OC Transpo moves fast to ease gridlock at Hurdman Station
One of the busiest transit hubs in Ottawa was at a near standstill Tuesday morning, annoying commuters who were stuck in a bus jam.
OC Transpo managed to ease the congestion at Hurdman station for the afternoon rush after transit planners worked fast to find ways to keep buses moving through the hub.
The backlogs started around 7:30 a.m.
Passengers reported waiting more than 30 minutes for their buses. Walls of buses stretched in each direction.
“I was stuck in the gridlock leading up to Hurdman for an hour from Campus station to Hurdman,” Patrick Forsythe wrote to the Sun “That’s a 20-minute walk, turned into an hour bus ride. OC Transpo’s website warned of a 15-20 minute delay. The bus driver and I had a good 15-20 minute laugh during our well over one-hour delay.”
“I use the bus everyday and I have never seen anything like it,” Samantha Kingsley wrote about her commute, which included waiting 45 minutes to get from Lycee Claudel station to Hurdman.
Hurdman station, near Riverside Dr. and Hwy. 417, is relatively hidden from the driving public, but it’s well-known to Transpo customers who either pass through the depot or connect to another bus.
Transpo recently relocated the platform at Hurdman east on the property to make way for LRT redevelopment.
It essentially threw a wrench into the entire bus network, prompting the city to apologize to riders.
“It’s important to understand why it happened before rushing to come to all sorts of conclusions and making all sorts of changes that we don’t know what the outcome will be,” transit commission chair Stephen Blais said at City Hall.
Planners gathered in the morning at the department’s headquarters on St. Laurent Blvd. trying to figure out what happened at Hurdman.
They made changes in time for people’s commute home.
Transpo deployed more special constables to direct traffic and reopened a temporary road that was closed. The bus stop assignments were rejigged and Transpo removed a “bump out” that prevented articulated buses from pulling into the platforms.
Deadhead buses — empty buses that are driving between routes — were not allowed to go through Hurdman.
Asked why Transpo didn’t predict the bus gridlock, Blais said the department can’t understand fully the impact of the changes until they’re put into action.
The added bus traffic on the first day back to school, and for some, first day back to work after summer break obviously overloaded the station.
“Modelling will only get you so far. You then have to observe real-life movements, real-life activities and make adjustments from there,” Blais said.