Transit Commission announces OC Transpo service adjustments and cost cutting measures

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As we all know well by now, COVID-19 has led to a multitude of changes in our lives, including working and/or studying from home. As such, OC Transpo has seen its ridership numbers over the past year drop significantly. In response, updated service adjustments have been made for the OC Transpo system to better match the current travel needs in Ottawa.

The COVID-19 Transit service adjustments have five components:

  • The temporary suspension of selected peak-period routes with very low ridership and where there are other nearby services.
  • Frequency reductions on certain routes to better match actual current ridership levels.
  • Routes being shortened where parallel service is available.
  • Service improvements on a number of routes to respond to current travel needs.
  • A reduction in operating costs.

The service adjustments will go into effect on Sunday, June 20, 2021. The development of the changes is based on current ridership counts as well as suggestions from customers, employees, Councillors, and staff.

The Stittsville transit routes which will be affected by these changes are as follows:

  • Routes 261, 262, 263 – services on these Connexion routes will be reduced to every 30 minutes. The times of the first and last trips in the morning and afternoon will be set close to current times, however some changes may need to be made. There may be intervals of more than 30 minutes between trips early or late in the peak period.
  • Route 61 – service on this Rapid Route extension to Gatineau will be reduced to every 30 minutes during peak periods.
  • Route 62 – service will be improved to provide more frequent and later evening service, as well as new Saturday and Sunday service to Kanata and Stittsville. The improved service will replace some current trips to and from Tanger Outlets on Route 162.
  • Additionally, Route 58 will be shortened to start and end at Lincoln Fields Station. With this change, customers may see the residual effect as passengers transfer to Routes 61 or 62 to continue to/from Tunney’s Pasture Station.

Many other routes across the city will be impacted. Customers can learn full details of service changes through signage, electronic materials, and in-person customer outreach at key stations and times of day.

This package of service adjustments will result in a reduction in OC Transpo operations by approximately 2170 service hours. The result will be a cost saving of approximately $5.5 million in 2021 and approximately $11 million in the full year of 2022 – should the effects of the pandemic continue this long. The lower operating workforce will be achieved by attrition and reassignment. The staff members funded from the transit operating budget will drop by 70, approximately.

Customers can use a variety of applications and tools to stay up to date on transit service while on the go, with the COVID-19 service adjustments beginning on June 20th:

  • Text 560560 for real-time bus schedule information.
  • Download the OC Transpo iPhone app or an independent app.
  • Sign up for text alerts on octranspo.com for the latest information.
  • Check transit information screens at many major stations.
  • Visit octranspo.com from a smartphone.
  • Call 613-560-1000 plus the bus stop number for real-time bus schedule information.

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