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  1. The Confederation Line [Under Construction]

    What did I write that is so controversial? Management fees are now prohibited on public contracts, so you do a run around and make it longer. I have shared before documents regarding the Orion debacle and got attacked. At some point I thought that this is a transit forum and expect participants to know a few things. So not too sure I care to repeat the experience. So what do you want ? University research? WTO rules? What is it that you disagree with? But you don't have to trust me, you can peruse the OECD website and the WTO. It's enlightening. When I have time I'll dig. But perhaps we should not forget that it's not just about business. It's tied to the electoral cycle and that's not good for us citizens. And again why should this very simple project take 4 years for stage 1 and 5 for stage 2 ? Debating rules and regulations about how business adapted to a changing environment doesn't change the fact that there's no justification for the length. I don't begrudge companies making money if that's what you are driving at. But let's not forget we are talking about some of the most experienced companies in the world which have worked on projects of greater complexity. Yet here in Ottawa nope no can do 4 years is best we can. The fact they are making more money than before without mgmt fees makes my point so am truly puzzled at what is it that you are objecting. Do you believe it should take 4 years for stage 1? Crossrail was mentioned by Centralsmt and after I commented I went to their website; over 100 km 40 stations including 10 new ones. The names of the new ones are smack in central London. I objected to the claim the starting work 9 years ago included shovels in th ground but if that's the case that's an average of 11 km per year. In an demanding environment with archeological digs. Can you see why I am not happy with the lack of progress here and why am questioning the choices our politicians made? There's been too many cases where governments didn't consider all facts. They are human after all and there are other considerations. So I believe it's legitimate to ask questions. You are right it's not a race. However when simple projects take too much time it gives credence to populist politicians who will say that transit is too costly and complex to do and we should just run some buses. That's how we got O'Brien. Transit share is low in this city and there are many who have a car. if you are a couple in Kanata or Orléans, you probably have a car and for less than 2 bus pass (though not much less) you can have a parking downtown. That's why I am hammering about this project. I don't understand why it was so wrong for me to say we need to get rid of the Orions and wrong for me to question this project. I want better transit and we won't get it with that time scale. It opens the door for the next mayor to cancel stage 2. We desperately need stage 2 as stage 1 is not going to work long term and then we have another Transitway on our hands where in that case it took 25 years to get the passenger numbers back. But by all means let's not criticize the city's management of this important project. It's ok to be happy we are getting it and at the same time keeping our politicians on their toes to ensure we get the best we can. It's not contradictory.
  2. The Confederation Line [Under Construction]

    What? Most of it is brand new tunnel. And a lot of that 9 years was the Transport and Works act application which is overly long even by European standards. Actual building did not start 9 years ago. Edit: comparing the Confederation Line to Crossrail? Really? Not at all the same type of projects at all. My various comments are all about the fact that the Confederation Line which is really a simple project should not take as much time as complex projects. Crossrail will only reuse existing surface lines at its extremities and even the. Not really in the west. The majority is brand new tunnels and stations. Here in Ottawa a small tunnel and existing stations and road which needs a refit. Management fees are well documented I recommend OECD publications. But honestly your comment doesn't address at all the point that I am making which is that longer contracts provide more earning opportunities. That too is well document. And unfortunately I know way more than I ever cared for about constructions contracts bid and procurement. Would be happy to focus on my actual work but it now includes that world as well. I am trying hard to dispel a lot of myths around here for I have the hope that together we can demand better transit and infrastructure.
  3. The Confederation Line [Under Construction]

    Actually it's the other way around. In the 1990's in many western countries including Canada, procurement rules were tightened and removed many opportunities for profit making and padding. So in order to increase profits they make the contracts last longer which allows companies to charge management fees. Obviously more staff would cost more but management and financing costs would drop considerably. So it would cost less to do it on a regular schedule. When stage 2 is completed the initial network will have taken close to 10 years to build. We are not building the Gotthard here, it shouldn't have happened. Its not unique to Ottawa. I also follow other blogs in the US and NYC has also suffered from this. Meanwhile in heavily unionized Europe, with archeological searches, ancient buildings and infrastructure they build more for less in a fraction of the time. Somehing's wrong. It will be a great network but it could be so much more
  4. The Confederation Line [Under Construction]

