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Ottawa Transit Developments

OCCheetos

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However, it has been published repeatedly that maintenance payments are $5M per month for the Confederation Line, which exceeds the $50M per year saving that was claimed as a result of eliminating downtown bus service.
I'm not sure where that number is sourced from, but the one I've seen was a $9M/year net saving by switching to LRT.
I have spoken with OC Transpo planners who explained how bus operations were constrained by a tight budget. So, why were service cuts implemented on many non-downtown routes when the Confederation Line opened? To pay for Route 15 that you mentioned? Or did the city slash the transit budget when the Confederation line opened? Or was there another explanation?
OC Transpo has always been constrained by a tight budget. The LRT didn't change that.

I don't know exactly why which cuts were made where and for what reason. The budget was certainly cut following the launch, supposedly to shed the extra operators that had been hired to manage the construction detours, but perhaps they snuck a further cut in, or perhaps other costs went up (think: fuel, labour).

In the end, my main point still stands. OC Transpo, or rather the city, has been penny pinching transit operations since at least 2004, and to blame any of this on the LRT is to completely overlook the more systemic funding issue with OC Transpo.
All I want is reliable transfers. There is no indication that Phase 2 addresses this.
As I think I've said in the past, we don't need major capital expenses to solve that in the near term.
 

ARG1

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The principle flaw with Line 2 is the continuing constraints placed upon it by one track operations. Yes, we are adding two infill stations, and adding a grade separation, however, this does not improve frequency or address the slow speed of the trains that in certain locations move no faster than at a walking pace (Brookfield passing track). The capacity issue has been thrown in our faces repeatedly, and just like double decker and articulated buses, it is used to justify continuing lousy service. As someone who would like to use Line 2 more often, longer trains give me nothing.
As someone who has experienced trying to leave Carleton University at 5/6pm when students are leaving class, where there are literally lineups to get on the next train - doubling the capacity of the trains is absolutely MASSIVE. Line 2 has been experiencing SEVERE capacity issues for years and doubling the length does a lot. Granted, a lot more can be done with more passing loops, but a lot of those could be easily added down the line. Really its ultimately an issue of the 2 major bottlenecks on the line, the Dow's Lake tunnel, and the Carling Trench.
All I want is reliable transfers. There is no indication that Phase 2 addresses this.
What do you mean by Reliable Transfers?
 
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superelevation

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Think this is bad just wait for Montreal new line.

Oh yeah, they are in trouble going with similar tech to Vancouver, Dubai, and Shanghai compared to *checks notes* uh Sacramento?

You are not the first to say that. There is some rather lengthy history behind my name. I have been a critic of Ottawa's plans because they have cut corners at every step. What we have got has been underwhelming, a major disappointment for most Ottawans. LRT has become a joke in this city. Instead of solving problems, it has created problems. Hopefully, they will eventually get it right.

Good thing LRT is a massive well known success in Toronto!
 

lrt's friend

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I'm not sure where that number is sourced from, but the one I've seen was a $9M/year net saving by switching to LRT.

OC Transpo has always been constrained by a tight budget. The LRT didn't change that.

I don't know exactly why which cuts were made where and for what reason. The budget was certainly cut following the launch, supposedly to shed the extra operators that had been hired to manage the construction detours, but perhaps they snuck a further cut in, or perhaps other costs went up (think: fuel, labour).

In the end, my main point still stands. OC Transpo, or rather the city, has been penny pinching transit operations since at least 2004, and to blame any of this on the LRT is to completely overlook the more systemic funding issue with OC Transpo.

As I think I've said in the past, we don't need major capital expenses to solve that in the near term.
Rail and bus operations cannot be separated as far as the customer is concerned. The service cuts I am referring to were not parallel routes, but feeder routes as you are aware. Other decisions that were implemented as part of the preparations for LRT have also masked service cuts. For example, the 'frequent route' designation has allowed hidden service cuts. Very few routes now offer frequent service after 6 pm.

I think I am pretty representative of the average Ottawan who has lost faith in transit. Although we can point some of the blame at Covid and Jimbo's penny pinching budgets, the Confederation Line has not provided reliable service. Because the entire transit system is designed to feed the Confederation Line, its failure has negatively affected the entire transit system. Right now, we have robbed local service to provide R1 replacement service. Almost certainly, recent 'temporary service cuts' will be permanent and are built into the 2022 city budget yet the city expect full ridership by the latter half of 2022.

What I don't understand is how constant rounds of service cuts will ever solve the finances of the transit system? Cuts push riders off the system. Once gone, it is hard to get them back.

As far as 'we don't need major capital expenses to solve that in the near term', the problem has already existed for 5 years and no solution has been provided. They don't care or they don't have the finances in the operations budget. I have asked that specific question. I will be happy with any solution, but none has come. At this point, reliable transfers only apply to peak periods. How do we reduce car dependency if we only want to provide a degrading commuter service?

