OC Transpo to cut 200-series routes
The OC Transpo route review is finished, and 200-series routes are toast.
At long last, OC Transpo’s review of its bus routes is out. As expected, it will be a major overhaul of the bus system, with many routes being cut. Our transit system is in a precarious place, with a massive rail expansion underway while ridership has collapsed.
We’ve got a first look at the route review — it’s a dense topic, so we’ll go further in-depth in the coming days and weeks — plus the latest on Lansdowne 2.0, and the turmoil this week at the Sens.
Let’s get to it.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
Friday: +9 🌡️ +4 | 🌤
Saturday: +9 🌡️ +1 | 🌦
Sunday: +7 🌡️ -6 | 🌦
Monday: +2 🌡️ +2 | 🌤
Transit cuts and Lansdowne 2.0 debate
What happened: OC Transpo and the city have completed their route review and cuts are coming. The biggest change is that many 200-series bus routes will be eliminated. The focus will be on putting more resources into high-volume routes to improve their reliability, while cutting routes with lower ridership.
Bye-bye 200s: According to CTV routes “232, 236, 252, 257, 258, 265, 267, 268, 270, 271, 273, 278, 282, 290 and 291” will all be eliminated. Bus routes will be adjusted to better link up with the new north-south Trillium Line, expected to open sometime next year (hopefully). There has been no date set for when the changes go into effect.
The city breaks down what the changes will mean for each neighbourhood in the city. The changes are extensive, and too many pages to put in the newsletter individually, but you can find the full document here.
Mayor’s view: Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said in a YouTube video posted to his personal account the changes to the routes are necessary to preserve the system. “With this new light rail line and changing demand in other areas OC Transpo will reallocate some of its resources and also eliminate redundancies. There will be more buses in areas with higher demand and fewer in areas with less demand,” Sutcliffe said.
“This is not about cost cutting. In fact, we're adding more money to the public transit budget next year. This is about making responsible decisions, sometimes even tough decisions,” Sutcliffe said.
The Lookout’s view: The mayor is right, but only to a point. The transit budget is going up by 2.5 percent again this year, and the city is indeed spending more on operating transit than it ever has, but it is not increasing its budget enough to cover the spending hole that isn’t covered by fare revenue. Overall, the system has less money than it needs, facing down another year with an expected deficit of $35 million. The only way to fill that hole is to cut.
Previous cuts: When the LRT first came online in 2018, the city did another similar realignment of bus routes. The system was realigned around the trains, cutting routes and laying off staff. Even when the LRT is running properly, the bus system is plagued by unreliability and frequent delays for riders.
What happened: A meeting on whether the city should fund another round of reconstruction at Lansdowne Park kicked off yesterday and is expected to continue through at least to today, CTV reported.
It’s a contentious project that would see the construction of two condo towers behind a rebuilt north side stands. Beneath the new towers would be a new retail space. The arena would be moved to the endzone, but a proposed green roof has been cut for cost reasons.
The stakes: The proposal was given to the city by Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) during the Jim Watson era, and city staff have since taken up the gauntlet. Proponents say without another redevelopment with public money, OSEG and the teams they operate out of Lansdowne might not survive.
The cost: Once touted as revenue neutral, that has since changed. Early estimates said it would cost the city $419 million per year, requiring $313 million in new debt — at an annual cost of about $16 million. Because the estimates are preliminary, those numbers are almost certain to rise. (In the last year-and-a-half, the scope of the project has decreased, while the cost has jumped $88 million.)
Chief among the questions at city hall were whether revenue projections from OSEG could be believed when the Lansdowne 1.0 redevelopment has yet to produce a single dime for the city. The city owns Lansdowne, but OSEG rents the site for $1 a year. The city is last in line to get paid, after OSEG has covered its expenses.
Hearnings get underway again this morning. You can watch live on the city’s YouTube channel.
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⚙️ $100 million: The amount Queen’s University received from graduate Stephen Smith. The Engineering department at the university will now be known as the Stephen J.R. Smith Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. [CBC]
🚨 62: The number of charges laid by Ottawa police in the ByWard Market in a mid-October enforcement blitz. Twenty-one people were arrested. [CTV]
🚔 326: This many cases of beer were confiscated from a van, after police pulled it over for driving on only three tires and a battered steel rim. The beer was bought in Quebec and brought to Ontario for an upcoming wedding. (You can only bring alcohol into Ontario from out of province for personal use.) [CTV]
Dorion out as GM, Sens lose first-round pick
What happened: Pierre Dorion was “relieved of his duties” as general manager of the Ottawa Senators after it was announced the team had lost a first-round draft pick, CBC reported. The NHL stripped the team of the pick (in 2024, 2025, or 2026) because Dorion withheld the no-trade list of Evgenii Dadonov when he was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in 2021.
That later scuttled a trade between Vegas and Anaheim, because Dadonov had the Ducks on his no-trade list.
