Transpo Dumps Buses Despite Capacity Woes

 

While OC Transpo admits it now has a capacity problem, its solution is to take buses off the road.

OC Transpo is storing removed buses and is storing them at its Manotick Yard until they are sold, the city says in an emailed response to The Bulldog.

Recently a reader told The Bulldog that a number of double-decker buses are being stored out of sight at 4244 Rideau Valley Drive. Other buses are there, according to a source, awaiting to be scrapped.

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Twitter (now called X) has been alive with Transpo customers standing at bus stops as vehicles pass but not stopping because they are packed with passengers. As well, the LRT system is running with single-car trains that are leaving half of potential passengers waiting on platforms for subsequent vehicles.


All this comes as the city is reporting the Transpo budget is short about $40 million and the municipality is scrambling to fill that hole. Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said he is considering increasing the municipal transit tax to fill the breach. All the while, Sutcliffe says property tax increases would be held at 2.5 per cent in the upcoming budget. However, the transit tax is outside of the main body of the budget.

After all the criticism on X, OC Transpo admitted it has a capacity problem and is considering increasing the length of LRT vehicles. Nevertheless at present, customers are complaining of packed conditions and are concerned about their health due to proximity to other passengers as the flu and Covid season approaches.

A city report in February said Ottawa’s bus fleet will be reduced from 855 buses to 738. That’s part of the reason that buses are being stored in the Manotick Yard. OC Transpo expects the withdrawal of buses will save about $4.4 million in 2023 or about 10 per cent of its current deficit.

The buses were being kept in the expectation that ridership would rise to pre-pandemic levels but that has never happened. Now that the federal government is allowing employees to work at home, OC Transpo feels ridership will not reach pre-pandemic levels anytime soon.

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Transpo believes that by the time ridership returns to its pre-pandemic levels, the buses being sold will be beyond their operational life.

The fleet reduction is not expected to affect the city’s purchase of e-buses.

To read the full city report, click on the link below:

2023 Draft Operating and Capital Budgets

Ken Gray

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