Ottawa Metro (O-Train)

Ottawa is the capital of Canada, and it’s located on the state of Ontario, which is really close to the regions of Gatineau and Quebec.

With a little more than 1,300,000 inhabitants –being the 4th most populated city in the country-, Ottawa hosts the office of the president of Canada. Also, Ottawa has the highest number of highly educated people of the entire nation, as well as having the highest life expectancy and the lowest number of unemployed people in Canada.

The city’s government decided that all stores and other businesses should have their information displayed in two languages since 2002, so it is normal to hear conversations in both English and French at stores, as well as on the streets. Nearly 40% of the citizens of Ottawa are fluent in both of these languages. This fact makes this metropolis a culturally rich city.

Ottawa tends to be among the cities with the highest quality of life in the world according to different studies. This is not surprising since the municipal government encourages their citizens to have a healthy lifestyle and to take care of the environment.

With regards of being an eco-friendly city, the presence of the public transportation in the city has been increasing during the last 20 years. This has been done so that people use their cars less and less. However, most people in Ottawa still use their cars as their main means of transportation within the city.

However, even though there are a lot of cars being used in the city, the local authorities are looking for alternatives so that people use more eco-friendly means of transportation. One of these alternatives is the light rail service known as the O-Train.

This system is a railway system of small proportions, which was inaugurated on the year 2001, which included five stations within a single commercial line of 8 kilometers in length.

This system crosses through Ottawa from north to south. During its journey, this metro system transports roughly 10 thousand passengers daily. Even though it currently has a small size, the official project states that 41 stations will be operational on 2023, since the expansion works will be done quickly.

Vincent Massey Park Vincent Massey Park

Lines and stations

The Ottawa Metro only has a single commercial line, which is 8 kilometers long. This line goes from the neighborhoods of LeBreton Flats, Mechanicsville and Little Italy on its northern terminal, and reaches the neighborhoods of Hunt Club East-Western Community and South Keys at its southern terminal.

It is expected that, during 2021, 8 additional stations will be incorporated, since there are currently only five stations.

Stations

  • Bayview station: It is located on Albert Street, between the neighborhoods of LeBreton Flats, Mechanicsville, and Little Italy, at northern Ottawa. It only has one platform, and it also has many bus lines.
  • Carling station: It is located on the Centretown West area, on the intersection between Carling Avenue and Preston Street, which is really close to the Dominium Arboretum botanic garden and Dow´s Lake. Its platform was designed as an island platform, and it is also used by some bus lines.
  • Carleton station: It is located on Campus Avenue, inside the Carleton University campus. The stations has two platforms in which trains stop from both directions. Its name is based on the place in which it is located.
  • Mooney's Bay station: It is located within the outskirts of the regions of Riverside Park and Alta Vista, on the intersection between Heron Road and Bronson Avenue. It lies close to Hog´s Back Park and Vincent Massey Park, in which the Rideau River passes through. It has a single island platform.
  • Greenboro station: It is located between Bank Street and Johnston Road, close to the neighborhoods of Hunt Club East-Western Community and South Keys, which is to the south of the city. The station only has one platform, and it offers parking services for 678 vehicles.
Carleton University (Official) Carleton University (Official)

Connections

All of the Ottawa Metro stations have at least one connection to the bus in any of the lines. The goal is that the user could make a transfer towards the railway system, so that the user avoids using their car as much as possible.

  • Bayview station: It has connections with the bus routes number 61, 62, 63, 87, 91, 94, 95, 97, 98, 107, 16, 64, 105, 164, 252, 256, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 277, 278, 282, 283 and 403.
  • Carling station: It has a connection with the bus route number 85, 56, 101 and 103.
  • Carleton station: It has a connection with the bus route number 7, 10, 104 and 111.
  • Mooney's Bay station: It has a connection with the bus route number 87, 107, 88, 104, 111, 290 and 456.
  • Greenboro station: It has a connection with the bus route number 87, 97, 98, 99, 107, 6, 40, 92, 93, 96, 189, 197, 199, 293, 294, 299, 304, 402 y 452.

Schedule

The Ottawa Metro’s business hours are quite convenient, since the users’ demand is covered. From Monday to Friday, the trains start giving service starting at 6:00 am, and they give uninterrupted service until 12:00 am.

Meanwhile, on Saturdays, the stations open at 6:30 am, and they also close at 12:00 am.

In the case of Sundays and holidays, travelers can board the trains from 7:30 am until 11:00 pm, time in which the trains stop operating.

The trains reach the stations each 10-12 minutes from Monday to Saturday. During Sundays and holidays, the waiting times are longer, since the train frequency changes to 15 minutes per train.

Carling Station (OC Transpo) Carling Station (OC Transpo)

Fares

The Ottawa Metro offers you different ways of paying for your trip. There are subscriptions and tickets that fit the needs of both regular metro customers and new customers.

The fares are calculated depending on the number of journeys done by the user. This system is different than many other metro fare systems, in which the prices normally depend on the distance travelled by the user. This makes sense since this metro system is relatively small.

It is possible to obtain tickets or refillable cards to pay for your trip on the metro. The latter are available via two private firms that are not affiliated to the metro. These cards give you special benefits to the people that choose to use them instead of the tickets.

The firms in charge of selling the metro’s cards are called Presto and ParaPay. A name of one of the two companies should be printed on the cards, depending if you have a preference and buy them from one company or the other.

