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'One of the most ridiculous motions I've ever seen:' Ottawa mayor slams transit fare reduction idea

"The very principle of fairness would suggest that we should not be charging full fares for a partial or unreliable system," Gloucester-Southgate Councillor Diane Deans told her council colleagues.
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2018-12-12 ottawa mayor jim watson mv2
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson December 2018. Mike Vlasveld/ OttawaMatters

An idea to reduce transit fares during the current LRT construction delay prompted some feisty moments at city council, Wednesday.

The quality of transit service degraded to the point where the city's manager of transportation services admitted over the winter that the system had become unreliable.

"The very principle of fairness would suggest that we should not be charging full fares for a partial or unreliable system," Gloucester-Southgate Councillor Diane Deans told her council colleagues, as she urged them to vote in favour of her motion.

Deans' fare reduction motion was defeated 6-18, including a no vote from the mayor, who says everyone wants more buses and better service.

"We don't get it by reducing the fare box (revenue) by $29 million," Watson told The Rick Gibbons Show on 1310 NEWS. "It was absolutely one of the most ridiculous motions I've ever seen."

City staff estimated that reducing transit fares by 30 per cent would cost the city $29 million.

Deans' motion to council did not specify a percentage but proposed that the cost of the fare reduction be deducted from the city's payment to Rideau Transit Group, the consortium building the Confederation Line.

Councillors unanimously approved extending the current fare freeze until the LRT opens, while directing the city manager to try to recoup the net costs of the freeze from RTG.




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Jason White

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Jason is an award-winning reporter on 1310 NEWS.
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