Saturday, September 11, 2010

Response to Anonymous

On September 10th @ 11:48 AM an anonymous comment was submitted under my “Transit Issues” post which I consider worthy of a prime post response to ensure all will view it.

First, and foremost, I would like to thank everyone for their comments. I believe that open and honest discussions of the issues between all members of our community is the only way we can take back our city and return it to it’s former glory. Furthermore, we can place it in good stead to face the future.

As for the comments I would like to address them one by one:

Comment:  “That will mean up to 700 fewer drivers to pay.”

There is no question whatsoever that streetcars, either two or four, linked together require fewer drivers than buses. However the requirement for specialized personnel to maintain the electrical system, vehicles, rail and computer system, all of whom are paid 25% to 35% more than a driver, result in a higher total personnel cost. For example, both Calgary and Edmonton, with their LRT have 11% more employees at a higher pay rate than Ottawa with its existing BRT. This is further confirmed by the City of Pittsburgh who have both LRT and BRT where the cost of LRT is double that of BRT.

Comment:  “The main issue with a Bus Tunnel is the massive air handling and filtering capacity needed because of the diesel fumes. This will add a cost to the tunnel that will not be needed with LRT…”

With respect to your claim of massive air handling and filtering capacity for BRT in a tunnel, the buses in the tunnel will be battery powered emitting no exhaust whatsoever. The size of the air handling requirements are identical for both LRT and BRT in order to exhaust the fumes from a burning vehicle. You could argue that air handling for BRT is less because the LRT vehicle is much larger and will burn longer.

Comment:  “Mr. Haydon it is nice that you offer your expierence as a former Mayor and Regional Chair however, cutting cost for the sake of cutting cost is the same problem Premier Harris got into.”

I never said I was cutting costs!! My intent is to have us control costs. I want us to go back to basics; pay for our needs, not our wants, reduce borrowing with the objective of becoming debt free.

I proposed no new programs without a concomitant reduction in other programs. For the record, I am opposed to raising recrecational fees. In fact, I propose a program of gradually lowering them so, as you point out, that more families can partake. I never was a fan of Mike Harris.

One final note...There is a bit of a play on words with respect to your comments on Seattle and Calgary. Any extension to an existing LRT should indeed be LRT by virtue of not having to transfer. Transfers in the same direction destroy rider ship (TTC data). In both cities the new separate Urban Transit Line not integrated with existing LRT is BRT.

As we progress through this process we must all remember that in order for this discussion to be meaningful and valuable, I have allowed anyone to enter comments under the “Anonymous” title. I believe this is important as not everyone wants to be identified.

As a result, special interest groups, media and yes-even members of other campaigns may, from time to time enter a comment. I welcome them all. It is only through this process that a real and meaningful conversation about our future can exist.

This is the same open and frank manner in which City Hall and the Office of the Mayor of Ottawa will operate under my leadership. I have accomplished this in the past and it can exist again.

Andy Haydon

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