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How to use Ottawa’s light rail transit in 2018

Ottawa O-Train map

When light rail service begins in 2018, a lot about taking transit in Ottawa will change.

OC Transpo outlines everything that’s new and unfamiliar in their $1 million marketing campaign, Ready 4 Rail.

With some helpful additions from OttawaStart.com, here are the details:

Stations

The first phase of LRT, which is the 12.5 kilometre Confederation Line, has 13 stations between Tunney’s Pasture in the west and Blair in the east.

You can read more about the post-2018 plan at stage2lrt.ca.

The trains (and how often they come)

Ottawa is using Alstom Citadis Spirits as its light rail vehicle on the Confederation Line. There are 34 cars in the fleet and 17 trains will run on the line.

They will come about every five minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes after midnight. They will run from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m. Mondays to Thursdays, then until 2 a.m. on Friday, from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday and holidays.

The trains usually will consist of two Citadis Spirit cars, but they are modular meaning more can be added to meet demand. At peak periods, a train will carry up to 600 passengers. The shorter 48 metre length has a nominal capacity of 300.

 

Which one is the O-Train and which buses are being renumbered? 

Right now, the only O-Train is the Trillium Line, which runs for eight kilometres north to south between Bayview and Greenboro.

After stage two LRT is finished and the Confederation Line opens, the term “O-Train” will refer broadly to both light rail lines. To differentiate them, the lines have unique names as well as numbers — Confederation is line one.

Because the Trillium Line will become the number two train, say bye-bye to the venerable number two bus that runs between Bayshore and downtown. More details on bus renumbering here… 

What happens to the O-Train Trillium Line in 2018?

Not much is changing for now. It will continue to be served by six Alstom Coradia Lint trains, which have a capacity of 260 passengers each.

They run about (emphasis on about) every 12 minutes on weekdays and every 12 to 15 minutes on weekends. The Trillium Line’s schedule is adjusted seasonally and it’s not clear if the Confederation Line also will.

Most of the focus has been on east and west expansions to the Confederation Line, but a future phase from 2018-2023 will also expand the Trillium Line 11 kilometres further south from Greenboro to Bowesville.

There will also be a three-kilometre leg to the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.

The line will close in spring 2020 to accommodate the work and will reopen into 2021.

O-Train Trillium South map

How are buses changing?

OC Transpo already rolled out most of its bus changes at the beginning of 2017, renaming express routes to connexion. Now, most buses will have a connection to a nearby LRT station. Some buses will be renumbered on April 23.

How much faster is LRT?

OC Transpo says a trip from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair will reliably whisk you across in 25 minutes, allowing you to sidestep weather and traffic. OC Transpo did not provide an estimate for how long it currently takes by bus, either under the worst or best conditions.

How does boarding/transferring work?

Train stations will have fare gates (the Trillium Line will have them installed this summer) where passengers scan their Presto card or transfer barcode.

Greenboro, Bayview, Hurdman, Blair and Tunney’s Pasture stations will have fair-paid zones and buses will stop near the tracks, so you can get off the train and onto the bus right away (or vice-versa.)

In stations without fair-paid areas, you will have to go through a fare gate to get onto the train or tap your pass when boarding a bus.

Can I take my bike on the train?

You can wheel your bike on the train, but details on special rules are still up in the air.

 

(This post originally appeared on our sister site, OttawaStart.com.)


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COMMENT: Let’s start saying light rail to Stittsville

(ABOVE: Artist’s rendering of the Rideau LRT station downtown. Via City of Ottawa.)

It was great to see City Council approve plans for Phase 2 of light rail transit (LRT) today. The $3-billion project includes an extension of the rail line west from Bayshore to Moodie Drive by 2023. That’s good for all west end commuters.

But there’s one thing that’s bugging me: I keep hearing councillors and other officials use the phase “bringing light rail closer to Kanata”. Continue reading


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New route numbers and bigger buses for OC Transpo this spring

OC Transpo will have a bit more room for Stittsville riders starting April 23, along with new numbers for two of the routes.

