So your agent is doing his usual Bulldog rounds, you know walking the pooch and writing posts, when the phone rings.
I don’t get out much so phone calls are always appreciated.
But lo and behold who was on the phone? John Manconi, the commissar of OC Transpo. Uh oh. This could be an interesting one. For lil ole me? Rather left me wishing for a robocall instead.
Actually Manconi is very charming and helpful. We shared stories of people we both knew from years past.
I promised Manconi that I would print what he told me. And so here goes:
- Manconi says he does not have the first-quarter ridership figures because there aren’t any yet.
- There aren’t any yet because it takes about six weeks to formulate them.
As well Manconi promised that when he had the first-quarter stats he would personally give them to me. He said that when he uttered the statement to the media that the figures were down a little bit, he obtained those reckonings from the person who does the calculating. That person said ridership was down a little bit.
OK, now I’ve done my duty and said what he said. From now on in this post, you’ll be reading the words of your agent.
One learns a great deal speaking with Manconi who is very engaging. For example not all the buses are equipped with counters. That’s one of the reasons it takes six weeks to calculate the ridership. So if there are not counters on some of the buses, would not these scientific ridership figures be estimates rather than God’s truth? And oh yes. If it takes six weeks to estimate quarterly ridership figures, why is it that it is now about nine weeks since the first quarter ended and there are no figures yet?
Your agent has a gadget on the side of his golf bag that counts the number of strokes taken over 18 holes. I could lend this one and others to bus drivers who don’t have counters. If the score goes over a hundred, you have to mark that down and start on your second hundred. No doubt OC Transpo’s ridership is roughly the same as my golf score unless my match is called because of darkness at which point OC Transpo’s figures will be higher. This is no disrespect to OC Transpo ridership which is substantial. Rather it points out the state of your agent’s golf game.
Manconi said he inherited this lack-of-counters from his predecessor who your agent believes was the inventor of modern mathematics, the ancient Greek Pythagoras. Most of you will know him from that famous conjuring called the Pythagorean Theorem. When it comes to tally ridership figures, one has to believe the City of Ottawa abacus gets quite a workout. The steam-driven city pocket calculators are much more efficient if you can still get the coal for them. Pythagoras got the right triangle down amazingly accurately. One wonders why he let down the team on ridership figures.
You see the Ottawa Senators can tell you the attendance at a hockey game by the time the second or third period rolls around. Your humble agent knows in real time how many page views have been entered on the highly scientific Bulldog. But after six weeks, the city has an estimate of its quarterly ridership figures.
Flummoxed at not getting the figures on Monday, your agent called city manager Steve Kanellakos. One of his minions returned the call advising that your agent should call city clerk and solicitor Rick O’Connor to discover how to file an access-to-information request. Seven years covering Ottawa City Hall for the Citizen and somebody thinks your agent doesn’t know how to file an access request? (Please see the Bulldog post Don’t Treat Residents Like They Are Morons) Your agent was hoping to get the ridership figures quickly and avoid putting the access officers through a wasted exercise. No luck. Dead end.
Well not quite a dead end. O’Connor asked Manconi why he wouldn’t give Ken the ridership figures. After that, Manconi called Bulldog World Headquarters.
The rest is history.
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