According to Ottawa Citizen columnist Randall Denley, the city finally has it right. In Denley's column today:
The decision to go east-west is strongly supported by the numbers. It would attract the most riders, five million a year more than the earlier east-south plan. It would also bring in far more fare revenue, easing the subsidy burden on homeowners.According to the Ottawa Sun, the change in priority was in large part because of feedback from public meetings, where many said that the east-west route should take precedence. The Sun presented some numbers to explain the change, as well, stating that there are 159,000 all-day east-west riders, compared to only 11,800 all-day riders travelling south.
East-west has a 50-per-cent lower capital cost per passenger kilometre. It also generates $90 million a year in operating cost savings because it takes more buses off the street. The east-west plan would remove 90 per cent of buses from Albert and Slater streets, twice as many as east-south.
Environmentally, east-west wins again. Because it relies more on electric rail, it produces nearly 50 per cent more greenhouse-gas reductions. The east-west line also fits within the city's goal of delivering the high-cost rail service inside the Greenbelt, where most of the riders live.