BC bus riders take it on the chin

Bells Corners bus riders will be bearing the brunt of the transit cutbacks.

The 166 will have reduced hours of service, which may mean that bus travel between Bells Corners and Bayshore or Crystal Beach will be cut off at supper time seven days a week.

Minimum wage workers on the strip and in Bayshore will just have to buy a car or use active transportation (for many a long trudge home on the shoulder of an arterial road).

The 166 will operate from Bayshore Station to Nortel/Grandview, with the section to Bells Corners combined with Route 97. The section near Bell High School will be removed. Hours of service will be reduced.

The 97 will be extended to Bells Corners via Richmond with the section on Woodridge removed. No changes to the 69 express route are planned.

Some Bells Corners bus riders are tired of standing.

Another resident had this comment about bus service within Lynwood Village:

I live and work on Ridgefield Crescent, where my partner and I have a home office. This is one of the worst-served communities in Ottawa with respect to transit. Except during rush-hours when there is an express bus 10 minutes away on Richmond Road, it takes 45 or more minutes to get downtown by bus. Moreover, the distances to the nearest bus stops for much of Lynwood Village are considerably greater than the urban standard. This came about in part due to resistance from local ratepayers some 20 years ago or so, several years before I moved here with my family, to a proposal to run a bus along Ridgefield Crescent, which is a collector road in the subdivision. The decision to not provide bus service to this area has never been revisited.

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11 Responses to BC bus riders take it on the chin

  1. Anonymous says:

    No need for busses to run on Ridgefield. I think the distance is well within the urban standard. I have lived in areas where the walk is much longer.

    – I’d be horrified if huge OC busses starting hurtling down Ridgefield – the asphalt is bad enough as it!

    On the other hand, it IS a long way to walk if you’re elderly or hauling a heavy load.

    Hopefully the nascent Free Bike-share/BikeTaxi service will help fill the void.

  2. wanderer says:

    It’s because of the distance I’d have to walk to catch a bus that no one in my family has used the bus in the last 31 years, except for the short period when you could call a number to be picked up at home and delivered to the nearest bus stop.

    That was declared a luxury, and it’s been downhill ever since. Young people or anyone that doesn’t finish their job by 5:30 will just be out of luck.

    Imagine all those who work in the service industries and seniors homes who will now have to either buy a car, or hoof it, and a lot of people, like me, who can’t walk distances, will be out of luck.

    For shame RC, Ottawa and OC bureaucrats!

    – It’s not a done deal yet. You can provide input online or go to a public consultation:

    Wednesday, March 30th
    7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    Presentation will begin at 8 p.m.
    Kanata Recreation Complex, Hall B, 100 Walter Baker Place

    Thursday, March 31th
    7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    Presentation will begin at 8 p.m.
    Nepean Sportsplex, Halls C and D, 1701 Woodroffe Avenue

  3. wanderer says:

    BTW – do we get a decrease in our taxes if we don’t get bus service in the evenings? Just wondering.

    • dfg says:

      Oh, for goodness sake, transit is part of the overall transportation infrastructure.

      It isn’t appropriate for everyone to get the exact same level of service.

      Some people get sidewalks, some people don’t.

      Some people get their street plowed right away, some people have to wait days.

      Some people get to live right on a collector road, some people get to live on a quiet street.

      Some people live on a bus route, some people don’t.

      Just because you don’t have the bus going to your door doesn’t mean you don’t have access to transit.

      – If everyone worked, lived and played in their local community we wouldn’t need to spend gazillions on roads and bus service. Here’s a sweet equation: number of residents of Bells Corners = number of jobs in Bells Corners

  4. Karen Kaye says:

    Oh for eff sake! How are my kids supposed to get to Bell at a decent hour if they miss the “bus run”? I’m so fed up with OC Transpo, it’s not funny. What can we do?

    – If enough people spoke up maybe the media would cover it? The squeaky wheel gets greased.

    Maybe we could suggest other ways to save money? Each of our 24 municipal politicians costs us close to $400,000 a year in salaries and office budgets alone.

