Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2009 Budgetary recommendation for transit released

A 2009 draft budget (click here for a .PDF) for the City of Ottawa was submitted to City Council today, featuring a number of service changes, including both increases and cuts.

The changes were made with the council-directed objective of increasing the amount of transit costs recovered through user fees to 55 per cent, rather than the current 50 per cent. To do so, a number of "lowest ridership per dollar of operating cost" routes were cut, in some instances severely, and in some instances entirely. According to the draft budget:
These possible transit service reductions have been identified as the way to reduce the transit budget with the least possible impact on transit customers, transit ridership levels, and revenue from transit customers’ fares. Under these options, the tax requirement to fund transit services would stay constant at 2008 levels. Implementation of these options, as described in greater detail in Table 1, would generate net savings for 2009 of $6.99 million and $3.03 million in 2010.
The budget also included provisions for increasing existing service overall service by 5 per cent, and increasing Para Transpo service by 1 per cent. Service improvements, taken directly from the draft budget, include the following:
* Opening of the West Transitway between Pinecrest and Bayshore,
* Opening of new Park and Ride lots at Millennium, Chapel Hill, Leitrim, and Riverview,
* 24-hour service on the Transitway on Route 95, and earlier and later service to the airport on Route 97,
* Reliable 15-minute service at busy times on major routes such as Routes 86, 101, 106, and 118,
* More frequent service on busy routes at peak times, and
* Service to the new RCMP headquarters in Barrhaven.
That 24-hour service for route 95 is a very positive, and much-anticipated, change.

These changes should, according to the budget, increase overall ridership by 6 per cent and costs by 8.4 per cent. And, as a result of fare increases and higher-ridership on existing buses, revenue from customer fares should increase by 15.5 per cent.

Reduced-service routes would those numbered be as follows: 5, 6, 16, 18, 87, 97, 101, 105, 116, 127, 128, 131, 136, 137, 141, 142, 146, 147, 149, 151, 152, 154, 156, 165, 166, 171, 173, 174, 178.

And the routes cut entirely would be: 23, 25, 43, 51, 55, 102, 117, 153, 167, 169, 181, 193, 306.

You can see the full reasoning behind those route cuts in the original document, which can be found here. How do you feel the service changes will affect your transit experience in Ottawa?

(via LiveJournal's OC Transpo Community)

27 comments:

ottawaproject said...

While I'm glad to hear the 95 is getting 24-hour service, I'm disappointed at all the cuts to local routes. Many of those run pretty infrequently as it is, and I worry that if they're cut even further that it might draw people who don't live right next to the Transitway away from OC Transpo.

Anonymous said...

I can't understand why OC Transpo would propose to cancel the 117 because of "low ridership". The 117 is always packed full whenever I am on it. Frequently, the bus has to pass stops by because it is so busy. The 117 transports hundreds of students to Carleton each day - many students move out to Nepean just for this bus route.

Anonymous said...

I think the people that making the determination as to what routes are cancelled do not take the bus at all, otherwise they would know that low ridership on route 23 (and probably others) is not the issue. In the mornings, the buses are packed, there are days when I am lucky to get a seat. In the evening it is even more packed, I am definitely standing. Sometimes they don't come at all in the evenings. Also, I notice that after 5:00 in the evenings, the 23 comes earlier than it should, when you don't stick to a schedule, how can have consistent ridership? Or if you don't send out a bus and have passengers stranded, how can you take statistics? Sabotage maybe? I noticed that they are improving the transitway routes and times, etc. but when people don't have their second bus to catch because it was cancelled, do you think they are going to take transit at all?!?! Hello!?
I think they picked numbers out of a hat, this sounds totally random. I have lost all faith in the transit system.
Don't forget how you make your money.....off of CUSTOMERS!!
And don't forget all of the extra money you'll be earning from express passes that will have to be canclled....

Anonymous said...

