"Go get the snow tires put on before it's too late!"

This is the nagging sound of any Canadian wife to her husband in early November when the first signs of winter frost start appearing. A car without snow tires is like well… a Canadian without a shovel, it ain’t going nowhere!

While on the phone to my dad, he mentioned that more than 50 OC Transpo buses had little ice mishaps on Friday. Couldn’t help but do a little search for some photos of accordion buses sitting in snowy roadside ditches.

Snowblower

This guy is hoping his snowblower allows him to get most of the snow off his driveway and onto the neighbour’s before said neighbourino steps out and has a go at him.

OC Transpo bus in a snowbank

And this bus… well, this bus is in a snowbank, like some 50 others according to the Ottawa Citizen article below. A thick layer of slush and 24 centimeters of snow in an overnight fall just yell out trouble. I remember walking along the Transitway (the dedicated bus lanes underpassing the highways and car routes) and praying that no bus will cover me in slush driving by or worse, slip and crash into me. The first was a regular occurence, but thankfully the second never happened to me.

(I copied the article here because the Citizen isn’t known for giving much free reading to non-subscribed readers beyond a day or two after publication. It was originally found here.)

Morning rush claims 54 buses
Breakdowns, accidents follow first big snowstorm

Traffic is directed around an articulated bus stuck at the intersection of Laurier Street and St-Laurent Boulevard in Gatineau’s Hull sector yesterday. OC Transpo buses do not have snow tires and more than 50 buses were pulled off the road yesterday.

Hayley Mick, Robert Janelle and Paula McCooey, with files, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, December 17, 2005

The first big snowstorm of the winter was made even worse yesterday as 54 OC Transpo buses — almost seven per cent of the daily fleet — broke down or were in accidents during morning rush hour.

The fleet’s articulated buses — the longer vehicles used on many of the most popular routes — had particular trouble handling the streets, which were slick with slush and 24 centimetres of snow.

At around 9 a.m., six articulated buses were stuck in the intersection at Eddy Street and Tache Boulevard in Hull, backing up traffic across the Chaudiere Bridge.

Five of the vehicles had jack-knifed — three were lined up next to each other, and one was wrapped around a light pole. According to Gatineau police, the buses were finally towed away two hours later.

At the same time, bus traffic was “bumper to bumper” along the Transitway due to accidents downtown, according to commuter Robert Moyneur, whose hour-long bus trip downtown took twice as long as normal. Several buses had problems driving up the Slater Street hill from LeBreton Flats, leaving traffic to back up behind them until they could be towed away.

Gordon Diamond, director of transit services for the City of Ottawa, said of the 54 buses pulled off the road, only 20 weren’t back in service by 11 a.m. The city has about 800 buses on the road daily, none of which have snow tires.

Many commuters who rely on public transit to get to work complained of long waits in the cold or of buses that didn’t arrive at all.

David Peippo waited 70 minutes in Barrhaven for a bus that never came. Already an hour-and-a-half late for work, he got a lift to the transit station at Baseline Road, where he planned to catch another bus downtown. “I gave up,” he said.

An instructor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Management, Mr. Peippo said the city needs to invest more on buses and clearing roads to counter even greater losses in economic production when snowstorms like yesterday’s force some people to miss work.

Jodi DiMenna was one of many Ottawa residents who just stayed home yesterday rather than brave the bus system. She still had plans to head to her office Christmas party last night, but she said she wouldn’t be taking the bus. “On days like this it’s more efficient to walk than take public transit,” she said.

Government worker Ian Doull got so fed up with the wait that he decided to walk from LeBreton Flats to his office in Hull after hearing of the pandemonium on the Chaudiere Bridge.

“Normally I transfer at LeBreton (Flats), but I didn’t even bother waiting for a bus today,” said Mr. Doull, looking at the three buses that had smashed into one another. “I heard on the radio that things were kind of jammed up over here, but I didn’t realize it was this bad.”

The stuck buses caused cars, trucks and 18-wheelers to line up for kilometres on the bridge while they waited for the buses to be towed.

In another part of town, Rose Cohoe spent almost two hours on a bus from her home in Kanata to her office downtown. But when she arrived, so many employees were missing she was told to head back home.

“They’re not handling this well at all,” she complained about the city’s public transit system.

While most of the traffic problems were cleared up in time for afternoon rush hour, there still were a few hiccups. An articulated bus was seen jack-knifed on Woodroffe Avenue north of Hunt Club around 5 p.m.

But not everyone was angry with Ottawa’s transit system yesterday. Mr. Moyneur blamed the weather for the ugly situation. “The system is good. It’s just on days like this, forget it!”
© The Ottawa Citizen 2005

5 responses to “"Go get the snow tires put on before it's too late!"

  1. Jo

    Actually… I don’t know if she is dead or still in critical condition, but a lady got hit by an OC transpo bus.

    You have to leave almost an hour earlier when there’s a snowstorm like that. Someone should have told our prof so he wouldn’t have arrived 20 minutes late for the final exam… when all the students were there on time…

  2. pa

    Just FYI, snow tires have larger threads, are made of softer rubber components providing more tractions on cold pavement or snow..and they cost 100$ to 150$C each, preferably 4, (compromise: 2 winter for traction with 2 good 4season tires) ..add 85$ x 2 to put them on (and off) the car (every winter)..Britain has certainly more appeal, when driving to work in this weather.
    Fortunately, the snow removal crews worked very hard and the roads were all cleared in about 4 hours…with a 1 million $ bill for Ottawa; Montreal has cleaned up 35cm in one day ..for 3M$!
    Buy a snow shovel for Christmas and you will feel more Canadian..Everybody sing ‘I’m dreaming of a white….

  3. Those accordion buses do seem to be a bit of a problem in snowy weather! I found a great photo, taken during that snowstorm a week ago, showing 5 or 6 of them stuck in a Hull intersection: http://fitottawa.com/wordpress/archives/21

    Crazy stuff!

  4. nice Blog site! No joke, I had been looking for the picture that Mark linked to, thanks! Happy New Year and keep warm!

  5. I remember that day… I had to catch the 95 (One of the Articulates)walked out on the main artery and there was five of them stuck in the snow piles… it was horrid, let’s just say i was late that day lol! They are all rear wheel driven thats why they piked.

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I'm Véro - a crafty, knitty, spinny gal who enjoys making (and drinking) a cocktail or three. If you've stumbled here, you might enjoy browsing some of my older posts with the tags over to the right or finding out more about me.

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