I really feel sad how billions in expenditures that should have made our transit system better, has not happened. The penny pinching attitude mean that potential good service only applies to those within walking distance of these very expensive rail lines. This is not the model that has made the TTC a success.
 

nfitz

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Oh yeah, they are in trouble going with similar tech to Vancouver, Dubai, and Shanghai compared to *checks notes* uh Sacramento?
I wasn't particularly concerned about Montreal until I saw that list of cities. Where do they use that technology that has Montreal or Ottawa (or heck even Toronto)-like weather?

It will be interesting to see how commissioning and early operation of the same vehicles as Ottawa goes on TTC Line 6, compared to the Flexity equipment on Line 5.
 

lrt's friend

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As someone who has experienced trying to leave Carleton University at 5/6pm when students are leaving class, where there are literally lineups to get on the next train - doubling the capacity of the trains is absolutely MASSIVE. Line 2 has been experiencing SEVERE capacity issues for years and doubling the length does a lot. Granted, a lot more can be done with more passing loops, but a lot of those could be easily added down the line. Really its ultimately an issue of the 2 major bottlenecks on the line, the Dow's Lake tunnel, and the Carling Trench.

What do you mean by Reliable Transfers?
I have been burned a few times. I thought I had allocated enough time to get to Greenboro Station for my bus transfer but ended up waiting for 29 minutes. You would think that 25 minutes should be enough to go 3 stops on the Trillium Line. Wrong. It is amazing how slow the trains operate, because of the signals and passing tracks. The 12 minute frequency on the Trillium Line does not match up reliably with 30 minute bus routes. Before the last upgrade, the trains were able to run significantly faster. Phase 2 does not address this significantly. Yes, we are grade separating the Ellwood diamond, but we are also adding two infilling stations and extending the line from Greenboro to the next passing track at South Keys. The first will prevent delays by crossing VIA trains, the latter add travel time. Also think of the double length Flirt trains moving onto and off passing tracks at a snail's pace. Sometimes, I think they would be better off to revert back to 15 minute frequency and skip the delays caused by the Brookfield passing track, which at least would make it easier to time your trips to make transfers.

Yes, capacity has been an issue at times. Improved frequency would also address capacity. We also have the airport spur and the Ottawa joke of how the former advertised travel time by bus to downtown will go from 20 minutes to 45 minutes by rail.

I chuckled when somebody commented that Ottawa LRT is a vanity project. This certainly applies to the airport spur.
 

OCCheetos

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I think I am pretty representative of the average Ottawan who has lost faith in transit. Although we can point some of the blame at Covid and Jimbo's penny pinching budgets, the Confederation Line has not provided reliable service. Because the entire transit system is designed to feed the Confederation Line, its failure has negatively affected the entire transit system. Right now, we have robbed local service to provide R1 replacement service. Almost certainly, recent 'temporary service cuts' will be permanent and are built into the 2022 city budget yet the city expect full ridership by the latter half of 2022.

What I don't understand is how constant rounds of service cuts will ever solve the finances of the transit system? Cuts push riders off the system. Once gone, it is hard to get them back.

As far as 'we don't need major capital expenses to solve that in the near term', the problem has already existed for 5 years and no solution has been provided. They don't care or they don't have the finances in the operations budget. I have asked that specific question. I will be happy with any solution, but none has come. At this point, reliable transfers only apply to peak periods. How do we reduce car dependency if we only want to provide a degrading commuter service?

You answered your own question.
 

ARG1

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I have been burned a few times. I thought I had allocated enough time to get to Greenboro Station for my bus transfer but ended up waiting for 29 minutes. You would think that 25 minutes should be enough to go 3 stops on the Trillium Line. Wrong. It is amazing how slow the trains operate, because of the signals and passing tracks.
Tell me what you did to "allocate time". Gut feeling or did you actually look at Google Maps, made a plan for your journey, punched the numbers for when you wanted to arrive and saw when you have to leave. If you do not know how to look at a schedule then that's on you.
The 12 minute frequency on the Trillium Line does not match up reliably with 30 minute bus routes. Before the last upgrade, the trains were able to run significantly faster.
Tell me, is that the fault of the Trillium Line or the busses? At a headway of 12 minutes, being able to time transfers to be perfectly in line to a 30 minute bus transfer is basically impossible, and the only way it could be done is if you pad the schedule and revert the frequencies back to every 15 minutes which... ew? What it seems like you're advocating for is instead to have the limited run busses either run more frequently, or if their arrival at Greenboro coincides with the arrival of a train, wait a minute or 2 for people to get off the train and get on the bus. The key point being that this isn't a problem with the train, this is a problem with the connecting bus services.
Phase 2 does not address this significantly. Yes, we are grade separating the Ellwood diamond, but we are also adding two infilling stations and extending the line from Greenboro to the next passing track at South Keys. The first will prevent delays by crossing VIA trains, the latter add travel time. Also think of the double length Flirt trains moving onto and off passing tracks at a snail's pace.
The FLIRTS will also be hybrid vehicles that are powered by a battery (the battery is recharged by an ICE). In other words, it would theoretically have the acceleration and performance one might find on an EMU which should significantly improve the operations in these situations.
Sometimes, I think they would be better off to revert back to 15 minute frequency and skip the delays caused by the Brookfield passing track, which at least would make it easier to time your trips to make transfers.
Perhaps, but I will reiterate, since the bottleneck here is the bus service, that should be the point of focus for improvement.
 

