Thursday, February 17, 2011

OC Transpo "optimization": The process begins

With a fairly massive presentation at Wednesday's transit commission meeting, the groundwork was laid for the huge service optimization project at OC Transpo. The writing was on the wall for the process, as it's been said since the new council formed that service would be changed--and significantly. What was outlined on Wednesday wasn't a complete turn towards a true hub-and-spoke system, but it represents a much closer structure than the city's been running with for the last decade or so.

Basically, the idea will be to eliminate some routes, consolidate others, and streamline others still (read general descriptions and comments from commission members on CBC News and the Ottawa Citizen). Somehow, out of all those proposed changes, OC Transpo staff said that 90 per cent of trips will remain exactly as they are today; that probably shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Transitway routes of the 94, 95, 96, and 97 form a huge percentage of OC Transpo trips, and aren't going to be changed. For the full picture, check the actual business plan as outlined, or read my highlights from it below.

The bus fleet, in pure numbers, will actually fall for next year: 158 first-generation low-floor buses will be phased out and partially replaced with the purchase of approximately 75 double-decker buses. Those double-deckers would be assigned to long-distance express routes, while articulated buses will be used mostly for Transitway routes, and 40-foot buses would take over local routes. Basically, there will be predictability: If you're waiting for a 95, look for an "artic"; if you're waiting for an express, keep your eyes peeled for double-deckers. The idea is also to use buses for their (perceived) most effective and economical purposes.

And then the routes. The following bus routes will either be unchanged, or have enhanced service: 1, 2, 7, 8, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 24, 27, 33, 35, 38, 60, 61, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 73, 76, 77, 86, 87, 94, 95, 96, 98, 99, 114, 118, 122, 123, 124, 126, 128, 135, 146, 148, 157, 164, 170, 172, 173, 176, 177, 183, 184, 186, 187, 189, 194, 199, 245, 261, 262, and 263. So if you take any of those, you're in luck.

One of the possible changes looked at to review is to cut down on route duplication: When two routes have a good number of overlap along them, staff might try to take a "route of best fit" between them to consolidate them into one. Potential candidates for consolidation include routes 3, 4, 5, 6, 16, 23, 32, 34, 39, 40, 43, 57, 62, 63, 64, 65, 85, 88, 101, 111, 112, 115, 116, 117, 125, 130, 131, 133, 141, 142, 143, 144, 150, 151, 154, 155, 156, 158, 160, 165, 166, 168, 182, 188, 190, 191, and 316.

[Addendum: I missed a few routes that might have a reduction of service during peak period service: the 103, 116, 127, 136, 137, 140, 143, 145, 147, 149, 152, 153, 161, 163, 165, 167, 171, 174, 175, 178, and 306, and certain sections of Routes 5, 6, 9, 12, 16, 18, 40, 82, 97, 105, 106, 115, 120, 121, 125, 129, 131, 151, 154, 156, 166, 169, 190, 191, 192, 197, and 232.]

Finally, there's a proposal to cut down on loops and crescents taken by 'milk runs', which shorten the walking distance to bus stops but also lengthen the route and, according to the report, are costly to maintain. Some routes that may be made more direct include 5, 18, 31, 37, 101, 102, 179, 221, 231, and 283.

Overall, the report states that tens of millions of dollars in long-term savings could be found if these suggestions are taken. Which might be little consolation to the people who'll have to walk farther to their bus stop, but I think most around the city would agree that the OC Transpo system isn't working right now: It's trying to do too much, and that's resulting in higher operating costs and worse service. Some changes do need to be made.

7 comments:

WJM said...

What about the 12?

jessie. said...

What about the 120? It's not listed in any of the groups, and runs fairly close to my house... good back up route to get places!

WJM said...

They are thinking about reducing service on the 12 AGAIN?

ARE THEY TOTAL BLITHERING MORONS?

Dwight Williams said...

Not too thrilled re: several of the proposed cuts, seeing as they are good alternative options when the regular route's impractical.

Anonymous said...

If they go through with these changes, i have to move. they are fucking with the 143 that already only goes once an hour on weekdays! and the 140, how could they make that even worse then it already is?! i am so angry i could scream.

Anonymous said...

Taking awawy the 142 is nonsense. It covers a large geographic area. If they cancel the 142 a LOT of people will have no bus service. There are houseing developments, a Metro, a Shoppers, B.N.S. ETC,ETC ETC. I am so pissed off for too many reasons to list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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