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September 1st - OC Transpo’s school services for the fall

OC Transpo will be providing transit service to many Ottawa high schools and middle schools starting in September, as every year. This includes 600-series bus routes and additional trips on some regular bus routes. Students at many schools, in all four school boards, use OC Transpo for their daily trips. OC Transpo develops its plans in cooperation with the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) and the Consortium de Transport Scolaire d’Ottawa (CTSO).

This year, students at some high schools will be using OC Transpo for the first time. Because of a reduced availability of workforce at the bus companies that provide yellow school bus service to the English-language schools, OSTA has asked OC Transpo to increase capacity on our existing network to certain high schools. This will allow OSTA to reallocate yellow school buses to serve elementary and middle schools.

OC Transpo normally operates 8,385 bus trips each day. This includes 282 trips that primarily serve customers travelling to or from high schools and middle schools. The request from OSTA this year is to increase the number of school trips by 88 trips a day, for a total of 370 school trips (31 percent increase), and a system total of 8,473 bus trips a day (1 percent increase). Staff are working in cooperation with OSTA to address this travel need within the current OC Transpo staffing level, without requiring any reductions on other services or affecting service reliability.

OSTA will purchase monthly passes from OC Transpo for the students who are travelling to these schools, in addition to the passes they already purchase. This will result in some new fare revenue for OC Transpo, which will cover part of the additional costs that will be incurred in providing the additional school trips. As a reminder, all OC Transpo services and all fare types are subsidized by City property taxes, including the school trips and the Youth passes that are purchased by the school transportation authorities.

This week, the schedules for the additional school trips will be published on octranspo.com. Some further schedule adjustments may be required over the coming weeks as customers’ travel needs in September become clearer. If changes are required to school services, OC Transpo will provide updates to customers through our normal information channels, and OSTA will provide updates to the school boards.

OC Transpo’s goal is to provide safe, simple, and stress-free travel to schools. Detailed information about OC Transpo services will be available through the online travel planner tool at octranspo.com. In collaboration with Ottawa Public Health, we continue to make transit service as safe as possible for everyone, with mandatory masks for all customers, enhanced cleaning, hand sanitizer dispensers in stations, and protective shields around bus operators. As always, OC Transpo will be working to ensure a reliable service for all customer groups across the entire network, including the customers travelling to schools.

OC Transpo has a number of customer-friendly applications and tools so that customers can get timely service information while on the go. These include texting 560560 or calling 613-560-1000 plus the four-digit bus stop number for real-time bus schedule information, downloading the OC Transpo iPhone app or an independent app, signing up for text or email alerts on octranspo.com to receive the latest information, checking transit information screens at many major stations, as well as visiting octranspo.com from a smartphone. Customers who require more information can also call the OC Transpo Customer Service Centre at 613-560-5000.

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