Commission and Committee receives year-end update on the O-Train extension and transit projects

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal turquoise stripe are in the foreground with Committee update in the centre.

At a joint meeting Dec. 14, the Transit Commission and Light Rail Sub-Committee received progress updates on transit projects completed this year and information on plans for 2024.

Staff updated the Commission and Committee on OC Transpo’s winter readiness plans which include improving communications and planning processes with Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM), enhanced monitoring for O-Train Line 1 during storms, and implementation of a Severe Storm Schedule for buses in the event of significant snowfall of 31 cm or more.

OC Transpo is also making improvements to real-time customer information systems. Recent Transit app updates will soon introduce additional customer benefits including improvements to information on cancelled trips and crowdsourcing capabilities. Data shows there is an increase in the number of customers using the app to see accurate departure times, track buses and plan trips. Updates were also provided about the on-demand transit pilot project scheduled to launch in early 2024. OC Transpo will share more information about the launch through its regular communication channels, including social media, website and on-street signage.

Staff also presented an update on the wheel bearing issue related to O-Train Line 1 service. Testing will start in the coming weeks on the nut pining of the wheel hub assembly. Data will be gathered and analyzed for safety and improved performance. Staff will continue to provide further updates on the progress of this work as it becomes available.

Members heard that O-Train and conventional bus ridership was at 6.4 million trips in October 2023, which was an increase of 800,000 compared to October 2022. In November, 97.4 per cent of bus trips were fulfilled and Para Transpo ridership was at 70,600 customer trips.

The expansion of the O-Train network is progressing well. This year, many milestones were achieved in the south, east and west. On the O-Train East extension of Line 1, track installation is complete and overhead catenary system work is underway and expected to be complete in early 2024. Construction on stations and pedestrian bridges is also advancing well.

Track installation and station construction is progressing on the O-Train West extension. The cut and cover tunnels have been fully excavated and pouring of concrete roof and walls of the tunnels is underway. Next year, the tunnel structural work will be completed, and track work will begin.

The City continues to target an opening in Spring 2024 for O-Train Lines 2 and 4, serving communities to the south. Station construction is almost complete and in November, testing achieved a new milestone when nine trains, the number required for revenue service, began operating on the system. This process tests the integration of the control and signaling systems, vehicles, track infrastructure, operating procedures, and training programs.

A successful full-scale emergency response training exercise with 144 participants was also held at the Ottawa Airport to validate the effectiveness of new emergency responder procedures.

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