Does this give anyone else pause?
Ridership on OC Transpo is essentially flat. Revenue is down.
Even more, the baby-boomer demographic is reaching or has reached its retirement years. That means a huge bulge in the population won’t be commuting anymore.
All this comes as the City of Ottawa is putting a multi-billion-dollar bet down on light-rail commuting. It is doing so as commuting is stagnating.
Furthermore, the new Confederation Line won’t make commuting any easier. Exactly the opposite. Many riders will be receiving an extra transfer on their way downtown on hot summer days and cold winter mornings. That’s not likely to make them happy … particularly if you are accustomed to taking an express bus. As well, the city blew its fiscal brains out on building the tunnel so the resulting rail line is very short. In its present state, the Confederation Line is a line to nowhere.
Photo above: Ottawa’s current O-Train.
And if all this is not enough, the new line travels down the same route as the Transitway therefore making upticks in ridership difficult. You’ve already got the Confederation Line passengers on the Transitway. When Phase 2 kicks off somewhere in the distant futures, how many new passengers will the line pick up travelling along the Macdonald Parkway?
While politicians will be patting each other on the back in 2018 when light rail opens, one wonders if they will be doing the same thing once passengers discover they just bought a delay and extra transfer for $2.1 billion.
Could light rail be a flop? No one considered that in the early years of LRT discussion but that might be a real possibility come 2018.
And remember … as reported in The Bulldog, no professional ridership study was done on the Confederation Line. Will we discover in 2018 that the Confederation Line has just roughly the same ridership as the current bus line but with more delays, another weather-exposed transfer and a $2.1-billion bill?
If the line is a disappointment, there will be huge political consequences.
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