Monday morning a tale of 2 commutes in Ottawa
LRT garners positive reviews, but bus changes leave passengers fuming
The wheels on the buses had barely started rolling Monday morning when the complaints started rolling in, too.
It was the first "real" test of Ottawa's new transit reality, when parallel bus routes that have been running since the LRT launch last month suddenly stopped short of downtown, forcing commuters to transfer onto trains whether they wanted to or not.
On this, the first morning commute under the new system, passengers let loose with stories of woe, including long waits for buses so packed that some just whizzed by crowded suburban stops without slowing.
"It was horrible, absolutely terrible. I come from Orléans. They had like three times as many people on the bus. [It was] so crowded [you] can't even think, can't even walk," said Sonya Rawlings, who was waiting for the LRT at Blair station Monday morning.
"It totally sucks. I absolutely hate it."
People also voiced their displeasure on social media.
Bus # 235 was a no show. The next one was packed and could not get on !!!!—@SusanBirb
Yeah pretty much. Haven’t seen it that bad in over a year for a morning commute though. Bus was full before we hit the first quarter of the Orléans route.—@Franguil
Unrelated to the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ReallyBigServiceChange?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ReallyBigServiceChange</a> but waited 30min for my bus, smallest possible one showed up filled within 10 stops, now running though 80% of stops without stopping. I’m lucky because I’m at the start of the route. I feel for the huge amount of people kept waiting.—@Franguil
Kanata resident Rachel Sinnett used to take a single bus to her downtwon office. On Monday, she had to get off at Tunney's Pasture, then take the train the rest of the way to Parliament station.
She said the second part of the journey went better than the first.
"Two of my busses didn't show. But when it did, I got here fairly quickly."
Sinnett said the switch has added about 10 minutes to her morning commute, including a longer walk from the LRT station to her building.
It's easy. I love it.- Gerri-Gail Stojanowski
Nancy Yakibchuk, who commutes from her home in Orléans, believes the Confederation Line is fine for people living closer to the downtown core, but a serious disadvantage for suburban commuters like her.
"It's good for the city, for the people who are locally here, but when you're outskirts, I still [have to travel] my inner neighbourhood before I even get to Blair [station], and then from Blair, get off and take the whole train and then walk further to get to my office," Yakibchuk said.
"Usually I would get my bus to downtown [in] 35 minutes. Now we're almost 45 [minutes] and I still haven't arrived at work yet."
Not all bad
Others found their commute significantly improved Monday.
"It used to take me about an hour and a half to get home, taking three buses, transferring, and with all the delays sometimes it would take even longer, especially during rush hour," said Joshua McCormick.
"But with the train, I mean, you escape all that downtown traffic."
McCormick said his trip has now been reduced by about 20 minutes.
"It's easy. I love it," said Gerri-Gail Stojanowski, who travelled from her home near the Queensway-Carleton Hospital in Nepean to the city's core.
"It just went so smooth," said Mary Gratton. "It was just awesome."
With files from Audrey Roy and Jean-François Poudrier