How it went down: New owner Michael Andlauer and Dorion had dinner earlier this week where they came to the “mutual decision” to part ways, The Athletic reported. The team’s hockey operations president Steve Staios will serve as GM until a replacement has been found.
Last week, the team received a report from the league which pinned blame on the debacle on Dorion. Once it was decided the punishment would be the loss of a draft pick, Andlauer and Staios felt they had no choice but to part ways with Dorion.
No love lost: The new owner was not thrilled with how this was handled by the league, stripping his team of a draft pick only weeks after he took control — a year and a half after the initial incident. “Why I inherited this is beyond me. There is no reason for this to last this long.… That’s a question you’ll have to ask the NHL, why it took a whole year since the hearing. The commissioner had a lot of time to deliberate,” Andlauer said, according to The Athletic.
Later in the press conference, he explicitly linked the decision to the sale: “Maybe because the club was for sale and they didn’t want to dispute the sale, and making sure the seller got the biggest price possible.… I don’t know.”
🏥 The province’s decision to farm out surgeries and other procedures to private clinics will likely lead to longer wait times across the healthcare system, a new study suggested. Current delays in the system are not caused by a lack of equipment or space, but a lack of staff. [CTV]
🏢 Unable to keep up with the housing crisis, the city is taking over the Heron Road Community Centre and converting it into an emergency homeless shelter. The plan will use the centre for the winter as a shelter, cancelling or relocating all of its community programs during that time. [CTV]
🩺 The Ottawa Hospital General Campus is back to normal operations after an electrical fire left several floors damaged and without power. The outages caused a loss of blood, so Canadian Blood Services is asking for donors to help replenish the supply. [CTV]
😷 The risk of respiratory viruses in the city appears to be dipping, taking some pressure off an already strained healthcare system. [CBC]
🚨 A bomb threat was sent to the Ottawa Jewish Community School. Police investigated, but determined there was no danger to the school. Multiple schools in Cornwall and eastern Ontario were evacuated after another series of threats to schools at multiple boards. [CTV/Ottawa Citizen]
What to do this weekend
📖 Ottawa Reads YA - Kelley Armstrong, Friday 7 pm: Bestselling author Kelley Armstrong comes to Ottawa to talk about her latest YA novel Someone is Always Watching and adult novel Hemlock Island. A live Q&A and autograph session. At Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Dr. Free.
🍷 Orléans Cork and Fork Festival, until Saturday: An upscale event with local wines and food. With live music, workshops, chef’s challenge and more. Ticket prices vary by event.
☕️ Breville x Best Buy Coffee Masterclass, Saturday: Two classes at 11:30 am and 1 pm led by a professional barista to guide you through how to make specialty coffees. At Best Buy, 1701 Merivale Rd. Free.
🟩 Ecology Ottawa Eco Gala, Saturday 6:30 pm: A night to celebrate local environmental action in the city. MCed by former journalist Joanne Chianello with a keynote speech by Dr. Ingrid Waldron. At the National Gallery of Canada. Tickets $80.
🎥 Video 101 - Stop Animation Workshop, Saturday 1 pm: A workshop run by the experts at Henry’s on how to shoot stop-motion animation. From storyboarding to editing, learn all the fundamentals. At Henry’s, 267 Bank St. Free.
🇺🇦 Ukrainian film Dovbush, Sunday 2 pm: A screening of one of Ukraine’s biggest ever films, about the legendary knight of the Carpathians. Ukrainian film, with English subtitles. At the Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank St. Tickets $27.
This week in food
🫓 A new Safari, this time checking out Shawarma, kicks off with a look at this local chain serving up great wraps.
🥙 This restaurant takes its name from the originator of the now-ubiquitous vertical cooking spit. You won’t want to miss their beef wrap.
🥘 (Insiders) This brand new Indian fusion restaurant in Vanier and brings a great blend of styles and flavours. Be sure to check out the Hakka noodles.
🍷 (Insiders) Looking for an easy, quality wine choice for an upcoming dinner? Don’t sleep on this unoaked chardonnay.
After more than 60 years, Alyea’s Jewellers in the ByWard Market will close its doors. [CTV]
Discover Important, Not Important: A weekly science newsletter about the most pressing issues facing our existence (clean energy, AI, biotech, food, etc.). Sign up with 1-click here or subscribe on their site. [Sponsored]
On the Gatineau side, Pub British and Brasseurs du Temps have also closed their doors. [CBC]
Americana band Mipso’s show at Red Bird may be sold out, but you can still pick up their new album Book of Fools.
Watch out, the turkeys in Vanier don’t care for crosswalks. [Reddit]
A Bellville man has assembled his collection of 400 old telephones into a basement museum he calls the Old Telephone Room. [CBC]
We love a good sunrise don’t we folks? [Reddit]
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Carly Sadaka/Ottawa Lookout Reader
Today’s photo is a classic view of downtown in the fall, and comes courtesy of reader Carly Sadaka.
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