The deadly Westboro station bus crash has impacted Allan Hubley on three levels: as the new transit chair, as a Kanata councillor and also as someone with a member of his extended family in hospital with serious injuries.
Hubley said Saturday his sister-in-law’s nephew was a passenger on the bus and was in critical condition. He declined to go into further detail out of respect for the family’s privacy.
It has been a whirlwind for the Kanata South councillor since receiving word about the crash minutes after it happened Friday afternoon.
The Route 269 bus was heading to the Bridlewood community in his ward and there’s a good chance that many of the passengers are residents of Kanata. After Tunney’s Pasture, the westbound bus is scheduled to stop at Bayshore and Moodie stations before stopping again at Eagleson Station in Kanata, according to the route map.
Two people on the bus and one person waiting on the Westboro station platform died when the double-decker struck the station. Twenty-three people were injured. Ottawa police are investigating the cause.
Hubley said he spent time in the community after the crash before heading to city hall for the evening press conference. He’s been in close contact with transportation general manager John Manconi.
A few families have contacted Hubley for assistance. He talked to a mother whose son was in the hospital. Another passenger needed help retrieving her possessions.
Hubley said he’s focused on helping his constituents. There might be a community gathering but it’s still too early to say, he said.
“It’s going to be at least days until we get the extent of who all the victims are,” Hubley said.
He said Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder contacted him shortly after the crash, since she was in a similar situation in 2013 when a double-decker bus collided with a Via Rail train in her community. Six people died in that collision.
“She reached out to me right away,” Hubley said. “She’s walked this path. This whole thing has made it very fresh for her.”
It was only a month ago that council appointed Hubley chair of the transit commission. Not only is his job to take care of residents’ concerns in Kanata South as their elected representative, he’s also tasked with overseeing OC Transpo.
The first job for Transpo is to keep the transit system running and make sure employees have the resources they need, he said.
Hubley said it’s too early to say how the transit commission will handle the investigation or any future discussion about double-deckers. The city’s focus is on helping the families of the dead and those who are injured, he said.
“We’ll be there for them,” he said. “Whatever they need.”