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OCTranspo Transit Passes

By smithdm3 - Posted on 15 May 2007

I've been trying to figure out why OCTranspo doesn't offer an off-peak pass. The only thing I've been able to think of as yet is that since they have a cash/pass/ticket based system it would be difficult to do. Any thoughts?

I can see that when they eventually move to some sort of card based system for passes/declining balance and do away with cash (I suppose this is harder to do for bus systems, easier to do for subways due to the number of stations/stops) that maybe this would be more realistic. A card system with declining balance might be made better by allowing you to bill fare credit to your cell bill or having vendors sell prepaid cards (like prepaid cell or long distance) to top up your card by way of phone (this requires persistent data connectivity to any reader which would have to be cellular or muni-wifi).

If the city wants to try to increase ridership and reduce car traffic induced pollution, why not exploit the capacity they have already available by increasing off peak ridership. As people get used the train/bus in off-peak, maybe they'll move more towards using it in on-peak situations. Maybe people will change work schedules allowing for a more distributed use of capacity and therefore remove some peaks that the system has to schedule around.

For some interesting nightime reading, I recommend the Mayor's Task Force on Transportation recently-released report ( There are plenty of great ideas that will hopefully increase the ridership on OC Transpo and reduce the usage of cars:
- utilize existing CPR/VIA lines as commuter rail
- extend the O-Train to Leitrim
- explore the idea of using Union Station as a central hub
- bore a 2-3KM downtown tunnel

The document includes both tactical and strategic plans and has some very cool diagrams of the Ottawa transportation system at 2010, 2017 and 2037.

I looked for it on the City of Ottawa site the day it came out, but couldn't find it.

OC Transpo used to have off-peak fares a long, long time ago (we're talkin' 1989 here). I think they used to charge something like $1.50 during the morning and afternoon rush hours and $0.95 during off-peak times. But this was ages ago. And they used to have something called the "Econopass" too (not to be confused with the "Ecopass"). From what I can remember, it was only valid on regular routes during off-peak hours. You couldn't used it on red rush hour routes or express routes. Don't know why they discontinued this.

I agree that cheaper fares in the evenings and on weekends may encourage more people to ride the bus. I think OC Transpo is talking about moving to a smart card based system.

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