Transit Commission meeting - June 17, 2020
The Transit Commission was today advised that OC Transpo customers have been successfully transitioning to wearing cloth masks, as several health and safety measures were introduced on June 15 to help keep everyone as safe as possible before the return to full transit service on June 28. OC Transpo was the first public transit agency in Canada to implement a new mandatory mask policy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commission received an O-Train Line 1 operational update. Rideau Transit Group (RTG) provided the City with a plan that prioritizes technical improvements that are closely linked to performance. During this period of low ridership caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Line 1 has undergone several temporary closures to allow RTG an opportunity to undertake work relating to issues that have impacted service. As RTG executes the work associated with their plan and identifies additional technical enhancements, there may be a need for future temporary closures to Line 1 during the summer months in addition to the upcoming shutdown from June 21 to 24.
Several Finance Services Department reports were presented today, including the 2020 Operating and Capital Budget Q1 Transit Commission Status Report, which indicated the first quarter of the year ended with a deficit of $8 million. The budget shortfall was due to several factors, including:
- Increased staffing costs, following the new route network introduced in October 2019.
- Augmented S1 bus service that was introduced in early January when RTG was unable to provide a reliable train service between Tunney's Pasture Station, Hurdman Station, Blair Station and downtown.
- Increased Para Transpo service to meet ridership demand.
- Lower fare revenue due primarily to the reduced number of single-ride fares paid by customers starting mid-March, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Operational costs were partially offset by reduced fare control system maintenance costs and Presto fees.
Recommendations in the Capital Adjustments and Closing of Projects report will result in the reduction of $8.1 million in previously approved capital budget authority, return of $6.4 million to capital reserves, $2,000 to the provincial gas tax reserve, and $1.5 million to the Transit development charge reserve, and elimination of $123,000 of debt financing. The Capital Adjustments and Closing of Projects report will go to Council on June 24.
The Transit Commission today carried a motion to begin the early procurement process to identify potential revenue opportunities from advertising in stations and inside train cars on O-Train Line 1. In July 2013, the Transit Commission directed OC Transpo staff to review the addition of advertising in Line 1 stations and inside train cars following one year of operation after the launch of Line 1. The procurement process will now occur earlier than planned and staff is expected to report their findings back to the Transit Commission by the end of the year.
O-Train Confederation Line Update
Line 1 System Improvements
- RTG provided the City with a plan that prioritizes technical improvements that are closely linked to performance;
- During this period of low ridership caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, RTG has been given an opportunity to undertake work relating to issues that have impacted service on Line 1;
- The purpose of the temporary closures is to expedite maintenance and repair activities identified in the plan provided by RTG; and,
- Line 1 has been temporarily closed on occasion to allow RTG full access to the line and full access to the fleet in order to mobilize specialized equipment and complete the required maintenance and repairs.
- Ongoing testing of updated train control software and communication system software to improve vehicle and system performance;
- Detailed cleaning and inspection of the overhead catenary system to remove buildup of road chemicals and to replace compromised catenary mechanical supports (Parafil);
- Inspections and adjustments of the overhead catenary system to optimize the positioning of the wires;
- Track work including adjustment of the ballast to correct settlement issues and adjustment of the rail to deal with high heat conditions;
- Testing of switch-heater alarm functionality;
- Injection repair in the tunnel to seal an area near Rideau Station where water was entering the tunnel;
- Installation of new vehicle passenger door software to reduce door related disruptions and door faults;
- Continued work on Stage 2 vehicles including the release of a thirty-seventh vehicle into the fleet; and,
- Vehicle retrofit work and modification work, routine maintenance, inspections, and corrective maintenance.
- RTG is planning to implement the updated train control software that had been tested during the previous closures pending final safety certification;
- Further adjustments of the overhead catenary system and continued replacement of mechanical supports as required throughout the alignment;
- Continued emphasis on vehicle modifications, vehicle maintenance inspections and release of the thirty-eighth vehicle into the operational fleet; and,
- Ongoing track work along the guideway, including ballast replacement and other adjustments.
- Continue to work with RTG on vehicle reliability to ensure that known issues are corrected and that any emerging issues are resolved quickly;
- Plan underway for a review of infrastructure performance:
- Long term plans to resolve track conditions including noise, vibration, temperature related issues, and ballast settlement;
- Confirmation of final overhead catenary system configuration including integration with the vehicle pantograph; and,
- Review of performance tracking for the integrated system.
- Implement 15 double vehicle schedule for morning peak as of August 4, 2020.
- We still do not have a firm date for consistent reliable service; however, City has indicated to RTG that this is expected by the end of August;
- RTG has not agreed to a firm date for reliable service but has agreed to run 15 double vehicles at the start of August;
- Staff will continue to work closely with RTG to ensure that the focus continues to be on improving service; and,
- As RTG executes the work associated with their plan and identifies additional technical enhancements, there may be a need for future temporary closures to Line 1 during the summer.