    Indeed two short tunnels you are right. Actually one will be a trench with a grille covering it, so that one is cut and (not quite) cover building technique which is quicker and well understood. That's near Dominion towards the new stations: Cleary and New Orchard. Which is why I am wondering why are we again taking 4-5 years (east by 2022 and west 2023) if not for ridiculous budgetary reasons and politicking. It's not that hard, we are not building a dam or a 100 km line here. And while it will be a different group who will get the contract, if the city says you have till 2023 to deliver, well you know they will assign just enough ressources and take their time to deliver while the same companies get cracking on different projects around the world. I won't blame the group who gets the bid. If your client asks you to deliver in 2023, that's what you do. The companies building the Confederation Line are all extremely experienced so there's no reason we cannot ask for a better timeline. But hey whoever gets elected mayor will be able to get an election out of this in 2022... Which is why a simple outdoor line with few tunnels and viaducts will take 5 years to deliver.
  5. STO and OC Transpo Routes

    Not important but something that looked curious to me is that some local routes have a grey box infill and other while infill. 56 is white while the 50 is grey. Can't find the explanation. Unless as we are in transition it's still the current part of the day service versus 7 day service. Exciting times ahead and glad they are putting those double deckers to good use on the weekend we can certainly use them.
  6. The Confederation Line [Under Construction]

    Is it really unrealistic though? Or is it a question that for political considerations (useless need to spread funding over several years and opening of the line in the year of the municipal election) they have given themselves years to do a project that many experienced engineers told Ottawa area medias that it should have been done in a year tops? The tunnel was positioned too far north in geological terms, construction methods have been criticized not only by engineers but by the Ministry of Labour as contributing factors to incidents. There is a significant lack of staff and equipment. Unbelievable. I have never seen a major project have so few employees working on this. So yes the timeline is rushed because the project was badly designed and staffed. The city is to blame and so is RTG. The only difficult bits were: Tunnel and Lees station. And those two sites could have been better handled. Meanwhile the workers who have no responsibility for this are getting injured and we citizens are overpaying for what is a really simple project. Because it turned out they did not need to redo the under road. So for most of the line it's a simple matter of ripping off the asphalt and first layer of crushed rocks and putting ballast and the overhead equipment. I will be happy once it opens, but I will also remember this when it's time to vote at the election. The Métro in Montréal initial network took 4 years but it was entirely new, in tunnel in its entirety and had more stations and lines! Of course construction methods changed...as in safer and more efficient. The majority of the Confederation Line already existed. The guideway itself could and should have been done in weeks. It's the stations that takes time but that's what would have taken a few months. Get some more staff and let's get on with it. But stage 2 promises to be more of the same. Again it's in surface mode and should not take 5 years, yet it will. So yes I am disappointed. Because it's telling our car-centric citizens, of whom there are many, that we can't do good transit projects within a sane timeline and a good budget.
  7. GOA transit news, info etc

    Indeed I only found out about green power recently. Don't know much about them but seems interesting and they are from Canada. Have recalls been much of an issue for buses? Either way small or large am not too concerned about how buses are bought it's all about the funding will we get enough of it? If we get funding we will buy buses.
  8. GOA transit news, info etc

    I agree with you that most people don't care what type of buses there unless they get really bad. Service will be difficult until we complete stage 2. Of course even then it depends on what council wants to give us. I am glad I rarely if ever have to get to Gatineau as indeed this is the weak point of the new system. I agree with Centralsmt that most manufacturers are not interested in the North American market for the reasons he/she brought up. However Green Power http://www.greenpowerbus.com/ of BC seems to be racking up orders. BYD certainly wants to pick up orders in Canada. It remains to be seen if Proterra can be enticed to bid in Canada, however their hands are full in the US. Too bad about Van Hool, their Exquicity line would have been great for the long routes that will continue to exist after the LRT such as: 12, 118(88) and a few others. It's not just the vehicle layout but also the fact that they have multiple propulsion systems including inductive power (not yet in service, but Bombardier has success for some tramways using that). This could help bring electric propulsion to OC Right now OC is buying in small batches which gives a chance to smaller players to get involved.
  9. GOA transit news, info etc

