RTG faced Tuesday deadline to file LRT improvement plan

LRT service

A global pandemic changed nothing about the city’s demand for an improvement plan from the LRT maintainer by the end of day Tuesday.

The Rideau Transit Group (RTG) and its maintenance affiliate Rideau Transit Maintenance were expected to deliver a remediation plan to Ottawa City Hall.

There was no word by publication time late Tuesday afternoon whether RTG had filed the document.

“The city expects to receive RTG’s remediation plan (Tuesday),” Michael Morgan, the city’s rail construction director said in a statement. “Staff will review and assess RTG’s plan and report back to council on staff’s assessment of the plan.”

Before the novel coronavirus outbreak shuttered much of the city, leading to a drastically decreased public transit ridership, the city was going after RTG for a work plan that would set a path to better LRT operations. City council reached its breaking point with the unreliable service.

RTG received no offer from the city to extend the Tuesday deadline. The consortium’s partners are ACS Infrastructure, EllisDon and SNC-Lavalin.

The public isn’t expected to learn more about RTG’s proposed plan until the next council meeting that, as of Tuesday, was still scheduled for April 8.

The improvement plan will be in response to a council-endorsed notice of default sent to the LRT contractor on March 10, demanding a plan from RTG that recognizes the company’s “collective failures and breaches of its obligations under the project agreement.”

The contract calls for a five-day response when there’s a notice of default, but the city gave RTG 11 days to respond because of the number of problems that needed to be addressed in the remediation plan.

The city publicly released what has been the most comprehensive list of LRT deficiencies since the $2.1-billion Confederation Line launched last Sept. 14.

In the city’s eyes, as described in its notice of default letter to RTG, the company has failed in three ways: there have been too many failures hampering LRT operations, there haven’t been enough vehicles available when needed and the company “misrepresented” its experience and ability to deliver a reliable LRT system.

The city’s March 11 letter to RTG, also made public, further blows open the doors to the behind-the-scenes troubles that have been plaguing the company and impacting OC Transpo operations.

On the other hand, RTG

told this newspaper

 the city’s allegations were “erroneous.”

The March 11 letter says the city would be requesting a service-level increase that would require 14 trains on the tracks for the morning peak period. The city indicated it will ask for 15 trains to be in service during the morning peak period starting Aug. 4.

RTG was required to provide 13 trains for peak-period service before the coronavirus outbreak and provincial emergency order forced several industries to keep their workers at home.

The city recently reduced the train frequencies in response to the ridership decrease.