The head of OC Transpo suggests the O-Train can “easily” offer service with single-car trains to meet ridership needs this summer, adding OC Transpo has been looking at only providing single-car trains on weekends to deal with low ridership.
The O-Train is expected to resume service on Monday morning, which would be two weeks after the LRT system was shut down after a bearing issue was discovered on one train during a routine inspection.
When O-Train service does resume, it will be running with eight single-car trains serving all stations, with trains stopping at stations every seven to eight minutes.
During an interview on CTV News at Six with Chief Anchor Graham Richardson, Transit Services general manager Renee Amilcar said staff were already looking at running single-car service on weekends due to low ridership.
“We could easily give the service with one single train,” Amilcar said, noting O-Train ridership is currently at 43 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
“This is something that we’re working on for weekends because we know during the weekend we have less people onboard. So we were thinking about it, so that’s why now we think it’s a good decision to move forward with that (new inspection) regime.”
OC Transpo and Rideau Transit Group announced Wednesday that all leading and trailing wheel hub assemblies and axles would be replaced on O-Train vehicles every 60,000 km as part of a new inspection and replacement regime.
When the O-Train launched in 2019, the goal was to run 15 double-car trains during peak periods. OC Transpo has been running 11 double-car trains through the summer due to low ridership.
Amilcar tells CTV News Ottawa OC Transpo and Rideau Transit Group will continue to run a single-car train service on the O-Train to save kilometres and limit inspections ahead of the fall.
“The reason why we will use single trains is just because we want to make sure we can support the new regime of the axles, which will be changed after 60,000 km. The system has been built to be able to either have one-single train or two trains,” Amilcar said Thursday evening.
“We know that since the pandemic, we have reached 43 per cent of our capacity so that means we can easily welcome people onboard with a lot of satisfaction, I think.”
On Monday, Amilcar announced Alstom and RTG have agreed to a design modification to the wheel hub assembly, calling it a “permanent fix” to the bearing issue that has caused issues on the O-Train line.
Amilcar told CTV News at Six it is a “final fix” that will resolve the issues with the bearing.
“I can tell you firmly, the fix will fix the problem; the permanent fix will resolve the issue.”
Amilcar says the O-Train is “very, very new,” and new technologies do encounter issues.
“Everywhere when we launch a new technology, you have to face a lot of problems. I was in Montreal before and it was the same thing.”
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