Ottawa

L(onge)R T(ravel times): New trip planner shows some will be longer

OC Transpo riders are getting a glimpse of what their commutes will be like when the Confederation Line finally starts running — and some won't like what they see.

Online planner shows some longer trips, some shorter trips and some unchanged trips

One example from a new travel planner sees both morning and afternoon commutes getting longer from Trim station in east Ottawa once the Confederation Line is operating. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

OC Transpo riders are getting a better idea of how their commutes will change when light rail is finally running.

A new travel planner has been launched on OC Transpo's website, which shows what will be different once the east-west Confederation Line opens between Tunney's Pasture and Blair stations.

The planner suggests a mixed bag of impacts, with trains replacing buses in Ottawa's downtown making some trips longer, some shorter and some not much different at all.

Trim trip lengthened

For example, taking public transit from Eagleson station in Kanata to Parliament station on Queen Street downtown would go from a 37-minute trip, if you left at 8 a.m. on a weekday, to a 34-minute trip.

The return ride at 5 p.m. would go from 37 to 44 minutes.

An 8 a.m. weekday departure from Trim station in Orléans would become a 47-minute trip, up from a 36-minute trip, and the return journey would become 53 minutes, about nine minutes more than it currently takes.

Many trips will also require a transfer from a bus to a train at Tunney's Pasture or Blair. 

A sample trip from the travel planner, showing a light-rail journey to Eagleson station. (OC Transpo)

Transit commission vice-chair Coun. Jean Clouthier told Radio-Canada the train will be more comfortable and more reliable than buses, though it won't be faster for everyone.

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury said the next phase of light rail will go further east, west and south into the suburbs, and that trip times should improve.

"We have to do Phase 1 to then get to Phase 2, which is really where you're going to see those improvements," he said.

"You're going to jump on your local bus, you're going to get in a sweet spot outside your residential area where you're going to commute right into downtown."

One potential wrinkle: the Progressive Conservative government said this week it's still reviewing the $1 billion Phase 2 funding request the previous Liberal government committed to in writing.

The Phase 2 project is supposed to start construction this summer and be finished by 2023.

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