The bus cancellations keep piling up this week at OC Transpo.
On Wednesday, August 3, 324 trips were cancelled, over 175 were cancelled on Thursday, August 4 and on Friday, August 5, the number of cancellations is on track to surpass 100.
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced over the last several days. We are making every effort to improve service reliability, including hiring new operators to provide a more reliable bus service. 4/4— OC Transpo (@OC_Transpo) August 5, 2022
"It is anticipated that customers could encounter more trip cancellations into next week based on a few short-term factors, including the number of staff who worked overtime last week while O-Train Line 1 was being repaired, higher-than-usual sick leave absences, and normal seasonal vacations," said Troy Charter, the director of transit service delivery and rail operations with OC Transpo in a statement to CityNews Ottawa.
OC Transpo said it recognizes that not all cancellations are shared on Twitter.
We understand that customers are feeling the effects of a recent increase in undelivered bus trips. This is not the level of service our customers deserve. We recognize that this impacts your travel, and we are working hard to fill as many trips as possible. 1/4— OC Transpo (@OC_Transpo) August 5, 2022
These issues are being criticized by transit advocates, who say citizens pay a premium for a transit pass, and they could use some assurance that the buses will get them to where they need to go and on time.
"It's really frustrating," said Laura Shantz, member of the advocacy group the Ottawa Transit Riders, adding that when delays an cancellations pick up, "People start to lose confidence in the transit system or they have to do things that impinge on their own lives."
Shantz said leaving early to to get to work on time, or paying for other modes of transportation, aren't options for everyone.
She explained that so many of the negative headlines naturally gravitate towards the city's light rail transit (LRT) system and the level of OC Transpo service is easily forgotten.
"It's the workhorse, the bus service takes the hit when the train goes down and we have to run R1 service," she added. "The bus service gets all the folks to the train, because right now there's only 13 stations."
Shantz said the buses need attention, and it starts with beefing up the number of operators in time for the fall.
OC Transpo said customers can expect service reliability to increase by mid-August.
"A group of 32 new bus operator trainees graduate and additional new operators will begin in early October," the statement from Charter said. "This is on top of the new 58 bus operators who started earlier this spring."