Bus Drivers Aren’t Robots

OC Transpo drivers shouldn’t feel pressured to accommodate the scheduling mess created by OC Transpo, according to an internal memo obtained by On the City, From the Burbs.

“We will not stand by and allow our members to be treated like robots. We deserve better than this and the fall booking schedules are unacceptable,” Crabtree, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union 279 representing the drivers, wrote in a memo to drivers.

Crabtree makes it clear the mess wasn’t created by the drivers, and nor should they feel they have to make up for OC Transpo’s problems.
“We need to be united and tackle this scheduling issue head on. If you need to use the facilities and are running late due to insufficient run times and lack of recovery time, please do not hesitate to do so. I would like to clarify. It is not the members of this Local who create scheduling it is your employer. ATU Local 279 will hold the employer accountable and demand a better schedule for our members,” Crabtree writes.

“I would like to inform everyone that ATU Local 279 is addressing the lack of run time and poor scheduling. We are in the process of gathering information and would appreciate input from our members as well.”
Small wonder transit users are upset. Their $2.1 billion investment which was supposed to be a system for the future just isn’t working with any sort of reliability.

Good on Crabtree, he’s absolutely right. This isn’t a problem that can be solved by bus drivers, nor should it be their responsibility. Do they need to do their jobs? Of course. But they shouldn’t be blamed for its problems, not should they be expected to make up for its dismal performance.

The dismal rollout of the much anticipated light rail system has everyone in Ottawa talking.

Recently, an Ottawa transit commissioner asked people frustrated by the system to protest to OC Transpo.

“Send your feedback to OC Transpo!” Sarah Wright-Gilbert told Twitter followers on Friday. 

Seems everyone is equally as frustrated with what’s happening. In her weekly newsletter, Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Carol Anne Meehan weighed in on the woes of the system. Like Crabtree, she didn’t pull any punches.

It should be clear to everyone by now that the Bus System in Ottawa is broken. Riders have lost confidence in the buses that are the backbone of our transportation network. City brass say they are hearing the complaints and are acting. I am a frustrated Councillor trying to find answers and solutions for commuters in the south end. Thursday, I sat down with Pat Scrimgeour, Director of Transit Customer Systems and Planning for OC Transpo. I was armed with a list of your complaints about bussing and LRT. “Frustrated riders giving up and taking their cars.

Of course, that’s the concern isn’t it? What if we’ve paid $2.1 billion for a system that creates bigger traffic woes for the city the we had?. And while I say we’ve paid $2.1 billion, we’ll be paying for it for a long, long time.
And now we’re starting on the Second Phase of a project that’s supposed to work with Phase One. And we’re paying for that too.

The mind boggles.

2 Comments

  1. Yes you are right. Bus drivers are not robots. All OC Transpo staff do need support however, as it is a difficult time. Hopefully they have the same kind of attitude that belonged to a driver of the famous No. 2 Route that went through the city from the west end , along Somerset St then down Rideau Street. He was the ‘singing bus driver’. On a hot summer day , I was happy to take an air-conditioned bus ( which I hope works OK on the LRT). I asked the person beside me, “Do you hear someone singing ? Yes “, she said, “It’s the bus driver”. An inspirational moment for sure !

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