felix123

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Tell me what you did to "allocate time". Gut feeling or did you actually look at Google Maps, made a plan for your journey, punched the numbers for when you wanted to arrive and saw when you have to leave. If you do not know how to look at a schedule then that's on you.

Tell me, is that the fault of the Trillium Line or the busses? At a headway of 12 minutes, being able to time transfers to be perfectly in line to a 30 minute bus transfer is basically impossible, and the only way it could be done is if you pad the schedule and revert the frequencies back to every 15 minutes which... ew? What it seems like you're advocating for is instead to have the limited run busses either run more frequently, or if their arrival at Greenboro coincides with the arrival of a train, wait a minute or 2 for people to get off the train and get on the bus. The key point being that this isn't a problem with the train, this is a problem with the connecting bus services.

The FLIRTS will also be hybrid vehicles that are powered by a battery (the battery is recharged by an ICE). In other words, it would theoretically have the acceleration and performance one might find on an EMU which should significantly improve the operations in these situations.

Perhaps, but I will reiterate, since the bottleneck here is the bus service, that should be the point of focus for improvement.
What's with your rudeness? Lrt's friend keeps answering politely and you're being aggressive in every response. Chill.
 

ARG1

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What's with your rudeness? Lrt's friend keeps answering politely and you're being aggressive in every response. Chill.
Apologies if so, but I'm trying to be thorough here. LRT's friend here seems to be arguing through emotional responses rather than rationed logic, so I have to thoroughly explain where he's wrong.
 

lrt's friend

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Tell me what you did to "allocate time". Gut feeling or did you actually look at Google Maps, made a plan for your journey, punched the numbers for when you wanted to arrive and saw when you have to leave. If you do not know how to look at a schedule then that's on you.

Tell me, is that the fault of the Trillium Line or the busses? At a headway of 12 minutes, being able to time transfers to be perfectly in line to a 30 minute bus transfer is basically impossible, and the only way it could be done is if you pad the schedule and revert the frequencies back to every 15 minutes which... ew? What it seems like you're advocating for is instead to have the limited run busses either run more frequently, or if their arrival at Greenboro coincides with the arrival of a train, wait a minute or 2 for people to get off the train and get on the bus. The key point being that this isn't a problem with the train, this is a problem with the connecting bus services.

The FLIRTS will also be hybrid vehicles that are powered by a battery (the battery is recharged by an ICE). In other words, it would theoretically have the acceleration and performance one might find on an EMU which should significantly improve the operations in these situations.

Perhaps, but I will reiterate, since the bottleneck here is the bus service, that should be the point of focus for improvement.
I was one of the many that didn't have a data phone, so when the scheduled connections are irregular, what am I to do than try to guess a reasonable time frame to go three stops. I did that countless times going longer distances on the Transitway and it seemed to work there. Incidentally, 25 minutes would usually get you all the way from downtown to Greenboro. Even if I had access to Google maps and OC Transpo's website, this takes time to go through these websites, time that could also mean a missed connection as well. Technology is great but it can be time consuming and frustrating to use, when a more predictable system does not need this.

I am not sure how Flirt trains can avoid the slow down over the switches to get on and off the passing tracks. A double length train will take twice as long to make those movements. If we designed Line 2 properly with double tracks as was planned in 2006, we would not be limited on frequency or capacity and the trains could operate at a faster speed. Show me a city that is trying to do as much as Line 2 with a single track.

As a simple user of the transit system, why point fingers at buses over trains? It is a problem with both. To me, you fix your trunk line, not every bus route that interacts with it especially when it means that we need to increase operating costs on every bus route to do it. How many times do we have to fix Line 2 to get it right?

We will see how Phase 2 looks when it opens but I have zero confidence that we will have something better.

My main point here is that we seem to be content to build rapid transit that does not interact with local transit properly. If this is what we want to do, then I (and many others) will not use it.
 

