Canada News

Get the latest new in Candada

Ottawa

Here’s a rare look inside OC Transpo’s Transit Operations Centre

When major events come to the nation’s capital or when harsh weather slams the city, the dozens of staff members inside OC Transpo’s Transit Operations Control Centre (TOCC) jump into action.

“We have a very dedicated, very professional team of rail controllers, bus controllers, special constable unit controllers here doing everything they can, everything we can, to minimize those disruptions,” said Brad Tubman, manager of the TOCC.

“In a typical month, we would get about 35,000 calls just on the bus side from bus operators into the bus control section. During a snowstorm, that would really increase and there could be thousands of calls per day into the control room.”

Tubman says they typically have about seven controllers taking all those calls during a time when demand is at its highest.

He adds, communications coordinators are also hard at work to meet the demand.

“The interactions are very quick. They are very brief and to-the-point,” said Tubman.

“We’re giving direction as quickly and as efficiently as we can.”

The TOCC also acts as a safety and security hub with OC Transpo rail operators having access to more than 5,000 CCTV cameras throughout the transit network, and special constables manning a dedicated command, watching over 2,000 cameras.

Staff then work closely with first responders to call for assistance if there is an altercation or medical emergency near the transit network.

OC Transpo’s fleet consists of 52 trains, 738 buses and 80 Para Transpo vehicles, completing a total of more than 200,000 customer trips every weekday, according to the transit service.

However, many customers say they have been disappointed and frustrated by the service’s lack of consistency.

“I’ve been using the transit system here on and off since the 80’s and I’ve seen it go from bad, to worse to impossible.

It’s improving a little bit, but there’s a long way to go,” said Kurtis Kitagawa.

“I also have the perspective of using public transit in other places and you have to have reliable service if you want to encourage ridership.”

Other riders echo Kitagawa’s concerns.

“Sometimes the bus drivers will just drive past you. You’ve been waiting there for 20 minutes, and they’ll ignore you,” said Delilah Mes-Grealy.

“Sometimes they just don’t show up. My bus route goes right in front of my house and half the time it just doesn’t show up,” said Jacob Harvey.

Kitagawa says he lived in Calgary when the C-Train first came online and there were not nearly as many delays and cancellations compared to the current situation on the O-Train.

He adds, in his experience, other cities have delivered more reliable service.

“I was in Edmonton and saw that system come up and running, I used the metro in Montreal, the subway in Toronto, and the tube in London, England and you don’t see problems like this so, we’ve got a way to go,” he said.

“Transparency will help, but I think we need yet another intervention here and that is, if we’re going to have a public system that works properly and is funded properly, we need to encourage more people to use the system and get out of their cars.”

For major events like Bluesfest, the transit service does ramp up service to meet the increased demand.

“We have augmented service across all OC Transpo services including Para, O-Train, and our buses. Customers who are attending Bluesfest and are ticket holders can travel for free three hours before the concert and two hours after the concert,” said Katrina Camposarcone-Stubbs, public information officer for OC Transpo.

“We also have services running an hour later on Sundays, so it’s the best way to get to Bluesfest.”

View original article here Source