According to Councillor Shad Qadri’s web site, bus route 92 will become the 62, and route 96 will become route 61. Times for route 62 (currently 92) and on route 262 will be adjusted to improve convenience and better match the travel needs of customers in Stittsville. The capacity on Route 261 will be increased with the use of a higher capacity double-decker bus in the afternoon.

Here’s a chart showing other route number changes across the city.

OC Transpo route number changes
New route numbers come into effect April 23. (via Councillor Qadri)

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NOTEBOOK: New restaurant on Stittsville Main, OC Transpo suburb service, more

Stittsville Main Street is getting a new restaurant this spring. Kevin Conway and his partner Allison Pearce plan to open a 30-seat restaurant called Jack Ketch at 1536 Stittsville Main Street. Most recently, the building was home to Brown Bear Daycare.

Continue reading


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UPDATE: Qadri responds to bus service complaints

Councillor Shad Qadri posted some comments about OC Transpo service in his weekly newsletter today. Highlights:

  • A double-decker bus will be added to the 4:00 p.m. trip on Route 261 starting in April.
  • Overall, most morning trips are taking three minutes longer to reach downtown than they did before Christmas.
  • Scheduled times for all routes are being adjusted based on up-to-date actual observations.
  • Qadri is encouraging residents to keep emailing and calling his office with concerns.

Continue reading


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Your letters and feedback on OC Transpo’s service changes

At the start of this year, OC Transpo replaced express busses – and the premium express fare – with new “connexion” routes.  The connexion buses ferry passengers between suburbs like Stittsville and downtown bus stations, as part of a transition to light rail.  Here’s what we’re hearing from our readers about the changes.

Shirley Butler wrote to us about the pros and cons of the new system:

I have used the peak hour 261 route in both directions for the last ten years.  First, the positives:

1. Bus pass fares are uniform for all riders other than seniors.

2. Regular pass holders are now able to ride the more direct (old “express”) routes and are not forced to ride buses that take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes longer than the regular routes.

3. Stittsville old “express” routes no longer stop at any stops between Tunney’s Pasture and Bayshore making the trip a few minutes faster.

The negatives:

1. Express buses between the hour of 6:45 and 7:25 are very full.  Most days by the time the bus gets to Canadian Tire Centre there is barely standing room.

2. Express buses between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. are very full.  The bus starts at Rideau and by the time it arrives at Kent there is standing room only – that is three stops away.

In the ten years that I have lived in Stittsville (and while rush hour express riders were paying a premium for a bus pass) only one additional trip to routes 261 and 263 was added to the route (in the morning and in the afternoon) in spite of the exponential growth that Stittsville has experienced during the last ten years.   I know that a number of trips were added to the 262 route.  That said, if OC Transpo were to change the timing of the 263 so that it hits Fairwinds at around 7:20 a.m. that would alleviate some of the congestion.  Additionally if there was a 263 trip that started at Rideau at 3:55 p.m. that would spread the 4:00 p.m Fairwinds/Stittsville crowd between the 261 and 263.  As well sending a short 261 at 4:00 p.m is most ludicrous.

All to say OC Transpo charges some of the highest fares when compared to other cities and provides less than adequate services to its users.  I have changed my evening commute to catch the 4:40 261 as it is not as full.  However it is not as convenient.  If that bus does not show up I have to wait for a full 40 minutes before another 261 shows up. 

Although these are not unsurmountable problems I see that OC Transpo will lose ridership, causing fares to go up and service standards to go down. Is anyone looking into the problems and is anything going to be done?

Yes, OC Transpo and Councillor Shad Qadri say they are listening following up on feedback.  “I just wanted to let you all know that I am fully aware of your concerns. I am working with OC Transpo and will get back to you with a follow up within the next two weeks,” Qadri posted to Facebook on January 16.

Meanwhile in Kanata North, OC Transpo officials and Councillor Marianne Wilkinson will be attending a public meeting on Thursday, February 2 to discuss concerns about bus service to that community.  (The meeting is from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Richcraft Recreation Complex Kanata, 4101 Innovation Dr., in the Minto Room.)