ARG1

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I was one of the many that didn't have a data phone, so when the scheduled connections are irregular, what am I to do than try to guess a reasonable time frame to go three stops. I did that countless times going longer distances on the Transitway and it seemed to work there. Incidentally, 25 minutes would usually get you all the way from downtown to Greenboro. Even if I had access to Google maps and OC Transpo's website, this takes time to go through these websites, time that could also mean a missed connection as well. Technology is great but it can be time consuming and frustrating to use, when a more predictable system does not need this.
Well do you have a PC with an internet connection? Clearly you since if you're typing here. If you have to deal with 30 minute frequencies, always plan your trips ahead of time. See what can or cannot be done - see how long a trip takes so that you can make intuitions ahead of time. Now I agree that dealing with 30 minute frequencies is a pain, but I'll talk about that later.
I am not sure how Flirt trains can avoid the slow down over the switches to get on and off the passing tracks. A double length train will take twice as long to make those movements. If we designed Line 2 properly with double tracks as was planned in 2006, we would not be limited on frequency or capacity and the trains could operate at a faster speed. Show me a city that is trying to do as much as Line 2 with a single track.
Most of the slowdown occurs from having to weight for the oncoming train to catchup or viceversa. While the extended length of the trains could result in slowdowns in certain scenerios, the increased acceleration will help deflect those negatives. I'd argue that train acceleration is one of the biggest issues that the Trillium Line faces - it takes a long time for the train to accelerate from standstill to max speed - especially when compared to the Confederation Line. An improvement in acceleration will do wonders to improving the service quality of the line.

As for cities that do as much as Line 2 with a single track, there are plenty of services in Japan and East Asia that fit a ton of trips and rides on single tracked lines, Montreal's REM will have the tunnel leading into the Airport completely single tracked, many regional rail services in many european cities (which for the record is what Line 2 is trying to emulate) have single tracked sections even with tight headways, there are plenty.
As a simple user of the transit system, why point fingers at buses over trains? It is a problem with both. To me, you fix your trunk line, not every bus route that interacts with it especially when it means that we need to increase operating costs on every bus route to do it. How many times do we have to fix Line 2 to get it right?
There's a simple rule to follow my friend. Organization > Technology > Concrete. In short, if one wants to make improvements to a transit system, the order of priority should be 1) Reorganize the system and what you have to better suit the needs of the city and the network, 2) Invest in new technologies to upgrade what you already have, and last and at the very bottom of the priority list: 3) Get shovels in the ground and build something.

Let's go through this process step by step, and in this case let's look at Step 1) Organization. Your issue is that the LRT and busses arrive at desynchronized times which can lead someone to barely miss a connection and wait for 30 minutes. How can we reorganize the system to avoid this issue? We have 2 options, reorganize the LRT, or reorganize the bus. The LRT has track restrictions requiring it to operate at set intervals, and as such organizational flexibility is extremely minimal We can go back to the old 15 minute headways, however this would require worsening the capacity of the line - capacity that it desperately needs. Otherwise, we have the option to modify the bus, and here we have far more flexibility. We can get the bus wait at the stop for the train if it reaches the station close the train, or we can run busses more frequently so that at no point would anyone ever have to wait 30 minutes for a bus. If we look at Toronto, even in the most suburbiest of suburbs, you will still see core bus routes that travel anywhere between 10-15 minutes, and as such an issue such as "The bus left and now I have to wait 30 minutes for the next bus because the subway was 1 minute late to the station" never happens. This in turn also makes less frequent services such as the GO train far more reliable since even though the Barrie/Stouffville Lines only run hourly, one of the modes you need are guaranteed to show up at a reliable frequent time.

In short, Line 2 isn't at fault here - it isn't the weakest link in the chain. The solution here is to not run busses every 30 minutes - that headway is ridiculous. Even if we added more tracks to Line 2 and got headways down to 3-5 minutes, you can still be 2 minutes late to the bus and now "oops", you have to wait 30 minutes.
We will see how Phase 2 looks when it opens but I have zero confidence that we will have something better.
My main point here is that we seem to be content to build rapid transit that does not interact with local transit properly. If this is what we want to do, then I (and many others) will not use it.
Except we do. We are building Rapid Transit Stations like Hurdman and Tunney's Pasture that have great connections to bus routes with fare-paid zones. If we compare how the O-Train designs its stations with how Toronto designs its stations, its actually more or less on par. The sad reality of the O-Train network is that the failings aren't with the hard concrete. In terms of alignment (mostly), station design, design philosophy and standards, the O-Train is a 9/10. The station layouts are great, the way the stations connect to nearby bus routes is fantastic, and the route it travels through is amazing. The issue isn't with the rapid transit we're building, its purely with the local transit we're running. We need more busses, more connections, higher frequencies. The O-train isn't at fault for this... the only thing its at fault for is the more low level design issues such as mode and rolling stock choice.
 

drum118

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