OC Transpo: Erroneous signs in west end to be replaced

OC Transpo is apologizing for posting signs with wrong information about its winter storm services at several bus stops in Kanata and Bells Corners.

A photo of one of the signs appeared on Reddit earlier this week and spread on other social media platforms. It said that when a severe storm schedule is in effect, there would be no service on routes 161, 164, 168, 252, 256, 257, and school routes.

Transit users said they were concerned that so many cancellations would mean virtually no service in the event of a storm. But the sign’s list of cancelled routes does not match what is on OC Transpo’s own website describing the severe storm schedule. Online, it says the 164 would operate normally and the 168, 256, and 257 routes would have modified schedules. Only the 161 would be cancelled.

The sign also doesn’t specify when a severe storm schedule is enacted. OC Transpo says the storm schedule comes into effect when forecasts predict more than 30 cm of snow or when other severe weather conditions, such as a mixture of wet, heavy snow, ice, and freezing rain, could seriously affect service. Announcements that a storm schedule is being enacted are meant to be broadcast via OC Transpo text alerts and social media channels a day in advance.

In a Twitter thread Wednesday, OC Transpo said it made a mistake.

“It has come to our attention that some of our Severe Storm Schedule pilot signs posted in the west end have caused confusion,” the thread began. “We have made a mistake. Signs posted at 25 stops are incorrect and will be replaced today. We do apologize. We know this is frustrating.”

The signs were removed by 3 p.m., OC Transpo later tweeted.

The thread explained how the storm schedule is implemented and why.

The plan replaces most articulated buses with 40-foot and double-decker buses that struggle less in the snow, and runs buses on a Saturday schedule if the storm falls on a weekday. Shopper routes, which are 300-series buses, would be cancelled, as would school routes. There will be no changes to Para Transpo and O-Train service during heavy snowstorms.

Severe storm schedules would not be implemented on weekends, but OC Transpo would still limit the number of articulated buses on the roads.

“This is a lesson learned from previous severe storms. It will allow us to deliver safe and more reliable service under severe conditions,” OC Transpo said.

The coming winter storm isn’t forecasting enough snow for a severe storm schedule.

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