Transit

After three years of increases over 7.5% from 2008 to 2010, Budget 2011 limits the overall transit fare increase to just 2.5%;

Fare increase will take effect in July 2011.

Over the next few years OC Transpo will introduce changes to improve operations to better serve the needs of transit users, while reducing costs for all residents. The Transit Commission will help lead the necessary improvements to the current system.

Transit Budget at a Glance:

  • $13 million to completely renew the Para Transpo fleet;
  • $161 million towards projects and programs to consolidate routes and streamline the bus system;
  • 74 new bus drivers to improve service and reduce overtime;
  • Service changes to improve reliability of the transit system which will carry the same number of customers more efficiently by consolidating routes, but operate with substantially fewer resources;
  • Better express service and more efficient routes to better serve Orleans, Kanata and Barrhaven;
  • Provisions to expand the free transit period for seniors from Wednesdays only to include Mondays and Fridays after 12 noon;
  • The City will also be reviewing the U-Pass, which has helped increase ridership by 1.35 million, improving student ridership to the highest level to date. The U-Pass has increased transit use at the two universities by 35%. The current City subsidy to the U-Pass program is $3 million.

Ottawa has a very strong transit market, consistently outperforming cities across North America. Annual ridership for 2011 is projected to exceed the milestone of 100 million passengers for the first time, representing fare revenue of $161.8 million.

Staff has identified internal efficiencies for the past three years that will limit the impact of increased costs on riders and taxpayers. OC Transpo will make improvements to the system to implement these initiatives resulting in a more sustainable system.

The efficiencies proposed in 2011, in addition to internal savings, will put an end to three years of large fare increases. Both Ottawa and the number of people taking the bus have grown significantly over the past ten years; transit has grown alongside to meet these demands.

As a result, the number of stops and the routes that have developed over time have created an inefficient system with areas of overlap and bottlenecks in the downtown core. In fact, Ottawa has an unparalleled reach of almost 99% of households within a 400 metre walk to a transit stop during peak times.

A recent third party peer-review by the American Public Transit Association (APTA) states that this service area coverage, as well as routes per capita, is significantly higher than the industry norm. APTA makes specific recommendations to correct inefficiencies that have crept into our network over time. Not only will these changes save time for transit users, they will also save $7.2 million in 2011 and $22 million in 2012 while improving system reliability and overall rider experience.

By readjusting service levels and consolidating routes, the City will reduce congestion for the greatest number of transit riders and commuters.

The Transit Commission will review routes to provide strategic changes to capture the efficiencies identified in the APTA review. The goal is to develop a system that will get residents to where they want to go faster, and more effectively.

Transit staff would prepare a comprehensive set of service changes that would improve the productivity of the transit system, carrying the same number of customers with substantially fewer operating resources.

Improvements we are making now will increase efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability into the future.

Better, more affordable service:

The City will continue to improve services and reduce costs in transit operations. Budget 2011 includes:

  • Tender for the complete renewal of the Para Transpo fleet with $13 million in capital authority next year to improve service for residents unable to use public transit;
  • $63 million for Transitway improvements, including a bypass of the bus bottleneck from Bayshore to Moodie Drive;
  • $161 million in 2011 for projects and programs that will increase ridership and improve service.

A caring community: Caring for the environment

The City is developing a long term energy plan, sustainability plan, transit plan and risk mitigation efforts to ensure that Ottawa will be resilient and sustainable now and into the future.

Budget 2011 includes:

  • Expansion of the free transit service for seniors from Wednesday only to Mondays and Fridays after 12 noon;
  • Funding to continue planning work towards a number of transformative projects including Light Rail Transit;
  • Limiting U-Pass fare increase to 2.5% while maintaining the City’s subsidy;
  • Continued life-cycle improvements and enhancements to bus infrastructure (stations, buildings, etc.);
  • $10 million to expand Park and Ride facilities in Orleans, Barrhaven and Kanata.

Transit Next Steps

The 10-Year Transit Tactical Plan, Marketing Plan which includes a full review of transit fares, and APTA Peer Review reports will be tabled at the January 31, 2011 Transit Commission meeting.

All budget documents will be posted on Ottawa.ca and residents can voice their opinions on the City budget by calling 311, e-mailing 311@ottawa.ca or faxing 613-560-2126.

Council will hold final deliberations on the budget March 8 to 10, 2011.