Randy Denley Reaps What He Sows



Randy Denley in his Citizen column on Thursday strongly condemns the bus service provided by OC Transpo.

Denley forgets one thing: it’s a bus service not a limo company.

You get what you pay for. The cost of a ticket is cheap. The service reflects the cost of the ticket … cheap.

In winter you stand in the dirtiest slush in all of Ottawa beside the smelly guy who has his arm up holding onto a bar. Mr. Smelly can only afford a bus ticket. So that’s why you get his odoriferous company. Often passengers must stand for many kilometres. But again, if you want to ride in luxury, take another service. You’ll find that the cab can be dirty and smelly for much more money than an OC Transpo ticket.

On-time service? The figures are widely missing ambitious OC Transpo targets but then many of the buses take the same clogged roads as cars backed up for kilometres. One bus Denley mentions takes one hour and 32 minutes (including walking) from Kanata to TD Place. Well Randy, taking the car in from Kanata in the morning is no picnic either. The creep-and-crawl starts at 6:30 a.m. and is exacerbated by two major freeways merging into one … the west end’s version of the east-end split.

If you choose to live in the suburbs, there will be downsides. A plus is that housing is cheaper for the most part than downtown but the price for that is a long commute. Housing is much more affordable on the Quebec side of the border, too, but then commuters must deal with the traffic backups at the bridges.

And OC Transpo service varies depending on how close one lives to the Transitway. For seven years, your agent took the bus from home to Ottawa City Hall. Elapsed time? Twenty-two minutes including 15 minutes of walking. But for that I received the privilege of paying some hefty property taxes mitigated in part by rising house values. It’s a choice. Maybe someday your agent will see that home profit when the dwelling is sold. Maybe not.

Part of the reason traffic is bad (and bus reliability is dicey) is that Ottawa went the cheap route and emphasized bus over rail. Rail has very few traffic problems. Without a successful mass-transit system, roads jam. Bus traffic is part of the jam. Frankly it’s surprising that OC Transpo has the on-time service it has because of ice storms, heavy traffic and road accidents.

If Denley has a complaint (just one?), it should be that for $6 billion, light rail is not getting to Barrhaven and Kanata. For $2.8 billion former mayor Bob Chiarelli would have built light rail to those two communities as well as Orleans (and the Strandherd-Armstrong bridge thrown into that tally) by 2014. But then Denley was one of the primary opponents of the Chiarelli plan. Now he complains about the bus service. Can’t have it both ways, Randy.

As it turns out Ottawa is spending $3.2 billion unnecessarily on light rail and getting less for the money than the plan Denley rejected. That was the worst fiscal decision in the history of the municipality.

You don’t want the Chiarelli plan? Well look what you’ve got now, Randy. A slow bus service to and from Kanata.

You reap what you sow, Mr. Denley. You don’t like the bus service. Maybe you shouldn’t have dissed the Chiarelli plan.

Sorry but from this quarter, there are no tears for Randy Denley on transit.

You made your bed, Randy. Now sleep in it.


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5 thoughts on “Randy Denley Reaps What He Sows

  1. Ken,
    Nobody that works in a busy city is immune to the woes of getting around. I don’t care whether you take a cab, a bus, a subway, a limo, you car or a bike – all modes have an up-side and a down-side. While trains don’t get stuck in traffic, they do become dirty and crowded and have b.o. problems too. Live close to downtown or live in the burbs, you get what you get.

    Live with it – saves time worrying. Sleep in the office – saves travel time.

    Ken, I hate to disappoint you on your “…your agent will see that home profit …” In decades of accounting, my experience tells me that the male of the species usually has passed on before that profit comes. As Kirk said, “Oh my”. :)

  2. The trouble is, many other people are also reaping what Denley (and O’Brien, let’s not forget him) sowed.

  3. As a regular user of OC Transpo, am in total agreement with the opinion of Mr. Denley. Other cities have good working bus systems, so why not Ottawa?

  4. It won’t be the first time Denley gets it wrong. As a matter of fact I can recall that Minister/MPP Bob Chiarelli proved him wrong twice before at the polls….thankfully.


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