As part of OC Transpo’s five-year roadmap, the bus route review was launched in January 2023 to examine and confirm service planning principles, prepare for the opening of O-Train Lines 2 and 4, and determine a network design that meets the evolving needs of our customers.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing work-from-home policies of employers, it was necessary to conduct the bus route review process in response to noticeable changes in customers’ travel patterns. The current bus network was designed to carry 100 million passengers each year. However, with recent ridership trends, OC Transpo is currently on track to carry 70 to 75 million customer-trips in 2024.
The new bus route network, outlined in the report to the Transit Commission to be considered on November 14, responds to these changes in travel patterns and ridership, the needs of customers, and ensures that a sustainable network is implemented to improve service reliability to 99.5%. Improving service reliability is key to building and maintaining a public transit system that customers and residents can have confidence in. The service reliability target of 99.5% means that out of approximately 8,000 trips delivered each weekday, no more than 40 trips would be cancelled in a single day.
Customers across the city would see a range of improvements and changes to their trips when the new bus network is implemented in Spring 2024. Changes include the recalibration of capacity from downtown-focused commuter routes to routes that improve connectivity to community hubs such as transit stations and grocery stores, faster travel times for customers who can take advantage of new O-Train Lines 2 and 4, routes changing where ridership is currently low, and, in some instances, a longer walking distance or an additional transfer. OC Transpo’s number of bus service hours will change from approximately 2.111 million hours this year to 2.037 million service hours next year, a difference of 74,000 hours per year, or 3.5%.
For customers who currently use 200-series Connexion routes during weekday peak periods to connect directly to O-Train stations, other routes would provide these areas with local service to connect them to frequent, reliable main routes that in most cases will run every 15 minutes. These main routes will provide access to the Transitway and O-Train stations and destinations across the City.
Further information will be provided at the Transit Commission meeting on November 14, where staff will also be able answer any additional questions.