OC Transpo Articulated bus in Ottawa - Rob Huntley; Wikimedia Commons
An interesting public transport statistic - (there are dozens but this is perhaps one of the most revealing) - is annual passenger trips (or ridership) per capita.
Mayor Bob Parker and his team chose to go to Portland. This is a city that has earned a big reputation for its very green, social, community orientated development. I don't want to knock that but it does need to be kept in perspective. Ridership per annum in greater Christchurch (include Rangiora, Lincoln etc) pans out around 43 trips per resident a year, average - Portland with 101 million passenger trips (2008) for 2.1 million metropolitan population pans out around 50 trips per resident per year average. For a city five times the size of Christchurch this is actually a rather modest patronage. By contrast the greater Ottawa area (which includes the separate city of Gatineau across the River) at 1,450,000 total polulation a smaller city/urban area than Portland, averages well over 100 trips per resident per year - twice as successful in attracting public transport patronage as Portland.
How much research does the Mayor's office do before spending $28,000 of public funds??!!
An interesting aspect of Ottawa is that apart from 2 million passengers per year on the O-Train (a 8km light rail utilising an old rail corridor) all of the current 111 million passengers per year carried on the Ottawa (92 million) and Gatineau (19 million) public transport systems are carried by bus, including many kilometres built (more planned) of exclusive busways and trenching etc underpassing other roads etc. It is possible on many Ottawa bus routes to run into the city from outer areas and barely stop, completely by-passing other traffic in totally segegated bus lanes or bus corridors, or passing underneath it.