Trillium Line LRT could open this summer

Bayview light rail transit station under construction, as seen from Scott Street.
Once Phase 2 is up and running, Bayview Station will serve as a connecting point for the Trillium and Confederation lines. File photo by Charlie Senack.

By Charlie Senack 

Ottawa’s Phase 2 LRT Trillium Line could still open this summer if testing goes smoothly, says Michael Morgan, Ottawa’s director of rail operations. 

Progress has been good, he said, an optimistic sign that Kitchissippi residents could soon be riding the rails two years after the former O-Train line extension was supposed to be completed. 

At this point the earliest potential launch date will be in July, though that could also be pushed back due to driver training and software testing. 

Once complete, trains will run from Bayview Station to Limebank Road in Riverside South and to the airport. It will provide benefits to Carleton University students and better connect Little Italy and South Keys. 

The exterior of the unfinished Gladstone LRT station. The sun is setting in the background.
The Gladstone LRT station. File photo by Charlie Senack.

New bus routes

To accommodate the new trains, a total of 42 bus routes are being canceled, with 18 new added. Over 130 routes will see some change occur, but 27 will remain unchanged. 

OC Transpo general manager Renée Amilcar said it wasn’t just about cutting costs but making “a responsible decision.” The changes won’t come into effect until the Phase 2 line opens. 

“You will see a shift from downtown-focused bus routes to routes that improve connections to community hubs and key destinations,” OC Transpo said in a statement. “Some customers may have to go further to the bus stop, have additional transfers to buses or trains and/or have faster travel times.”

OC Transpo is continuing to face financial challenges due to low ridership caused by COVID-19. A $49.8 million budget deficit is projected for 2024. Ridership last year was 66 per cent over pre-pandemic levels. Officials warn it will take a decade before it recovers. 

City council will soon be tasked with deciding whether or not to fund Phase 3 LRT out to Barrhaven, Kanata, and Stittsville. Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper believes it should be paused — for now. An emphasis is currently being put on bus rapid transit. 

“It is starting to look like a more compelling option now, especially since the city has gone in with both feet on electrification of the bus league,” he said. 

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