After considerable public pressure, OC Transpo plans to reduce the number of buses along Scott and Albert streets by up to 18 per cent during peak periods when the detour for light rail work is in place from 2016-2018.
OC Transpo still needs the National Capital Commission's approval to divert out-of-service buses onto the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway.
In an emailed statement, an NCC spokesman said the NCC "is open to looking at such proposals to mitigate temporary traffic pressures resulting from construction of the LRT."
The NCC recently received a letter on the matter from the city, but it won't be decided on until a formal application for approval is submitted by the city.
OC Transpo also plans to end some express routes at Bay Street during the morning commute, rather than at LeBreton Station.
'This is as good as it gets,' councillor vows
Michael Powell, president of the Dalhousie Community Association, called the plan a good first step. He also said it took a lot of rallies and community pressure to get to this point, and that he wishes it could have been easier.
"It's certainly a step in the right direction, but it's not like one fifth of the buses have been removed from the entire corridor," Powell said. "We're still hoping for more, and so we're going to keep working at that. We think it's a good first step."
But Kitchissippi ward Coun. Katherine Hobbs says the city isn't planning to remove any more buses from the detour corridor.
"This is as good as it gets, and we're pleased that we're able to reduce about 500 buses a day, but we won't be looking at removing any more," she said. "That's what we told the community leaders this week and they said they were pleased with that direction."
Reductions differ throughout corridor
If approved, the two measures would see daily peak reductions of:
- 267 fewer buses west of City Centre Avenue (a 14 per cent reduction during peak periods).
- 348 fewer buses between City Centre Avenue and Preston Street (an 18 per cent reduction during peak periods).
- 133 fewer buses east of Preston Street (a seven per cent reduction during peak periods).
OC Transpo also plans to get more double-decker and articulated buses to move more people with fewer vehicles.
"In addition, other opportunities to reduce bus volumes on the detour will be constantly pursued through OC Transpo’s regular service adjustment process, using the Transitway as long as possible before starting detouring, and by encouraging transit customers to take the O-Train," according to a news release.
"None of these measures will reduce total transit capacity or connectivity for customers," the release said.
Between 2016 and 2018 buses will be detoured off the Transitway — from Tunney’s Pasture to the downtown — and onto Scott and Albert streets to allow for the construction of the Confederation Line.
Further details, including the final design of the roadway, will be presented at a public meeting on June 16 from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Tom Brown Arena.