Transit union calls on OC Transpo to come up with a ‘better plan’ to deal with snowstorms
The union representing OC Transpo drivers is calling on the City of Ottawa to come up with a better plan to keep buses moving during snowstorms, including reducing service.
Ottawa received 48cm of snow on Monday as a major winter storm ripped through the region, shutting down travel.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 President Clint Crabtree said at least 150 buses were stuck in snow banks Monday, leaving drivers stranded for hours.
“It should have minimal service instead of full service. Why would you offer full service if you know a storm of this magnitude is hitting this town?” said Crabtree in an interview with CTV News Ottawa.
“We get them every year, and we set up a full service to have, what, buses stuck all over town. My members got stuck on those buses with no way to get to the bathroom, no way to get food, food, anything and they’re stuck on these buses because I hear over eight for some of my members.”
Crabtree says there was “poor or no communication” between OC Transpo dispatch and operators during the storm.
The City of Ottawa declared a “significant weather event” on Sunday, warning it would not meet its winter maintenance standards during the storm. Snowplows did not begin clearing residential streets until Monday evening, 12 hours after the snowfall began.
“The problem is the residential neighborhoods. The main thoroughfares in this city, the main through roads are maintained and plowed, and they’ve been plowed for this storm,” Crabtree said.
“It’s off the main thoroughfares, all those buses going through the residential areas and the side streets of this town were the problem areas.”
OC Transpo warned of major delays on many routes during Monday’s heavy snowstorm, when there were no issues with the Confederation Line.
The Amalgamated Transit Union is asking OC Transpo and the City to review priorities during heavy snowfall and make “meaningful improvements” to how they handle winter service.
“They should do a review; they should do a review of anything to do with these types of storms. It’s nothing new for the city; we’re going to have that again, maybe this winter and definitely the next year,” says Crabtree.
“We have been through this every year and at this point there is no excuse for this. This should have been reviewed a long time ago; let’s look at it, get it right and reduce the amount of service that is normally required. because we have these storms and we will continue to have them.”
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, director of transit operations Troy Charter said OC Transpo is reviewing storm response for “best practices” to adjust how it responds to winter weather events. violent in the future.
“Recognizing the unique intensity of Monday’s significant weather event, the safety of our customers and staff was and still is OC Transpo’s number one priority. We are also committed to providing the best possible service to customers under the circumstances,” Charter said Wednesday evening. .
“As with all motorists on the road, transit services experienced delays, which resulted in difficult driving conditions and a high number of immobilized buses throughout the weather event. As operations snow removal operations continued throughout the day, customer service improved.
“During all severe weather events, OC Transpo works closely with the appropriate City departments and departments to minimize disruptions to transit service and to assist all commuters and prioritize as many routes as possible. .
Charter says OC Transpo’s Transit Operations and Communications Center maintains communication with all operators and if a bus is immobilized, assistance will be dispatched.
In a separate interview with Newstalk 580 CFRA, Crabtree said OC Transpo should assess whether to use articulated buses during heavy snowfall.
SNOW TIRES ON OC TRANSPO BUSES?
Com. Riley Brockington asks OC Transpo staff about the possibility of installing winter tires on buses.
“The accumulation of snow (from Monday) was significant and slowed down transport in many ways. I ventured out twice yesterday, once in the late afternoon and another in the early evening,” said writes Brockington.
Adviser wants staff to confirm that the fleet is not equipped with snow tires and if there are ways to procure snow tires for all buses.
“OC Transpo buses stuck in a snowfall are not unique, it’s common. Improving overall service reliability must be our constant goal,” said Brockington.