OC Transpo route review to impact Westboro commuters

Many people wait for a bus at Tunney’s Pasture station.
Commuters wait for buses during the evening rush hour at Tunney’s Pasture Station on Nov. 20, 2023. Photo by Charlie Senack.

By Charlie Senack

A number of Kitchissippi bus routes will be changing this spring as OC Transpo looks to cut costs while offering more reliable service.  

The drastic overhaul of Ottawa’s transit system, the biggest seen in over a decade, is expected to save OC Transpo $10 million. It will all amount to about 75,000 fewer hours of service across the city. 

Under the draft changes which have been released, Route 11 is proposed to bypass the Somerset Street bridge to serve Bayview Station. It will now also operate via Ambleside, meaning a longer route. Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper said that raises some concerns. 

“The extension of the [route] 11 east-west would appear to exacerbate some of the reliability issues with that route so I’m worried that if it becomes significantly longer and starts serving Bayview in addition to Tunney’s, it’s reliability might become critically diminished,” said Leiper. “I’ve asked OC Transpo to consider putting off the extension of the route until we have the appropriate transit measures in place to ensure we can have reliability.”

Route 16 will no longer serve Champlain Park and Westboro Beach. Instead, route 81 will travel from Tunney’s through those communities, then serving Westboro station before traveling up Kirkwood. Sunday service and longer hours of service will be added. 

Route 50 service on Churchill between Scott and Carling is slated to be removed alongside Route 54 service which runs through the Tunney’s Pasture campus. 

Leiper said he’s still reviewing how the proposed route changes will impact riders but said he’s mostly pleased with where OC Transpo is looking to focus service. 

“With reduced ridership and revenues, they are looking to provide a more reliable service with the resources they have,” he said. “I have said that I’d be willing to raise the transit levy in order to provide transit service, but that is not a realistic direction for this term of council.” 

Many 200 series bus routes which bring commuters from the suburbs to Tunney’s Pasture are also being eliminated, a move Leiper campaigned on in the last municipal election. 

None of the new routes have been finalized and won’t be implemented until the Trillium Line’s Stage 2 LRT project opens in Spring 2024 at the earliest.

A route 89 Tunney’s Pasture bus travels down Holland near Scott.
An OC Transpo bus passes through Holland and Scott in the summer of 2023. File photo by Charlie Senack.

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