Mayor Jim Watson says the City of Ottawa is still “not a satisfied customer” and will look at all options when it comes to Ottawa’s five-month-old Confederation Line.
Watson was scheduled to meet with City Staff and lawyers on Monday afternoon to discuss the issues with the $2 billion project and the partnership with Rideau Transit Group and Rideau Transit Maintenance.
Technical issues continue to plague the system, including door and power failures. At one point last Thursday, only six trains were running on the line from Blair Road to Tunney’s Pasture.
Watson told reporters on Monday that his meeting is in preparation for next week’s meeting of the finance and economic development committee.
“I wanted to get a comprehensive view of the various legal options that are available to the city with respect to our dissatisfaction of RTG and RTM.”
Staff is expected to release a response to Coun. Menard’s inquiry about terminating the agreement on Monday afternoon.
When asked about the idea of cancelling the $2 billion contract, Watson said “I don’t want to do anything rash or knee-jerk to simply say I'm doing something because I don’t want to cause more harm.”
“It’s a very complicated contract, and it’s a commitment with the company and with the city in partnership for the next 30 years. We have to make sure that any decision we take, whether it’s legal or even discussing the possibility of cancelling, that we’re on solid legal ground and we don’t put our taxpayers in greater risk or jeopardy by saying something that would be irresponsible.”
Last week, Transit Commission Chair Allan Hubley, Coun. Shawn Menard and Citizen Transit Commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert suggested it was time for the city to explore ripping up the 30 year maintenance contract with RTG.
Watson said Monday afternoon “we’re still not a satisfied customer and we want to make sure that all options are available to members of Council when it comes to deciding what are the next steps” for the city.
On Saturday, the Mayor told CTV news Ottawa that “the patience of the public is through the roof and enough is enough.”
“While RTG says they’re going to fix the trains, don’t tell me you’re going to fix them, fix them. Stop talking about it and get the job done.”
The City of Ottawa has said that 13 trains are required for the morning and afternoon peak periods. Only 12 trains were launched on Monday morning.
“We need to have 13 trains out at rush hour and that has not been happening, and that’s why you have this overcrowding, this frustration. I’m concerned about, obviously, an accident happening if too many people are on the platform. So, they have to get their act together.”
Coun. Jeff Leiper said on Friday that Council should give Rideau Transit Group a deadline to solve its problems before ripping up the contract.
“The number that I’ve floated has been six months. Six months from now, I want to be in a position where we can file papers – whatever that mechanism is – to get ourselves out of this contract if it’s not working by then.”