Friends of the O-Train

Friends of the O-Train is transit group composed of a number of community leaders, rail and transit experts, and concerned taxpayers. Our goal has been to present practical rapid transit options for the National Capital Region, for open discussion with anyone.
Email: friendsoftheotrain (at)

Advantages of the Practical Plan

Advantages of removing buses from Slater and Albert streets and replacing them with ELRT from Bayview to Hurdman:

ADDITIONAL SAVINGS: $60 million in bus purchase costs, $60 million on bus garage construction costs, and $25 million yearly bus operating costs saved by deleting buses from downtown, and using them to provide better local service.

In four years, that would equal $220 million in savings, more than offsetting the $200 million threat from Dalton McGuinty.
- There are approximately 200 buses heading west on Albert St. and a similar number going east on Slater St. during each peak hour.

- Under the practical plan for solving the downtown congestion problems (caused by too many buses and no room for further expansion of transit capacity to downtown), the following proposals are made:

- Buses coming in from the west Transitway would terminate at a new transfer facility to be built at the west end of Lebreton Flats, near the existing Bayview station.

- Buses coming in from the east and southeast Transitway would terminate at a new transfer facility to be built at Hurdman Station.

- A 30 vehicle ELRT fleet would replace all the buses that used to run across downtown from Bayview to Hurdman, and passengers would transfer from the buses to the ELRT to reach destinations downtown.


- There would be 400 fewer diesel engines running each hour in downtown, eliminating all the noise and pollution they now cause.

- A bus that turned around at the edge of downtown would save the 15 minutes it takes to cross downtown.

- A bus that turned around at Bayview would be back in Bayshore, or Arlington Woods, or almost back in Kanata or Barrhaven, to start its next run, in the time it would take to cross downtown.

- Similarly, buses that turned around at Hurdman would be back in South Keys, Beacon Hill, Blackburn Hamlet, or Orleans, starting their next run, in the time it would take to cross downtown.

- We would increase bus frequencies, probably by 40% or more, in all those suburban neighbourhoods, without having to buy any new buses.

- The electric light rail vehicles would cross downtown faster than the buses currently can, because they board faster than buses, accelerate faster than buses, would have no buses in their way, and the traffic lights would be synchronized with the ELRT movements.

- If buses currently take 15 minutes to cross downtown, the ELRT could easily do it in under 12, and more likely, 10 minutes.

Operating cost savings

- Each of those 400 buses is taking 15 minutes, or 1/4 hour, to cross downtown.

- At an average bus operating cost of about $100.00 per hour, that's
100 x 400 x 1/4 = $10,000 saved per each hour of bus operation during the peak period, by not having the bus cross downtown.

- There is the equivalent of about 5 "peak" hours per day, that's
5 x 10,000 = $50,000 per day of saved bus operating costs.

- Times 250 working days per year, that's about
250 x 50,000 = $12,500,000 of bus operating cost savings per year.

- When we look at all the mid-day, evening, and weekend buses that would no longer cross downtown, the savings would be about double, or $25,000,000 per year.

It's as if we suddenly "found" an extra $25 million per year to run more bus service into everybody's neighbourhood, City-wide.

- Of course, the money isn't actually "saved", it and the buses are put to better use, provided a higher frequency of service in various neighbourhoods.

- Recall that the City's plan for fitting ELRT into downtown requires REMOVING bus service from outlying neighbourhoods.

Capital cost savings

- What would it cost to purchase all the buses that would be needed to improve bus service across the City, under the "traditional" way of doing things in Ottawa?

- There are about 130 buses running between Bayview and Hurdman, in both directions combined, at the peak of the peak, around 8:15 am.

- Away from this extreme peak, there would be ~ 100 buses in that stretch simultaneously.

- The Friends of the O-Train practical plan for ELRT downtown would make these 100 buses available to do something else, at no capital cost.

- 100 buses, at about $600,000 average cost each, would cost $60 million.

- It would also mean that we would not need to build a new bus garage, for a saving of another $60 million.

- Getting more bus service into the neighbourhoods, combined with a more comfortable, cleaner, and faster way to get through downtown is what will get a higher percentage of the population to use transit.

- For example, Toulouse France replaced all the buses into their downtown with LRT. This led to a considerable ridership increase. All the buses terminate at the beginning of the LRT line and people all ride into town on the trams. The time saving makes for no complaints about the transfer.

Tim Lane
Nov. 11, 2006


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