News / Ottawa

Confederation Line could be a silver bullet for bus cancellations

Line should removes buses from downtown where they get caught most often.

The Confederation Line tunnel will allow commuters to travel below Rideau Street instead of on it on buses.

Metro File

The Confederation Line tunnel will allow commuters to travel below Rideau Street instead of on it on buses.

Eliminating every bus cancellation OC Transpo faces daily is probably not possible.

There will always be buses that break down, road closures, sick driver and this being Ottawa, snow.

But Pat Scrimgeour, the services’ director of transit customer systems said opening the Confederation Line in 2018 is gong to be a game changer.

“It’s going to help hugely,” he said. “In the range of two thirds, maybe even three-quarters of our unpredictability comes from downtown.”

As Metro has reported this week, the system sees an average of 57 cancellations each day. Scrimgeour said most of those cancellations are caused by traffic.

He said freeing transit commuters from clogged downtown streets means those buses won’t be stuck.

“They’re not crossing through intersections anymore. They’re not dealing with right or left turning cars, they’re not dealing with parked delivery trucks,” he said. “That will all be gone.”

The $2.1-billion Confederation Line will run underground the length of downtown, eliminating the current bus lanes on Albert and Slater.

Scrimgeour said buses are also going to be doing shorter routes once the Confederation Line opens, dropping passengers off at the LRT stations rather than driving into downtown.

“Because they’re shorter routes they will be able to turn around and go back again,” he said.

Coun. Mathieu Fleury, who has been tracking local routes in his area, said he’s hopeful routes can be changed once the Confederation Line opens to keep the frequently cancelled routes in his community on the road more often.

Scrimgeour said while he understands people’s frustrations, the city is benefiting from smart decisions in the past, as well as hopefully the Confederation Line in the future.

“We know the decision to build the transitway, in the 70’s and then building it in the 80’s was massively beneficial for people living further out,” he said. Imagine if we were trying to move everyone from Kanata, Stittsville and Barrhaven without the Transitway.

Tracking progress

This is the last part of our look for this week, but Metro intends to continue to look into the data on bus cancellations.

We will continue tracking if the problems grows or shrinks and what the most cancelled routes continue to be, publishing regular updates on the problem.

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