Seniors vs. OC Transpo
First let me state that I have to be careful how I word this blog. As a member of the Seniors’ Advisory Committee (SAC), I am bound by certain code of conduct rules that limit the extent of what I say and write. Sure hope I stay inside the lines…
With that disclaimer out of the way, let me tell you that there is a clash coming at transit commission. That’s because, according to OC Transpo themselves, they are bilking Ottawa seniors up to $4M per year in higher bus fares than seniors would pay in other Canadian cities.
The last council passed unanimously a proposal that was sponsored by the SAC and supported by many seniors that would see their single ride fares cut in half (one ticket per ride down from two tickets per ride). This would bring OC Transpo senior fares in line with other Canadian cities. However, at the behest of OC Transpo management, the 2011 budget replaces this proposal with keeping the ticket fares the same while offering free transit ½ days Monday and Friday. I won’t get into the pros and cons. Randall Denley did a great job of that last Saturday: Seniors lose battle for lower bus fares
Also, you can follow the proposal approval process through committee and city council here: Seniors’ One Ticket Fare approval history
At the transit commission discussion yesterday, OC Transpo claimed that the proposed one ticket proposal would cost the bus company some $4M annually to adopt whereas their inconvenient free ½ day proposal will only cost about $1M. Although one can dispute the $4M figure, in reality, the truth is the higher OC Transpo tries to justify that cost, the more they are telling seniors that they are getting screwed. Again, let me be clear. Other Canadian cities have seniors’ bus fares in and around the proposed 1 ticket fare so anything more seniors are required to pay in Ottawa to ride a bus means it’s a higher tax on Ottawa seniors than in other places.
The final decision on which plan to support will ultimately fall on the thirteen returning councillors who voted for the one ticket option in September 2010 which helps Ottawa seniors, the fastest growing demographic in our city. These councillors are Rainer Bloess, Rick Chiarelli, Diane Deans (transit commission chair), Steve Desroches, Eli El-Chantiry, Jan Harder, Diane Holmes, Peter Hume, Maria McRae, Bob Monette, Shad Qadri, Doug Thompson, Marianne Wilkinson
OC Transpo has a big union fight on their hands already. Do they want to take on the seniors too?