The Prince of Wales Bridge
The Prince of Wales Bridge, directly aligned with the Rapibus corridor on the Gatineau side and the Bayview O-Train station in Ottawa, would appear to be a good option for the new dedicated public transit system connecting Gatineau's West End to downtown Gatineau and downtown Ottawa. However, it was not selected for the following reasons:
- The Prince of Wales bridge does not effectively meet the needs of users: The location of the Prince of Wales Bridge is too far west from the city centers of Gatineau and Ottawa, which are among the main user destinations. For example, for transit customers coming from Aylmer going to downtown Ottawa, an additional transfer would be required at Bayview station. For transit customers coming from Ottawa going to downtown Gatineau, crossing the river via the Prince of Wales Bridge would still be far from their destinations. They would have to either make additional connections or continue to cross the river via the Portage and Chaudières bridges on other bus routes. These additional connections and routes would run counter to the goal of reducing the number of buses in downtown Gatineau and Ottawa.
- The capacity on the O-Train system would not be sufficient to accommodate all public transit customers from Gatineau going to Ottawa: On the Confederation line of the O-Train system, the segment between Bayview Station and Lyon Station is the busiest segment of the line. In the morning, users board the train mainly at the Tunney's Pasture and Bayview stations and descend in large numbers in downtown Ottawa beginning at the Lyon station. The current service would require more trains to be purchased and operated in order to accommodate the additional customers from Gatineau, traveling the short distance to downtown Ottawa, if they were to board the O-Train at the Bayview Station.
Future planned service increases, and new train purchases built into the affordability plans for the next phases of the O-Train System do not provide for capacity to accept customers who would be transferring from STO services at Bayview station. Introducing these customers from Gatineau at Bayview would reduce longer-term capacity to accommodate growth in west Ottawa, Nepean, Kanata and Stittsville and could bring forward the need for another major rapid transit line from the west into downtown Ottawa.
As described above, this bridge is not the optimal connection to address the primary objectives of this specific project to meet the transportation needs of residents in Gatineau's rapidly growing west end. The Prince of Wales bridge however remains as a good option for a secondary connection with future expansions of the metropolitan region's public transportation networks. , Future extensions of the Rapibus or the Trillium line for example, could facilitate connections such as:
- from Gatineau to a future events centre at LeBreton Flats, to Carleton University, to federal work centers at Confederation Heights, to the future hospital at Carling Station, to the Ottawa Airport;
- From Gatineau to Kanata North and Department of National Defence Headquarters, with a westbound connection on the Confederation line; and
- From south Ottawa to the Hull sector of Gatineau.