Route 256 Updates

OC Transpo Staff are currently evaluating customers’ suggestion of serving Bayshore Station in the morning in order to improve connections to the Department of National Defence’s Carling Campus. Preliminary evaluation of this suggestion demonstrate that on days with heavy traffic, which we saw on snow days this past winter, the route via Bayshore can be faster and more consistent because the buses would not be held in the auto traffic between the Richmond ramp and the Pinecrest overpass. On days when the weather is good, however, the route via Bayshore would be a little slower than the route via the highway. I will have more information on this soon, and please don’t hesitate to contact my office in the meantime.

The Manager of Service Planning has advised that there a number of Route 256 trips that will operate with double decker buses as part of the upcoming spring service change on April 23. I have included the full list below (the times are taken from the first stop of the route – Akerson / Barrick Hill in the morning and at Mackenzie King Station in the afternoon):

The following trips will be converted to double decker buses to provide additional capacity on Route 256:

  • 6:06 a.m.
  • 6:23 a.m.
  • 3:35 p.m.
  • 4:36 p.m.
  • 5:40 p.m.

The following trips will begin to operate with double deckers in the spring because not because of the ridership on Route 256, but because those buses also operate trips on other routes with high ridership:

  • 7:59 a.m.
  • 8:23 a.m.
  • 3:20 p.m.
  • 6:14 p.m.

The following trip in the spring will continue to be planned with an articulated bus, but it may operate with a double decker bus some days, when one is available:

  • 6:37 a.m.

I appreciate feedback from commuters, and would like to know how you have been finding the service on this route. This information will be very helpful for our office in detailing how the route is performing in comparison to OC Transpo’s anticipated on-time performance and travel time.

I have requested that OC Transpo continue to monitor the route closely and continue to collect data on its performance and report back. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office should you have any questions or concerns.


Starting tomorrow (February 16th, 2018), OC Transpo will start operating a new homebound Route 256 trip departing from Mackenzie King Station at 16:45. This will relieve the crowding on the current 17:00 trip and will also allow some customers to shift their travel time.

This new trip will be added tocustomer-facing electronic information systems tomorrow.

I have been hearing from many residents regarding issues they are experiencing with the new Route 256. I have been working closely with the Manager of OC Transpo since the Winter Service changes were implemented on December 24th, 2017 and the Transit Operations Department has been working with my office to identify and monitor issues these issues. My office is collecting feedback from residents and is following up concerns with the Director at OC Transpo so that OC Transpo can assess the feedback received.

The Director at OC Transpo has advised that based on GPS data, travel times for this realignment for Route 256 were expected to match the existing times, and Staff have been be checking the actual travel time by GPS since the new route began. I have been assured that Staff is monitoring the AM ingress and PM egress, and are doing their very best to alleviate inconveniences to customers and are addressing consistent service issues identified. The most recent data demonstrates that ridership counts taken in the morning show that there is no overcrowding when service runs as planned. Since the winter service change, the commute is now on average one minute faster for trips in the morning peak period and three minutes slower for service in the afternoon peak period. Days where major service disruptions occurred (e.g., snow storms, icy roads or vehicular congestion due to collisions) were not considered in this comparison. OC Transpo will continue to collect data, and are actively looking at ways to reduce the afternoon travel time, and are working on increasing the capacity in the afternoon. Additional capacity was added to Route 256 with the December changes by assigning double-decker buses to the 6:37 a.m., 7:23 a.m., and 4:05 p.m. trips. Since the winter service change, some trips in the afternoon are busier than expected (particularly the 5:00 p.m. trip from downtown) so OC Transpo is currently reviewing opportunities to convert more trips to operate with double decker buses instead of articulated buses, which would provide additional capacity and would assist when the scheduled service encounters delays or other disruptions.

OC Transpo plans the frequency of service and bus types on a route according to observed historical ridership information and Council-approved service capacity standards. This standard sets the average number of customers on board a bus. During peak periods, during the busiest hour and point along a route, the frequency of service is planned so that there are, on average, 45 customers onboard standard forty-foot buses, 70 customers onboard articulated buses, and 90 customers onboard double-decker buses. This standard takes into account that some customers will stand. Individual trips may carry more or less customers than the standard, depending on ridership demand.

OC Transpo has explained that while providing an on-time, reliable and safe service is paramount, there are a variety of unavoidable and uncontrollable factors that can affect planned service. Delays and irregularities of service are often a result of inclement weather conditions, vehicle collisions, mechanical difficulties, construction, general traffic conditions, detours and heavy passenger loads. OC Transpo has a team of Transit Supervisors and Superintendents that work diligently to supplement trips where possible to manage trip reliability and on-time performance.  Unfortunately, there are times where trips are delayed or have to be cancelled as there are no additional resources available to fill or supplement the trip.  In the event of buses being cancelled or delayed, Supervisors in the Transit Operations Control Centre work to fill a cancelled trip in order to ensure a bus is on route.  Sometimes the app and Twitter feeds do not update in a timely manner.  I have passed along your experiences to the Director at OC Transpo and the Councillor continues to work with OC Transpo to address concerns and share resident feedback on how to make improvements. If you haven’t already, you may be interested in signing up to receive alerts by e-mail or text for specific bus routes to receive a notification of cancelled or delays trips here:

OC Transpo is monitoring this route closely, and we continue to work with the OC Transpo Director to address concerns of residents waiting for long periods, experiencing longer commutes, concerns of overcrowding and busses not showing up.

Thank you again for continuing to bring these concerns to our attention and for your patience as we work resolve these consistent issues as quickly as possible. My office will follow up with residents as soon as we have any updates available. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office in the meantime should you need assistance.



Allan Hubley

Allan Hubley | Councillor Ward 23-Kanata South
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue West | Ottawa, ON | K1P 1J1 | 613-580-2752