  5. jellybean says:

    Here in Westcliffe we enjoy two OC Transpo routes hurtling down two different residential streets. Thirty yellow busses to chauffeur the Franco-Ouest students (none of whom seem to live in the neighbourhood) clog the street.

    OC Transpo is actually not that bad. It’s the school busses – noisy, polluting and driving way too fast down Seyton when the runs are finished.

    Our OC service makes it easy to commute if you work downtown, and it’s a way for our kids to get to Bell High in the winter.

    However the changes will send the 97, which is often an articulated bus, down our residential streets, and our kids will have no more service to Bell High.

    It seems stupid too to cut the 166 to Nortel when DND is moving there. I wonder how many BC residents who work at DND will now be driving? The 97 should go down Robertson and leave the 166 as it is.

    – If we had neighbourhood schools it would sure cut down on the yellow busses. Kids would be better off using active transportation anyway, and it would sure bring down our tax bills. Although hiking all the way to Bell from Westcliffe with a full backpack in – 20 weather would be brutal.

    I like the idea of ONE publicly funded neighbourhood-based school system. Get rid of the school boards altogether to save even more money. Spend the money in the classroom, not on the bureaucrats. Empower the parents, the students and the teachers.

    • Although hiking all the way to Bell from Westcliffe with a full backpack in – 20 weather would be brutal.

      Been there, did that. Endless supply of “why when I was a kid…” tales to bore my children with.

      – It’s an easy trek on a bike if the weather’s good.

      • It’s an easy trek on a bike if the weather’s good.

        That it is, but it is still possible even at -30 and blowing.

        Personally I always found walking home (west) the hardest, since the wind comes from that direction more often than not.

        – I’m always surprised that people give up on cycling when the weather isn’t perfect. As long as you dress appropriately and have a good bike, winter cycling it can be MOST pleasant.

  6. jellybean says:

    The reason Franco-Ouest has so many busses is that it is an elite French-only school. They don’t have enough kids to fill a school in every neighbourhood so they leased (or bought) the school from the OCSSB.

    It used to be St. Paul’s- I have been told it was overcrowded so the English Catholic students moved from the Westcliffe high school to the larger facility on Draper Ave., which used to be Franco-Ouest (and before that Sir John A.). The French Catholic students took over the Westcliffe high school. So the two boards swapped schools.

    The Bells Corners Catholic kids take the bus to Draper, and 30 school busses full of French kids from Barrrhaven etc. are dropped off in BC everyday. Some parents will always send their kids to an elite school given the chance no matter how ridiculous the commute.

    – I’m not sure that Franco-Ouest in Bells Corners qualifies as an “elite” school. That adjective might apply more accurately to Bell High School- many of its students are bussed or taxied in from all over the western Ottawa (as far afield as Fitzroy Harbour) to be in the ‘gifted’ program.

    • Jellybean says:

      You have to have a francophone parent to be automatically admitted to this school. Otherwise you have to apply and it is up to the board to admit you (just a guess- a non-francophone student’s marks, sports performance etc. would then play a large role in their admittance). As far as I know Bell does not exclude any student based on who their parents are or any other such criteria. I think it is quite a stretch to insinuate that it is a more elitist school.

      Franco-Ouest also is known as a “baccalaureate” school, an elite designation. It is well known for its academic standards, which would obviously draw a fair number of francophone parents to enroll their kids.

      I personally see nothing wrong with this. I grew up with kids that went to Champlain (also a French school) but think they should have projected where most of their students were coming from and built out there to reduce the pollution. Maybe in the future that will happen.

      You will not avoid the bussing of students unless unless you have mini-versions of all the special programs in all neighbourhood schools. If the board offers a special program in a certain school only, of course the parents will have their kids bussed. The only solution is to go back to the way we were educated (no French immersion, no gifted, no sports/arts schools) in the 70s or scale down the programs if you want “neighbourhood schools.”

