New OC Transpo bus branding rolls out

As part of the conversion of our transit system from all-bus to a bus-train combination, OC Transpo is changing a lot of routes to become feeders to the new stations. Some of these routes will be in effect in fall 2018 when the Confederation Line opens. More changes will appear as the next phases of LRT are opened up.

We’ve already seen that the LRT Stations will have  “lollipop” branding with a big red O.

That branding is now being extended to the bus signage. I noticed on Somerset Street, the No 2 bus stops now say:

I do not know when the buses themselves will adopt the new route numbers.[ a reader tells us it is April 23]

Somehow it seems like a demotion to go from historic route No 2 to 11. Like being sent down to the junior leagues. Notice also the big red O at the top right corner of the flag.

I don’t think they are retiring the OC Transpo moniker, but they should. Ottawa Carleton Transpo sounds so 1970’s, and Carleton County has long been binned. Maybe the OC could stand for Ottawa Capital? Does this mean street transit is now the O-Bus?

The O-Trains of course have taken over the No 1 designation (Confederation Line) and No 2 (Trillium Line).

Curiously, the new route numbers approved by Council last summer show the No 11 route running down Bank Street, so I guess the materials shown below are out of date.

When the Confederation Line appears the new route bus configuration will drive traffic to the LRT stations. Few buses will go downtown anymore. For example, the 85 will turn onto Booth and go to Gatineau. If you wanna go to or through the downtown, you’ll HAVE to transfer to the train.

The trains will prove popular because alternative routes will disappear.

Similar to how the current bus destinations signs work by identifying the farthest point the bus goes to (eg Fallowfield) the numbering of the routes indicates the neighbourhood furthest from the core:

Personally, I’m not thrilled with the neighbourhood designations, mostly because suburban areas tend to all blurr together in my mind.  I tend to think of transit as a grid made up of intersecting lines, so I like knowing that 85 is on Preston, 86 on the next north-south street, 87 on Woodroff, another 8x should be on Greenbank, etc. etc

We’ll all get used to it eventually.

6 thoughts on “New OC Transpo bus branding rolls out

  1. The bus numbers change April 23 this year to “help” us get ready for the trains.

  2. These signs started going up a few weeks ago (I noticed one on Carling late March), and there’s no indiacation that they are new, or up early, or what the old signs said. So, we have about a month where the bus stop signs don’t match the actual routes. This is pretty bad service for visitors and infrequent users (including frequent users of the network who are infrequent users of an affected stop or route).

    1. Agreed. Someone stopped me the other day asking where he was supposed to catch the 2 (we were near Somerset W. and Bayswater). I turned to the bus stop and was about to point him in that direction when I realized the sign said 11. That’s why he was confused and starting to panic. I wasn’t able to help since I didn’t yet know about these changes. After we parted, I eventually saw a number 2 rolling along and hoped that the stranger was able to hop on it despite the confusion!

  3. I’m with you, Eric. I don’t think that the new numbering system is particularly helpfull; especially when the big words will better tell me where the bus is going – like “Orleans” or “Baseline”. Couple that with the non-progression of numbers from east to west, or north to south. For example, the numbers do not start in the east (Orleans) with 2X to the west (Kanata) with 8X. Gloucester, with 2X, is west of Orleans, with 3X; Ottawa West is 5X, but continuing west is Nepean, with 8X, and then Kanata, with 6X. It all seems so random that it is hard to get a sense of even which direction a bus will be going. The numbers don’t help me and are different from the ones that I have grown used to over the past decades.

    Then there are the routes that are being oddly numbered. The current # 118 is an example; it is changing to the # 88. It runs from Hurdman to Kanata. Presumably Hurdman would be in the Central zone so the numbering could be 5-19 – but it runs to Kanata, so the numbering could be 6X. But 88 does not tell me anything about either end point, so why renumber it 88?

    And I agree that the branding should make them ‘O-Bus’.

  4. The big new “O” is new branding however, the symbols and different colour routes is a new thing that has been taking over transit mapping across North America for a while now. Its called “frequency mapping”, you now can tell just by looking how frequent the service of a particular bus route actually is. Its particularly useful to plan trips if you don’t want to look up everything on line and quite a bit faster than that ever more complicated trip planning functions on transit websites. The problem of essentially “Geo Coding” route numbers is essentially self defeating as the system grows and changes. What happens when you run out of 50’s for example if you add more routes that terminate in the west end. Most just don’t like of having to learn a new number. I also don’t think someone will confuse the #1 Bank Street bus for the Confederation LRT Line or the #2 bus for the Trillium Line because they are trains.

  5. I like the retro feel TTC for a name and think we should go back to OTC. OCTranspo sounds like a made up product an advertising company came up with.

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