John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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Public Transit Blues (Rant)

I haven't taken public transportation, as in buses, since I didn't need to, i.e., when I got myself my first car. Sure, I've had to take public transportation since then a couple of times, when my car was out of commission and that sort of thing, but it's been a long time that I've had to do that. However, for the past five days, I've done the public transportation thing, due to a couple of circumstances which I shan't go into here.

I live in Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada, and one of the places where you would expect a decent public transportation system. Well, not so...

OC Transpo has long been said to be Canada's finest transportation system, Yes they still use buses (that somewhat resemble a box of Kentucky Fried Chicken), and there is also the O-Train - the lousy piece of light rail train that was built going north to south (when the city clearly needs a far better east to west route) and only spans a few measly kilomtres at that. Perhaps it would have been a good, quick route for tourists coming in from the airport in the south straight into the capital's downtown core, if only it didn't drop off at the ex-toxic dump lands called the Lebreton Flats.

On the other hand, the buses...well, there are plenty of them, but you wouldn't know it if you live anywhere outside of downtown. Local buses come usually once every half-hour (sometimes not) and usually only ever bring you to another stop to catch another bus. Not going downtown? Tough luck. You're going to have to take at least one more local bus to where you're going. In a city that spans over 50 kilometres from east to west, this is the best that these idiots can come up with.

What is the fare for a service as fine as this, you may ask? It's got to be low, right? Well, maybe in that land called "once upon a time" it was... once upon a time it was affordable, until they discreetly raised their prices. Now? $3.00 to ride a bus for an hour and a half, bloody brilliant with trips spanning easily over 2 hours if you're stuck on a bus. Well, at least they have the Rack n' Roll deal that lets you bring your bike on the bus with you. Of course, as several friends have told me, it would be a half decent accommodation if it weren't limited to a pitiful 10 bus routes out of hundreds!

Oh, and let's not forget the fines. Look around for an attendant to help you on your way and you're out of luck. But don't worry, there are plenty of hired...well, thugs comes to mind...hopping on the buses to catch you out if you don't happen to have a ticket handy. The fines are quite hefty, and non-disputable. It's even worse in the case of the folks handing out fines at O-Train stops, where if you're caught there without an O-Train ticket, you're immediately fined for being on OC Transpo property - even if you walked on it by accident as there are no barriers or boundaries between property and non-property at all. Okay, well the pay-on-site policy *is* clearly marked - on a small sign some 15 feet in the air!

And of course, OC Transpo tickets, which are highly marketed in the city to the point where using cash is discouraged, are *not* accepted on the O-Train. Nope, that would make too much sense, right? What is accepted? Why, cash of course! Mind you, don't forget to take the buses at least five times when using OC Transpo because they only sell those tickets in packs of 10!

Anyway, now that I've finished ranting about this... can see why I'm angry, annoyed, and rankled by my experience on OC Transpo this week. Thank gods I've got the car back now...

Oh, yes, that's right, Canadian winter is just around the corner...
Tags: rant

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