Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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OC Transpo March update

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I've re-joined the Transit Commission in this term of Council, and I'm pleased with the constantly improving metrics that we're receiving. Their most recent update is appended to this post (click on the .pdf below). 

There is no doubt that our transit has been challenging in recent years. To my mind, it's critical that we get to a point where buses and trains are - most of all - reliable. Residents should know when their bus is coming, have an easy way to confirm that, and be able to rely on a safe, consistent trip. Over the past few months, I've been asked frequently: "What is the Plan?!". Residents are frustrated that buses have too often been cancelled and late, and experiences with tracking tools have been a mixed bag over the past few years.

Councillors have been getting lots of information since the beginning of this term on how GM Renée Amilcar intends to address that, but that doesn't always filter through to the public. The restoration of service isn't going to be quick, but I'm pleased to see the progress that's been made.

There's more information than I can write in a single post. Getting us back to that point that transit service is reliable will require that we hire more operators, consolidate the service to match the resources that Council is willing to give it and that come through the fare box, and to ensure the buses are available to deliver the service we promise. Ultimately, OC Transpo has set a goal of delivering 99.5% of its promised trips, and they're making progress to achieving that.

We're not there yet, but we're getting closer. I have to put in a plug here for the Transit app, the premium version of which has been made available for free by OC Transpo (see here). Especially for those of us who make complex and frequent trips as a key way to travel, it has been game-changing.

I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that I believe our ultimate ambition should be to deliver near-perfect service but on a network that delivers less frequency and fewer routes. I understand why we're consolidating routes in response to reduced transit ridership, but until Council is willing to put more resources into the system I agree that delivering reliability over coverage should be our priority. If we want to greatly increase ridership, though, and make it the travel mode of choice then we'll need to invest appropriately by buying equipment, hiring more operators and re-configuring our streets to prioritize transit service, to make transit coverage ubiquitous, and to increase frequency. This Council isn't there yet, but many of us will persist in making the case.

A word on the route review, about which I know many of you are concerned. It looks virtually certain that the 16 will no longer serve our ward and that residents going downtown from Westboro Beach and Champlain Park will need to transfer to the train. I've confirmed that isn't going to happen at the end of this month as I've heard some residents assert. Next month, we'll get a more in-depth briefing and I'll pass along what I know then.

If you have questions about the presentation, please email me at

Posted March 19, 2024