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September 16th - O-Train Line 1 and Bus Service Update


  • Performance on Line 1

  • Update on the Rectification Plan

  • Fall Service Change

  • O-Train Ambassador Program

  • COVID-19

Customer Experience

  • Our goal is to meet all of our daily service requirements, in terms of service frequency and delivery;

  • Service reliability and service variability are two key factors that impact our customers the most;

  • In recent months, we have seen an improvement in both reliability and consistency; and,

  • Based on experience, we know that when service is highly variable or drops below 97%, there will be impacts on our customers.

Current Status –Rectification Plan

  • In April 2020, RTG provided the City with an updated rectification plan that prioritizes technical improvements in seven key areas to improve system reliability;

  • Work associated with the rectification plan has progressed over the past several months;

  • Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, RTG has been provided with temporary service adjustments to advance associated work;

  • The work allowed RTG full access to the line and to the fleet in order to mobilize specialized equipment and complete the required maintenance and repairs;

  • Surveys were undertaken to provide information on the condition of the track and the OCS infrastructure; and,

  • The City has commenced an independent review to assess the rectification work.

Rectification Plan Update

RTG’s plan focused on prioritization of the following seven elements as key drivers of reliability improvements:

1. Vehicle Brakes (linked to wheel flats)

2. Overhead Catenary System

3. Switch Heater Failures

4. Vehicle Traction Power (inductors, line contactors, circuit breakers)

5. Vehicle Passenger Doors

6. Vehicle Auxiliary Power (CVS units)

7. Vehicle HVAC

Corrective Action Plan Update

1.Vehicle Brakes (linked to wheel flats)

  • Several software updates have been completed including CBTC, TCMS and guideway intrusion system; and,

  • RTG continues to investigate making adjustments to the brake rates and other fine tuning of vehicles.

2. Overhead Catenary System (OCS)

  • Adjustments to the OCS were completed and replacement of mechanical supports continues, as required, throughout the alignment.

3. Switch Heater Failures (7 Locations)

  • RTG continues to work to improve switch heater performance prior to the winter including the implementation of advanced notifications to the TOCC and additional duct work.

  • All 3 switch heater locations east of Tremblay Station are being upgraded to more powerful gas heaters. All but one of the service-related disruptions occurred in these east-end locations;

  • Switch Heater Failures (7 Locations)

  • RTG continues to work to improve switch heater performance prior to the winter including the implementation of advanced notifications to the TOCC and additional duct work.

  • All 3 switch heater locations east of Tremblay Station are being upgraded to more powerful gas heaters. All but one of the service-related disruptions occurred in these east-end locations;

4. Vehicle Traction Power (inductors, line contactors, circuit breakers)

  • Mitigations previously implemented, including enhanced cleaning of the vehicle roofs, non-conducting paint and rooftop covers, have contributed to an improvement in traction power related issues.

5. Vehicle Passenger Doors

  • The updated Sil 2 certified door software has been implemented;

  • Doors are currently meeting performance expectations;

  • At City’s request, work is underway to implement additional mechanical adjustments to help train operators fix door issues if they occur; and,

  • City continues to monitor door performance for continued reliability.

6. Vehicle Auxiliary Power (CVS units)

  • Software has been upgraded across the fleet, which minimizes the CVS related faults; and,

  • Root cause investigation continues.

7. Vehicle HVAC

  • All deficiencies have been identified and addressed during the 100,000km inspection; and,

  • Hardware improvements have been made to temperature set points, HVAC filters, etc.

Track Work

  • Over the summer, there were a number of temporary speed restrictions due to heat;

  • The implementation of a speed reduction is common practice across all rail systems;

  • Adjustments to track were completed throughout summer; and,

  • Ongoing track and infrastructure work along the guideway will continue, including ballast replacement and adjustments to the rail.

