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O-Train - Service Interruptions


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What time was this at? I did notice around 13:40 ish this afternoon that the train I was on stopped at Bayview and was HELD for about 5-8 minutes. Perhaps due to the event that occurred above?

Disappointing to see this kind of stupidity already starting.

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(I posted this once my my cell, but it didn't seem to go through) Yep.  I took the pic at 13:25. Trains were held for about 10 min. Guy jumped the turnstile as I was entering from the Rideau

Previously when a train was disabled due to a door that couldn’t be closed and disabled , the CBTC control system needed to be bypassed which resulted in massive delays while the train was returned to

Spotted a real wacko today.... He seems to be in Jedi mode also. Called  911, he was arrested.   VID_20190925_132829_01_01.mp4

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(I posted this once my my cell, but it didn't seem to go through)

Yep.  I took the pic at 13:25. Trains were held for about 10 min.

Guy jumped the turnstile as I was entering from the Rideau west (Scotia) entrance and he went to the westbound platform.  I went to the eastbound side.  He jumped onto the tracks and climbed over the fence (with his light saber in his belt I might add...) and started pacing on the eastbound platform.  He puts his Jedi outfit on (mask and hoodie up with sword in belt) so I called 911 and shortly thereafter a train pulls and an he gets on. (the video)

Fortunately my 911 call was relayed quickly, and just as the train was about to depart, the driver got the call to hold the train (this was all happening in the front car and I was outside on platform).

Some people with hats that said CAMCOM or something like that showed up quickly and played cat and mouse with the guy.  Train was not leaving, so the guy got out and left.

Next train shows up with the police on it. In that normal strange twist of fate that always happens, responding police officers were stuck in the train being held in-between stations.  I see them get off train and tell them the guy just left, I give statement and someone from outside radios that they have him in custody. Off to jail for him.

What was perturbing to me was that after I called 911 and reported it, 2 different people thanked me (both uOttawa students) and said 1) didn't hear or see him and 2) never thought to get involved.   I told the kids, never have both earphones in while in public spaces and always call 911 when anything weird happens!

Just your standard day riding the rails.....


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We just came back from a trip to BC and rode the train yesterday. The delay happened while we were at Lyon Station heading towards the east-bound platform. Glad to hear it wasn't related to a system issue and they arrested the guy quickly. Thanks for your quick action Herlsone!

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September 26, 2019 at approximately 4:05pm, posted on OC Transpo.com


O-train Line 1

Date effective: September 26, 2019

We are experiencing delays on Line 1 due to a technical issue. We are working to return to regular service as quickly as possible. We thank you for your patience.

No idea at this time what the issue may be or how the frequency is affected.

Update at 4:16pm from OC Transpo


Update 4:16pm: O-Train Line 1 is operating full regular service between Tunney's Pasture and Blair. Thank you for your patience.

Reports in the news suggest only one track was being used between Rideau and uOttawa, so trains had to take turns passing through. On Twitter it was reported something similar around Hurdman. No way to confirm the details though unless someone was there. Seems to be restored now.

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Happy to report that despite the Climate Strike March today in downtown Ottawa, O-Train service performed perfectly, while the bus transitway on Albert and Slater got closed down for a period of time due to all the people in the streets. I consider that a good test, and proof that events such as this can disrupt surface transit, but underground is clear to continue.

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Shortly before 8:00 this morning, there was an out-of-service train stuck at Platform 2 (the south side) of Tunney's Pasture.

The interesting thing to me was that, both in the recorded messages and departure signs, they didn't call them Platform 1 and Platform 2 but rather the Eastbound and Westbound platforms. I just found this interesting because that's of course how it will be once Stage 2 is open, but right now both sides see equal service. I guess they didn't prepare any unique messages for our temporary terminus stations. 

That being said, the ambassadors in the red vests were calling out their instructions saying Platform 1 and 2.

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That's odd. I've been there during regular service and it announces the next train departing from Platform 1 or Platform 2. Perhaps the service interruption announcements are missing that detail...

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Today's delay prompted a statement and letter by John Manconi, apologizing to all the customers and providing some explanation of the problem leading to the delay. http://www.octranspo.com/en/letter-from-the-general-manager

While many choose to blame the trains, and not the users, I think there is a shared blame. Below is my answer to a post on Reddit in regards to the delays.


