The Wheels On The Bus Reach New Growth Sites

By David Hill, Barrhaven West Councillor

The OC Transpo Bus Route Review is going to come into effect within the next few months – what does that mean to you?  Well, it depends on where you live and how you use the transit service.  The purpose behind the route change was to consolidate the service to the new post COVID demand reality (it does not make sense to have six people taking an 88 passenger express bus to Tunney’s Pasture), and to improve access to new developments where growth had outpaced service. Broadly speaking, this change will accomplish the goal.  However, there are some important realities that you will need to be aware of and prepared for.

First off, if you commute downtown, you will likely need to take a local bus to either Marketplace or Fallowfield then transfer.  The current 270 / 272 / 273 express models will be changed to local Barrhaven service that will focus on transit access in the residential areas and movement to those principal transfer hubs.  That’s a bummer.  However, the local service will be provided more regularly and throughout the day, so you will have more flexibility and choice in your commute. That is an improvement.  IE – for me presently, my options for the 270 are to take the 5:56, 6:56, 7:26 or 8:26.  That’s four bussing options over 2.5 hours and if I miss one, no doubt it will have an impact.  Where as, with the new system, the busses are planned to run on a 30 minute or more frequent schedule (the exact timings are yet to be published) which would give several additional options.  So, my honest answer to downtown commuters is that ‘it’s a wash’ – yes the additional transfer is a pain, but you will get some additional flexibility. It should not drastically affect travel duration.

Now if your commute is to Carleton University, you will be the main winner!  The new Strandherd to Limebank systems will provide access to the ‘backdoor’ line two LRT that will take you downtown via the East side of the Rideau River.  You will likely see your travel time halved or better!  Similarly, the route improvements into Kanata will also provide additional options for folks that work at the Tech park.

Local Barrhaven service will be more regular in order to get residential transit riders to the Strandherd commercial and Fallowfield station.  One major improvement is that the 275 system will be introduced that will service the Appolune/Perseus areas, and the 75 will extend to Cappamore.  Those areas previously had over a 1.5km walk to their first transit stop so this is definitely a net positive.  Furthermore, the density of passengers on the 75 should be offset by the overlap of the 275 on Cambrian so it should not be a ‘feast/famine’ situation.  Once Elevation opens up beyond construction traffic this will see a rerouting to allow access into the Ridge area – another big win for folks without proximate transit access.

Now there is a pocket of residents in the Marivista-Weybridge area that will see their transit stop move further away.  This is a result of the Bus shift from Marivista to Helene-Campbell in order to provide access to the new developments in the Cobblehill area. Unfortunately for about 300 homes this means that their previously 50-100m walk to transit will become a 300-600m walk.  This also means that in order to provide access in this area, the bus will need to route down Laming which is a narrow road with a hill, curve, t-junction and dense townhomes.  I know that both of these issues (the reduced access and the new Laming route) are not favourable and I have represented these issues to OC Transpo.  I can assure you that my fingers will be on the pulse of this aspect of the implementation and OC Transpo are well aware of my concerns here.

Finally, another key aspect of this change is the addition of a non-regular looping bus route (99) that will be able to pick up and drop off residents at the Barrhaven United Church stop on Jockvale on the East side of the road for both directions!  This will greatly improve the safety of riders as they will not have to cross Jockvale to catch the bus.  Even though this is not a regular bus route, there will also be access for folks in this area at Dolan should a more regular service be required.  This does not eliminate the need for a safe pedestrian crossing on Jockvale, but it does mitigate the principal safety issue at this site.  I will continue to work for a pedestrian crossing to connect the walking paths by the train tracks – but this is a subject for its own article down the road!

Change is always tough, and these changes are necessary and generally will come with improved access and efficiency.  The areas that I am concerned with are known and I will closely monitor through the implementation phase.  Should you wish to speak further on these changes I am happy to set up an appointment.  As soon as I hear about the detailed scheduling and implementation timeframe, I will be sure to update in my newsletter.  If you are interested in regular updates on community issues, new developments, safety planning, and local events, please send me an email at and ask to join my newsletter.  When the actual changes come into effect, I will be operating my office from Fallowfield station so you will be able to come see me at the beginning / end of your day to give me your real-time feedback which will be highly appreciated and will help me to best represent the evolutionary and ongoing improvements that we will want to continue making in order to best enhance our transit system!  Thanks for listening!