OC Transpo re­moves anti-ha­rass­ment ads

Ad­vo­cates want city cam­paign, re­port­ing tools to con­tinue

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page - Ryan tu­milty

OC Transpo has re­duced the num­ber of ad­ver­tise­ments en­cour­ag­ing women to re­port ha­rass­ment and sex­ual as­sault on the sys­tem, just af­ter new data showed the ser­vice re­ceived hun­dreds of re­ports over two years.

As Metro re­ported last week the “Let OC Transpo Know” cam­paign, which in­cluded ad­ver­tise­ments and an on­line tool for re­port­ing in­ci­dents anony­mously, led to 800 complaints be­tween June 2015 and this month.

But many of the ad­ver­tise­ments high­light­ing that cam­paign have now been taken down in favour of the “Ready for Rail” cam­paign, which in­cludes in­for­ma­tion about the com­ing Con­fed­er­a­tion Line.

“Some spa­ces pre­vi­ously used to ad­ver­tise other OC Transpo ser­vices or cam­paigns, in­clud­ing the “Let OC Transpo Know” cam­paign, were con­verted,” said Pat Scrim­geour, OC Transpo’s di­rec­tor of cus­tomer sys­tems.

Scrim­geour said the cam­paign had been heav­ily ad­ver­tised and that some posters are still up.

Julie Lalonde, di­rec­tor of Hol­laback Ot­tawa, an anti-street-ha­rass­ment ad­vo­cacy group, said the change isn’t sur­pris­ing but that her or­ga­ni­za­tion plans to push OC Transpo to en­sure the cam­paign is well ad­ver­tised with new and up­dated mes­sag­ing.

it def­i­nitely takes a back­seat when some­thing else is seen as more im­por­tant. it’s not flash in the pan. it’s al­ways rel­e­vant.

Julie lalonde

“It just re­in­forces us con­tin­u­ing to work with OC Transpo — that in­stead of a slow elim­i­na­tion of safety mes­sag­ing that we cre­ate new safety mes­sag­ing.”

She said any pub­lic cam­paign can blend into the back­ground if it isn’t reg­u­larly re­freshed.

She said the safety cam­paign has been de-em­pha­sized be­fore, in favour of other ini­tia­tives, such as the city’s adop­tion of the Presto sys­tem. “It def­i­nitely takes a back­seat when some­thing else is seen as more im­por­tant,” she said. “It’s not flash in the pan. It’s al­ways rel­e­vant.”

Lalonde said, given the num­ber of tourists and stu­dents who come to the city, it’s im­por­tant that peo­ple be fully aware of how to re­port ha­rass­ment.

Metro file

tran­sit rid­ers wait down­town for buses along the tran­sit­way.

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