What do you think of the new OC Transpo services changes? How can service be improved for Stittsville? Add a comment below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


Not everybody sees the changes as a negative. Here’s a note we received from resident Linda Norton:

I take the 263 bus and in the morning see no change in the bus schedule or number of people taking the bus ( there are always too many people that have to stand for the entire trip downtown). With the removal of 4 stops on the downtown to Stittsville afternoon route the 263 has become a bus for those heading to Bayshore and west, not a bus for people who can take any bus for a short trip. This means that more Stittsville residents get a seat for the trip home. In my observation the changes to the 263 route are not material.

Positive comments were few and far between. Greg Stapledon’s review of the service was one of many we received in the same vein:

261 is atrocious. It’s a milk run in the morning and a cattle car in the evening. The last 2 days, the 4 PM bus left people at the bus stop after Lebreton. Before Christmas, there was rarely anyone getting on the bus after it left Stittsville in the morning. Now there are people getting on and off all along the route before Tunney’s. It’s added about 10 minutes to my normal commute. Coming home I have to walk up to an earlier stop just in hopes of getting a seat. Lately there seems to be an issue having a long bus on the 4pm run.


What do you think of the new OC Transpo services changes? How can service be improved for Stittsville? Add a comment below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


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NOTEBOOK: Stories we’re watching in 2017

Let’s take out the crystal ball and look ahead at what 2017 may have in store for Stittsville…

CANADIAN TIRE CENTRE
Earlier this year we should hear from the Ottawa Senators about what they have in mind for Canadian Tire Centre once the Sens leave for Lebreton Flats. Last year, team owner Eugene Melnyk teased that the development would be an “entertainment-driven” transformation.  Whatever it is, any change will have a major impact on Stittsville and Kanata for jobs, transportation and economic development. Continue reading


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Everything you need to know about OC Transpo changes in the new year

(PHOTO: “New Flyer”. Photo by Justin S. Campbell, via Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons License.)

OC Transpo fares will go up in 2017, along with some route changes and a major overhaul to the express bus system.

NEW FARE TABLE

  • The adult monthly pass will cost $113.75, from $105.75.
  • The per-semester U-pass will increase to $202.46 from $197.52
  • The base cash fare will decrease from $3.65 to $3.40.
  • Paper tickets will now be on par with the cash price, with two tickets equal to $3.40.
  • Presto e-purse increases from $3 to $3.35.
  • A full 2017 fare table is on OC Transpo’s website.

If you still use paper passes, those will be discontinued so you’ll have to get a Presto card for $6 soon. Continue reading


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Fill The Bus event collects nearly 10,000 items for Stittsville Food Bank

(via Stittsville Food Bank)

“Wow! What an amazing community we have! 9,987 pieces of food raised today alone! A big thank you to Carlos and Family and Harry from OC Transpo! Thank you to Brown’s Your Independent Grocers, the City of Ottawa, OC Transpo, Ottawa Food Bank! And what an wonderful group of volunteers!!! We couldn’t have done it without everyone coming together! Just look at the photos of the bus and mountain of food! Thank you all!” Continue reading


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OC Transpo fall service changes will include service to Blackstone

Highlights:  30-minute service from Blackstone to Terry Fox; Tweaks to 92 evening schedules to match shifts at Tanger Outlets; New service to DND Carling Campus.

(Memo via OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi)

This memo provides an overview of the Fall 2016 transit service changes that will be starting on Sunday, September 4. These changes are part of OC Transpo’s regular schedule adjustments, which take place four times a year – April, June, September and December. Transit Commission and City Council members are provided with a summary of the service changes in advance of each new schedule period. Continue reading


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OC Transpo summer service adjustments take effect Sunday, June 19

(press release via OC Transpo)

On Sunday, June 19, new summer schedules begin along with several routing changes for improved service in the community of Greenboro East. 

