OC Transpo riders singing the full bus blues

Riders who rely on OC Transpo's 200-series routes say they're frustrated over long waits for buses that sometimes show up so packed with passengers they can't get on.

Heavy traffic, poor weather contributing to problem, transit agency says

David Ayele said he often has to cram onto packed buses for his commute between downtown and Stittsville. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Riders who rely on OC Transpo's 200-series routes say they're frustrated over long waits for buses that sometimes show up so packed with passengers they can't get on.

Jon Moore, who rides Route 268 between Kanata and downtown, said he's seen cancelled runs replaced with shorter vehicles and full buses that just pass him by.

"It seems to be even worse than what's typical," Moore said as he waited on Albert Street.

"The bus is packed right up to the driver. You know that driver ain't stopping. He can't fit any more people in there … It's just maddening."

David Ayele travels to and from Stittsville and has begun dreading his commute.

"It's the part of the day I look least forward to," he said.

"Everyone's kind of frustrated. Getting off the bus is a hassle. It's not a pleasant place to be."

City councillors Jan Harder and Glen Gower have also shared their constituents' frustration about the long waits and full buses.

Buses face 'citywide' traffic

Troy Charter, the city's director of transit operations, said the recent issues have coincided with traffic and bad weather. 

"You're seeing some traffic delays that are running citywide," he said.

Those problems can compound on longer routes to suburbs and as drivers switch between routes, he said.

"The first trip runs a little behind schedule, the next trip a little bit more and our buses — as they get from the end of one route to the start of the next — they're in that traffic."

Tory Charter, OC Transpo's director of transit operations, said commuters should call customer service when they notice service disruptions so it the transit agency can respond. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Charter said buses are back on regular service after the holidays, with about 800 buses running during peak times.

He said layoffs linked to the opening of the LRT have not yet taken effect.

Passengers should contact customer service so the transit agency can respond, he said.

He said OC Transpo coordinates with police and the city's traffic department during bad weather to prioritize its vehicles.

The transit agency also places buses strategically throughout the city so they can be deployed if vehicles are trapped behind a collision or other disruption, he said.