It is not a poorly designed system.

I know people love to complain, and so do I, but come on everyone.

The malfunction is a result of someone holding the door open, which would force the mechanism on any doors of this type. They are built this way to ensure that you don't get stuck between the doors, defaulting to an open position if not locked. Now, there is criiticism to be given in regards to that system not being able to be reseted in a "reasonable" time frame. Jammed doors are one of the most common delay reason in most transit systems, and this is why it is primordial that people understand that "worst case theres another train in 5 minutes". The mechanical problem today is experienced by a behavioural shift that needs to happen, which will take time.

As for the time spent at a platform, I do agree it needs to be customized to be more representative of peak periods, as was the case for why someone pushed the doors open today (trying to leave the train). Also, to my own surprise, the lack of platform stickers telling people to wait on the sides of doors vs in front plays a huge role in the ability to efficient boarding / unboarding. It might also be advisable to add the two pairs of trains which were not used from launch, as it seems the passenger figures might justify it during peak. 

People need to remember that the system has a flexible capacity, with the ability to almost triple it, by adding more vehicles and extending them to the maximum design capacity. They are not "too small" for Ottawa and are far larger than any other existing LRT vehicle. Sure there is a capacity penalty from a low floor design, but the capacity is still more than enough to accommodate future growth and the current needs: we just need to use it smartly.

As for the delays and packing experienced yesterday, the issues are not all bound to the trains, but people's behaviour. Platform stickers are needed at EVERY station. Way-finding goes beyond basic navigation, as there is clearly a need to "shape" the behaviour of riders. I didn't expect those would be necessary, but it seems people don't understand the importance of directional navigation and the importance of flow.

Edited by DavidBellerive
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When people say that our system is poorly designed because it has a "single point of failure" compared to other cities with multiple lines, I don't think they realize that any issue on any one of those cities' other lines inconveniences just as many people as an issue on our single line.

e.g. Montreal's Green line cannot accommodate every person who gets stuck because the Orange line is down between Lionel-Groulx and Berri-UQAM.

Edited by occheetos
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I decided to restrain myself from actually getting involved into the "passionate" debates going around the quality of the service. Yesterday, I spent close to 45 minutes at Tunney's Pasture in the evening to observe how people behave through the station and the bus loop.

Honestly, it was eye-opening and reinforces my belief that "people need to learn how to use it". Let me explain.

In the 45 minutes, there was a total of 9-10 trains, each about 5 minutes apart. Tunney's and Blair have the longest dwell time because of the turnaround time for the drivers. EVERY SINGLE TRAIN saw the same thing: people running to the train like they would never be able to make it home if they missed it, pushing / rushing in the stairs taking the full width and not willing to "just walk". The best/worst part is people would do it in both directions, either onboarding or off-boarding. People also "wall hugging" to the stairs, even though the concourse is huge and there are more than one platform access.

Tunney's has two sets of staircases per platform, one with an escalator. On no occasion did I see people respect some sort of directionality, which is not an edge case: it actually impacts the ability of people to get on or off trains. Seriously! You think the middle rail is there for the fun of it? This is common-sense behaviour in a regular staircase, so it should actually be the same at a transit station.

So, how can we actually fix this? Well, it is more difficult than just telling people to be smart. Allow me to discuss a few examples of what can / has been done in other countries.

  • Platform Stickers: Probably the most cost-effective behavioural modifier. You've seen them in Montreal and many other cities, they indicate where doors will open, asking people to stay on the sides, They have a demonstrable benefit to the flow of people in and off the train and create a more efficient flow.
  • Staircase Control: This one can be done two ways: stickers giving a direction to a staircase, or an employee indicating which staircase to use. Alike platform stickers, a defined directionality is good because it reduces the "need" for people to rush a platform.
  • Customer Education: Yes, people need to be taught all this. It was already a part of the #ReadyForRail campaign, but given the behaviour we've seen so far, a lot of people just don't listen. Enforcement in the stations and platform is one part of it, but encouraging a certain set of standards that are well communicated and easy to learn. I personally didn't think they were necessary, as they should be common sense, but yet here we are.
  • "Higher" Peak Service: There, I said it. The P word. It might be better for OC Transpo to simply add one more train on the alignment, but more for the psychological effect: the habit of "the last train ever" needs to stop, so it needs to feel seamless for consumers. I'd be curious to see actual ridership figures, but I doubt we are over the 9,000-9,500 PPHPD to say we are running "full". I think we are saying an artificial full capacity because of how people act.

