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LRT and Bus Accessibility: ‘I Need to Know How to Get to Work’

Luke Carroll
Updated: August 27, 2019

Changes to OC Transpo bus routes with the arrival of Ottawa’s LRT system drew concerned west end residents to a special information session on Monday night.

The briefing at the Alexander Community Centre, put on by west-end city councillors Riley Brockington, Theresa Kavanagh and Keith Egli and OC Transpo, was held to inform the public about changes to several bus routes, including Routes 14 to St. Laurent and Tunney’s Pasture, 114 to Carlington and Rideau.

OC Transpo senior transit planner Erica Springate said the changes are largely designed to connect buses to LRT stations. Springate said the LRT will replace most buses in the downtown area along Albert and Slater streets.

The changes would also affect the 11 to Lincoln Fields and Parliament, 82 to Bayshore and Lincoln Fields, 86 to Baseline and Tunney’s Pasture, 87 to Baseline and Tunney’s Pasture, 284 Knoxdale and Tunney’s Pasture and 53 to Carlington and Tunney’s Pasture. The changes will be implemented on Oct. 6.

But for many of the residents, accessibility was a major concern as riders will be forced to take transfers to reach many downtown destinations.

Alma Cowan, a senior who has been riding the OC Transpo for over 30 years said she was very displeased with the changes to the Route 14 which used to run to Carlington. The changes will make it more difficult for elderly or disabled riders to get to certain downtown areas, she said.

“What are you supposed to do? Especially if you’re on a wheelchair?” she asked.

Cowan said she felt there was a lack of consultation on the bus changes.

“OC Transpo does not seem to know too much about people who use the system. I’ve been riding the OC Transpo for 30 years, and I find it crazy they don’t ask us.”

Bob Crout, who uses a wheelchair, said he wanted more information on LRT accessibility. Crout said the information session provided him with some answers, such as the elevators at the LRT stations, but not many details on accessibility within the trains themselves.

Other residents simply wanted to know how their personal commutes would be affected.

“I need to know how to get to work,” said Joesphine Bruno, who discovered her normal commute on the Route 14 would no longer take her to her destination. However, after speaking with several OC Transpo employees, she figured out some alternate routes, many involving transfers.

“It’s not a drastic change, but there are changes,” she said.

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