      – I’m not so sure about the “high academic standards” – Franco-Ouest has its share of mediocre students, teachers and administrators, just like any other school.

      Its students do score higher than those at Bell and St. Paul on standardized tests, but that’s to be expected when you test only francophone Catholics. The more needy, lower-scoring students are much more common in public schools. The international bac program is largely just smoke and mirrors.

      From the French board’s point of view Franco-Ouest is ideally located, serving all the francophones in a huge area. Bus costs are very high, but I don’t think that they would be less if the school were located somewhere else.

      I wasn’t saying that Bell is “more elitist” than Franco-Ouest. But it also busses in non-Bells Corners students from a huge area at great cost. Anyone who passes the “gifted test” (more smoke and mirrors) when they’re in kindergarten or later gains access to extra academic resources until graduation from high school.

      I’m not convinced that we need sports schools, art schools, alternative schools, Catholic schools, Muslim schools, French schools, Jewish schools, gifted schools, etc.

      Sweep away all the busses and the administrative costs associated with multiple duplicate bureaucracies and there would be a TON of extra money to invest in our neighbourhood schools. There’s no reason why diversity can’t be accommodated within a local school.

      • Jellybean says:

        Yes, I’m sure you’re absolutely right. It’s too bad we went in the “bus” direction years ago.

        – Wouldn’t it be great to have train service in Bells Corners with stations at Richmond and Moodie? A plan to solve our transit problems the cheap way by using existing rail lines was rejected in favour of the billion dollar tunnel plan.

        Community group’s plan would cut costs by using existing lines

        Patrick Dare, Ottawa Citizen

        Ottawa doesn’t have to spend billions of dollars to expand the public transit system, says the community transit advocacy group, Friends of the O-Train.

        The city can ease car and bus congestion and get commuter rail service to Kanata, Barrhaven and across the Ottawa River to Gatineau by using existing rail lines, the group said yesterday.

        The plan is an expansion of the Friends’ plan from the fall municipal election. With that initial plan, the group pointed out there were alternatives to the $880-million north-south electric system from Barrhaven to the University of Ottawa being championed by former mayor Bob Chiarelli, who lost the election.

        The Friends proposed keeping buses out of downtown and running electric trains through the city core. There would be major transfer stations to the bus transit system and the existing O-Train — a diesel train that runs from Bayview station in the north to South Keys in the south. They also proposed expanding that diesel service farther south.

        The cost of that basic plan was estimated at $439 million.

        The Friends’ citywide plan proposes another $292 million in capital spending to get rail service farther out. The City of Ottawa’s estimates of capital spending needed for transit have ranged into the billions of dollars.

        The Friends propose these extensions of the rail system:

        – Extend the O-Train 5.5 kilometres along the existing track bed, south to Leitrim Road, where a park and ride lot would be built.

        The move would bring rail transit to Riverside South, which was to be served by the proposed north-south electric rail line that was recently voted down by city council.

        David Jeanes of the Friends said yesterday this project could be done within six months and would not require a new environmental assessment.

        – Extend the O-Train to Barrhaven by allowing the vehicles access to the VIA Rail line that runs near the Confederation station. Two passing tracks would be built to permit the VIA trains to pass.

        – Extend the downtown electric train from Hurdman station, east of downtown, into the health sciences complex on Smyth Road, to serve the growing number of commuters working there.

        The access would be either the existing VIA rail line, or along the existing transitway.

        – Extend the diesel O-Train from Confederation station, along VIA’s line to the Ottawa Central Railway all the way to March Road in Kanata, with stations at Bells Corners, Woodroffe, Merivale and Colonnade.

        – Extend the downtown electric train service from Hurdman station to the VIA Rail station in Alta Vista, likely using the transitway.

        – Extend rail service to Terrasse de la Chaudiere and/or the Casino du Lac-Leamy, by using the Prince of Wales rail bridge.

        – Extend the downtown electric train service from Bayview station to the federal office buildings in Tunney’s Pasture, by laying track along the transitway.

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