The take-home message from Tuesday’s OC Transpo briefing is that the city’s public transit system is about to undergo a massive overhaul that will almost certainly affect every single rider.
And many of the proposed changes will become a reality even before the Confederation line opens in 2018.
Here are five things you need to know about the new OC Transpo.
Colours and signs
Bus routes and train lines will be organized into five main service types: O-Train, rapid, frequent, connexion and local. Each will have corresponding colours and symbols to help riders navigate the system.
O-Train refers to the city’s two-line rail network, which provides station-to-station service. Confederation line in red, Trillium line in green.
Rapid routes, in blue, connect stations along the Transitway and dedicated bus lanes on highways and major roads, with connections to the Confederation line at Tunney’s Pasture, Hurdman and Blair stations.
Frequent routes, in yellow, run about every 15 minutes during the day, seven days a week. These are buses that use major arterial roads across the city.
Connexion routes, in purple, replace current express routes and connect the suburbs to the Confederation line at Tunney’s Pasture, Hurdman and Blair stations.
Most local routes, in dark grey, connect with O-Train stations and, in some cases, will be combined with the current express route to make service on the new local route more frequent throughout the day.
Bus stop signs on streets and station platforms will display route numbers using the same colours and symbols used on the new system map, and both will be introduced before the Confederation line opens so riders can get up to speed.
OC Transpo is scrapping its premium fare for express routes and proposing a new fare structure to compensate for the $6 million in fare revenue that will disappear as a result.
It proposes a single price for monthly passes for adults and students, as well as a single cash fare for adults and one e-purse fare for Presto users.
Riders who usually buy adult regular passes ($103.75 per month as of July 1) would see a steep increase immediately, while express pass holders ($130.50 per month as of July 1) would see significant savings. The proposed monthly pass, as of Jan. 1, 2017, would cost $112.25.
The cost of senior and community passes would remain the same.
Single adult cash fares, as of Jan. 1, 2017, would be $3.35, while single e-purse Presto fares would be $3.30.
Tickets and paper passes will be discontinued in 2017.
Most OC Transpo riders will have to make a new connection from either bus to train or bus to bus.
The typical commuter will catch a bus at their neighbourhood stop, pay the fare or tap their Presto card and ride to the nearest O-Train station, where they will exit the bus inside the fare-paid zone. They’ll walk to the train platform and board without a second fare transaction.
All O-Train stations on the Confederation and Trillium lines will have new vending machines to purchase single fares or reload Presto cards. Most will also have escalators to get to and from the train platform.
Customers arriving at an O-Train station on foot or by bike will have to pass through a fare gate before reaching the bus or train platforms.
OC Transpo bus routes 1 and 2 will be re-numbered because those numbers will be assigned to the two O-Train lines.
Route 1, which currently runs between South Keys and Rockcliffe, will also be split into two shorter routes. There will be a Rockcliffe to downtown loop and a South Keys to downtown loop.
Route 2, which currently runs between Bayshore and downtown, will be renumbered but continue to serve the same areas.
Routes 5, 7, 14 and 16 will also be shortened or split into two routes to connect with downtown O-Train stations and, according to OC Transpo officials, improve reliability.
The Confederation line will shut down every night to allow for track and vehicle maintenance.
During these times, select rapid bus routes serving the downtown from the east, west and south parts of the city will replace train service.
source: Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen, 7 June 2016