    Actually most operators being public organizations the world over they have to buy whatever the politicians tells them to in order to "save jobs" when there's a bus plant. Hence why growing up in Québec we got whatever GM and MCI and now Novabus produced in St-Eustache. Same thing in Ontario, we had to save jobs at Orion hence we got those buses, hence why the TTC got stuck with the RT in Scarborough. There are examples all over the world like that. So no, please no simply not true that there fleet replacement plans at most operators, this is the stuff of scandals and how local/provincial elections are fought and lost. 14 years old is only an issue because the bus nowadays are designed to fail at the 12 year mark. I spend my youth on much older new look and because the windows were made of glass there was rattle straight off the assembly line. We simply don't have that kind of rattle. Our buses are surprisingly in good shape considering and kudos to the staff in the garage for pulling that feat. The noise is because when manufacturers switched from 2 cycle engines to 4 cycles they could not be bothered to put insulation in the engine bay, because profits you know? That's why you can't have a decent conversation not because of the rattle or that the buses are old. I don't think local services are going to get chopped. They are inadequate as it is but shouldn't get worse. I think you are underestimating how many buses and drivers we are wasting at peak hours going through downtown. It's huge. Thats why with the same level of service we won't need as many buses as before. Its been explained here before by many others. On the previous booking on the 20B my driver explained that he would after that run deadhead to do the old 67, after that run deadhead to St-Laurent and do the 101 to Bayshore. Once in a while he could pick up something after that, that was the morning, afternoon different runs but still 3 runs. So typically 3 runs across town where there are multiple occasions for that buses to be late out of position and mess up planning. With the LRT that bus won't be going across town like that. It will do 4-7 runs at rush hour in the same area, going no where near downtown or any place where it could get stuck in traffic, be late and out of position. That's what I am talking about here. For the same level of service we won't need that many buses. We won't have as many 20+ km routes anymore which of course is abuse of bus. Buses will finally be used for what they are designed, short local runs to the higher order transit service. The problem with overcrowded buses is that politicians hate seeing buses that appear empty, so you will never have a system where most runs are comfortable. It's called mass transit for a reason. If you want a comfortable ride the politicians expect you to drive your car. And believe me, they are surprised if not in disbelief if you tell them you don't have a car. I know it happened to me. Regarding your PS I thought I explained what the issue was. Our dear mayor has clearly said in various statements to the media that he believes that autonomous vehicles will allow our city to be able to avoid buying expensive buses outside of trunk routes. I believe it's idiotic to believe that people will buy a car and allow that car to be put in service to pick people for fares. But that's exactly what Mayor Watson believes, he went to Queen's Park recently to see his old buddies (he was Minister of Municipal Affairs so he knows people there) to lobby not for better transit funding but for the government to relax regulations and come with a plan to make Ottawa a centre for that tech. So I don't need to come up with bright ideas about how to pay for the replacement of buses. Our mayor believes we won't need to replace them, artics?? Forget them at stage 2 they are gone if Watson returns. He thinks you will Board someone's autonomous car with other people you don't know to get to your LRT station. I disagree with that vision but that's the vision that's being proposed here, for there's a lot of money to be made for some, while for the rest of us it won't be good. You want better newer buses and better service? Then we need a different mayor, unless you believe in his vision. Which I doubt as your complaints would then be irrelevant. That's why I insist that the key is the service plan. I understand how decisions are made about infrastructure believe me, you plan for the infrastructure that will allow you to deliver the service plan. Watson believes we won't need the bus to get to the LRT. I strongly disagree about that. But to keep coming here and harp about how are we going to get buses without a fleet replacement plan when the plan is to do without is to miss the point. You don't buy buses you don't intend to run! Keep in mind also who elects Watson: transients who will move out of Ottawa in 4-5 years. We are the national capital, so we get a lot of : -federal politicians and their staff -military on rotation -RCMP on rotation - federal public service (to a lesser degree) -private sector trade association all these come to Ottawa for a few years, buy a house in Kanata, Barrhaven or Orleans. Almost all of those have a car, so they take transit to go to work mostly Downtown and that's it. I am sure you have noticed that most people put their bus pass with their work pass. That's the clearest signal that these people won't be caught dead in a 40' on a Saturday afternoon. the rest of the time they drive. That's why we can't get the proper infrastructure, all these people want is for low taxes and their house value to go up at least enough to cover the closing and moving costs. That's what Watson delivers. Had O'Brien understood that he might still be the mayor (not that I like him, it's the analysis). What about the rest of us? We need to identify the issues and vote accordingly. I don't even know if that's possible or if it resolves an issue. However we need to keep in mind that anything that affects the STO's federal status is a non-starter with the city of Gatineau. The labour regime under federal rules is much more favourable than under Québec rules. That's why I don't believe we will ever see STO buses disappear from Ottawa streets.
  10. GOA transit news, info etc

