Ottawa

Proposed OC Transpo bus-route changes unveiled

OC Transpo unveiled details on Wednesday of sweeping changes that will affect 100 bus routes, in a strategy to save the transit company's budget more than $22 million a year.

OC Transpo unveiled details on Wednesday of sweeping changes that will affect 100 bus routes, in a strategy to save the transit company's budget more than $22 million a year.

The updated bus service, which is expected to affect tens of thousands of commuters, was billed by city officials as an "optimization" plan to fix costly inefficiencies.

Route changes

For a complete chart showing OC Transpo's proposed bus service changes, click here.

Included in the re-design is a plan that would merge about 80 different bus runs, as well as shorten 20 others and cut some hours of service.

The idea behind the bus network overhaul is to lower expenses while still transporting the same number of customers. To do so, it's necessary to cancel some service in off-peak hours.

"Certainly in terms of scale, this is the largest change we've ever contemplated in terms of re-designing the system," said Alain Mercier, the manager of OC Transpo.

Bus riders will experience the changes beginning in September, though they were informed about the forthcoming revamp weeks ago.

Unless the current transit system doesn't undergo changes, city officials warned, taxes would have to rise by at least an extra five per cent by 2016.

"We've been hearing from our taxpayers that they want OC Tranpso to be on a financially sustainable footing for the future," said Coun. Diane Deans. "That's a big part of this exercise."

The bus route changes will also mean more residents will have to face longer walks to bus stops. Some residents may also end up waiting longer for service during non-peak hours, which raised some concerns from some city councillors about how some teens might get home at night.

"Where are they going to go until the late bus goes?" asked Coun. Marianne Wilkinson. "If they're lucky, they to have a parent to come and get them, but that's a lot of pressure being put on families as well."

Still, OC Transpo has assured that more than 90 per cent of customers will not even notice the proposed changes.

The first of the public consultation sessions on the new routes is scheduled for next Tuesday.