OC Transpo officials will attend a public meeting on Feb. 2 in Kanata north to discuss residents’ issues with service changes to buses, specifically in Morgan’s Grant and Briarbrook.
Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson said John Manconi, general manager of the city’s transportation service, Pat Scrimgeour, director of OC Transpo customer systems and planning, and Troy Charter, director of transit operations, will all attend.
The meeting is being held in response to concerns raised by residents at the councillor’s January town hall meeting, as well as numerous complaints received via email and Facebook.
“To deal with those concerns I am meeting with OC Transpo staff to go over all of the issues with them and see what can be done to deal quickly with as many of them as possible,” said Wilkinson in an email, adding she is also “looking at longer term changes where an immediate fix cannot be done.”
Many residents complained about the new service changes, which came into effect on Christmas Day. With the opening of the Innovation Station park-and-ride, the elimination of routes 60 and 93 and the addition of routes 63 and 64, many bus riders say their commute times during rush hours have increased.
Mandy Hair, who lives on Brady Avenue in north Kanata, said the changes have her reconsidering using the bus.
“Up until now I have always felt well-serviced by the bus system,” she wrote in an email. “I have been of the opinion that the bus has always been just as fast as the commute by car would be, and I like that it’s environmentally friendly. Up until now I have never wavered from that position. However, the new service changes have me rethinking my commitment to public transit.”
The new Route 64 drives by her house but she doesn’t use it, she said, as the winding route through the neighbourhood would add an additional 10 minutes to her commute in the morning.
Hair said she can walk to the park-and-ride in that time, where she has the option of taking two buses.
“The route the (64) bus uses to wind its way through the neighbourhood would be great if it was an ice cream truck, but it has little to offer in terms of appeal as a commuter service,” she said. “With gas prices rising and transit complaining about operating costs, they chose to implement a new bus along a route where it is neither wanted nor needed.”
On the way home, her travel time is an additional 25 minutes or longer if there are traffic problems.
“Those who rely on the bus for commuting purposes are looking for fast efficient service,” said Hair. “This isn't it. I would gladly go back to paying a premium for an express bus and I am very disappointed that there is no longer an express option. The new service just isn’t good enough.”
Wilkinson said residents impacted by OC Transpo’s service changes should plan to attend the meeting.
“If you have concerns about bus service in any part of the ward plan to attend this public meeting,” she said. “I am asking OC Transpo (staff) to outline measures that can be taken, receive your concerns, comments and suggestions as well as discussing a longer term plan to ensure that such issues do not recur.”
The meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Richcraft Recreation Complex Kanata, 4101 Innovation Dr., in the Minto Room.