Buses from Gatineau that currently pick up passengers on Parliament Hill will move to Albert and Slater streets once Ottawa's light rail system is up and running, the mayors of both cities announced Friday.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said the agreement will reduce the overall volume of bus traffic, and will get Gatineau residents who work in Ottawa to and from their offices more quickly.
STO says that with new bus routes 73% of customers will see a reduction in their travel time. (Due to shorter walk from stop.) #ottnews— @jchevalier
The change will take Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) buses off Wellington and Rideau streets between Bank and Waller streets. Instead, all STO buses going into downtown Ottawa will connect with the future Lyon station.
Eleven of STO's all-day routes and six peak hour routes will then take Slater east to the Mackenzie King Bridge, Laurier Avenue and Waller Street, or Albert west to Lyon Street.
City was studying corridor
The addition of STO bus routes along the Albert/Slater corridor, just as much of OC Transpo's fleet is being pulled off the roads once light rail begins in 2018, may come as a surprise to some Ottawa residents.
In a memo to councillors less than two weeks ago, transportation services general manager John Manconi said the department was launching a study of the corridors with an eye to enhancing more active modes of travel such as walking and cycling.
"Continuous dedicated bus rapid transit lanes through the downtown will no longer be needed on Albert, Slater and the Mackenzie King Bridge," he wrote.
"This provides an opportunity to prepare a plan for the reallocation of this lane space for other uses and functions, while also maintaining today's vehicle capacity."
The city said Friday that even with the additional STO routes, overall bus volume along the corridor will shrink by 65 per cent.