The City of Ottawa has decided to keep a freeze on public transit fares until its riders can jump aboard the new light rail Confederation Line.
Councillor Allan Hubley, chair of the transit commission, put forward the motion at city council to freeze the fares. Continuing the freeze until August 1 will cost the city $328,000, while pushing it until September 1 will cost the city $616,000.
The motion sees the city trying to recoup the costs of the freeze from Rideau Transit Group.
Council approved the motion on Wednesday.
They however, did not approve a second motion to reduce the fares.
"I think the average transit rider is frustrated," said Councillor Diane Deans. "And I think we need to show them a little love right now."
She said some transit riders are turning to ride-hailing companies like Uber or Lyft, or showing up late to work.
Councillor Carol-Anne Meehan called the service currently in place a "disgrace."
Council is also expected to take more time to review and update the plans that guide how transportation infrastructure will be built in the coming decades.
Officials say the Transportation Master Plan, which is being updated, identifies transportation infrastructure and services the city needs to serve the projected future population as well as that population's forecasted travel patterns and modes of transportation. The pedestrian and cycling plans, which are also being reviewed and updated, support the master plan with pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, policies and programs.
Staff are expected to coordinate with the writing of the new Official Plan, which will go to Council for approval in 2021.
The Transportation Master Plan work includes an origin-destination survey that will begin in fall 2020 to capture changes in travel behaviour following the opening of the O-Train Confederation Line. Data gathered from the survey will be used to analyze existing transportation demands and forecast future transportation choices, helping develop the transportation network to 2046.
The new transportation plans will come to the Transportation Committee for consideration in spring 2022.