Growing frustration as transit riders head to week 2 without LRTs
Some Ottawa transit riders say they feel frustrated as they reluctantly start another week without access to the city’s light rail system.
The LRT has been out of service since a train derailed on September 19 before entering Tremblay station. This is the second derailment in less than two months on the network which has just celebrated its second anniversary.
“It was pretty awful,” said Audrey Moey.
Moey commutes from Stittsville to downtown and said she tries to use the R1 replacement buses that run instead of the train.
“The R1 buses were incredibly crowded in the morning rush hour, and I felt very unsafe on the buses because people were piled up like sardines,” Moey said.
Last week, John Manconi, chief executive of OC Transpo, told the city’s transportation commission that he planned to “throw everything we have” on the problem.
OC Transpo “stretches”
As part of a continuous effort to improve service R1, OC Transpo announced new measures that included direct trips from downtown to Blair station during morning and afternoon rush hours, and a bypass of Cyrville station for all R1 buses.
A total of 148 trips on 23 routes were cut to support the R1 service, but Pat Scrimgeour, director of systems and planning for OC Transpo transit customers S = S = systems and planning, said that no first or last crucial route had been deleted.
“During the period of suspension of O-Train Line 1 service, the R1 replacement bus service is the main backbone of the OC Transpo network, and it has the highest priority,” Scrimgeour wrote. in an email to CBC.
The high-capacity articulated and double-decker buses have also been reallocated to the R1 service to further increase capacity.
But Kari Glynes Elliott, a member of the board of directors of the Ottawa Transit Riders advocacy group, is concerned that despite its best intentions, OC Transpo simply does not have the capacity to operate the R1 service during an extended period.
“Unless they suddenly managed to snap their fingers and get a whole bunch of new buses and drivers. I think they’re very stretched out,” Elliott said.
“I would say the whole transit system is in decline, and it’s very, very frustrating. It’s kind of a downward spiral where prices go up and service goes down and people get angry and frustrated. “
Looking for an alternative means of transport
Tristan Barr is taking matters into his own hands and is looking for a private driver to bring his 14 year old son to and from school every day.
Barr said last week it took his son nearly two and a half hours to get home to Ottawa’s Westboro neighborhood from Colonel By High School due to overcrowded buses.
“I have pre-existing health issues that put me at risk for COVID, so we started looking for other ways to get them across town,” Barr said.
He’s reached out to other families to see if they can arrange a carpool, called a limo service for a quote, and is even investigating an electric bike.
“We would like to see a solution soon to make the commute a little easier,” Barr said.
According to the CEO of Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM), the consortium that maintains the Confederation Line, it could be another two weeks before Ottawa’s light rail system is fully operational.
City manager Steve Kanellakos wrote in a note to council and transit commission members on Friday that the city had retained the services of large North American rail company STV “to undertake the independent and impartial review of the cause, actions, safety plan and return to service. for line 1. “
The company is expected to begin work on Monday and board members will be informed of the planned timelines once STV completes its preliminary assessment.