O-train never got promoted

Tim Lane summarizes the situation with the LRT expanstion very well.

From: Timothy Lane <timlane@istar.ca> The only reason we have the current O-Train, is because, when Bob Chiarelli took over as Regional Chair back in '97, he had to FIRE some people to get the project going. People who were actively opposing the introduction of diesel light rail on existing rail lines. These dismissals put the fear of God in those who remained, so that they "co-operated" with getting the O-Train going. For a while. Once the O-Train started, there began a surreptitious program of non-promotion of the O-Train. Of not putting up signage around O-Train stations, to guide people to them. (Eventually, signs went up, after MUCH screaming and yelling on our part, and a little bit of Urban Guerilla Warfare!) Of not telling Taxi Companies about the locations of O-Train Stations. (Ask me to tell the story about this one!) Of not telling people that the O-Train is the ideal way to get to events at Dow's Lake (Tulip Festival, Winterlude, etc.). Of deliberately ignoring what the O-Train was accomplishing. Of never explaining to people how a trip combining O-Train & bus will give them a faster, more comfortable trip than by bus alone, to many destinations. (People have since figured this out for themselves, with little or no help from OC Transpo.) Of not even telling the drivers when the O-Train was winning awards! (Ask me about that one!) Of downplaying the effects (beneficial!) it was having on the bus system. Of not mentioning the tremendous fuel savings that the O-Train was getting, compared to buses. Of not mentioning the reduction in air pollution that the O-Train provides, compared to buses. Of not mentioning the ENORMOUS savings on snow clearing that the O-Train provides, compared to roads. Of repeatedly ignoring requests to build the David Gladstone Memorial Pathway, between Bayview Station & the Ottawa River Parkway recreational path system. This simple addition would have allowed people out for a stroll or bike ride, to see how close the O-Train comes to the Prince of Wales bridge. Of course, for City staffers, that would be a NO-NO! The reason I call it the "David Gladstone Memorial Pathway", is that he will probably die of old age before it ever gets built. (pace, David!) I could go on and on and on. But I think the message should be clear. Any one or two of the events I have listed above, would cause one to merely scratch one's head. But, when one has seen it happen OVER AND OVER AND OVER again, for twelve years, there can be no doubt that there is a conspiracy to kill low cost light rail. If we have to have light rail, it must be seen to be as expensive as possible. (I'm speaking for THEM, in case you hadn't noticed.) Now the Mayor seems to have fallen into the trap of forgetting what the diesel O-Train has accomplished, and is convinced that any future LRT has to be the expensive kind. He has forgotten that the #1 reason you bring in light rail, is TO REDUCE THE COST OF OPERATING YOUR TRANSIT SYSTEM! The #2 reason, is to give your riders a FASTER, MORE RELIABLE TRIP, if terms of travel time, and schedule adherence. These new LRT extensions, especially the East West proposals to run it down busy city streets, rather than the existing, mostly grade separated rail corridors, show that the purpose of LRT, now, is to enhance the value of developers properties. The two real reasons for LRT, above, have been thrown out the window. I believe that a new round of regime change is the only way to get some sanity back into our transit system. Starting at the top, with the politicians, and extending into various parts of the City and OC Transpo bureaucracy. Perhaps we need an interprovincial Transit Agency. Maybe the NCC could play a role here? (Fat chance!) Regards, Tim