Wheel Cracks

  • In early July, RTG advised that while undertaking maintenance, a wheel crack was identified;

  • Upon notification, an enhanced daily inspection regime was immediately implemented to ensure continued safe operations;

  • Transport Canada, Transportation Safety Board (TSB) and Council were immediately notified of the occurrence; and,

  • RTG and Alstom continue with a daily inspection regime, concurrent to the independent TSB investigation.

  • The City, RTG and Alstom have concurred on root cause;

  • While retrofits were possible, Alstom elected to replace all wheels;

  • The City supports this decision;

  • Replacement of all train wheels has commenced; and,

  • RTG has been able to increase train count and meet our daily service requirements while continuing the inspections.

Line 1 Service

  • Although not required for summer service levels, RTG provided 15 trains throughout August (except for 3 days);

  • Since September 8, RTG has consistently met the required commitment putting 15 trains in service on Line 1 during the morning peak periods; and,

  • Staff will continue to work closely with RTG to ensure that the focus continues to be on ensuring reliable service.

Fall Service Change

  • Service change implemented Aug. 30;

  • Bus service was implemented in May 2020 to replace train service on Line 2 to allow for Stage 2 construction;

  • School services resumed; and,

  • Select trips on some routes temporarily suspended due to low ridership.

Back to School

  • Service to middle schools and high schools has resumed:

  • Working closely with all four school boards and the two transportation agencies;

  • Service adjustments were made based on schools’ modified start and end times; and,

  • Dedicated standby buses will be ready to provide more capacity if required.

  • U-Pass program continues this fall at all four participating post-secondary institutions and all students attending classes full-time on campus have a U-Pass. Provisions for students studying online are different among the four institutions.

Para Transpo

  • All customers are being accommodated, with limited customers per vehicle;

  • Customer volumes continue to be lower than usual;

  • Touch points are sanitized regularly and all vehicles undergo enhanced cleaning each day;

  • Some customers have adopted online trip reservations; and,

  • Online services project is ongoing; testing and pilot group by end of 2020.

Fare Discounts

  • Community Pass discount applications available by mail or phone;

  • Para Transpo customers will be able to register Presto monthly passes soon, removing the need to carry and show receipts; and,

  • Fare payment by tapping a credit card fast-tracked and in testing; first O-Train fare gate enabled by end of 2020.


  • Transit ridership in Ottawa was at 28% of usual levels from late June until the fall service change;

  • Ridership increases were gradual but noticeable week over week:

  • 23% of normal levels toward the end of June;

  • 33% of normal levels at the end of August; and,

  • We continue to monitor ridership as more customers return and will make adjustments as necessary.

O-Train Ambassador Program

  • The OTA Program has been successful in familiarizing customers with the new system;

  • We have now begun the ramp down of the OTA Program;

  • Permanent full-time Station Attendant positions were approved in the 2020 budget; and,

  • OTAs will be replaced by Station Attendants in the month of October.

COVID Measures at OC Transpo

  • Masks continue to be mandatory for customers and staff;

  • A proactive blitz for mask compliance is being planned for early October;

  • Signage across the system on COVID requirements;

  • Enhanced station and vehicle cleaning;

  • Hand sanitizer dispensers at all Line 1 stations and many Transitwaystations;

  • Protective shields for operator cab in all buses;

  • Cleaning materials available to staff at every building;

  • PPE available to all staff; and,

  • Customer compliance with mandatory masks rule continues to be very high.

COVID-19 Cases

  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, 35 of approx. 3,300 OC Transpo staff have tested positive for COVID-19;

  • 18 are front-line staff;

  • 21 have recovered and are back to work; and,

  • 14 are self-isolating and recovering.

  • All COVID-positive cases are investigated as soon as they are reported to us:

  • Vehicles and locations are deep-cleaned;

  • Employees identified via contact tracing are asked to go for testing as a precaution;

  • All public-facing cases are communicated to Council and Transit Commission; and,

  • All cases are communicated to staff and unions

  • Departmental Task Force works closely with OPH to ensure alignment on all COVID-related matters.


©2019 by Jan Harder.