Ottawa

Students writing exams stressed out by LRT delays

As midterm season begins, some University of Ottawa students say they're worried about the new light rail network's ability to get them to their exams on time.

University of Ottawa says students should plan ahead like any other commuter

Sagal Olhaye, a fourth-year biochemistry student at the University of Ottawa, said she was caught in Tuesday's LRT delay at Hurdman station. The university is urging students writing midterms in the coming days to 'plan accordingly' if they're taking light rail. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

As midterm season begins, some University of Ottawa students say they're worried about the new light rail network's ability to get them to their exams on time.

There have been serious delays on three of the first four mornings of dedicated LRT service. OC Transpo said the Tuesday and Wednesday delays were caused by jammed train doors, while the cause of Thursday's incident was a problem with an on-board computer.

Sagal Olhaye, a fourth-year biochemstry student, commutes from Orléans and got caught in the train delays Tuesday morning as she was heading to a bio-ethics mid-term.

"I honestly wasn't thinking. I was panicking the whole time," she said. "I was calling my friend, my dad. I was going to email the professor."

Sagal Olhaye and Vincent Kelly say they're worried about getting to campus on time for midterms, job interviews and lectures.  0:47

'Nothing you could do'

She said she made it to the exam 20 minutes late, and felt there was little she could do to get there sooner.

"I tried to catch the earliest train as possible, but that was the first train that actually got delayed. And that delayed every other train behind it," she said.

"There was really nothing you could do at that point other than call an Uber from Hurdman."

Vincent Kelly, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Ottawa, says he won't rely on the LRT for his midterm exam on Thursday after being caught in a recent delay. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Mechanical engineering student Vincent Kelly was caught in Wednesday's delay. He said he's frustrated the city has decided to funnel all transit traffic through the core on LRT, instead of keeping some buses running. 

"If I had a midterm this morning I feel like there literally would've been no way for me to get [there] on time, even if I was early to Lyon," he said. "It took me 40 minutes to walk [to campus]."

He said he planned to take his bike Thursday morning to make sure he got to his exam on time.

'Plan accordingly'

Both Olhaye and Kelly said they'd like the university to be understanding when students get caught up in these delays.

In a statement, the University of Ottawa said its students are aware of potential LRT delays and recommended "they plan accordingly."

Carleton University, which is served by the Trillium Line of the O-Train, said course instructors handle midterm accommodations on a case-by-case basis.

A university spokesperson said students need to approach their instructors in those situations.

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