As mentionned by another user above, bus # 23 is far from having a low ridership. This proposal is ridiculous. An entire neighborhood (Chapel Hill South) wouldn't have access to any Express nor regular route should the 23 disappear. This is an outrage.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that the city will be cancelling Bus 23 because of low ridership. The bus is packed all the time! I am taking the bus at different times and it is always packed. Plus, we are paying express bus fees - which were increased last July. The gas prices are going down (oil under $50 dollars now).. What savings is the city talking about? The whole neighborhood of Chapel Hill south will not have access to public transportation. This is unbelievable. And we are living in the capital of Canada. Does the city want more traffic on Innes since everybody will start taking their cars? It is already jam packed most of the time. Creat more pollution, more cars, more traffic.

Peter said...

I understand the frustration with route cuts; my only advice (as well as continuing to comment on this site and making your voice heard!) is to contact your councillor, and perhaps others, with the points that you've made regarding the routes being cut.

Peter said...

Actually, that wasn't my only advice; there are all sorts of ways that you can get involved in the decision-making process, and you can find more out about them here: http://www.ottawa.ca/city_hall/budget/budget_2009/contact_get_involved_en.html.

Of special note are the public consultations, and here is a list of dates for them.

Christopher Arnold said...

With gas prices rocketing southward, is there really a budget crisis associated with bus service? Every forward thinking society on the planet is trying everything they can to get MORE people on the bus, not cancelling routes! This is absolutely wrong headed. Think of the mobility challenged, having to walk much further to access transit. I also share the frustration of another person who posted here - that often the bus just doesn't come at all. The Eastbound route is often resourced with buses coming off some other far-flung route (like Kanata) and gets stuck on the Qway! Buy more buses already! Good service will guarantee ridership.

Anonymous said...

As a new transit user since September, I was actually impressed with the usefulness and effectiveness of the service.

Using OCTranspo is not without it's hiccups. Late sometimes, a few occasions where the scheduled bus did not show.

However removing the 23 would be a great dis-service to the people of Chapel-Hill South community and of Orleans. With reduced efficient routes, more cars would be on the road and create more bottle necks.

If anything, I see this route has getting an expanded bus, as the regular buses are always at capacity. (depending on how you quantify capacity) Morning or evening trips with people standing are the norm not the exception.

Route 23 is well used and of great service. Increase bus service, reduce clogged roads!

Phil Staal said...

If the #23 bus is eliminated, my only reasonable alternative is going to be to drive to work. The other bus routes take at least three times as long as driving, or don't run early enough to get me to work on time, or require rural express fare. Park and Ride would be useless -- if I have to go to the trouble of clearing the snow off the car, and driving to a park and ride a couple of kilometres away I might as well drive another fifteen minutes to work. My wife already has to drive to work here in Orleans because the local bus routes are so infrequent and uncoordinated that it takes at least four times as long to take the bus as to drive (at least one hour versus 15 minutes by car). My son found a more creative solution -- he lives with a girlfriend who lives downtown so he doesn't need to commute. My wife would probably object to me using this solution...

Anonymous said...

I won't be able to get to work or school without the 23....not great thinking on the city's part

mikepapa said...

If it ain't broke don't fix it. The 23 bus route is well-used and buses are frequently full, with standing room only. Making cuts to this services seems odd. Either OCtranspo will have to add additional services elsewhere (as the 94 is already at capacity during peak hours) or bear the brunt of additional congestion, which will degrade the quality of service on other routes, or both.

Jennifer Hooper said...

I have a 23 Express stop in front of my house and consistently there are atleast 6 people or more waiting at the stop per trip. I use the 23 to get to work downtown and back (I use an EcoPass) and I'm confused by the claim that the 23 has "low ridership" and needs to be cancelled. I have never been on the 23 and seen empty seats. Almost always, people at some point are standing; more so in the winter. What classifies as low ridership then? Are they using the "95 cattlecar" for comparison? Who was taking this survey, what day and on which 23 trip? Taking away the ONLY Express bus to a community is not a smart move, especially in the East end which is an enormously growing community.
If they want to put in a park-in-ride in the south east, fine. That would benefit people that live in the far east (ie. Past Cumberland for example) who would want to take advantage of our south east Express routes. However, Chapel Hill South is in the far West of the city, closest to the highway. Why in the world would they even consider removing the only Express route (NON-low ridership) in that community?
I hope the people who proposed this lame idea will reconsider.

