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Transit Commission and Light Rail Sub-Committee held a joint meeting this week to receive progress updates on a variety of transit projects completed this year in the works for 2024.
Winter readiness plans
Plans include improving the communications and planning process with Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM), enhanced monitoring for O-Train Line 1 during storms, and implementation of a Severe Storm Schedule for buses in the event of significant snowfall of 31 cm or more.
When a Severe Storm Schedule is in effect, bus service will follow a reduced schedule and many articulated buses will be replaced with 40-foot and double decker buses to provide safer and more reliable service during major storms. Para Transpo service levels will not be reduced, but customers should still plan ahead and expect delays.
New bus shelters at Tunney’s and Hurdman
New bus shelters are on the way for Hurdman and Tunney’s Pasture stations. There will soon be nine bus shelters installed at Hurdman and 14 at Tunney’s Pasture. Installation should be finished by end of January.
Improvements to real-time customer information & Transit app
OC Transpo is now providing real-time GPS information up to 30 minutes before a bus starts its route and at the first stop. An upcoming Transit app update will also improve information on cancelled trips and crowdsourcing capabilities. Data shows there is an increase in the number of customers using the app to see accurate departure times, track buses and plan trips: 95,000 customers used the app in October. Additional GPS upgrades are coming in 2024.
On-demand pilot project update
The pilot project is scheduled to launch in Blackburn Hamlet in early 2024. The pilot will operate on weekends, providing service within the community with a connection to the LRT station at Blair. I got a sneak preview of the service a few weeks ago along with Councillor Laura Dudas and I am looking forward to this launch and seeing the results of the pilot project.
Support for food banks and free transit service on New Year’s Eve
OC Transpo staff also highlighted the results of the 39th annual OC Transpo and Loblaw Holiday Food Drive which raised over 66,300 pounds of food and more than $32,000, as well as reminded everyone of the upcoming free transit service on New Year’s Eve starting at 6:00 p.m.
Update on LRT wheel bearing issue
Testing will start in the coming weeks on the nut pining of the light rail wheel hub assembly. Data will be gathered and analyzed for safety and improved performance. Staff will continue to provide further updates on the progress of this work as it becomes available. If testing is successful, we should see a return to full-length trains on weekdays.
Ridership & performance indicators
O-Train and conventional bus ridership was at 6.4 million trips in October 2023, which was an increase of 800,000 compared to October 2022. In November, 97.4 per cent of bus trips were fulfilled (compared to a target of 99.5%) and Para Transpo ridership was at 70,600 customer trips.
Presentation from union representative
For the first time ever, we received a presentation from Clint Crabtree of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 279 about what they are hearing from their members. Some of the issues raised were fare evasion and scheduling. Senior staff plan to present an action plan on fare evasion at an upcoming Transit Commission meeting and it was suggested that a future Transit Commission meeting could include a presentation on how scheduling works.
Update on Stage 2 LRT
We also heard that the expansion of the O-Train network is progressing well. This year, many milestones were achieved in the south, east and west.
South: OC Transpo continues to target an opening in Spring 2024 for O-Train Lines 2 and 4, serving communities to the south. Station construction is almost complete and in November, testing achieved a new milestone when nine trains, the number required for revenue service, began operating on the system. This process tests the integration of the control and signalling systems, vehicles, track infrastructure, operating procedures, and training programs.
East: On the east extension of Line 1, track installation is complete and overhead catenary system work is underway and expected to be complete in early 2024. Construction on stations and pedestrian bridges is also advancing well.
West: Track installation and station construction is progressing well. The cut and cover tunnels have been fully excavated and pouring of concrete roof and walls of the tunnels is underway. Next year, the tunnel structural work will be completed, and track work will begin.
- OC Transpo Update: Para Transpo, Rail and Bus
- Mise à jour sur OC Transpo: Para Transpo, trains et autobus
- Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project
- Étape 2 du projet de train léger sur rail
Due to technical difficulties, a back up live stream was started part way through the meeting. Here are links to both the original live stream, as well as the back up.