O-Train to be shut down in summer of 2013
Ottawa’s light-rail system will be shut down for more than four months next summer so more tracks can be added.
A memo from OC Transpo head John Manconi to city council said the O-Trains will be parked from April 27 to Sept. 2, 2013 for $59 million in upgrades, disppointing news to regular riders.
"It's actually one of the highlights of our summer time," said Marianne Fotia of her and her family.
The goal of the upgrades is to prepare for six new trains, which Manconi said are expected to lower the time it takes for a full trip from 15 minutes to eight.
"It's a little bit of pain for a whole lot of gain for out transit riders," said councillor Diane Deans, chair of the city's transit committee.
Manconi said extra buses will provide services to the O-Train’s five stops while passing tracks, station modifications and general renovations are being done.
Riders said the replacement service won't be the same.
"I've done it once or twice when the train was broken down," said Karen Wollenschlager, who's been taking the O-Train almost daily for ten years. "It took me at least half again as long, just because it's slower - it has to go on the road."
"An important thing for me is kids under 11 travel for free on the O-Train, whereas with OC Transpo (I) have to pay for two out of the three kids," Fotia said.
Deans said she'll see if OC Transpo can match the O-Train rate for children on the summer bus line - children can only ride the bus for free if they're under five years old.
Many Carleton University students use the on-campus station to access the O-Train, with the April 27 construction start date matching the end of their winter term exam period.
"We take it out of service in the summer because that's when the current university is down for the summer," Deans said. "The students aren't as affected. The faculty aren't as affected."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua