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OC Transpo 'Shopper Routes' connecting rural residents with city centres

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For rural residents, it can be challenged to get from the outskirts of Ottawa to downtown neighbourhoods, but you may not know that OC Transpo offers a special bus service that helps get riders to city centre to go shopping, and it's free.

OC Transpo calls its 300-series "Shopper Routes" a "free and convenient way to get into town." There are five buses that each run one day per week in different rural communities.

Suzanne McGregor uses the 305 bus on Fridays. She says it's something she looks forward to.

"It is my highlight for the week," she says. "I just love socializing with everybody. Even though I have a driver's license, I would not drive to Carlingwood mall nowadays."

The 305 connects Kars, North Gower and Manotick to Barrhaven Centre and the Carlingwood Shopping Centre every Friday.

"The service is very essential for these people and for anybody that's a senior or anyone that doesn't drive," said transit user Judy Schoenberger. "It's important because otherwise where you would be stranded if you don't drive."

Each Shopper Route serves a different rural community, operating one round trip every week. Buses arrive at urban shopping centres around 10 a.m. and leave at 2:30 p.m. to bring shoppers home.

"It's a free service, so anyone who's living in a rural area who wants to take the bus into the city, it transfers to or it stops at urban shopping destinations and it makes multiple stops along the way," said OC Transpo spokesperson Katrina Camposarcone-Stubbs.

OC Transpo bus operator Fayez Semaan says it's the highlight of the workweek.

"This route is gives me a pleasure to do it every morning because you go to different places and you get to know all the people around," Semaan says. "You see them once a week and you're so anxious to go from week to week to see how these people are doing and they're waiting for you. Honestly, it gives you that happiness like one big, happy family."

Shopper Routes

Route 301

Runs Mondays. Connects Richmond and Stittsville with Kanata Centrum, Bayshore, Lincoln Fields and Carlingwood.

Route 302

Runs Tuesdays. Connects Cumberland, Sarsfield, Navan, and Notre-Dame-des-Champs with Fallingbrook, Place d'Orléans, Gloucester Centre, and St. Laurent.

Route 303

Runs Wednesdays. Connects Dunrobin and Carp with Kanata Centrum, Bayshore, Lincoln Fields, and Carlingwood.

Route 304

Runs Thursdays. Connects Metcalfe, Greely, and Osgoode with South Keys and Billings Bridge.

Route 305

Runs Fridays. Connects Kars, North Gower and Manotick with Barrhaven Centre and Carlingwood. 

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