OC Transpo is launching a pilot project that will restore some service to bus routes lost during last year's cuts.

The transit operator announced the restoration of some elements of four routes, added one new route and added more buses and altered schedules for other routes in an effort to improve reliability and provide better access to health care, access to people with limited transit access, seniors and youth.

The improvements would begin in late December.

The changes include:

  • Overnight service seven days a week on Route 106 (Elmvale - Hurdman), connecting downtown with CHEO and the Ottawa Hospital, General Campus.
  • Four additional round-trips Saturdays and Sundays on Route 116 (Greenboro & Hurdman - Merivale), serving the Hunt Club/Riverside commercial area and the Auriga/Antares employment area.
  • Limited service on Route 87 (South Keys - Baseline) connecting Mooney's Bay with Billings Bridge Station and Hurdman Station.
  • Limited Saturday and Sunday service on Route 171 (Fallowfield - Barrhaven Centre) in the central part of Barrhaven.
  • A new Route 153 increasing service between Lincoln Fields Station and Carlingwood via McEwen, Ambleside, and Woodroffe.

OC Transpo also said as part of the pilot project one new trip will be added on Routes 5 (Billings Bridge - St. Laurent) and 93 (Lincoln Fields - Kanata North/LeBreton) on weekends and higher capacity buses will be assigned to Route 87 on weekends. Other schedule changes will be made to 16 other routes to improve reliability.

Manconi said Wednesday the pilot should restore some service affected by last year's cutbacks.

"It's a mix … it's portions of routes and some innovative things that we want to try," said Manconi.

Ottawa's transit service made $20 million in cuts in 2011 — cancelling several routes and reducing or merging many others — angering many commuters who relied on the service.

The pilot is part of $500,000 set aside to help restore some of the service lost last year, with the hope to improve service by April 2013.

The transit budget for 2013 will go before council next month. If council passes it, fares are expected to go up 2.5 per cent on average by July 2013.