Riders return to OC Transpo buses, trains as lockdown ends
OC Transpo light rail trains pass each other near downtown Ottawa, Tuesday, January 21, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
OTTAWA -- OC Transpo has seen a bump in ridership since the end of the COVID-19 lockdown and Ottawa's move to the 'orange-restrict' zone one month ago.
The Transit Commission was told Wednesday morning that ridership on buses and the O-Train is at 27 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in March, up from 22 per cent in February.
In January, ridership was at 18 per cent of pre-pandemic levels during the stay-at-home order and no in-person classes in schools.
"We've seen ridership growing very quickly since schools returned to on-site learning and since the stay-at-home order ended," said Pat Scrimgeour, director of Transit Customer Systems and Planning.
"We continue to look for any needs that our customers have because of changes to their travel pattern or changes to the number of people travelling."
Ontario imposed a lockdown on Ottawa on Dec. 26, and introduced a stay-at-home order on Jan. 14. The stay-at-home order ended on Feb. 16 when Ottawa moved into the 'orange-restrict' zone in Ontario's COVID-19 reopening framework.
OC Transpo ridership has remained at historic low levels since the start of the pandemic one year ago.
In December, the Transit Commission was told ridership peaked at 30 per cent of pre-COVID levels in September, before falling back to 28 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in October and November.
Ridership was at approximately 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in April, 2020.