Blais on the bus

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Stephen Blais riding the bus

As Ottawa prepares for the arrival of LRT in 2018, OC Transpo has recently been going through some changes. These changes are occurring here in Cumberland Ward and across the city. As most of you will have noticed, the biggest change is the elimination of the express premium that took effect prior to ringing in the New Year. This change will save former express pass holders up to $201 a year. But there have also been other changes, particularly to local routes.

One would only need to use a bus a handful of times to quickly realize that our community has the highest ridership of OC Transpo in the City; and amongst the highest of any similar suburban trip to its downtown core, in North America. For years now, Orléans and Cumberland residents have demonstrated their commitment to public transit and the benefits it provides.

Click here to listen to my Interview with Robyn Bresnahan.

This commitment to public transit is distinct and stems from our collective belief that commute times are paramount to our quality of life. Whether you ride the bus or not, OC Transpo is critical to ensuring our city works. We all remember the bus strike in 2009 and how badly our city didn’t work when public transit wasn’t there for us.

In order to personally assess the impact of the recent changes, over the past few weeks I have started to ride every commuter bus route in Cumberland Ward to determine how the changes are working. I will be continuing this project and encourage you to check it out online. I am broadcasting short videos before and after each trip on twitter @stephenblais and on facebook @stephenblais.

Make no mistake about it, I have been keeping a close eye on the wait times, bus capacity, and travel time.

As the Chair of the Transit Commission and a Councillor with a ward that heavily relies on public transit, it is important that I have both a birds-eye view and an up-close perspective on the system.

Another important change is the upgrade to our online Travel Planner. We’ve integrated Google and it is specially designed to better interact with smart phones. Check it out at

All of these changes are the next step in our transition to a multimodal transit system and I am very happy to say that the Confederation Line remains on track for service in 2018. In the coming days you will see even more information about our transition to LRT as our city gets ready for rail.

I am committed to ensuring we continue to build an excellent public transit network in our community. I look forward to further investments and improvements as we move toward the launch of LRT in 2018 and its extension to Orléans.