Rider claims safe stop on Scott Street rejected by driver citing city memo

An Ottawa woman is raising concerns after she says an OC Transpo driver denied her request for a safe stop on Scott Street.

Sara Wurtele was taking the 95 home from downtown on Monday around 1:00 a.m. when she asked a driver to let her off at Holland Cross instead of a Tunney’s Pasture.

“I didn’t feel safe getting off at Tunney’s, so I was asking for a safe stop here instead and when I asked to get off here the bus driver shook his head and refused,” she said.

OC Transpo’s safe stop program allows passengers to disembark between stops, wherever they feel safest on the bus’s regular route, after 7 p.m.  Wurtele says this was the first time a driver has ever said no.

“He didn’t provide a reason. He just said he’s been directed not to safe stop anywhere on Scott Street and he provided a piece of paper that seemed to be an internal bulletin or a memo to staff that seems to show no safe stops allowed on Scott Street,” she said.

Wurtele says there was no traffic at the time and the safe stop she asked for was on the bus’s planned route. She hopes the driver made a mistake and wants the situation clarified so other passengers can plan their late night commute appropriately.

“When it is late at night and there is no traffic, they should be able to do safe stops,” she said. “It was right on the way to Tunney’s and it would not have impeded the passengers or the bus driver at all to stop [at Holland Cross] for me,” Wurtele said.

OC Transpo says it has opened an investigation into this. It says safety of passengers is a prime concern and that there is no order or memo preventing drivers from pulling over, when safe to do so, on Scott Street or anywhere else for safe spots.