The City recently announced some more OC Transpo route changes.
Most significantly to readers here at WestSideAction, “local” bus services from the west side will no longer travel right through the downtown; nor will east side bus services travel through the downtown to the western part of the core.
This means the No 11 will terminate at the War Memorial / Confederation Square, possibly later being further cut back to ending at Parliament Station (Queen at Metcalfe). A similar fate awaits other local buses like the 14 and 16. The No 85, it was previously announced, will not go downtown when the Confederation Line opens (this December??) but will go Preston-Albert-Booth-Gatineau with a transfer opportunity to the train at Pimisi Station.
I do understand the desire to the City to reap the benefits of the tunnel to get as many bus routes off the downtown streets as possible. And Council has endorsed the step by step conversion of all OC Transpo routes into a stricter “grid plan” with most bus routes becoming feeders into the Confederation and Trillium train lines and the remaining SE Transitway (Hurdman south to Greenboro).
The grid plan makes a lot of sense for commuters and college students. And for long haul travellers it should be quick and convenient.
But I think OC Transpo planners are short changing the local travellers who use the bus for shopping and other errands, and local “in-between” trips between neighbourhoods.
Lets look at some typical downtown destinations for west siders. Taking the 85 to the library? You’ll be out of luck. Or the 85 or 11 to the nearest major shopping centre at Rideau?? Get off the bus and transfer! Going to Ottawa U? Or OLT or ArtsCourt or the Byward Market? Transfers for you too!
For working-age people, accessing the stations may be quick and easy. For the elderly, those with movement impediments like COPD, those with walkers, or concerned about ice and falls … those transfers can be onerous. Now the City will reassure us that the bus brings us right to the Station entrance and then its all indoors.
But for a trip to the library from the west side, the trip time will increase by at least 10 minutes, even at rush hour (and the city always cites rush hour train frequencies, not midday, evening, weekend or night times …).
And that is for one transfer only, assuming your destination is downtown on the Confed Line. But what if it is further east or south? Now we are talking of a bus – train – bus journey with at least two transfers.
Perhaps accessing the tunnel stations will be quick. They are complete enough that OC Transpo could do some real trials and release some data.
Let’s start with the real time measured from the mid-point of the east and west bound platforms, up to street level, for both the quick and agile traveller and the much slower elderly and less agile, during both peak and non-peak periods, for each of the downtown stations. Perhaps transfers will be painless. Or maybe not.
I’ve long thought OC Transpo is too “commuter” oriented. It should take into account their complete clientele spectrum.
Long haul users of the Connection (aka “express”) routes from Kanata and Barrhaven are the big money losing routes, I seem to recall. The City decided it would be too onerous for those folks to transfer to a bus at Tunney’s only to transfer to one station later to take the Trillium Line south to Carleton, or take the train two stops to Pimisi Station to transfer going north to Gatineau.
Instead, some “connection” routes will continue from the far west end suburbs to Tunneys, then continue to Bayview, to Booth, and then to Gatineau. Non transfer service is apparently important for the money losing routes.
But transfer-to-make-one-more-stop to get to the Rideau Centre or Ottawa U is exactly what OC Transpo is imposing on their highly profitable west side local transit users.
Somehow I think it is short changing the local transit users.