OC Transpo improves mobility for rural residents

OC Transpo is recommending targeted improvements for the delivery of Para Transpo service, additional trips to enhance the overall service, as well as reducing fares for Para Transpo registrants living in rural areas.

By streamlining its approach to fare zones and recommending that the Para Transpo rural fare zones be combined into one single rural fare, the new single rural fare will establish parity at a cost to be decided by Council in the 2012 Budget.

“I am pleased to see that the City is looking at making changes that will enhance service to rural residents who rely on Para Transpo, at a cost they can afford and that the City can afford as a whole,” said Transit Commission Chair Diane Deans.

To further enhance service delivery in the rural areas, OC Transpo also recommends working with established rural service delivery agencies. These partnerships would help increase mobility for seniors and people with disabilities in rural areas, and improve the effectiveness of the City’s funding for mobility in rural areas.

OC Transpo is also recommending piloting the introduction of four new once-a-week bus trips from rural villages to shopping destinations in the urban part of the city. This would be in addition to the existing once-a-week Friday round trip from North Gower, Kars and Manotick to Barrhaven and Carlingwood.

“I am so pleased to see that OC Transpo is proposing some meaningful changes to the delivery of Para Transpo service in our rural areas that will help our most vulnerable citizens and ensure that we improve fare parity overall,” said Councillor Eli El-Chantiry from West Carleton-March.

This new service would be funded from within the existing rural transit tax and will not impact the urban transit service. It is offered to seniors and Para Transpo registrants, as well as to the general public living in Ottawa rural areas.

“This is a win-win for everybody. We’ll be able to provide more travel options for our rural residents and do so within our existing budget,” said Transit Commissioner Stephen Blais from Cumberland ward.

The new trips would include the following destinations:

Monday – From Richmond to Stittsville, Bayshore and Carlingwood;

Tuesday – From Navan, Sarsfield, Cumberland to Place d’Orléans and St. Laurent;

Wednesday – From Dunrobin, Carp to Bayshore and Carlingwood;

Thursday – From Metcalfe, Greely to South Keys and Billings Bridge

“Since they are available to all rural residents, I would encourage everyone to take advantage of the new trips when they go shopping,” said Councillor Scott Moffatt from Rideau-Goulbourn. “These additional trips have to achieve an adequate level of ridership to be maintained, so I hope that everyone will take full advantage of this opportunity by getting out of their houses and onto the bus.”

“If these recommendations are approved, they will address some of the long standing requests made by rural and seniors groups”, said Councillor Doug Thompson from Osgoode.

OC Transpo recognizes the importance of Para Transpo service for customers in rural areas. In 2010, 12,810 trips were made by Para Transpo customers to, from or within the rural area. As of July 2011, there were 344 Para Transpo registrants with home addresses in the rural part of the city.