Consider this a PSA for all tourists.
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Taking public transit can be a great way to cut CO2 emissions and save on the ridiculous gas prices we're seeing right now. But some cities are better equipped to handle people using their buses and trains. I'm not sure Ottawa is one of those places, though.
OC Transpo has been a hot topic as of late, as the ongoing LRT public inquiry has revealed theories about train derailments and unrealistic budgets and timelines. But, the City of Ottawa is also toying with the idea of kicking off free public transportation via taxes.
If you were to ask me, though, I'd rather walk across the nearly 3,000-square-kilometre capital city than take the service. Here are six reasons why.
The cost. I mean, really, $3.75?
@k8p08 If you pay $3.75 everytime u get on the bus pls do urself a favour and start putting random shit in the coin box #fyp#ottawa♬ Age ain nun but a number - ;)
Besides the fact that you'll have to hunt down three quarters for a cash fare, $3.75 is a ridiculous amount to pay. For a city of 1 million, the adult fare of nearly $4 is a lot to ask for a notoriously unreliable service that doesn't reach all areas very well. If you're south of the Ottawa Airport, for example, good luck getting around.
Plus, the TTC adult fare in Toronto is cheaper at $3.25 and has a four-line subway system.
Walking will probably get me there faster
Oh, the bus that never comes. The buses I've taken in Ottawa are regularly 15 to 30 minutes late, and that's for an average outing. But sometimes they don't show up at all, and you're calling a pricey Uber just to make it to work on time. The solution? Add a full hour to your trip. Of course, driving will get you most places faster, but a 20-minute drive routinely means an hour transit ride here.
Basically, walking takes roughly as long as a bus does for some trips, like Sandy Hill to Alta Vista.
Buses are more likely to get cancelled right now
\u201cIt's unconscionable to cancel an express bus trip for people very deep in the suburbs during peak rush hour. Do better @OC_Transpo #OttCity\u201d— Benjamin King (@Benjamin King) 1655902640
Um, hello, labour laws. In addition to COVID-19 and people leaving their jobs, Ottawa's OC Transpo operators are finally getting 30-minute breaks for every five hours they work as per Canada Labour Code regulations, which went into effect in April. Lately, those changes have caused many bus cancellations in the city.
Now, the service is scrambling to recruit 300 new hires, but honestly, I'd rather not gamble my time away like that.
People in Ottawa seem blissfully clueless about transit etiquette
Compared to bigger cities like Toronto or Montreal, folks in our capital are usually pretty clueless about transit etiquette (so it seems, anyway). On a regular basis, I've noticed that people won't move to window seats when others are clearly looking for a spot. They'll even block train and bus doors as riders hop on.
Worst of all, people frequently do the dreaded front-door exit when they don't need the accessibility ramp. Yeesh!
It gets way too cold in Ottawa to wait at most OC Transpo stops
You probably already know that Ottawa gets a bit chilly in the winter. So many times, I've had to wait at stops in -20 C weather. For locations without shelters, it's almost unbearable to wait for a vehicle when the region is at its coldest. I've waited over an hour in below-freezing temperatures, only to walk home anyway.
Better to keep moving than to get frostbite!
Getting outside in Ottawa is just nicer
With all of Ottawa's beautiful trails and parks in many places, why not get outside if you're able to? You might reduce some stress by basking amongst the city's many trees. Or, you can even hop on one of the city's fun e-scooters that are finally back for the summer.
Yeah, I think I'll skip the whole painful experience that is OC Transpo altogether!