OC Transpo’s fall service changes will mean a slightly longer commute for Stittsville residents who rely on the 96A route. The changes were confirmed as part of the transit agency’s regular fall update of its various services.
Commuters on the 96A will now go on an extra loop across the Queensway in order to serve the new outlet mall and residents of the growing Arcadia subdivision just north of the Queensway at the Palladium exit.
The extended route is expected to add about two minutes to the travel time, according to city councillor Shad Qadri. However it is not yet clear how smoothly traffic will flow around the new Tanger outlet when it officially opens its doors on October 17, or when there’s heavier traffic for Senators games and events at Canadian Tire Centre.
Prior to the change, the OC Transpo online travel planner indicated it would take about 58 minutes to take the 96A from downtown Ottawa at Albert and Metcalfe to the Goulbourn Recreational Complex, at 1500 Shea Rd.
The added loop to the Tanger outlets will start when road construction in the area is complete.
The change does mean that Stittsville residents will have regular bus access to the Tanger outlets via the 96A. OC Transpo is also promising there will be more frequent bus service starting in September.
The agency is promising more weekend service in Stittsville as well as two new eastbound trips leaving from Goulbourn Recreation Complex on Saturdays and Sundays.
There will also be more trips and extra capacity on the 96 route and “improved reliability” for express route 261.
For Stittsville residents looking for faster bus routes, the community is served by three express bus routes – 261, 262 and 263 – during rush hour. Further, the 96C does not stop at Terry Fox, nor will it serve the Canadian Tire Centre park and ride or the Tanger Outlet mall. For Stittsville residents, the added loop on the 96A could make the 96C a more appealing option.
Since 96A buses normally wouldn’t operate on weekends, the city is in negotiations with Tanger to contribute to the cost of the extra service on Saturday and Sunday. It’s common for the City to ask developers in newer areas to cover interim transit costs of additional bus service, according to Qadri.
More information and maps showing fall service changes are available on OC Transpo’s web site.
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Summary of OC Transpo route changes affecting Stittsville residents
Pat Scrimgeour, Manager of Transit Services Planning & Reporting for OC Transpo, provided the following information about Stittsville’s bus routes this fall:
- New eastbound trips leaving from the Goulbourn Recreation Complex on Saturdays at 10:03pm and 11:03pm, and on Sundays at 8:16pm and 9:16pm.
- Once road construction is done, Route 96A will be extended to be closer to the Arcadia residential community and the new Tanger Outlet Shopping Mall.
Additional capacity has also been added to Route 96 trips that start/end at Terry Fox including:
- Increasing service in the westbound direction between 2:00pm and 3:00pm from every 7/8 minutes to every 6/7 minutes.
- Increasing service from Gatineau in the westbound direction between 3:45pm and 4:45pm from every 15 minutes to every 12 minutes
- Converting four trips to operate with higher-capacity articulated buses (accordion buses) instead of 40-foot buses
- Service in the morning peak hour in the eastbound direction and in the afternoon peak hour in the westbound direction will operate every 12 minutes instead of every 10 minutes. By using more high-capacity buses, the same capacity will be provided.
- Three additional morning trips and two additional afternoon trips will operate with articulated buses instead of 40-foot buses.
- With this service adjustment, ridership will be at 86% of the available capacity in the morning peak hour (257 customers, capacity for 300 customers, so room for an additional 43 customers) and at 84% of the available capacity in the afternoon peak hour (231 customers, capacity for 275 customers, so room for an additional 44 customers).