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OC Transpo to run single-car trains through rest of summer



OTTAWA —The OC Transpo-operated light rail system in Ottawa will continue to operate with single-car trains throughout the summer as a result of a phased service resumption following a temporary shutdown. Despite ongoing challenges in the transit sector, a partial service is now underway with single-car trains along a portion of the Confederation Line, which typically accommodates two-car trains. This accelerated reopening was made possible by completing work on restraining rails to prevent derailments. Further efforts to adjust restraining rails to avoid contact with train wheels are ongoing, with the intention of fully restoring partial service by August 14.


During August, OC Transpo plans to operate 11 single-car trains during morning peak hours, 13 during afternoon peak hours, and nine trains during off-peak hours. The decision to continue operating single-car trains rather than pairs is attributed to the currently low ridership, which stands at 43% of the pre-pandemic levels. The transit authority is in the process of developing its September service plan.


The recent reintroduction of partial service involves five single-car trains running at five-minute intervals, complemented by R1 buses. This resumption follows a shutdown that was initiated due to the discovery of a bearing problem during routine inspections.


Ottawa councillors are set to hold inquiries and discuss the light rail transit system's resumption plans with OC Transpo and Rideau Transit Group staff. This marks the first public inquiry since the system's temporary suspension on July 17 due to axle-bearing issues. A meeting initially postponed has been rescheduled for August 29. The council's session for questions and answers and a media briefing are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.


The ongoing safety measures include repositioning restraining rails along the LRT line, with progress being reported. The Rideau Transit Group is actively replacing wheel hub assemblies on the train fleet, with 24 replacements completed thus far. Despite the current lighter passenger traffic, OC Transpo remains optimistic about the return of riders as continuous improvements are implemented.


As part of their ongoing efforts to enhance the transit experience, OC Transpo has initiated testing for credit card payments on bus fare readers and fare gates at O-Train Line 1 stations. This progress, which began on July 4 for buses and June 19 for stations, signifies a significant step toward introducing credit card and mobile wallet payment options with O-Payment.


In conclusion, the decision to continue operating single-car trains by OC Transpo during the summer reflects a cautious approach to service resumption in light of ongoing challenges. As the city of Ottawa navigates the phased reopening of its light rail system, efforts to ensure safety, efficiency, and convenience for passengers remain at the forefront.


 

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