Table discussion interpreted by Marie-Laure Collet and Daniel Buckles.

Priority: Improve the reach, affordability and reliability of a clean-technology public transportation system that people will choose over other modes of transportation. Zero-carbon transportation is key to creating a low-carbon economy that supports human health and climate stability.

Policy Actions:

  • Refrain from purchasing new diesel buses and trains, as those would emit carbon and pollute for many years to come.
  • Convert the City bus fleet to electric vehicles of various sizes, to meet route specific demand.
  • Transition all public vehicles and collective modes of transportation to electric and hybrid (ambulances, police cars, school buses, taxis, etc.).
  • Enhance service by creating more bus only lanes and increasing the frequency of selected routes.
  • Connect public transportation to employment areas and recreation facilities and spaces, making it faster, safer and easier to make the “last mile” connections between final destinations (work or home).
  • Reduce transit fares to zero for teens and children, and during off-peak hours.
  • Enhance public participation in transportation network operations planning and education, by using a social equity and inclusion lens, a climate lens and a public health lens.
  • Assess and adapt OC Paratranspo services on a periodic basis, to meet the needs of vulnerable populations with respect to service reliability, connectivity and affordability.
  • Collaborate with provincial and federal agencies in the development of a regional transit system connecting Ottawa to Montreal and Toronto using the existing system of rail lines, acknowledging that air travel from Ottawa will decline over time.
  • Ensure emergency planning is in place to respond to significant interruptions in transit service.

Immediate Steps:

  1. Make transit trips faster by immediately increasing the number of bus-only lanes on roads, designating no-car roads, and experimenting with smaller electric buses on a more frequent schedule.
  2. Develop a better route network according to demand, with a view to creating conditions needed for non-transit users to leave their car at home and use transit.

Linkages to other priorities: Improving the reach, affordability and reliability of a clean-technology public transportation system depends on efforts to reduce car use and transform transit stations into community hubs that connect people to the places they live and need to go. Multi-mode transit hubs connecting bus, train, LRT and bike sharing are also key to creating a more efficient and low-cost transit system that users will choose as their best transport option instead of resorting to transit as their last choice.