potential as a source of stable, skilled public employment.”
The next General Manager will also be facing the daunting and important task of overseeing OC Transpo through a period of post-COVID recovery. The GM will need to ensure that riders are poised and ready to return after a pandemic that has seen a significant downturn in ridership. The latest figures from mid-April show ridership at just under 30% of pre-pandemic levels.
“It is crucial that a post-COVID recovery focuses on bringing service back in a way that ensures riders return.” Said Kari Glynes Elliott of the Ottawa Transit Riders. “The next GM needs to be someone who embraces the needs of diverse groups of riders, and especially those of essential and precarious workers, and persons with disabilities, who depend so heavily on a reliable and affordable transit system that takes them to all the places that they need to go.”
For Media Inquiries:
Free Transit Ottawa
613 791 2295
Ottawa Transit Riders
Kari Glynes Elliott