Bus shoulder lanes are exclusively for public transit, yet some OC Transpo drivers have been choosing to cruise in regular lanes with cars, says a perplexed west-end rider.
“I feel that my taxpaying dollars are wasted,” said Sylvain Roy of Stittsville.
His concern involves the shoulder bus lanes on the far right of Hwy. 417 between Moodie Dr. and Eagleson Rd.
“As a driver, we cannot use them,” said Roy, noting this would never happen in the Toronto-Mississauga area.
Roy said he’s been riding Transpo daily to work for more than 10 years and has noticed this issue for months.
So have other riders, apparently.
“Some people on the bus are shaking their heads,” when their express 40-minute commute stretches into an hour, said Roy, adding he’s not a complainer.
“Am I the only guy in Ottawa talking about this?”
Heading home on Monday, the driver “took the fast lane, again, traveling well below the speed limit, while other vehicles are passing this bus.”
It’s happened on Routes 261 and 263, and despite contacting Transpo at least three times, he said, no one has bothered answering his query.
Roy repeatedly emphasizes his usual driver is “a really nice guy.”
He said he simply wants the buses to use the proper lanes.
“There’s got to be a reason why they’re not using it,” said Roy.
“Maybe it’s a safety concern. Who knows?”
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 vice-president Sharon Bow certainly doesn’t.
“I can’t imagine why they’d want to sit in traffic,” said Bow.
She drove that stretch last week and said there was no construction.
Roy contacted the Sun and Coun. Shad Qadri, who forwarded the message to Transpo.
“I agree that bus operators should be utilizing the bus lanes, especially during periods of high traffic congestion. Using the information provided, I have asked staff to take immediate action to rectify the situation,” transit operations manager Troy Charter wrote in an e-mail to Roy Wednesday afternoon.
Another e-mail attributed to Charter sent via media relations said operators are expected to use the bus priority lane “at all times of the day if their assigned route travels along the Transitway.”
Exceptions may occur during late night trips, or if the demand service stop isn’t illuminated.
“Operators exercise discretion if driving outside of the bus priority lane, and may depart the designated lane early in order to merge safely in and out of traffic,” wrote Charter.