Union has doubts about OC Transpo crash record

An east-end collision involving a bus Tuesday morning is one of 1,164 fender benders city buses have been averaging each year since 2007, the Sun has learned through an Access to Information request.

“That number seems very high,” said transit union president Craig Watson.

“It may be accidents and incidents. It could be incidents on buses as well.”

Watson insisted out of 1,600 operators, almost 1,200 received safe driving awards this year.

“That means they had a full year of accident-free driving,” he said.

There were 1,252 OC Transpo crashes last year; 1,171 pileups in 2010; 987 in 2009; 1,262 in 2008, and 1,147 in 2007 respectively.

The number of passengers injured on the bus in 2011 total 565, with 557 in 2010, 486 in 2009, 606 in 2008, and 583 in 2007, averaging 559 annually.

“Passenger incidents, where one passenger may knock over another passenger or stuff like that sometimes, those things all get counted in that report as well,” said Watson.

The city’s media relations department declined to provide the Sun with these figures.

The numbers exclude the infamous Feb. 7, 2012 Transitway collision between two buses during the afternoon rush near Tunney’s Pasture.

In Tuesday’s incident, a teen was running to catch a bus when she was struck by a different one on St. Laurent Blvd., near Hemlock Rd.

“It’s not a regular occurrence, and when it happens, it’s a terrible occurrence,” said Watson.

A problem spot for pedestrians and drivers is the Mackenzie King Bridge, where at least a dozen incidents have occurred since 2006 — five in 2011 alone, according to another Freedom of Information request.

On May 10, 2011, a group of young people were crossing the street between buses.

The driver didn’t see a person coming from the left side and the pedestrian was squeezed by two bumpers.

A pedestrian and a skateboarder were struck in separate cases over the next two months.

The bridge has been troublesome “for years, where people have sort of run across in front of buses, always trying to beat the bus,” said Watson.

“People, always, are in a hurry … I guess society really needs to slow down.”

Some drivers though, have impeccable records.

Last month, 67 operators were honoured for going 20 to 40 years collision-free.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/11/13/union-has-doubts-about-oc-transpo-crash-record

OC Transpo incident report
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Passengers Injured 583 606 486 557 565
Bus Collisions 1147 1262 987 1171 1252
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