Now to address one last point: equipment failures.

There is two main causes for something to fail: human error in using it, or actual mechanical malfunctions caused by poor design. Let's focus on the latter first.

The Citadis Spirit is designed to the latest standards and technologies to function in a North-American climate. This means thicker, heavier door which also need to be safe enough for customers not to get stuck. Alstom decided to go with out of frame doors, meaning that they open outside the train, and close by "integrating" the structure of the train. This results in two "states": closed and locked (in line with the frame, with no blockage) and opened (any other position). Trains cannot depart with any of the doors in the open state. This is to ensure no one is stuck, but also avoid any chance someone falls through the doors, even though it is unlikely. If a door fails to close, it can either be human caused (forced open, object blocking it), which would lead to the door to reopen, and attempt closing again. However, those systems can mechanically fail if forced by someone. Their ability to determine if closed or blocked is through sensors and the expected time to close, alike an elevator door. The difference is that, if you apply mechanical force on them, you will likely affect the sensors ability to work because you "move" the door out of its pattern or cause damage to the motor assembly. This is not a poor quality issue, but more a limitation of parts. The difference is important because those systems are built to assume the "worst case scenario" for the safety, and if they can't assess it properly, they failsafe to protect users. As such, the ERO needs to reset the door, hoping it will fix the problem. If they can, then you need a technician to look at it. The problem? Either of those two puts you in delay territory. It would be the same for any transit vehicle and network in the world. On the other hand, if you assumed it to be in a closed position, you're taking the gamble that "everything is fine", which is a lot less responsible.

During testing, there was definitely issues with the doors, which led to them being, for the most part, redesigned. Testing also showed there were still "some" issues with them. During the transition period, a few door related issues occurred, none to the level observed in the last few days. If it were purely mechanical, we would have seen those issues pop in a lot more often and regularly. In all cases so far, it is due to people forcing them. As such, I totally continue to believe the Citadis Spirit to be a safe and adequate vehicle for Ottawa. We are experiencing teething pain, mostly caused by the customers inability / unwillingness to adapt, which will hopefully disappear over time. The type of issue is the same experienced in most transit networks, and we need to accept they will occur often if people do not change their behaviour. Mechanical issues can occur, nothing is "perfect", but it doesn't change that a lot of it lies in the people inability to use it right, more than the design being truly bad.

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I am confused about door closings...is it really timed?  Why all the people out there with clickers and whistles if the doors auto close?  And during rush hour they should not auto close at all.

And David I too witnessed the "Last Train Ever" mentality at Tunney's and Blair.  I think that is normal behavior for people that grew up using a bus service that regularly left people waiting forever.  There was always a chance your every 10 min bus would not coming again for 30 min.

Edited by Herlsone
My teechr dint learn me gud spehlng.
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29 minutes ago, Herlsone said:

I am confused about door closings...is it really timed?  Why all the people out there with clickers and whistles if the doors auto close?  And during rush hour they should not auto close at all.

Clickers and whistles are patform spotters to let the driver know it is safe to depart if the CCTV feed inside the train doesn't work. Auto-close is a double-edge sword: helps keep a timetable focused on frequency, but can also encourage the behaviour we see at the stations.

Solution could be a middle-ground: dynamic auto closure, in the sense that the control center can modify it on the fly based on station crowding. However, many cities have functioned for a long time with automatic driverless trains that will only follow the specified time-table unless there is something blocking the doors.

I was really "shocked" by how chaotic it was, not because of the layout, but because of the people itself, especially given how much flak OC was given for the bus layout. Adding the additional space behind the shelters is an excellent decision, if people use it. OC is willing to adjust, but people don't seem.

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2 hours ago, DavidBellerive said:

Adding the additional space behind the shelters is an excellent decision, if people use it. OC is willing to adjust, but people don't seem.

I saw the added space behind the shelters at Tunney's..and about 4 people using it!

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