OC Transpo is closing three stations along Ottawa’s Transitway for nine hours on Sunday, Mar. 31 so it can simulate how riders will transfers from buses to the LRT system at Tunney’s Pasture station once the Confederation Line is live.
Dominion, Westboro and Tunney’s Pasture stations will be closed to riders from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to OC Transpo. Detours will be in place for some bus routes and bus stops during that period, read a statement from the city, attributed to Pat Scrimgeour, director of transit customer systems and planning.
Scrimgeour said shuttles running approximately every 10 minutes will pick up passengers at certain transit stops and take them to “alternate station locations on Wellington Street and Richmond Road.”
OC Transpo staff will be stationed along the detour route to help riders, and more information will be posted on OC Transpo’s website, Scrimgeour wrote.
Once the thrice-delayed east-west LRT line is carrying passengers, Tunney’s Pasture — located about four kilometres west from Parliament Hill — will be one of three major transfer stations where riders will zip directly between bus service and the light-rail trains without having to pass through fare gates. Hurdman and Blair stations are the other two.
OC Transpo is rolling out stress tests at those three big connection points ahead of time to see how the stations and platforms handle the high volume and movement of people, according to OC Transpo general manager John Manconi. The dress rehearsals also serve as a “hands-on training exercise for staff,” he added.
“We also do ‘what if’ scenarios in terms of potential incidents and so forth to see how we respond,” Manconi said on Wednesday afternoon at city hall, after delivering a presentation to the transit commission on what the LRT’s launch will look like for riders.
The Tunney’s Pasture stress test was originally scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 24, but was postponed due to weather forecasts predicting freezing rain.
About 200 staff and 80 buses — but no trains — will be involved in next Sunday’s exercise and they will simulate their anticipated activities and routes through the station, OC Transpo officials told the transit commission on Wednesday. The practice runs are recorded using monitors, cameras, stop-watches and note-takers and are later analyzed, they said.
The day-long exercise is expected to test these mock scenarios:
- Normal morning rush-hour operations;
- Morning rush-hour operations if there’s a broken-down bus in the station;
- Normal afternoon operations;
- Normal afternoon operations if there’s a broken-down bus; and,
- Operations in the event Tunney’s Pasture station has to close.
Hurdman Station already passed its stress test, which took place on Oct. 28, 2018.
“It exceeded our expectations,” Manconi said. “It worked not only as a design, but … multiple scenarios were done and it worked very very well.”
OC Transpo will set a date for the exercise at Blair Station after Sunday’s test at Tunney’s Pasture, Scrimgeour said on Thursday.
Testing, commissioning of trains ‘progressing well’, OC Transpo boss says
Mar. 31, 2019 was supposed to the day the consortium building the $2.1-billion Confederation Line would have the system finished and delivered to the City of Ottawa.
But councillors and Ottawans learned on Mar. 5 that was not to be, for the third time.
As of that day, 24 of the LRT fleet’s 34 train cars had been fully certified for use. While those trains can and are being tested on the tracks, according to OC Transpo, the Rideau Transit Group (RTG) cannot begin a lengthy, end-to-end trial run of the entire system without the rest. OC Transpo needs 30 train cars, travelling in sets of two, running on the LRT line during peak hours.
Manconi says his department won’t accept the Confederation Line until the system runs “flawlessly” for 12 days in a row for that trial run; there are other “critical” contractual requirements that still need to be completed as well.
The OC Transpo boss said this week that the testing and commissioning of the LRT trains is “going very, very well.” Twenty train cars were out on the line on Wednesday, he said, while 19 were out last week and were “doing what they were supposed to do” throughout the wet snowfall on Mar. 10.
RTG is now expected to hand over the Confederation Line sometime between early April and the end of June, but a new handover date has not yet been announced.
Manconi on Wednesday refused to comment on a new deadline.