New service to downtown Ottawa in 2019
The arrival of the OC Transpo O-Train's new Confederation Line means a chance to roll out some new STO services to downtown Ottawa. With the light rail train's introduction under the downtown area, OC Transpo has been able to review its offer of public transit services, and thereby free up space on the Transitway and giving the STO the chance to move its stops closer to the employment and educational sectors in downtown Ottawa. Essentially, the corridor that OC Transpo used along Albert and Slater streets will become available to a number of STO buses.
The new Confederation Line will be in service at the end of 2018. The new STO service to downtown will start in 2019. Exact dates should be confirmed in the next few months.
Three new STO service options to downtown Ottawa:
Green routes on the map: service via the Portage Bridge, Wellington Street to Bank Street, then on Queen Street and Lyon Street. That route includes transfers to the new “Parliament” and “Lyon” stations on the Confederation Line.
- Routes running on this circuit: 11, 17, 27, 85, 87, 88, 93, 94, 95 and 98.
Orange routes on the map: service via the Portage Bridge, Wellington to Lyon Street, then on Slater Street, Bank Street and back on Wellington Street. This route will allow transfers to the new “Parliament” and “Lyon” stations on the Confederation Line.
- Routes running on this circuit: 22, 25, 26, 29, 40, 41, 44, 45, 46, 47 and 48.
Purple routes on the map: service via the Portage Bridge, Wellington to Lyon Street to the Rideau Centre across the Mackenzie-King Bridge (behind the shopping centre), then to Besserer Street. In reverse direction, this route will run on Albert Street. This route will allow transfers to the new “Lyon” station on the Confederation Line and better service to the University of Ottawa sector.
- Routes running on this circuit: 20, 23, 24, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 55, 59, 67, 200, 300 and 400.
Highlights of the new Ottawa 2018 offer of service
- The use of Slater and Albert streets will bring the new service closer to the employment and educational sectors in downtown Ottawa.
- More than 70% of public transit users will see a reduction in their travel time to downtown Ottawa.
- Improved waiting conditions as well as customer information tools with the installation of bus shelters and changeable message signs at the main stops.
- Improved transfers to OC Transpo services (O-Train and bus), with more connections between the two public transit networks.
- Improved service to the University of Ottawa sector with regular and certain rush hour routes.
- Network less vulnerable due to events taking place on Parliament Hill (demonstrations, state visits, etc.) and necessitating detours.
- Network more reliable and punctual thanks to special platforms and preferential measures for public transit.
Project progress and impact on clientele
From November 1, 2017, OC Transpo is starting its customer testing of new fare gates and ticket machines in some stations on the O-Train Trillium Line, including Carling, Carleton, Confederation and Greenboro stations. Fare gates at Bayview station won't be activated until the Confederation Line opens.
STO passes and transfers are accepted across the OC Transpo network, including at the new fare gates. Customers with a valid STO paper transfer will be able to show their transfer to OC Transpo staff who will open the gates. STO tickets and the Multi e-wallet are not accepted at Trillium Line stations or aboard OC Transpo buses. In order to begin a trip on an OC Transpo route, customers who pay-per-ride must buy an OC Transpo single ride ticket or pay using the Presto e-Purse.
Next steps for the STO
This new service will mean significant changes in STO communication tools (e.g. timetables, routes, Plani-Bus, Web site and mobile, User's Guide, transit map, etc.). A flexible communication plan will keep transit customers informed about upcoming changes, including the exact start dates in 2019. At the same time, a working group has been set in place to coordinate communications with OC Transpo (e.g. pedestrian walkways, new O-Train station entrances/exits, transfers, signage, etc.).
Customer questions and comments
In June, we asked our rider panel members for their opinion on the new service to downtown Ottawa. Their comments have allowed us to understand your concerns. You will find answers to your questions below!
- What measures will be taken to assist riders with the changes?
- Will STO riders be able to transfer to the O-Train?
- Will buses be slowed by traffic congestion and traffic lights? Will they be able to make the turns?
- Will there be more riders at the stops?
- Will the OC Transpo system be modified?
- Will the routes also be modified on the Quebec side?
- Will the frequency of STO buses be reduced?
- Will fares increase?
1-What measures will be taken to assist riders with the changes?
While many riders will be taken closer to their final destination, some will have the option to walk or to transfer, but to a high frequency service such as the O-Train or another STO bus route. Several weeks before the changes take effect, Plani-Bus will recommend the best options for your trips.
Furthermore, ample signage will also be provided to help you find your way to the light rail stations and STO stops. For instance, in the O-Train stations, screens will display the real time that STO buses will be passing at nearby stops. More details will be made available over the next few months.
2-Will STO riders be able to transfer to the O-Train?
Currently, STO transit passes and tickets entitle you to a valid transfer for STO and OC Transpo services. This will still be the case:
- Riders using a pass on a smart card (monthly or annual pass, Cam-Puce pass or U-Pass) can travel on both systems without any restrictions.
- E-passes valid for 1 or 3 days (Passe-temps and L'Escapade) must first be validated on an STO bus before they can be used without restrictions on both systems.
- Riders using the e-wallet can travel on the OC Transpo system after validating their card on an STO bus, which entitles them to an e-transfer that is valid for two hours. However, the e-wallet is not accepted for starting a trip on the OC Transpo system.
3-Will buses be slowed by traffic congestion and traffic lights? Will they be able to make the turns?
We are currently working with our OC Transpo colleagues on the street configuration along the three routes that will be taken by STO buses. Some work has already started, and traffic studies have been completed. In light of the results, several measures will be implemented to make travel easier for the buses, such as changing the geometry and layout of streets, and synchronizing traffic lights. This will all be announced in the next few months.
Don't forget that the volume of OC Transpo buses will decrease considerably in downtown Ottawa once the Confederation Line begins operation.
4-Will there be more riders at the stops?
STO riders will be distributed among more stops, with 9 stops instead of the current 6. In addition, few stops will be shared by OC Transpo and STO buses, since OC Transpo's downtown service will be completely revised. The platforms will also be longer, making it easier to board.
5-Will the OC Transpo system be modified?
Yes, the OC Transpo bus system will be modified, in particular downtown. The details of the changes will be announced by OC Transpo in the next few months, and we will post the information at sto.ca. You can visit OC Transpo's “Ready for Rail” site to learn more.
6-Will the routes also be modified on the Quebec side?
No, there will be no route changes, except for some minor adjustments.
7-Will the frequency of STO buses be reduced?
No, the frequency will remain the same. As always, the service will be adapted based on demand by using articulated buses or adding trips when necessary.
8-Will fares increase?
The fare schedule is adjusted annually, but the new service to downtown Ottawa will not generate an additional fare increase.
Thank you for your usual cooperation!