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'I'm frustrated, I was angry:' Ottawa mayor reacts to LRT issues

The City of Ottawa is considering fines for people who hold open train doors. Mayor Watson also admits it was naive to think that, in big crowds, no one would pry the doors open instead waiting for the next train to come.
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2019-10-09 jim watson allan hubley
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Transit Commission Chair Allan Hubley speak with media at City Hall, October 9, 2019. Jenn Pritchard/ OttawaMatters.com

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is apologizing to transit users after hearing about issues with light rail train doors for the second day in a row.

"This level of service is not acceptable," he said after Wednesday's city council meeting. "I'm frustrated. I was angry this morning."

Watson demanded solutions to the issues on trains, caused by people holding open doors. The mayor said he met with Transportation General Manager John Manconi and City Manager Steve Kanellakos to discuss the ongoing problem.

"[They've] been tasked, at the direction of the chair and I, to come up with a series of solutions to solve this damn door issue once and for all," said Watson.

Going forward, the mayor said he would be open to issuing fines to people who hold open the train doors.

"There needs to be some punitive measures and people have to understand that when the doors are about to close, you don't pry them back open."

Watson noted that the system was never completely halted on Tuesday or Wednesday, but understands there were still major backups as a result.

"When they're supposed to come every four minutes and they come every 15 minutes, that's chaos on the platform," he explained. "The system is still continuing but on a smaller scale because we're down to one track in some areas."

He also stood by the decision to open the O-Train Confederation Line to the public on September 14, as the trains met all safety requirements at that time.

"I categorize them as one of the problems that we had -- the doors were one of the problems. We raised it, we got the sign off by security."

Watson said it was naive of city officials to think that, in big crowds, no one would pry the doors open instead waiting for the next train to come.

Wednesday morning's incident was caught on CCTV cameras and Mayor Watson says he'd like to see that video released, with the culrpit's face blurred, to show people what not to do.




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Jenn Pritchard

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