To Mayor Jim Watson and Members of the Ottawa City Council,
In April 2019, Ottawa’s City Council passed a motion acknowledging that we face a ‘Climate Emergency’ stating that there is “a need for massive reduction in carbon emissions in the next 11 years.” The City has also set a target to reduce per capita Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions below 2012 levels by 20% by 2024 and 80% by 2050*.
The transportation sector in Ottawa accounts for approximately 40%** of the city’s GHG emissions. By adopting measures to encourage people to use public transit instead of private vehicles the City of Ottawa could cut GHG emissions up to 2/3*** per trip.
The benefits of an improved and expanded public transit system reach far beyond reducing GHG emission. By committing to public transit, we commit to the wellbeing of the people of Ottawa, allowing everyone to engage in all of the cultural, political, and community life.
We call upon our elected officials to adopt Free Transit Ottawa’s New Vision for Public Transit in Ottawa to show their commitment to the Climate Emergency and the people of Ottawa.
- Eliminate transit fares during off-peak hours (i.e. fare-free between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am, and on weekends).
- Add 50 buses to the weekend service.
- Create neighbourhood bus routes to link residents to local health and social services, community centers, shopping, and entertainment. Priority areas include Vanier, Bay Ward, West Ottawa and Barrhaven.
- Add 40 vehicles to the Para Transpo fleet (a 20% increase).
- Create bus-only lanes during rush hour on the routes with the most habitually late buses (i.e 6, 7, 15 (new #12), 21, 39, 55 (new #103) 75 (new #94), 80, 85 and 87).
- Ensure citizen representation on the Transit Commission (i.e. directly elect 4 Citizen Representatives).
- Replace 2 of the 8 Councilors on the Transit Commission with 2 representatives from the transit workers union, ATU Local 279.
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* – Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan, https://ottawa.ca/en/planning-development-and-construction/official-plan-and-master-plans/air-quality-and-climate-change-management-plan-aqccmp
** – Ottawa Insights, https://www.ottawainsights.ca/themes/environment-and-sustainability/transportation/
*** – City of Ottawa. Air Quality & Climate Change Management Plan for the City of Ottawa 2014, https://ottawa.ca/en/planning-development-and-construction/official-plan-and-master-plans/air-quality-and-climate-change-management-plan-aqccmp