    What I am writing is not directed strictly to Centralsmt but you bring points others have and it's getting frustrating. Just as we don't know if they will dump the hybrids, we don't know if OC does have a replacement policy. While it's frustrating for us on the board, they are not even required to have one or to disclose it. Better to keep manufacturers on their toes and run a tender whenever you are ready to buy buses. Bulk buying gives purchasing power not only for the buses themselves but also for the parts contract. So it can make sense to buy artics in bulk. Furthermore, in such a no density city if we had a high frequency network all day and evening 7 days a week (read 10 min or less network not the 15 min or less we will get) we would not need as many artics if at all. The issues is that we know we won't get that kind of frequency hence artics. Buses today are not built like the GM New Look, it's really about the US Market where 12 years max is the norm otherwise your system can't get funding from the FTA. Manufacturers wanted Canada to do the same but we don't even have multi year stable funding for transit so it's irrelevant. So we should instead ask OC if it's really worth it to rebuild buses that were designed to last only 12 years. That being said there will always be a tension between politicians desperate to run a budget instead of a city and the transit professionals. OC may very well have a good idea of what they need to do, but let's not forget that they had to fight council hard to make them understand that the LRT won't save money but instead avoid costs. So OC can't really come on publicly and say here's the replacement plan for the bus fleet which will cost XXX millions. Hence we cannot really guess if they have a replacement policy or what it is. You could try access to information but with commercial information that could cost the city a lot, I would be surprised if we could get that info. If I were in their shoes, I would not write down any replacement plan for fear the politicians would kill it. Instead you go to council every time it's required. Gives us the same result but keeps the politicians off our back. I am not sure I entirely agree with HB_1024 that because they are hybrids those buses would necessarily cost more to rebuild. However that specific model has been determined by various investigations (Auditor General of Ontario, committee of the legislature and OC itself ) that they were badly designed and assembled. Furthermore the manufacturer is long gone bankrupt. Those are I believe important factors in the decision making process. I do agree with HB_1024 that at 8-10 years of age they are due for a rebuild, but because of what I mentioned no one in their right mind would attempt to rebuild those buses even if there are Inveros and artics in worse shape, which I would not be surprised there were. I think though that the complaints about the fleet plan miss the most important part. OC is not authorized by city council to actually improve transit in Ottawa! So please stop complaining about the bus replacement plan, considering the constraints it's quite good actually. We won't get better service because OC is not buying more buses or not rebuilding the Hybrids. No, we won't get more buses because we won't need them with the current crappy service plan! That's the plan we all need to worry about. Why buy buses that you refuse to run? OC is not a bus collector's club, it's our transit system. I use it to go to the hospital every day and go to work and generally have a life. So it gets to me when I keep reading the same thing over and over. Yes I get emotional because I see here so much energy being wasted on the wrong things. I didn't wait 30 minutes today for the 94 eastbound from St-Laurent because we don't have enough buses (heck on the 106 to St-Laurent I see plenty enough parked outside of peak service), it's because that's what our city has decided to provide. There's no way even with detours for stage 2 that we will need that many buses for the current crappy service plan. Let's not forget that buses will stop at Tunney's Pasture, Hurdman or Blair, each bus and driver will be more productive. So please anyone do tell me why we need OC to come up with a better bus replacement plan? The same complaint keeps coming back and back from many here. We need better service which may indeed require more buses, but until the city gives OC the means and the OK to do so, OC doesn't need many buses. It just doesn't. No point in buying very expensive buses that we will just park. CBC reported that OC told them they estimate they won't need between 170-180 buses when stage 1 comes online. Hence why I and many here I suspect that to mean the hybrids are gone. Which is fine, they are not reliable and they are gaz guzzlers, not because OC won't use them correctly but because in a city bus hybrid you don't put a standard diesel engine but instead a turbine. So it doesn't matter how OC uses them, it's a bad bus, they need to go. That number is probably too high but then again most of our councillors represent wards where car usage is high and less transit usage means to them a smaller budget. They are just fine with pulling another Transitway debacle where ridership collapses. Of course it's short sighted but we need better politicians. Also our dear mayor has told media he's excited about self-driving vehicles potentially eliminating the need for cities to buy buses, he's been active on that front actively lobbying the provincial government (several trips to Toronto) to amend regulations to help the industry and he wants Ottawa to become a centre for this tech. Nevermind the fact that there are significant issues that may never be resolved which makes self-driving a non-starter. Our mayor believes in it and believes it will allow him to force us to use that instead of a bus to connect to the O-Train system. He clearly said that in the next few years this tech will allow cities like Ottawa to avoid buying so many buses to serve the periphery. So that's another reason why OC can't buy the buses I am certain they know we need. So please people stop complaining about OC not having a bus replacement policy, the problem is the mayor who won't