Anonymous said...

OMG! What is going on?
The 23 is an absolute great and essential service to travel to-from the core. we balance our work and personal life with this great service.

Lets NOT PAY our taxes in Chapel Hill South and protest at city hall.

Anonymous said...

Cutting the 166 is pretty much cutting the lifeline for Bells Corners residents. The only route left to go anywhere during evenings/Sunday will be the 118 -- which means a good 20 minutes extra for any Eastward trip.

This is getting to a point where one doesn't wonder if OC Transpo care about its ridership anymore, but rather if they aren't actively trying to make public transport as impractical as possible.

Anonymous said...

It has taken years for the citizens of Chapel Hill South to upgrade to a full service provided by #23, from the old #28 which used to travel through Blackburn Hamlet. Even the times the expanded buses travel on this route they are packed to capacity.

I would shudder to think where the so-called ridership numbers seem to be coming from.

Great cities are defined by the quality of life they provide to its citizens, which among other things includes and excellent transit system.

I realize that the #23, like most bus routes on OC Transpo are only a one-way, peak-time service. Toronto has the Go-Train, for instance, besides the subway. OC Transpo has it's quirks with not being on time, even running early, missing trips, etc.

But all said and done, for this community the #23 is the one and ONLY peak-time bus service with no overlap from any other bus route, unlike some other more fortunate places.

Ottawa has so many great things going for it, so PLEASE DO NOT DISENFRANCHISE ITS (VOTERS AND MUNICIPAL, TAX-PAYING) CITIZENS.

BD said...

Please DO NOT CANCEL ROUTE 23... For Chapel Hill South, this express service is VERY, very well needed. Myself, I have been able to use it for over 11 yrs.

If we have had it for many years, why cut it now, this area has grown so much and will continue to do so... It just does not make any sense.

If the 23 wouldn't exist now, I'd not only have to walk for at least 15 minutes in order to take an alternate bus; but also, I'd take more than one hour to get to work because the alternate buses do not come too often and they provide a long, unnecessary ride. Please consider that they are also usually quite crowded already and if you add all the people who usually take the Route 23, it would be even worse.

Please consider all these issues into consideration before doing something with no sense.

Jocelyn said...

When I heard about the plan to cancell Route 23 I thought it was a joke... but it is not a joke... I just can't beleive it. I take this bus in the morning at Silverbirch Park and it is rare that I can get a seat. Don't tell me this route is not busy... This is an INSULT to the Chapell Hill Community... It would be interesting to know how much we collectively pay from our taxes for OC Transpo! Anyway, I'm sure that we will all remember this insult at the next municipal elections.

Anonymous said...

HATE the idea! It'd bad enough that half the time the 23 doesn't how up on time, maybe THAT's why your ridership count is so low!! Sounds like a sneaky little trick my little sister would try to pull. You loose profit from every single rider if you cancel the 23 because I'm 100% it's the only reason they buy an express pass!! Many of those riders are adults which might be perfectly happy driving to work instead of waiting in the cold for a bus that has a 50% chance of showing up, only to have to stand up to get to where they want to know. I see a lot of high school kids on that bus, and I'm not sure the parents will be too thrilled if their children have to walk 10 or 15 minutes to the 94 (seeing as it's hard enough to get them ready on time!)
This is an absolutely ridiculous idea and I'd love to come face to face with the person or people who proposed it. Perhaps would could change places and then I could have them tell me what it's like to travel to two jobs and university WITHOUT the added support of an express bus route.

Anja said...

A 24h bus route across town? Brilliant idea.

