OTTAWA -- OC Transpo is apologizing to riders after a spike in bus cancellations Saturday, saying there aren’t enough drivers on the weekends.

Saturday, 71 trip cancellations were posted to the OC Transpo Live Twitter account

Transit Commission Chair, Allan Hubley, acknowledging drivers are overworked. 

"The drivers have done a lot of overtime through this transition period that we are going through and I think part of what took place Saturday is a number of drivers said ‘we just need a day off,’” Hubley said.

In a statement Sunday afternoon, OC Transpo apologized for the high number of cancellations.

"The reason for the high number of cancellations is due to operator shortages during weekend periods," said the statement, attributed to Director of Transit Operations Jim Greer. "We are working to minimize these cancellations."

Sunday, service continued to be interrupted with postings that more than 45 trips were cancelled.

“We did see a higher number of cancelled trips,” said Troy Charter, the Director of Transit Operations for OC Transpo.

With 40 buses recently added to the roads to improve service and additional buses set aside for R1 service, Charter agreed more drivers were needed to fill the gaps.

“You have more work for the same number of operators so that’s why we’re doing recruitment,” Charter said.

OC Transpo plans to hire 100 employees.

Those with previous experience will undergo 36 hours of training, while new hires will do six weeks, according the union representing operators.


At Billings Bridge station, riders expressed frustrations at what they say is a lack of reliability for certain routes.

“f you have an hour to spare, you can catch the bus because they are late or don’t show up," said Anmol Singh. “It’s unreliable.”

Danika Robertson says she experienced delays trying to catch the number 5 to Rideau station.

"I got here and found out it was cancelled," she said. "I probably didnt plan enough in advance to find out it was cancelled but this is the second weekend in a row... It's inconvenient for sure."

In October, OC Transpo made changes to routes and frequency to accommodate light rail, including weekend trips. 

OC Transpo runs 8,200 bus trips on weekdays; it says 98.5 per cent of those trips go as planned.

"Our focus now is on delivering the same consistency for the over 5,000 trips we deliver on Saturday and close to 4,000 trips on Sunday," the statement said.

According to @OCTranspoLive:

Saturday, Dec. 7: 71 bus trips cancelled

Saturday, Nov. 30: 16 trips cancelled

Saturday, Nov. 23: 56 trips cancelled

Saturday, Nov. 16: 43 trips cancelled