News / Ottawa

Every day OC Transpo cancels about 57 trips: Metro analysis

Metro breaks down which trips get cancelled most often in the system.

An out of service bus sits at Tunney's Pasture station.

Ryan Tumilty / Metro

An out of service bus sits at Tunney's Pasture station.

As Ottawa rumbles to life each morning, thousands of people step out of their homes and head to the nearest bus stop for their trip to work or school.

The 340,000 people who depend on transit daily expect their bus to arrive at the scheduled time.

But a Metro analysis shows, on average, 57 times a day that scheduled bus isn’t coming.

Using the city’s Twitter account that chronicles these no-shows, Metro built a database of cancellations that tracked every time a bus was taken out of service.

Between Feb. 2 and April 22, there were 4,530 cancellations. That 79-day period included some of the worst winter weather of this past year.

(Metro initially planned to track cancellations for a full three months, but OC Transpo changed multiple route numbers on April 23.)

Pat Scrimgeour, director, transit customer systems, said these cancellations are a problem, but they represent a small fraction of the trips OC Transpo successfully makes every day.

“Over that period of time we scheduled 650,000 trips, so it’s one per cent of the trips that we are not able to fulfill as planned,” he said.

He said in context it’s a small number of routes that get cancelled on any given day.

“I don’t think anyone driving their car can make 100 trips out of 100 exactly as planned.”

He said in many cases controllers are actually able to get new buses to replace the cancelled routes, but don’t always get the message out that the route is back in service.

Of the more than 5,000 Tweets Metro analyzed, we found a handful that included information about reinstated buses.

This graph shows the most cancelled major routes in the OC Transpo system.

Andres Plana / Metro

This graph shows the most cancelled major routes in the OC Transpo system.

The most cancelled routes are also the most heavily used.

Route 95 came in at the top of the list with 525 cancellations during that time. Those cancellations were divided more or less evenly in each direction, with the bus headed towards Barrhaven cancelled 257 times and the bus headed towards Orleans or Trim cancelled 205 times.

A graph of the most cancelled local routes.

Andres Plana / Metro

A graph of the most cancelled local routes.

Heavy routes come more often, which meant in some cases Route 95 riders were waiting for no more than two minutes before another bus came along. Nobody waited longer than 23 minutes on that route.

Other major crosstown routes also saw large volumes of cancellations. Route 91 ranked second at 403 times, then Route 94 (298 times), Route 97 (192 times) and Route 96 (171 times).

The worst local routes was Route 7, which was cancelled 179 times, followed by Route 1 (169 times), Route 104 (161 times), Route 8 (148 times), and Routes 12 and 118, which were both cancelled 121 times.

According to Metro's analysis 11 routes had cancellations where the longest people had to wait was more than an  hour.

The longest wait for a cancellation was Route 63, which had one cancellation in each direction that left passengers without a trip for four hours.

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