Ottawa

LRT to lengthen some commutes, residents discover

Many OC Transpo riders who attended a meeting on changing bus routes Monday were disappointed to discover the opening of the Confederation Line will actually make their commutes longer, not shorter.

Bus route changes coming into effect Oct. 6, 3 weeks after Confederation Line opens

An O-Train is tested along the Confederation Line at Hurdman station July 17, 2019. The Confederation Line is set to open on Saturday, Sept. 14. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Many OC Transpo riders who attended a meeting on changing bus routes Monday were disappointed to discover the opening of the Confederation Line will actually make their commutes longer, not shorter.

Around 40 people from the Bay, Knoxdale-Merivale, and River wards west of downtown turned up at the Alexander Community Centre to learn how the new Confederation Line would affect their trips.

For many of those users, buses will funnel them onto the LRT at its western end, Tunney's Pasture station, after the Confederation Line officially opens Sept. 14.

Buses will stay on their routes and schedules for a three week adjustment period before changing to funnel passengers to the new rail line on Sunday, Oct. 6, no longer going downtown in many cases.

"People think the O-Train is going to be terrific for everyone and it's not," said Pamela Connolly who lives in the Carlington neighbourhood.

Pamela Connolly worries the time it will take her to get to different activities will increase significantly once bus Route 14 changes after the Confederation Line starts moving in mid-September. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

She rides the Route 14 bus daily to places such as her local senior's centre, which takes about 30 minutes door-to-door.

But that bus route is set to change in October, forcing her to take a bus, the LRT and another bus.

"If I have to change two or three times, my God, I don't know what time I'll get there," she said.

She feels residents weren't properly consulted about the changes.

The number of buses Céline Fletcher will have to take to get from the Meadowlands Drive and Merivale Road area of the city to her office in Gatineau, Que., will decrease by one — from three to two — but she believes her commute time will increase.

That's because she said the transfer time between buses is only about two minutes, which may not be feasible in the winter.

Céline Fletcher worries her commute to work in Gatineau , Que., will become more complicated with the launch of the LRT even though the number of buses she'll have to take will decrease. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

"I feel frustrated; I don't find the planning has been done with those actually using the bus [in mind]," she said.

"The transfers do not match up. So, it is not … a seamless sort of system."

Longer commutes won't be the norm for most OC Transpo riders within the inner city, said River Coun. Riley Brockington.

That's because he said the LRT won't have to deal with the same challenges buses do on a daily basis, from traffic to construction to weather.

However, snow may still pose problems for the LRT as a city report earlier this year showed.

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