Summer service improvements

  • In Greenboro East, Route 143 will be cancelled and replaced by a modified Route 114, which will serve Johnston Road and provide hourly service on Tapiola. Route 43 will be modified to travel from Cahill, south on Bank Street to Hunt Club, then north along the Transitway to Hurdman Station.
  • Route 72 will be extended along Cobble Hill to start and end at Hélène Campbell.
  • On Sundays, several southbound trips on Route 98 in the morning and evening will be extended to start at Mackenzie King Station for improved service along King Edward and at Lees Station.

Special summer weekend service

Service to local museums and beaches will operate on weekends and holidays throughout the summer until September 5. Route 129 will serve the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and Route 185 will operate to the Agriculture Museum and Experimental Farm. Route 198, which starts June 18, will serve Petrie Island.

Summer schedules

New schedules will reflect the lower demand for service during the summer vacation period. School routes will be suspended until the fall, and there will be minor schedule reductions on mainline and peak period routes. New schedules are available at OC Transpo Customer Service Centres, by calling 613-741-4390, and at octranspo.com.

Starting June 24, adjustments will be made at Tunney’s Pasture Station for Confederation Line O-Train construction. Further details are available online at ontrack2018.ca and will be posted at the station.

The next service change will occur on Sunday, September 4.

For automated real-time bus arrival information, customers can call 613-560-1000 or text 560560 plus their four-digit bus stop number. For more information and travel planning, visit octranspo.comor call 613-741-4390.

 


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City begins planning for light rail extension to Kanata

A large group of politicians showed up at the Terry Fox transit station today for what was billed as “an important announcement regarding Ottawa’s future transit options”.  The announcement turned out to be about launching a study to look at extending light rail from Bayshore to Kanata sooner than planned.

The City and federal government will split a tab of at least $2-million for the Environmental Assessment (EA) study, which will take a couple years to complete. Continue reading


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Police ask for public’s help after incident on OC Transpo route 262

(via Ottawa Police)

UPDATE, 9:20pm: “The Ottawa Police Service wishes to advise that the male has been identified and the matter continues to be investigated.”


The Ottawa Police Service West District Investigations Unit and the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section are trying to identify a male involved in a suspicious incident on an OC Transpo bus last week. Continue reading


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NOTEBOOK: “Welcome to Stittsville” mural update; OC Transpo cancels route 188

RESIDENTS WELCOME MURAL
Earlier this week we published an article about the “Welcome to Stittsville” graffiti on Stittsville Main Street in front of the Harris law office. Turns out the majority of residents are quite fond of the painting.  I ran a follow-up poll on Facebook and 53% of the respondents favour keeping it as-is. Continue reading


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OC Transpo’s Campus Station will close and new spring schedules start April 24

(via OC Transpo)

Campus Station will close Sunday, April 24 to make way for construction of the O-Train Confederation Line coming in 2018. At the same time, OC Transpo will make spring schedule and routing adjustments. The Rack & Roll program also returns with bike racks reinstalled on more than 450 buses.

Campus Station and Transitway closure:

With the closure of Campus Station and a section of the Transitway, routing adjustments will be required, travel times and transfer points may change, and service at Lees Station will be modified.

  • A section of the Transitway will close from Laurier Avenue to Lees Station, along with the adjacent sidewalk.
  • Most bus routes will travel via Nicholas Street and Laurier Station, bypassing Campus and Lees stations.
  • Routes 95 and 98 will be modified to travel via King Edward and Laurier Avenue, plus Route 97 after 10 p.m.
  • uOttawa main campus will be served at Laurier Station and on King Edward and Laurier Avenues.
  • West-end afternoon peak period service will start at Mackenzie King Station instead of Campus Station.
  • Lees Station will remain open on the upper level, but service will be modified.

