OC Transpo preparing for extreme cold

Dear Mayor and Members of Council, 

I am writing to provide you with an update on how we are preparing for the forecasted extreme cold temperatures expected Friday and into the weekend and to provide helpful tips for customers who will be travelling with us. 

Preparing for the extreme cold 

OC Transpo has implemented its standard operating procedures for extreme cold weather. These procedures guide how we prepare, operate and maintain our transit system when temperatures are extremely low.

We are working closely with Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) to prepare all rail infrastructure and Line 1 vehicles for the extreme cold temperatures.  

RTM is undertaking the following activities: 

  • Enhanced inspections of tracks and overhead catenary system (OCS) to proactively mitigate issues
  • Overnight vehicle heating
  • Additional vehicles on standby to supplement operations
  • Testing switch heaters
  • Salt application at station entrances and on platforms to reduce slippery surfaces 
  • Extra staff and contractors on standby to support as needed

Passengers may see or experience trains operating at reduced speeds during certain periods of the day if our team needs to undertake enhanced cold weather inspections. Trains will operate at lower speeds when the temperature drops below -35 degrees Celsius. 

OC Transpo is also implementing extreme cold mitigation measures to ensure the reliability of our diesel, electric and Para Transpo bus fleet. All of our fleet will be providing service to our customers during the extreme cold.

We park as many of our buses inside as possible and those that are outside are equipped with engine block heaters. When temperatures drop to extreme levels, additional resources and equipment are on standby should any of our vehicle batteries require a boost.  

Tips for customers  

Before heading out into the cold, customers can plan their trip in advance using our travel planner and subscribe to My Alerts to receive direct updates from OC Transpo. We also provide regular updates on all our social media channels.

Customers are reminded take extra care when boarding and exiting vehicles as surfaces may be slippery.  

For up-to-date information related to service, please visit octranspo.com

Thank you,

Renée Amilcar

General Manager, Transit Services Department

City of Ottawa

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