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OC Transpo to launch downtown express in latest LRT replacement | CBC News

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A new R1 express shuttle should speed up the trip from Blair station to downtown during morning rush hour and then cut down on the long afternoon trip home, in the latest response to frustrations with bus service offered during Ottawa’s LRT shutdown.

The express service is scheduled to start on Monday, as Ottawa begins a third week without train service, according to a Sunday morning update from the city’s general manager of transit services, Renée Amilcar. 

It will run Monday to Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. for the westbound morning commute, starting from Blair Station with stops on the Mackenzie King Bridge, and along Albert Street at Bank and Kent streets. Riders can watch for “R1 Lyon Express” on the display.

From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, the buses will leave from Slater Street stops at Bank and Kent streets, along with the Mackenzie King Bridge, for the eastbound afternoon commute to Blair. The display will show “R1 Blair Express.”

The express shuttles will rely on 12 buses running about once every 15 minutes, though Amilcar said OC Transpo will monitor and adjust if needed.

“OC Transpo has listened to and heard the feedback from customers on R1 bus service and is responding,” Amilcar said in her note, adding that the express buses will offer “an additional travel option during the busiest commuting times.”

She said there will be no further changes to the existing R1 route and shuttles. 

They serve as a replacement for the LRT, which has been closed since July 17 due to concerns raised by the discovery of a loose bearing in a wheel hub assembly. 

After completing axle inspections on the fleet and receiving an analysis of the hub from its manufacturer in France, OC Transpo was planning a gradual return to LRT service starting on Monday. But that fell through when new concerns over restraining rails prompted the city to announce they must all be adjusted before service can resume.

The current estimate foresees that work will take at least 10 more days.

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