The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has hit OC Transpo with a hefty fine after enforcement officers discovered major stops were not being called out on three trips.
A CTA enforcement officer checked buses on routes 4, 7 and 62 on the afternoon of Nov. 14, following a CBC report about problems with OC Transpo’s Next Stop Announcement System, and found a failure to call stops on all three buses.
Visually impaired riders had previously told CBC that stops were not being called out consistently, a problem that was supposed to be solved by the automated system of visual and audio alerts.
$12M system installed after complaint
The $12-million system was installed in late 2010 following a complaint to the CTA by Terrance Green, a blind user of OC Transpo who said drivers were failing to call stops as required by OC Transpo’s own policy.
Green told CBC in November that problems with the system were ongoing, but his concerns seemed to come as a surprise to OC Transpo’s director of customer systems and planning, who said he believed the system was “working consistently, for everyone’s benefit.”
Pat Scrimgeour said OC Transpo’s staff inspectors had been monitoring the system and found it was functioning properly about 98 per cent of the time.
The transit agency learned about the fine on Monday and will review what happened on those routes, according to Troy Charter, OC Transpo’s director of transit operations. He said it was too soon to say whether the agency would request a review of the decision.
“We need to gather our facts and look at what occurred,” Charter said. “We need to sit down and review our maintenance logs, look at those specific buses, see if there were operator or customer reports, review the downloads … essentially we need to do our investigation to look at what occurred.”
If the automated system is not functioning, drivers are required to call out the stops to comply with the earlier ruling by the Canadian Transportation Agency.
But Charter noted, if the automated system is not working, drivers on busy routes with crowded buses may not be able to hear it, and so may not know they need to be calling out the stops.
The deadline to pay the $25,000 fine is Jan. 23.