Uh-Oh, That Sound You Hear Is Angry Bus Drivers

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For a slick public-relations type, Mayor Jim Watson can certainly stick his foot in it now and then.

Imagine today all the OC Transpo bus drivers and management grinding their teeth at this example of graciousness by an Ottawa Police Service officer (and well-deserved) but at whose expense?

The people behind the Ottawa transit system.

This is from Wednesday’s State of the City address by Watson to Ottawa City Council:

I would like to read you a recent e-mail I received from a resident.

This is just one simple example of an Ottawa constable that went beyond the call of duty to serve residents.

“My name is Heather and last night I was waiting for the bus across from Tunney’s Pasture. Although I was bundled against the cold, I became hypothermic.

“I had been waiting for the bus for half an hour, and was getting cramps in my legs because of the cold, and my feet felt like they were becoming frostbitten. I couldn’t stop shaking.

“One of your officers watched me and realized I was in trouble. He parked his marked SUV and approached me and asked where I was going. When I told him he said he would take me home. He loaded the walker I use because of some of my disabilities into the SUV and drove me home.

“I would very much like to thank my hero… for what he did. In all the circumstances, I neglected to ask his name.

“Please, if you could supply his name, I would be truly grateful… He truly saved my life by going above and beyond the call of duty.”

The woman is waiting so long for an OC Transpo bus that she is developing hypothermia. A half-hour.

But on many routes, the wait for a bus is often a half-hour … at least late at night. Buses are usually late because of high traffic on routes during rush hour. Traffic isn’t bad at night.

So how do feel as someone associated with the bus service being linked to a case of hypothermia in an effort to show the good works of a police officer?

How much do you want to bet that bus was on-time and the driver was at no fault at all?

And how do you feel being embarrassed in front of the whole city leaving a woman in a dangerous state when the driver most likely has done nothing bad at all.

Just to take this one step further, how many people are going to get very cold waiting for a bus or train at Tunney’s Pasture as most of the buses in the west end of the city create an extra transfer, and enormous passenger congestion, at the end of the light-rail line.

Let’s hope the police service is happy. The shout-out came at the expense of OC Transpo and its drivers.

 








3 thoughts on “Uh-Oh, That Sound You Hear Is Angry Bus Drivers

  1. If this woman had already been waiting for half an hour and the mayor says bus trips are half an hour apart, doesn’t that mean the bus was due any minute? The sensible thing to do would be to have her wait for her bus in his vehicle so she’d be warm and safe for the few minutes until the bus arrived. We don’t know how far he drove her but when there is a bus that will provide that service, why would he take a police vehicle and an officer out of service for that length of time in the evening?
    By the way, how did the mayor vote when motions proposing cutting and rearranging routes came up in his first term? How did he vote when the motions about cutting the last runs of the evening came up at Council not so long ago? What did he say to people, possibly including Heather herself, when they spoke at the Transit Commission and Council’s budget discussions to point out the effects of cutting evening bus service?
    This is completely inappropriate. He’s talking about the bus service as if it’s defective AND as if that’s in somebody else’s bailiwick. i hope that Kanellakos has explained to him the effect on workers of attacks from the political leadership. Watson should be apologizing to OC Transpo and their drivers for these comments.
    If this woman had waited half an hour as she states, that would indicate she just missed a bus if it’s a half hour service. Had she checked the bus times before going out to the stop? Was this incident the result of poor planning – OC Transpo recommends that you get to your stop five minutes before the bus is due to ensure that you don’t miss it.

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  2. To start with, the mayor did not write the speech. There were too few foot-in-mouth sentences in it.

    I certainly noticed that the bus incident was being used to pat the police services on the back but, I guess the writer didn’t realize that the bus service was then being painted with a tar brush.

    I also noticed other pats on the back to businesses. The businesses that got a mention can play up their position now but, what about competing businesses that did not get mentioned.

    The other thing was an over use of the “Royal We” and a few too many I .

    What else would one expect in a speech from the throne except politicking. At least I didn’t read a bunch of alternative facts although the references to all the social housing being built seem to be a bit at odds with earlier newspaper reports about Ottawa not keeping up with those needs.

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  3. It’s a very strange way to praise the police.

    Not for actual police work, but for kindness in light of inadequate bus service. Bus drivers may not be happy with that example, though I’m not sure this praise would make police officers terribly happy either.

    Of all the things they did in the previous year worthy of praise, this was the highlight… from a mayor who hasn’t been too kind to them. Just reinforces the idea that Watson doesn’t “get” policing.

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