According to a 580 CFRA
report, city staff have suggested that the volume of buses running down the downtown portion of Ottawa's Transitway along Albert and Slater streets is negatively affecting transit service in the city, and recommended that problem be addressed.
According to CFRA:
A report for the Transit Committee says ridership increases west of downtown has caused the volume of buses running west on Albert Street to reach 180 buses per hour in the afternoon peak period.
Proposed Transit Route Changes for the fall make a series of recommendations to remove several trips from both Albert and Slater Streets to allow reliable operations to continue.
Staff recommend the conversion of downtown trips of certain routes to frequent feeder services, including reducing direct-to-downtown trips on limited peak period Routes 51, 55, 124, 156, 172 and 178.
Which just underlines the necessity of building an underground tunnel, in some form, under the downtown leg, at the very least. The city is well on its way towards a light-rail tunnel, although some critics (most notably Andrew Haydon) have suggested a bus tunnel. Others agree with light-rail, but disagree on the route. The generally agreed-upon bottom line, though, is this: There are too many buses at street level on Albert and Slater, which is negatively affecting not only vehicular traffic on those streets, but also the comfort level of those walking, cycling, working, and living in the area.
It is also curious to see the recommendation of staff: That feeder routes transfer onto the major ones (such as the 95, 96, and 97) at the entrance into the downtown along the east and west ends. This is the arrangement most commuters will have to deal with once Ottawa's light-rail transit line is set up, switching from bus to rail when entering from east or west into the downtown core. This could be a transitional period, in a way, while commuters get used to transfers--aside from express routes, which some have suggested will continue running along downtown streets even once light rail is established.
Either way, it will be interesting to see how this may go if OC Transpo decides to move forward with this recommendation.