Spring service adjustments:

  • On a number of routes, the first and/or last weekday trips will be cancelled due to low ridership. Customers who travel at those times should check their schedule to see if their trip is affected.
  • Spring seasonal reductions will be made to reflect the lower ridership levels.
  • Route 9 will have a special school trip added, between Hurdman Station and De la Salle on St. Patrick, as an alternative to Route 602.
  • Route 116B will have several trips on Sundays adjusted slightly to better serve the Gurdwara Sahib Ottawa Sikh Society on Gurdwara Road and reduce walking distances for customers.
  • Route 182 will be modified in Kanata North for improved service to businesses along Terry Fox Drive.
  • Route 188 will be cancelled due to low ridership. Alternative service is available nearby on Routes 92 and 162. Park & Ride options are also available.
  • Some school routes will have trips adjusted or cancelled to better match ridership levels. Visitoctranspo.com for details.

 

2015-16 U-Pass Expires April 30 and new Summer U-Pass starts May 1

Students at Algonquin College, Carleton University, the University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University are reminded that their 2015-16 U‑Pass expires April 30, and will not be valid as a photo ID card during the summer. From May through August, eligible students in full-time studies can get a new Summer U-Pass. Students taking a break from studies can get a Presto card ($6 plus minimum $10 load), which can be set up to pay-per-ride or to hold a monthly pass.

Real-time schedule information is available 24 hours a day, up to six days in advance, by calling 613-560-1000or texting 560560 plus the four‑digit bus stop number. Register for alerts at octranspo.com to receive news or route-specific changes or detours by e-mail or text. Standard rates apply to SMS messages. New printed timetables are now available. For more details and travel planning assistance, customers should call OC Transpo at 613-741-4390 or visit octranspo.com.


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OC TRANSPO: Holiday schedule changes coming, including free New Year’s Eve service after 8 p.m.

(press release via OC Transpo)

OC Transpo and Para Transpo are the safe and reliable way to travel during the holidays and are offering free service after 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve sponsored by Safer Roads Ottawa, a City of Ottawa program.

OC Transpo will also run a special holiday service from December 20 to January 2. Transit customers are encouraged to visit octranspo.com and check their route schedule before heading out.

Holiday service:

  • December 21 to 24, 29 to 30: Reduced weekday schedule
  • December 25: Sunday schedule
  • December 26, 28: Saturday schedule
  • December 31: Reduced weekday schedule and free service after 8 p.m.
  • January 1: Sunday schedule

Schools are closed over the holidays, so special school routes will not be running.

Holiday schedules are available at octranspo.com or by calling 613‑741-4390. Riders can get automated real-time schedule information, 24 hours a day, by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus their four-digit bus stop number.

Para Transpo holiday bookings

Para Transpo will operate a holiday service on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Regular scheduled trips are automatically cancelled, but customers may book trips for these days by calling 613-244‑7272 on or after:

  • December 18 for Christmas Day bookings
  • December 19 for Boxing Day bookings
  • December 25 for New Year’s Day bookings

Customers are reminded to suspend their regular booking if they will be on vacation during the holiday season.

 

Low rate fare for families on holidays

Families can travel all day on weekends and statutory holidays with one $8.30 DayPass. The Family DayPass is valid for up to six people, with a maximum of two people who are age 13 or older.

 

Holiday office hours

The Transit Information Centre (613-741-4390) will be open throughout the holidays to help customers with schedules and trip-planning, including Christmas and New Year’s Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Boxing Day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Customer Relations Centre (613‑842-3600) will be closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and will operate on reduced hours Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

OC Transpo Sales and Information Centres will be closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, except the Rideau Centre, which will be open Boxing Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All Sales Centres will close early on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at 5 p.m. The offices at Lincoln Fields, St-Laurent and Place d’Orléans will open on Saturday, January 2, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Para Transpo Customer Service (613-842-3681), Administration (613-244-1289) and Taxi Coupon (613-842-3670) offices will be closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, but Reservations (613-244-7272) will be open regular hours.

For more information, contact OC Transpo at 613-741-4390 or visit octranspo.com.

For information about the Confederation Line construction project, visit ottawa.ca.

 

Safer Roads Ottawa

The Safer Roads Ottawa Program is a leading community partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health and the Public Works Department committed to preventing or eliminating road deaths and serious injuries for all people in the City of Ottawa, through culture change, community engagement, and development of a sustainable safe transportation environment.


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