Taking the bus this week has been pretty miserable for a lot of people in Ottawa and Stittsville, with no shortage of late reports on Twitter. I myself got home 30 minutes later than usual on Monday, for example, but a few folks on Twitter reported several buses in a row being canceled. This was on a day that Environment Canada was warning of frostbite within minutes. I counted about 70 trips canceled on OC Transpo’s Twitter feed on Monday and there was plenty more of that during the Tuesday and Wednesday commutes. Yeesh.
CBC Ottawa did an interview with an OC Transpo spokesperson to get to the bottom of why cold weather has such a dramatic effect on the transit system. Some reasons include:
– Collisions of other vehicles on the road.
– Road closures, detours and conditions – particularly congestion downtown.
– Mechanical issues with buses.
– Higher ridership during inclement weather (probably people choosing not to drive).
– Bus drivers may be sick or late to work.
– Stittsville Coun. Glen Gower tweeted that one route 262 bus was delayed because of a medical emergency on board the bus.
OC Transpo told CBC that cold weather doesn’t cause delays, but rather exacerbates existing issues.
(It’s really annoying when a bus is cancelled, but occasionally you’ll notice cancelled trips get restored within a few minutes – that’s because OC Transpo has drivers and buses placed in strategic locations across the city to jump into action where needed. Unfortunately on days like in this week, the number of cancellations exceed the number of backups.)
There’s a meeting this weekend among some OC Transpo users with the aim of putting together a formal Ottawa transit riders’ group.
The meeting is Saturday from 1 through 4:30 p.m. at uOttawa, Room C010 inside the Learning Crossroads Building, 100 Louis-Pasteur Pvt. There will be a spokesperson from a similar riders’ group in Toronto to discuss how they did it there, as well as a workshop discussion on what the goals and mandate of an Ottawa group should be. It’s free and you can RSVP here…