OC Transpo publishes key metrics after 7-year lull

After a seven-year hiatus, OC Transpo has started providing the public with regular updates again on how many people are taking transit, how often buses are late, and other key metrics.

1st round of data includes the unusual year in which COVID-19 decimated ridership

OC Transpo is once again publishing scorecards about its performance on indicators as ridership and reliability. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

After a seven-year hiatus, OC Transpo has started providing the public with regular updates again on how many people are taking transit, how often buses are late, and other key metrics.

The agency used to publish reports about its performance every quarter but stopped in 2014 for construction of the Confederation Line, which opened in September 2019. It said it would come up with new performance indicators to track once the system relaunched with LRT as its spine.

"It's good to see data, it's been a long time coming" said Coun. Riley Brockington, who had a successful motion at city council in 2019 calling for OC Transpo to resume its data reports. "It's a good first start."

Earlier this year, the commission approved nearly a dozen measurements for staff to report on twice annually, covering areas such as ridership, OC Transpo's response times for customers, and how often buses, trains and Para Transpo arrive on time.

The contents of the first report include many statistics for 2020, a year that will be difficult to use as a comparison in future years given the major impacts of COVID-19.

It showed ridership for the year was 58 per cent lower than in 2019, and OC Transpo had far fewer contacts with its customers.

Data showed that in 2019 before the pandemic, the average time to respond to a customer call was 47 minutes, which citizen commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert called "ridiculously slow." Most of those phone calls were for bookings on Para Transpo, a system customers have long complained about. The transit department is now implementing online booking

Commissioners also questioned the customer injury rate, which only captures incidents so severe that people are taken to hospital. Commissioners said that would leave out everything from slips and falls to harassment, which could help provide a fuller picture of safety on OC Transpo.

Transit staff said in future reports they would look to include lesser injuries in which paramedics are called. They would also include data on criminal code offences.

In addition to reports to the transit commission, OC Transpo plans to publish monthly scorecards on its website.

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Kate Porter


Kate Porter covers municipal affairs for CBC Ottawa. Over the past two decades, she has also produced in-depth reports for radio, web and TV, regularly presented the radio news, and covered the arts beat.

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