OTTAWA -- Ottawa’s five-month-old Confederation Line will be the main focus at City Hall today.

The Transit Commission will receive a verbal update from Transportation Services General Manager John Manconi and city staff on the light rail transit line and the bus service. The Transit Commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Champlain Room at Ottawa City Hall. 

On Tuesday, OC Transpo reported issues with the on-platform displays at the LRT stations, a switch issue at Blair station and a door issue with a train at Parliament station.

Commissioners have been frustrated with the long list of issues with the $2.1 billion line since it launched in September.  

Citizen Transit Commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert told CFRA’s Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron on Feb. 14 “I’m just frustrated at this point. I mean, we just can’t seem to get past problems that really should be solved by now or should never have cropped up in the first place for $2.1 billion.”

Last month, Manconi told commissioners that Rideau Transit Group had hired British firm JBA Corporation to assess the issues with the line, and make recommendations to improve the system.

JBA Corp. founder James Boyle told Coun. Carol Anne Meehan on Jan. 30 that there was “a lot of work” to do, but the issues were “absolutely” fixable.  Boyle said the biggest issues were “line contactors, line inductor failures, brake issues.”

The Transit Commission meeting comes just days after Rideau Transit Group only provided seven trains at the start of Saturday service, a new low for the system.  Standard weekend service requires 11 trains running on the Blair to Tunney’s Pasture line.

On Friday afternoon, only eight trains were running during the afternoon rush hour.  In a memo to Council, Manconi said the presence of debris on the tracks caused damage to four transponders that communicate the location of the train to the control centre, forcing trains to move very slowly.

Para Transpo

The Transit Commission will also receive a verbal update on Para Transpo.

The Transit Services 2020 Business Plan to be introduced today says “online services for Para Transpo customers are being introduced in 2020.” Staff said online booking for next-day trips by customers and online cancellations by customers will be available early this year.

New statistics released by OC Transpo shows Para Transpo provided 793,637 trips in the first nine months of 2019. Staff report 37 per cent of trips were provided by Para Transpo minibuses, while 63 per cent were provided by contracted taxi.

GPS and user-friendly app system for buses

Councillor Theresa Kavanagh is calling on OC Transpo to introduce a new app system to provide riders with accurate information on buses and trip cancellations.

Kavanagh’s motion says “transit users are frustrated that bus service has been uneven with missing buses and late bus service.”

The motion recommends OC Transpo prioritize bringing forward a reliable GPS and user friendly app system on all buses in 2020 to give accurate information on bus locations and cancellations.