Sunday, March 9, 2008

Bus in the snow

I learned four things about Ottawa's transit system while trying to get downtown from Kanata this morning (after 50 cm of snow over the last 24 hours):
  1. Local routes don't work: Local routes need to be re-planned. There has to be a reasonable way for people to get from their houses to main stations, and it can't be one bus every 30-60 minutes.
  2. 560-1000 needs to be accurate: If I dial the 560-1000 information number to find out when the next bus will arrive, the time I'm given needs to be accurate. If not, the service is actually a disservice, because it wastes my time. If the number tells me a bus will arrive in 32 minutes, it should arrive in that time; if that run is cancelled and the next bus will in reality arrive in 62 minutes, tell me that so I can go to Tim Horton's and sit down with a coffee while I wait.
  3. Light-rail transit downtown needs to be in a tunnel: The O-Train service was suspended today, for several hours during the day. Because of the snow. The effects of this were likely not as bad as they could have been because it's Sunday, but trains can't be late if they're getting people to work. By tunneling underground, we get around the insane snow problem.
  4. The Transitway is awesome: After my 96 lost control of its steering, I was able to jump onto the next bus--which happened to be a 97--and it brought me along the same route into downtown, which was great.
I also learned that snowpants are a good idea, and that wool socks are heaven-sent. But those aren't really transit-related, so...

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