The head of OC Transpo says there are plans in place to add double-car trains to the Confederation Line during morning and afternoon peak periods if ridership increases this fall as people return to work and school.
The O-Train Line 1 is running single-car service between Blair and Tunney’s Pasture stations following the 28-day shutdown of the LRT service this summer.
Eleven single-car trains will provide service every 5 minutes during the morning peak period, 13 single-car trains will provide service every four minutes during the afternoon peak period and nine single-car trains will provide service approximately every six minutes during off-peak and weekend periods.
Some riders have complained on social media about full trains and station platforms due to the single-car service, but Transit Services general manager Renee Amilar is confident the current service can meet demands.
“Based on the ridership that we have seen, we don’t anticipate any issue,” Amilcar said. “However, if we see something we’ll be able to add more double-trains instead of running single-car trains.”
OC Transpo launched the system with double-car trains operating on the transit line at all times. As part of the new Safety Note for the LRT system, all front and rear wheel hub assemblies on LRT vehicles must be replaced every 60,000 km, which will increase maintenance requirements.
The transit service is expecting an increase in ridership this fall as thousands of university and college students return to Ottawa, and elementary and secondary schools use transit to get to school.
Amilcar says possible plans to address increased ridership this fall include running up to 15 single-car trains during the peak periods or some double-car trains.
“We will monitor very, very closely because sometimes maybe 30 minutes during the peak a.m. and one-hour during the peak p.m. we will need more capacity,” Amilcar said. “Either we will launch one other single-car (train) or we can just send some double-cars (trains) as well, so we will manage that.”
Transit Commission chair Glen Gower says staff are watching ridership this week to prepare for the start of the new school year.
“I know OC Transpo is watching that really carefully and they have extra trains and if they need to augment the capacity on the trains they can do that,” Gower said.
“We are watching this week to see how ridership is and continue to watch that into the early weeks of September and we’ll have to adjust if needed.”
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