Message to City Council from John Manconi, General Manager, Transportation Services Department.
Below is an update on this week’s LRT service as well as an update on improvement initiatives and a new tool to provide information on the Confederation Line to Council and members of the Transit Commission, and the public.
Our focus is on providing:
- Consistent and reliable service;
- Clear, accurate and timely communications to Council, Transit Commissioners and our customers; and,
- Continuous improvements.
As of Tuesday, October 15, we exceeded 3 million riders since the system launched on September 14. This is a significant milestone that underscores the volumes that the Confederation Line system is built to support.
We recognize that this service transformation represents a major change to the travel patterns of our customers, and we thank them for their continued patience. With the introduction of any new service, there will be a period of transition and adjustment for our customers and for our operations. During this time, staff are collecting data and feedback, and continue to assess what adjustments need to be made in order to meet the needs of our customers. Included in this review will be adjustments to our bus service. We have put a team together consisting of planning staff, supervisors and bus operators that will review all feedback and implement necessary changes. As part of this review, planning staff will be meeting with all Councillors to collect and discuss feedback you are hearing from your constituents.
Thank you to members of Council and the Transit Commission for the many helpful comments and suggestions already received for improvements to Confederation Line infrastructure and by our service. We are keeping track of all of this feedback as well as feedback received from our customers and continue to review our processes to find effective ways to implement suggestions and respond to concerns. Many of your ideas and suggestions have been or are in the process of being implemented.
To continually keep you up to date about Line 1 service and new initiatives, OC Transpo has launched a new information page on octranspo.com called The O-Line where you will find updates provided to Council, Transit Commissioners, media and the public; useful background information and answers to frequently asked questions about the new multimodal service. This web page will be available this afternoon and will be a living document that will be updated regularly as we continue to evolve through this historic transformation to our service. The web page can be accessed through the homepage. The work we have been doing this past week is summarized below and will be posted to The O-Line shortly.
Improved pedestrian traffic flow at Tunney’s Pasture Station
In response to customer feedback, staff are altering the doors on the north and northwest sides of Tunney’s Pasture Station, connecting to the bus platforms. One set of doors is being removed and another is being pinned open to improve pedestrian traffic flow into and out of the station during peak periods. Permanent adjustments will be implemented once designs are completed.
Tunney’s Pasture canopy
Staff are reviewing two different design options to install a canopy at Tunney’s Pasture to provide additional weather coverage to pedestrians. Installation timing will be confirmed this week.
Staff are moving ahead with the installation of straps hanging from horizontal bars on trains. We are currently working with the vehicle manufacturer, Alstom, and with safety engineers on the placement of the straps and other considerations that are part of rail safety requirements.
We are examining several improvements to improve door reliability and minimize the impact of door issues. Updates will be provided as we progress on these items. We have reviewed our troubleshooting process around door faults and have made adjustments to ensure that it is being applied consistently.
Additional messaging about doors
Staff are rolling out paper hangers on trains to reinforce messaging about train doors. Installation is scheduled to begin this weekend. Staff are also working on changing pre-recorded announcements to further assist customers with courtesy and safety at doors.
Platform door alignment
Staff are installing markings on the platform floors of all stations to guide customers on where to align at the doors to assist other customers as they step off trains. The signs at Lyon Station were installed overnight on October 17 and installation will continue throughout the system.
Platform markings to reduce crowding
Staff are installing markings on platforms at key locations to encourage customers to spread out along the platform and use all of the doors while boarding.
Wayfinding at Stations
Staff are installing floor decals at Tunney’s Pasture stations to help customers more easily identify the two trains platforms. This work is scheduled for completion this week.
Dwell time review
Staff are currently reviewing and monitoring dwell times (the length of time train doors are open) station-by-station along Line 1, at to accommodate customer volumes. Time has been added at Parliament, uOttawa, Hurdman, Lyon, and Rideau stations.
Train operators also have the ability to extend dwell times at busy stations when required.
Train Control Management System (TCMS)
We have completed an assessment of the onboard TCMS systems, which monitors all the train’s systems and subsystems. The systems have been calibrated to reduce occurrences of TCMS faults. We are currently testing new TCMS software and, if the test results are positive, we will begin documenting and implementing upgrades across the fleet this month.
Technicians on Line 1 trains
Dedicated technicians continue to be deployed on trains to respond to door, mechanical or system issues immediately. This deployment will continue at least until the end of December and further if necessary.
For the #reallybigservicechange, as with any network service change, we anticipate a two to three-week transition period during which customers and our operations adjust and stabilize. Some customers are changing their travel times and routes. We are monitoring all routes and tracking data and comments from Councillors, customers and staff. Based on the data and feedback, adjustments are being made where we see repetitive issues or areas of major concern.
R1 replacement bus service
In situations where rail service is disrupted for all or a segment of O-Train Line 1, R1 replacement bus service may be implemented. For planned service disruptions, preparations to implement R1 service will be done well in advance. Whereas for unplanned disruptions, the nature of the operational approach and decision to implement R1 service depends on various factors such as the time of day, frequency of the train service, and the nature of the disruption. Depending on the nature of the disruption, staff attempt to troubleshoot and resolve any issues and immediately begin preparations to implement R1 service, if required.
When trains can continue to operate along the line through the time of the disruption, by using a single-track for a portion of the line, and if that service provides enough capacity for all customers travelling at that time of day, then replacement bus service is typically not required. If after 15 minutes, the issue cannot be rectified, R1 service will be implemented. When R1 service is required, the replacement bus service will operate parallel to Line 1. Customers will find permanent R1 bus stops in close proximity to all Line 1 stations, audible announcements will be made to help direct customers and staff will be deployed to assist customers during a service disruption.
Blair Station Elevator
Many customers have provided feedback about the reliability of the original north-side elevator at Blair Station. Although this was not part of the Confederation Line construction project, staff are identifying the necessary funds to replace it with a modern elevator. Staff are working on plans and timelines and will provide further updates.
Staff in red vests
O-Train Ambassadors will continue to be deployed at Line 1 stations at least until December 2019, and further if necessary.
Suicide prevention messaging
Suicide and suicide prevention are important public health issues. We know the devastating impact it has on families and our community. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) supports suicide prevention efforts in the community, and OC Transpo has been working closely with OPH around suicide prevention for many years. With the launch of O-Train Line 1, OPH and OC Transpo, in partnership with the Ottawa Distress Centre, worked together to develop suicide prevention messages that are known to help someone in distress on or near an O-Train Line 1 platform. This messaging is being reinforced and supplemented by messaging on octranspo.com and on social media.
Nicholas Street lane closure, Saturday October 19
On Saturday, October 19 from 7 am until 4 pm, the Rideau Transit Group (RTG) will be closing the right-hand lane on Nicholas Street northbound between uOttawa Station and Laurier Avenue. The closure is required to safely remove temporary concrete barriers. Once the barriers are removed, RTG can begin work to realign a section of median on Nicholas near uOttawa Station as well as proceed with the reconnection of Waller Street to Nicholas Street, south of Laurier Avenue. This closure will not impact traffic movement through the Nicholas/Laurier intersection.