Canada News

Get the latest new in Candada


O-Train or a bus? CTV News Ottawa looks for the fastest way out of the downtown

Ottawa’s beleaguered light-rail transit system has been front and centre for commuters’ frustrations since day 1, as the system has seen breakdowns, delays and maintenance-related closures.

As O-Train service resumes this week, OC Transpo continues to operate express bus service between Blair Station and the downtown core and Tunney’s Pasture Station and the downtown.

So, which method of public transportation will get you from the downtown core to the east end faster? CTV News Ottawa’s Tyler Fleming travelled both lines, during rush hour, to see if the train or bus is better.

It’s rush hour on Wednesday and, for many, it’s time to get home. Public transit must be ready and lately it has not. 

On Monday, after a 28-day shutdown, the full LRT line reopened. However, it’s only single-car service and daily transit commuters, like Nazeria Murba, are annoyed.

“This is OC Transpo at least for now,” Murba says. “The last shutdown was almost a month, people who take the train now had to take the bus, it was crazy. I would leave for work and it would take an hour and a half.”

OC Transpo is currently running express buses, during peak times, between downtown and Blair Station and this is where I will start timing my journey to the east-end.

I began at Lyon station and according to OC Tranpo’s travel planner, the O-Train will take 25 minutes, from the station door to station door. 

On this day, there was a power failure at Lyon Station. The escalators and elevators were not functioning and I had to take the stairs. The train arrived as scheduled and there are eight stops in between Lyon and Blair stations.

The LRT seemed to have reached full speed in some places, but after uOttawa Station that was not the case. The train slowed around bends heading into Hurdman Station, and it was a rough and noisy ride, which transit user Thomas Zimmer knows all too well.

“It was no good from day one,” he says. “I’ve taken trains in Calgary and they don’t sound like that. The noise from the wheels to the track never matched … it would almost knock you off your seat. You couldn’t even talk to someone beside you because of the vibrations.”

I completed my trip to Blair Station, stopped the clock, and then returned downtown to time an express bus trip.

OC Transpo says the bus will be a 30-minute trip from Lyon, which includes a short walk to Slater and Kent streets, and it’s also where I waited because the bus was late.

And while the bus was trapped in traffic leaving the downtown core and on some sections of the highway, overall it was a smooth ride – better than some sections of the LRT.

Back at Blair station, I stopped the clock and timed out both trips.

The O-Train

I departed Lyon at 3:04 p.m., and arrived to Blair at 3:34 p.m. A 30-minute trip, which took five minutes more than expected.

The express bus

I departed at 4:52 p.m., and arrived 5:28 p.m.. A 36-minute trip, which was six minutes late.

Overall, both were late. The LRT was quicker, but it’s important to note a few things. 

This is a snapshot of a problem-free and perfect summer day. Passenger volume is nowhere near the same as in September, when vacations will end for many or during a blizzard in the winter months.

The initial promise in 2019, when the train was opened, was a 24-minute end-to-end commute time. I took the LRT from Blair to Tunney’s Pasture, and it was a 29-minute trip.

While it may seem like a small delay, for riders who use this system daily this adds up to hours of lost and wasted time, for commuters who just want an efficient transit system that works.

View original article here Source