The City’s Transit Commission received details this week of the OC Transpo five-year roadmap. The roadmap will guide how OC Transpo will modernize and grow, while focusing on service reliability and customer satisfaction. It includes 22 strategic initiatives which have measurable performance indicators to allow the Transit Commission and Council to track progress while providing transparency to the public.
The Transit Commission also received information about the communications and marketing plan that will accompany the launch of O-Train Line 2 to Riverside South and O-Train Line 4 to the airport, planned for this fall. The plan will also be used for the east and west extensions of the O-Train in future years. It aims to ensure Ottawa residents and visitors receive all the information they need to navigate the new lines when they open and build excitement. A new website, social media, partnerships with local organizations, community events and a launch are among the key components of the plan.
Staff provided an update on ongoing recruitment efforts for bus and Para Transpo operators. So far this year, over 131 new conventional bus operators and 19 new Para Transpo operators have been hired and have completed their training. Recruitment efforts focus on long-term success that will ensure service reliability and continuity.
Commission members also received an update on ridership levels. O-Train and conventional bus ridership was reported at 4.8 million customer-trips, which is an increase of 1.2 million when compared to May 2022. Para Transpo ridership, at 67,000 customer-trips, reached its highest level since before the pandemic.
Staff also provided an update on the on-demand pilot project which will look at providing dynamic routing and scheduling updates to help reduce wait and travel times for customers. The target launch date for the pilot is late fall 2023 and will begin with weekend-only service. Details on the timeline for the pilot will follow. Transit Commission will receive a report along with a business plan and recommendations after the pilot period has concluded.
The Transit Commission received a report from Councillor Wilson Lo who attended the Canadian Urban Transit Association’s Spring Summit in Saskatoon. Councillor Lo provided information on the role transit plays in addressing Canada’s housing crisis. A focus on land acquisition near areas already well served by transit could provide an affordable housing option. This would serve those residents who need good transit service the most, rather than relegating them to areas where routes are infrequent or unreliable.
Members of the Transit Commission authorized the Capital Adjustments and Closing of Projects. This resulted in budget adjustments of $7.9 million, including $5.3 million returned to the Transit Capital Supported Reserve and $2.6 million eliminated from debt financing.
Commission members learned about contracts awarded under delegated authority during the second half of 2022. During that time, 70 service area contracts were awarded for a total of $60.6 million. The majority of the costs were for transit bus operations and maintenance service. During the same time period, 61 contracts were awarded for professional and consulting services for a total of $9.9 million.
Recommendations from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, July 12.