However:
> Route 166 - Service removed
> Monday-Saturday evenings, Sunday all
> day

Excuse me? So, they're in effect imposing a curfew on Bells Corners. When does evening start? Are we going to make it home from work? What about evening classes? Church, practice, or shopping on Sundays? Visiting someone in hospital? Or, God forbid, those of us who work weekends?
Take it or sell your house and move somewhere else (where bus services will then be cut in 2010)? Get a car?
Hello? Council? Anybody home?
We have a guest room - I invite the decision makers to come stay with us and try their own medicine for the next six months and see what their life is going to look like.

Anonymous said...

All the proposed cuts are nonsense. Cutting weekend service to local areas, cutting Route 101 to almost just rush-hour.

Have you noticed they are almost the same identical cuts then last year, the batch which they've added on top of other proposed near or all-weekend cuts on routes 4, 111, 116, 125, 135, 144, 145 and 172. Only those 8 routes have not returned on the chopping block.

Makes even less sense to cut with the recent spectacular drop in fuel costs and with more and more people having financial problems.

Anonymous said...

I think cutting the 23 is a bad idea. I wonder where they get the "low ridership"numbers. Cutting the 23 but expanding the 95 to 24 hours service. And don't tell me that there is high ridership on the 95 at 2a.m. Every time I take the 23, that is every day back and forth from school, it's full. Now, to get there on time, I will need to leave at 6:55 A.M. to catch the 94 on time to get the school route 604at Hurdman and be at school for 8:45. And that is if there is room for me on the 94 which is questionable.

What kind of message is the city sending about the environment? Cutting buses just means more cars on the road.

Please reverse your decision and keep the 23!

Anonymous said...

This is absurd! I don't take the other buses that will be cancelled but I take the 117 twice a day and have never seen it close to empty. I am lucky to get a seat when I get on, even departing campus at 10:00 pm. I just moved here in September and was told great things about Ottawa's transit system, now I am highly disappointed. How can you justify this move to the people of Ottawa, extending services for some but cancelling it completely for others who use it and need it just as much?

Anonymous said...

I am from Toronto and Ottawa’s public transportation system is delinquent in comparison. Initially, I choose to live on Meadowlands due to the 117, however, if this route is cancelled I will need to spend at least one hour on commuting and the incontinence will be grave. Furthermore, I am not sure how the capital of Canada is in Ottawa; frankly, it is an embarrassment to Canadians and the city is not reflective of good Canadian governance and diversity. I would never consider further graduate studies simply because of the public transportation system. Toronto, here I come!

Outraged said...

It is preposterous to consider cancelling routes 51 and 55. Many neighbourhoods, not even far from downtown (Central park, Copeland park, part of Carlington) will be left with no direct downtown service. Local routes like the 151 and 156 are insane milk runs- not an option (maybe for seniors with time on their hands). Driving to work will be all the more attractive. The city seems clueless...wal mart is building a huge "smart center" at the corner of Clyde and Baseline...a busy area to begin with...and the only bus is the 118?!? It goes nowhere fast, and not downtown. The 51 and 55 are essential and are often very busy, the 55 is even articulated some times!!! Where did they get these ridership numbers?!?

Anonymous said...

I'm a university student and I rely on the #23 bus every morning and night. It's horrible and outrageous to do such a thing!! This bus is always full so I don't see how it would make any sense to cancel this bus route because so many teenagers and adults need this bus to get to work and school, plus it would put more cars on the road.

The 23 is the only bus Chapel Hill residents have that goes straight downtown and the 94 bus on Innes (that is 15-20 minutes away walking distance from my house) won't be convenient for me and a lot of other people get to school and work on time.

PLEASE keep the 23!!!

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, the people of the city matter very little to it's mayor and councilors. They do not rely on public transportation, thus do not feel its worth as a public good.

The green-shift is not a profitable concept in O-town. More cars, more gas, more winter tires, more CAA memberships...more money to keep the economy going.