E-Buses: All The News That’s Easy To Cover


Your agent has only been covering Ottawa municipal news and politics since 1998.

And journalism in general since 1977.

Yet apparently, I wouldn’t know a good story from pigeon dirt.

The shocking (in my humble opinion) story of our e-buses being used to save the world’s climate with city staff and councillors not knowing (benefit of the doubt) that they will need natural-gas generators that could power the homes of the City of Brockville is huge news. Enormous news. Particularly when you put a price tag on this of $1 billion.

But the rest of the city’s media, what there’s left of it, hasn’t touched this story. That’s shocking, too.

Except one outlet. Frank magazine. And say what you will about the controversial Frank, it sure knows an interesting story.

And in this case, it’s $1 billion of not-green zero-emission buses:

To the long list of epic blunders by Ottawa City Hall, add the new OC Transpo e-bus conversion cluster—-.

For a mere $1-billion, OC Transpo will convert its current diesel burning fleet to a zero emissions fleet. Planet saved, trebles all ‘round, etc. But it seems that city hall brainiacs have once again leapt before they looked.

After committing to the purchase of the e-bus fleet, they’ve discovered that the Hydro Ottawa grid adjoining the OC Transpo St. Laurent depot can’t handle the increased load.

Just how much an upgrade will cost the city taxpayers remains to be seen, but the project looks like yet another in of The Cock-ups The City Would Love to Forget.

So the people of Ottawa are being poorly served by this lack of coverage in the conventional media on such an important story. It boggles the mind. Honest.

The top of the waves of this Frank article are above. You’ll need a subscription to read the rest and other pieces in Frank.

But between The Bulldog which broke this story and Frank, those are the only places you can read about it.

Wow, $1 billion and no coverage of a shocking story.

This reminds your agent of the first Lansdowne 2 story. The Bulldog had all the details of the plan but the City of Ottawa refused to confirm it. My sources were impeccable but they couldn’t go on the record because they weren’t authorized to speak on the issue.

Finally, I just said screw it. I knew this Lansdowne 2 story was absolutely accurate so I went with it. Well, the other journalists in town were outraged that The Bulldog would go with sources. My name was mud in Ottawa journalism circles for awhile.

Your agent has a reputation for getting it right. But that wasn’t good enough for the holier-than-thou local media who go with re-written press releases taking the city at its word (this just in … the city lies).

A few months later, the city released Lansdowne 2 which confirmed The Bulldog’s stories to the letter. That’s when the city’s media started to cover it.

The problem is … your agent doesn’t think that, beyond Bulldog readers, people in the city won’t know about this $1-billion mess.

Soon Ottawans will be in a news vacuum with the only information they’ll get is from the embellished (or lying by omission) stories from Happy Town News.

This is bad for journalism and bad for democracy.

Ken Gray


New Bus Routes Must Pass A Car Dealer: THE VOTER

E-Bus Scandal: City Further Erodes Trust: THE VOTER

New Bus Routes Released Into News Black Hole (1)

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3 Responses

  1. Jake Morrison says:

    In general I support your push on Ottawa media to get more serious and not leave the space to city pr.
    However I think you have the wrong end of the stick here with this e-bus non-issue.
    It makes sense to me that they would buy generators early to provide power both while the electrical system gets installed, occasionally during the year for peak shaving and as backup when the grid inevitably burps.
    Later on there will likely be more backup generators since the two you have described would only get about 70 buses charged up in a full night’s grid outage.

  2. C from Kanata says:

    The crazy thing is if the city just announced it that for climate resiliency, to supplement during lower power times, and to make sure the buses run during a long power failure, they were buying this, then everyone would say this is a good idea and good planning. They instead hid this info. So we’ve gone from 450 e-buses to 350 e-buses for the same $1B. Infrastructure costs are fluctuating between $215M and $250, depending on the document you find, but Montreal, for similar infrastructure is paying $756M. Quite the gap. And this gas generator purchase appears to be not part of the e-bus funding and one wonders what other infrastructure costs are hidden in other budgets

  3. Andrew says:

    I drive an EV, and my family members have 3 more. The maintenance on these is almost zero. I cannot understand why these buses do not park “distributed” near where the first fare is in the morning. The Load on the grid will be distributed as well, reducing massive upgrades to the one central garage. Cleaning can occur at these overnight spots as well. As a former shop steward in a union, I understand there may be some issues with non-central parking, but the benefits are huge for the majority of drivers.

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