Below is an update on this morning`s (Oct 10th) transit operations, improvement initiatives and a look ahead.
This morning, a train became immobilized at Bayview Station at approximately 7:20am. Our review indicates that there was an issue with the Train Control Management System (TCMS), the onboard computer that controls each train’s systems and subsystems. The TCMS experienced a fault at Bayview Station and had to be reset. Similar to a personal computer, this reset process involved rebooting the system and engaging technical support staff. Normally, this is a relatively quick reset and we are investigating why there was a delay in the process.
As soon as this occurred staff initiated the response procedures for this type of incident. Rail services was maintained across the entire line with full rail service between Blair to Lyon Stations in both east and west directions and between Tunney’s Pasture and Lyon Stations at a reduced frequency due to a single-track diversion that was implemented to bypass the immobilized train. Station announcements, council updates, customer updates using all channels were immediately deployed and Supplemental bus service was implemented between Tunney’s Pasture and Rideau Stations. In addition, eastbound buses were directed to continue beyond Tunney’s Pasture station which enabled customers to continue with their commute. This is all in accordance with response procedures for train service interruption. Many customers experienced a 20 to 30 minute increase in their travel times with residual delays being cleared up by 8:30. Once the TCMS system was restored, the train was removed from service and both tracks were returned to normal service. Full rail service was restored at approximately 8:15 am. As always, staff adhered to all of our safety protocols and passenger safety was never impacted.
Our main focus is to provide consistent, reliable rail service on our new line. Staff throughout our organization are continuing to respond quickly and appropriately in sometimes stressful situations and they are committed to keeping our customers informed and safe. Our customers have experienced delays on the Confederation Line service during the past three mornings. This is obviously unacceptable, and we are implementing numerous initiatives to address these and other potential delays. I can confirm that all delay scenarios which can occur on rail operations have been rehearsed, have detailed plans and have been deployed this week with each receiving a detailed debrief.
Improvements to Stations and Processes
We have implemented numerous improvements to assist customers and we are continuing to log and where feasible implement ideas and suggestions from you and our customers. Below are some of the work that has been done to date in this regard:
- Constant communications with all bus operators in person and by phone to confirm that they are clear on the new routing and to answer any questions about the service change as we move through this significant bus service change that is critical to the multi modal system.
- We are working on a plan to install strap hangers in trains;
- I can confirm that all of the items noted in yesterday`s update (see list below) are being actioned and are underway:
- Adjusting dwell times (the amount of time a door is kept open) at stations aligning the timing to passenger volume and train frequency times;
- Alstom is reviewing all door issues to assess root causes and identify any issues or measures that can minimise door issues;
- Alstom is reviewing all door settings to assess if sensitivity settings are consistent across the fleet;
- Deploying customer representatives to platforms to remind customers:
- to stand clear of doorways for loading and unloading;
- not to run for trains; and
- not to hold doors;
- Increasing customer service messaging using all channels to remind our customers of boarding and disembarking tips and suggestions;
- Making station announcements asking customers not to run for trains, to stand clear of doors and not to hold doors; and
- Installing markings on platforms guiding customers on where to wait, so as to not block customers who are stepping off trains.
OC Transpo staff have also been taking steps to improve service reliability and the experience for customers transferring from trains to buses at Tunney’s Pasture and Blair stations, the two busiest transfer stations:
- At Tunney’s Pasture Station:
- A railing on the north side of Tunney’s Pasture station is being extended to help keep customers safe along the edge of the bus roadway. This work is scheduled for this evening.
- To improve customer circulation, we widened the north bus platform and paved a walking path behind the shelters. Today, we opened a similar paved area behind the shelters on the south bus platform;
- The additional space on both platforms provides more room for customers to queue and will reduce conflict between customers who are waiting or in the process of boarding and those who are walking along the platform to their stop;
- On-street operational staff and red-vested staff continue to guide and encourage customers to use the pathways; and
- We are also examining the feasibility of installing weather protection for portions of the platform.
- At Blair Station:
- Some bus routes have been reassigned to pick up customers at different stops, to reduce congestion on the platform and bus roadway;
- Additional wayfinding signage has been installed to assist customers to find their bus route and the exit to Gloucester Centre;
- An accessible bus is always on call to accommodate customers in case of any failure of the single, older, non-redundant elevator at the north entrance to the station; and,
- Staff are using customer and operator reports and passenger count data to determine whether any schedule changes or additional capacity are required on bus routes; service has already been adjusted to provide more capacity on certain routes
- At both stations:
- Staging additional buses for the morning and afternoon peak periods to ensure service reliability from stations is maintained;
- Staging tow trucks to ensure a quick removal of any buses, which keeps traffic moving within the station; and,
- Additional operations supervisors, special constables, and customer support staff in red vests have been assigned to the stations to keep buses flowing well, to keep customers safe, and to answer questions from customers.
We understand the inconvenience and frustration our customers have experienced. I apologize to them wholeheartedly. We are focused and committed to doing what is necessary to ensure that we provide the reliable O-Train service that Ottawa expects and deserves.
General Manager, Transportation Services Department
Directeur général, Direction générale des transports