The City’s Transit Commission today learned details about the demonstration pilot project that will bring on-demand transit service to Blackburn Hamlet starting this fall.
The on-demand service will operate on weekends in place of route 28, connecting customers within the community and to Blair Station. Route 28 will operate as usual during weekdays, while route 25, serving Innes Road, will continue to operate seven days a week.
The on-demand service will use minibuses already in the OC Transpo fleet. As the pilot will run on weekends only, there will be no impact on the availability of vehicles to deliver Para Transpo service, which uses the same minibuses, and has fewer booked trips on weekends.
Results from the pilot will be used to inform possible expansions of on-demand service across Ottawa in response to changing travel habits since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transit Commission members also received the latest update on O-Train Line 1. Since early September, the number of trains in operation has increased, with some double-car trains running throughout the day to provide more frequent service. Based on current ridership levels, peak period shuttle express service to and from Blair Station continues while service between Tunney’s Pasture Station and downtown has ended.
Commission members also received an update on ridership levels as of July. O-Train and conventional bus ridership was reported at 3.9 million customer-trips, which is an increase of 600,000 when compared to July 2022. Para Transpo ridership increased to 59,900 customer-trips, compared to 47,100 trips in July 2022.
OC Transpo staff also presented an action plan to increase capacity and improve the maintenance of its bus fleet. With so many buses in operation during the O-Train Line 1 service disruption this summer, many have logged a larger than usual number of kilometres and require preventive maintenance and inspection.
To assist with ongoing maintenance needs, OC Transpo will continue with its recruitment efforts to secure technicians and other skilled tradespeople while also providing additional training to current mechanics and supervisors.
This will also coincide with OC Transpo’s continued efforts to hire additional bus operators. This year OC Transpo has hired 260 new bus operators and is expecting to hold its first all-women bus operator training class that will be led by all women trainers.
Transit Commission members also heard about efforts to maintain station cleanliness. Rideau Transit Maintenance has hired additional staff and will be conducting detailed daily, weekly and seasonal cleaning of all O-Train Line 1 transit stations.