Free Transit Ottawa is a diverse group of environmental and social justice activists who believe that public transit has a crucial role in combating climate change and promoting social justice. We embrace a number of common principles and values.
A Public Service
- Public transit should become a public service that is provided free of charge to users similar to the way public education, medical care, fire services – and roads and sidewalks – are provided. It should be financed through progressive taxes levied on the basis of ability to pay.
- In addition to being fare free, public transit should meet all the transportation needs of citizens and be safe, reliable and welcoming as well. This would require a significant expansion of current services, including the development of an extensive network of electric powered connector and neighbourhood buses.
- The transit system should be administered such that the citizens who use transit, and the workers that operate and maintain it, have direct input into the decisions regarding its development and functioning.
- The public transit system we envision will not be achieved easily as it will face determined opposition from a wide range of business interests, especially resource companies, land and property developers, and the financial companies that support them. And it will not be feasible without developing new visions of urban living that work for families and are affordable for working people.
- To achieve free and accessible public transit, we will have to build a movement powerful enough to overcome this opposition. That movement will be centred on those who are transit dependent but will need to extend beyond them to include a wide range of working people, including those who currently work for OC Transpo. To build it, we will need to engage in educational activities as well as struggles for immediate reforms that lower the cost of public transport and/or increase its accessibility – joining existing struggles and initiating new struggles.