A reduction in the increase of additional buses on Scott Street

On Friday, the city released a statement titled, Transitway volume to be reduce on transitway detour. Sadly, this heading is a lie. What the city has done is reduce the planned increase of buses that will be diverted onto Scott Street during LRT construction (which I wrote about here). But a smaller increase is an increase, nonetheless.

Here’s what they said:

OC Transpo will reduce the number of buses operating along the Scott/Albert Transitway detour by up to 18% during peak periods when the detour is in effect from 2016-2018. This detour is required as part of the Confederation Line light rail transit (LRT) project.

The City of Ottawa has analyzed ideas submitted by the community on how to reduce the number of bus trips that need to run along the detour route. These suggestions have helped shape a number of service changes that will see a significant reduction of the total transit volumes along this corridor.

As part of the mitigation measures, OC Transpo will, pending approval from the National Capital Commission, divert out-of-service buses onto the Sir John A Macdonald Parkway. Also, some express routes will end at Bay Street in the morning peak period, rather than at LeBreton Station. These two service adjustments will result in daily peak period reductions of:

  • 267 fewer buses west of City Centre Avenue (14% reduction during peak periods);
  • 348 fewer buses between City Centre Avenue and Preston Street (18% reduction during peak periods); and,
  • 133 fewer buses east of Preston Street (7% reduction during peak periods).

It’s also rather less-than-honest to list only the reduction of the amount of buses that will be added to the street during construction. It’s all an attempt at appeasement rather than education.

Since I don’t have a breakdown of the initial numbers here, I’m going to do a little ‘rithmetic to figure out what those bullet points actually say:

  • 1907 buses west of City Centre Avenure
  • 1933 buses between City Centre Avenue and Preston Street
  • 1900 buses east of Preston Street.

I don’t know if these numbers mean an additional 1900 buses on the street (during peak periods), or if it means the additional buses will bring the numbers up to 1900 buses. I’m inclined to assume the former, as the increase is the cause of public demonstrations, the press release and the preceding sentence frame it in terms of a reduction of  the additional buses, and this would give the city a smaller denominator, plumping up the percentages they offer for each bullet point.

(But, all that being said, I’m not sure it’s much of a difference.)

This is still far more than that road can or should handle, and residents have solid grounds for continued grumbling. Unfortunately, the very need for LRT comes from our over-reliance on transit and commuting. What we really need to do is reduce our overall commuting times and distances. But that would be an even more difficult change.

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