OC Transpo Withholds Ridership Figures



It takes an astounding amount of gall for OC Transpo to say it can’t release the first-quarter ridership statistics because they are still under analysis but in fact the transit company has them.

How does The Bulldog know OC Transpo has the first-quarter stats?  Because OC Transpo manager John Manconi said so to the city’s media. He just didn’t give a figure.

So your agent in a fit of sanity decided to call the city communications department to get those figures. Here is the answer:

OC Transpo is currently analyzing the ridership data for Q1 2017, and so this figure is currently unavailable at this time.

Below is your agent’s response:

Sorry Kina and Pat but I don’t buy that you don’t have the figures or that they are under analysis.

OC Transpo general manager John Manconi used them last week and was quoted in the Ottawa Citizen saying they were down a little bit.

If they are good enough for an important guy like Mr. Manconi to use, they are good enough for a little man like me.

You have the ridership figures or John Manconi was not telling the truth last week about the ridership figures. I don’t think Mr. Manconi was lying.

Mr. Manconi said the ridership figures for the first quarter were down a little bit. I think the public deserves the real figures. Mr. Manconi has seen them and there is absolutely no reason why the taxpayers of Ottawa can’t see them, too. In fact, the public has a right to know public figures from what should be their open government.

So your reasoning defies logic and truth. If the figures Mr. Manconi was using publicly were not ready due to lack of analysis, he shouldn’t have been discussing them and would not have discussed them.

But he had them and they are in the public domain. So once again I request the figures you have and Mr. Manconi used.

And it goes without saying that it is extremely disconcerting when public officials withhold public information.

As ever, the public has a right to know. And in particular, the public has a right to know how the government that it supports with its taxes in a democracy is conducting itself. Your statement to me flies in the face of what Mr. Manconi said to the media last week.

I trust you will produce the figures on Tuesday.


Ken Gray

If the fact that defying the basic principles of democracy is not enough, any public-relations expert would tell OC Transpo that it is creating a bigger issue by not releasing the figures than by releasing the figures. If the figures aren’t good and are more than a little bit of a decline, then best they are made public quickly because it is less damaging to fudge the figures than be accused of obstructing open government. OC Transpo is creating a big issue by waffling on a little issue. It is much better to admit the problem than conduct a cover-up.

And that is the point of this post. The big issue has begun and is unlikely to go away.

No doubt the politically active people (and voters) who created 62,000 page views a week in May on The Bulldog will be interested in OC Transpo flying in the face of open government over such a minuscule fact. They will wonder why the mayor and city council would allow that to happen. They will be wondering why the biggest independent source of municipal information in Ottawa is being denied basic facts. You hate to see that.


Photo above: An OC Transpo bus at Westboro Transitway station.

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2 thoughts on “OC Transpo Withholds Ridership Figures

  1. Kinda reminds you of the three monkeys. Hear no evil … see no evil … and say no evil … In this case evil being what the city and OC Transpo do not want us to know.

  2. Kinda reminds me of something else but I have a head cold and my sniffer is somewhat incapacitated. I am however getting a slight whiff of something. Could be a hint of the smell that comes off of a field after the manure is spread. It could be the odor that comes from the outhouse or the septic bed that’s malfunctioning.

    I am sure that Ken can pin it down because his nose sounds like it is working just fine.



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