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LRT delay has councillors debating transit fare freeze, reduction

The Confederation Line's construction and delays have disrupted transit service in the downtown area.
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2018-03-03 O Train LRT2 MV
The logo for Ottawa's O-Train Confederation light rail transit line, March 3, 2018. (Photo/ Mike Vlasveld)

Two competing motions could be headed to next week's city council meeting, with one pushing for a reduction in transit fares while the other would push to extend the current transit fare freeze.

Transit fares have been frozen, with no increases while the city continues to await the completion of the Confederation Line. The builder has now asked for an additional two weeks, meaning the city will not take possession of the line until after Canada Day.

The Confederation Line's construction and delays have disrupted transit service in the downtown area; OC Transpo adjusted its routes in anticipation of the LRT's opening, which has been delayed multiple times. The bus network is also affected by traffic congestion, exacerbated by ongoing construction downtown.

"We're asking our customers to bear with this and to tell you the truth, as a member of council, I'm kind of tired -- I'm done with defending it," Gloucester-Southgate Councillor Diane Deans told Tuesday's meeting of the city's Finance and Economic Development Committee. "It's indefensible to continue to charge full fare for a sub-par system."

Deans argues that fares should be reduced, to try to make things up to riders who've been feeling the pain of transit delays.

"Although it's a good feeling for transit users who are feeling the brunt of the pain of these bus cancellations and the LRT not being open, it's still the same taxpayer that needs to pay for the system," said Rideau-Vanier Councillor Mathieu Fleury. He is in favour of extending the current transit fare freeze, but not in favour of a fare reduction.

Deans plans to craft a motion for a fare reduction to go before city council, next week, while Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubely plans to make a motion to extend the current transit fare freeze beyond Canada Day, when it is currently set to expire.

City council next meets June 12.




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Jason White

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