lobby his buddies at Queen's Park for better transit funding but instead wants to prop up a technology that can only (if it works) force us into the hands of a monopoly or oligopoly; can you say Lyft or Uber? Me too I believe we are ready for electric buses and want more and better transit. But right now, the problem is not the fleet plan at all. It's the service plan. Watson announced he wants to run for a third term. So when the time comes to choose who to vote for, please take into consideration that Watson is not friendly to transit, our wallets (private oligopoly or monopoly aren't cheap) or proper governance. As far as transit is concerned, we need a different mayor. He may be good for other things, but not for transit. Time for fresh thinking at city hall. I wrote way too much but it just gets to me, because I think those who take time on this forum could be a force for good in transit, but if we who care about transit can't even understand what is going on, we can't expect politicians to do so. When I read comments like that I know that I should just give up and get a car. So the call to arms: Tell your Federal MP: cities need stable multi-year funding for transit Tell your MPP: Province needs to reverse long standing cuts to transit funding, province needs to fund operations instead of capital expenses. Let the cities borrow interest free from the infrastructure bank the province keeps talking about Tell your city councillor: we need a high-frequency transit system 7 days a week in both directions (not just to go downtown in the morning and back in the PM). Transit usage will grow only when citizens know it will be there and convenient for them when they need it. Tell our mayor: self-driving tech is not ready for deployment that much is clear with all the leaks and scandals that keep popping up. We need a good transit system and if he still has influence at Queen's Park he needs to ask for funding. If Toronto doesn't know what to do with the money, we do.
  11. Must admit I didn't. Was thinking more traditional politics in the sense of taking all the money he can from senior governments, not think about how to pay for this in the future, yet claim to have brought home the bacon. A less charitable interpretation is that there might be some friends who could benefit from the constructions contracts. And both interpretations are not mutually exclusive far from it. I am astonished I didn't see the connection. Now that you mention it, yes! Of course! Let's see: Cumberland Transitway Baseline Transitway phase 1 Transitway extension under construction now in Kanata Confederation Line Lane expansion and extension of the 174 As for the Confederation Line, he can't claim all the credit but he can claim to have been there at a crucial moment (especially as president of the transit commission at council). As for the 174 he describes himself as the champion of that project which of course doesn't make sense with stage 2 of the Confederation Line but whatever, most voters do drive. So from a transit perspective he's doing things which should not lead me to vote for him, however I can see that for many in Ottawa he can list accomplishments. And after reading a column in the Citizen lately about Mayor Watson being past his best before date and encouraging him not to run again, I can see that some in the city are thinking of the next election and who should run. Great catch Centralsmt!
  12. A new overpass is planned. I really don't understand the point of the Cumberland Transitway, it would require me to walk more to get to a station (local service is crappy as it is) to a route (with a huge detour south) that will bring me to Blair where I don't want to go. its faster to cut north-south and reach the stage 2 line. In my case am looking forward to go to Jeanne-d'Arc station to cut down time in bus which is the goal. But with the Transitway I won't, which makes me wonder if we even need the station as there won't be that many bus routes stopping there. I think that this is what happens when politicians see only that they can get money from senior governments and want to be seen doing something. Worse when it's clear those politicians don't use the system. We risk getting more people in their cars. Blair cannot be redesigned to be a major bus terminal because of the way the line and station are located. With the "unplanned " 70 million price tag to go from the bypass to Blair station we know it's not happening so buses will be dumped on the bypass and will have to go down Blair with the traffic lights and delays it entails. Even with the new developments we don't have the density, we need frequency not a fancy new road that will eat into OC's budget for decades.
  13. Double decker bus order

    Just to be clear it's not cost cutting, although most in city council were delusional enough to think we could cut costs, OC told them it's about avoiding future cost increases. I agree that this amount is significant and am not sure if it's doable. Also disappointed that our LRT is not seen as the occasion to reinvest in our transit system
  14. Double decker bus order

    No argument from me. Mayor Watson wants to lobby Queen's Park to ensure that Ottawa is at the forefront of autonomous driving. He previously said that in the near future Ottawa won't have to buy as many buses as we will travel mostly on such vehicles. It has been pointed out to him the issues about the tech that still cannot be resolved but also the fact that a 40' bus with even only 10 boardings an hour is still more efficient than those autonomous vehicles can ever be. It's clear to me that if we want better transit we need a different mayor. Wi-Fi would be nice but I would rather increase frequency before that.
  15. Double decker bus order

    OC has to find a 100 million in cost avoidance as that's what they told council. I don't hold much hope on that. But one thing the current mayor seems to be good at is talking to business, perhaps he can arrange a deal that will help pay for this. I would be surprised if we did like the STO and self-fund this or we would already have it. Or am too negative and this will come live at the same time as the Confederation Line as part of a huge re-branding exercise.