Confederation Line earns failing grade

On Thursday, we asked you to grade your experience with Ottawa's new Confederation Line. You did not hold back.

This is the kind of report card some of us used to hide from our parents

A man watches Rideau station whisk by as he rides Ottawa's Confederation LRT line on Sept. 14, 2019, the first day it was in service. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

On Thursday, we asked you to grade your experience with Ottawa's new Confederation Line. You did not hold back.

We received more than 300 comments through our website, social media feeds and email, and they're still rolling in.

The most common grade so far? A big fat F, according to nearly half of you. Many of you didn't feel that was harsh enough, so you awarded the LRT an F minus.

D was the next most common mark.

It probably didn't help that the light rail line experienced three major glitches in the last 24 hours.

A sample of your comments

Here's a taste of what you had to say. Some submissions have been edited for length and clarity.

Phoenix on Wheels. — Cliff

The goal of the LRT was to make moving about the city easier and reduce traffic. Neither of these things have happened. — Elaine (F)

That the trains are crowded during rush hour is actually a sign that the train is being used. If you've been on the Metro in Montreal or the TTC in Toronto, this is normal. All things considered Ottawa transit riders are going through an adaptation process and will, hopefully, appreciate having a LRT network. Now if only the bus network was efficient … — Mark (C+)

I appreciate other people's experience has been different but I love it. I live in Alta Vista and the new system easily saves me five to 10 minutes commuting time in the morning and 10 to 15 minutes in the afternoon. — Richard (A-)

At Blair station, the old walkway bridge is extremely crowded when a full train unloads. There is no signage indicating people should keep to one side or the other, so I am frequently met with a wall of people coming in the opposite direction. It's like swimming against rapids. Same thing happens at Parliament, where the designers obviously never watched Ghostbusters: as Egon said "It's vitally important not to cross the streams". — Kenneth (B)

I have to say that this is a real win for the LRT, the trains get a solid B+.  The lack of better spaced out poles or handles for the folks standing is a head scratcher and keeps them from getting an A.  This leads to a jam of people at the doors. — Kevin (C-)

I am a senior and have to use public transit, but this new system is of no use to me. Too many stairs, too great a distance to walk everywhere. On Toronto's GO system I am well served and safe. — Marilyn (F)

I would commend the operators. They are doing their utmost to once again make the best of management's terrible decisions. We should have a driver appreciation event because they are the front line. They take the abuse and the negativity …Your article will no doubt be negative, but let's recognize the great work of the bus operators! — Katharine (C)

I was more than thrilled when on opening day (a weekend) I was able to travel from my Old Ottawa East address (Lees) to my Queen St. desk (door-to-door) in under nine minutes, and comfortably seated!  It never happened a second time, and now I feel like I have to abandon my humanity temporarily each and every time I use it. — Vance (F)

My grades are:
A for "A" good idea
B for "Bad" doors and shame for forgetting "Barrhaven"
C for "Crazy" amount of time until launch and huge "Cost" overruns
D for too many "Delays"
E for lack of "Effort" from staff to be honest with the public
F for "Failed" communications!

W for "WAIT until winter"
Y "You aint seen nothing YET"

Others: A+++ (1) F+ (2), F- (16), "what's below an F?" (3) Z- (1)

Answers came from comments on the story, emails, tweets mentioning @CBCOttawa and comments on our Facebook page within 24 hours of the request for grades.

Not everyone who submitted a response included a letter grade.

This is not a scientific poll.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.