As Ottawa’s light rail transit system stretches into its second week out of service following a derailment, the city manager says he is replacing the company tasked with overseeing the return to service on the Confederation Line with “public trust” concerns.
After a train derailed near Tremblay station on September 18, the Ottawa transit commission decided it would hire an independent safety expert to approve the Rideau Transit Group’s return-to-service plans.
The engineering firm originally selected for the job, STV, received criticism for its selection as it had worked on the Stage 1 LRT project as a consultant, raising the question of the reviewer’s independence and objectivity.
Steve Kanellakos sent a memo to the city council on Tuesday, clarifying that STV was not involved in the design of the Confederation Line and has not directly provided services to RTG, adding that the company will endeavor to manage any potential conflict in the contract.
Despite his defenses of the selection, he said any perceived conflict of interest would not bode well for restoring public confidence in the troubled line, which has faced two derailments in the span of six weeks.
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“While STV’s objectivity and expertise is in no way in question, I also acknowledge that public trust related to all aspects of the Confederation Line is low at this time, and I don’t want any perceptual challenge to get in the way. the residents’ path “confidence in findings and independent reviewer verification,” wrote Kanellakos.
Kanellakos canceled the pending deal with STV and said he would work with Sam Berrada, the city council’s regulatory monitoring compliance officer, to find a new company for the job.
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He briefly added that “there are very few firms with the necessary experience that have not been involved in some aspect of the city’s LRT project, however, best efforts will be made to find a firm that complies with the spirit of the Commission’s leadership. of Transit for personnel. “
No timeline has been given for when the LRT line will be restored to full or partial service after the latest derailment, although RTG officials have speculated that it could take weeks.
The new independent safety expert will need to be hired and put a stamp of approval on the RTG plan before the trains start running again on the Confederation Line.
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