Prices

  • Per Journey: This is the cheapest way to travel on the O-Train, and it allows you to make a single ride in the metro’s wagons. It’s especially convenient for those citizens that only need to use the system sporadically, or in other words, for non-regular travelers. The price for a single ride is of 3.50 Canadian dollars (CAD) (2.70 USD) if you buy a ticket, and 3.45 CAD (2.66 USD) if you use a Presto/ParaPay card to pay for your ride.
  • DayPass: If you are briefly visiting the city of Ottawa, this is the best choice for you. It allows you to travel for a whole day on the bus lines and the city’s metro at any time of the day, and without a limit on the number of transfers that you could make. This option is very useful for people that need to travel constantly by using the public transportation system. Its price is of 10.50 CAD (8.12 USD). It has the same price whether you buy it as a ticket or as a refillable card.
  • Family DayPass: The ideal option for Canadian families. This option allows an entire family (for up to six people) to travel for an entire day on the O-Train trains and the Ottawa bus lines with a single pass. The DayPass costs 10.50 CAD. It is only valid on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
  • MonthPass: this is the best options for users that frequently travel on the Ottawa public transportation system. This pass is not available as a ticket. It’s only available through the use of a Presto or ParaPay card. With this pass, passengers can travel for as many times as they want, that is, unlimitedly, on the Ottawa Metro for a whole month. Its price is of 116.50 CAD (90.08 USD.)

Rules

  • Have your pass at hand when it’s time to board the train. This is done with the purpose of making it faster for all passengers to board the train. Also, if the metro staff asks you to show your ticket, the whole process will be faster if you have your ticket at hand.
  • For your safety, avoid running to catch up with the wagons of the O-Train once they start moving. The trains won’t stop once they start departing.
  • Do not try to walk on the railroads to go from one station to the other. Only walk through the walkways that allow you to go to the different stations.
  • Be extra careful while travelling with small children. Make sure to supervise them at all times, and to hold them by their hands.
  • Be mindful of your environment. Avoid distractions such as sending text messages while waiting for the next train.
  • After 9:00 pm, try to remain at well-illuminated areas of the stations.
  • If you are being intimidated, threatened, assaulted, or if you witness any of these actions, use the emergency phones available at the stations, and notify the authorities about the incident.
  • Do not get on the trains in a rushed manner. Wait until the rest of the passengers disembark before accessing the wagon.
  • Be especially careful on the stations during winter, since the floor may become slippery due to the snow.
  • Make sure that your belongings do not obstruct the trains’ doors, and make sure that they don’t disturb other passengers.
  • Avoid using the seats reserved for people with disabilities, senior citizens and pregnant women.
  • Use an appropriate language. The use of expletives and hate speech is not allowed.
  • Make sure to memorize the collation of the emergency equipment when you board the trains. This way, you’ll be able to use this equipment in case that an emergency occurs.
  • Keep your luggage on your lap.
  • You cannot smoke on the wagons of the O-Train.
  • You cannot consume alcohol on the system’s trains. Also, you cannot board the trains while under the influence of alcohol.
Greenboro station Greenboro station

Accessibility

The Ottawa Metro’s authorities have put special attention on the accessibility of the facilities in order to give a comfortable ride to all of its users.

To achieve this, the trains’ wagons are designed to be at the same level of the stations and very close to the stations’ edge, so that people can board the trains without much effort. Additionally, there are spaces reserved for people with disabilities and senior citizens within the wagons.

However, if you have any kind of physical disability, you should consider the fact that there aren’t any personnel available at the metro stations that could help you. Therefore, it is quite important that you are able to board and disembark of the train on your own. If this isn’t possible, bring a companion that could help you board the train.

You also have the possibility of using the Para Transpo services, which is an alternative for passengers with reduced mobility that cannot leave their home on their own. This service has staff that will go to your door to take you to the train. However, this service is only available for passengers that truly need it, so they will have to fill in a form beforehand.

Fun facts

  • Many of the system’s stations have many parking spots in which you can park your vehicle. You have free parking during most of the day. However, you need to pay a fee if you park between early morning and 11:00 am.
  • The stations do not have turnstiles nor personnel that could prevent you from accessing the trains. However, there are supervisors that are present in the trains that will ask you to show your ticket to verify that you have paid to board the train.
  • If you have reduced mobility, and you need a companion to help you go from one place to the other, said companion can travel for free. However, your companion should prove that they will remain with you.
  • The Ottawa Metro stations are not known for their huge infrastructures. In fact, these stations are small and humble. However, all of the stations have surveillance cameras, and they have special roofs that block the sunlight and protect you from harsh weather.

Connection with the airport

The Ottawa O-Train has no direct connection with the Ottawa International Airport, but the Greenboro station, which is one of its terminal stations, is located within a 16 minute walk of the airport. This way, it is quite easy to go from one place to the airport through the use of a bus line. To go to the airport by making a transfer from this bus line, follow these instructions:

Board any of the trains of the Ottawa Metro system towards Greenboro, which is located to the south of the city. Once you arrive there, you need to walk around 200 meters to the Greenboro 1A bus stop. Here, you will have to wait the route 97 buses, which arrive each 15 minutes.

After boarding the bus and paying the needed fare, the journey to the airport lasts approximately between 16 and 18 minutes. After four stops, you will need to get off the bus at the Airport/Airbus Private bus stop, which is just in front of the airport.

Conversely, if you want to go from the airport to downtown Ottawa by using the metro service, you’ll only need to go to platform number 14, located at the arrivals gate at level 1.

The buses transit uninterruptedly for 24 hours, with the only exception of Sundays, in which the buses stop operations between 2:30 am and 5:00 am. However, you still need to take into account the metro’s business hours if you plan to make a transfer from the trains to the buses to reach the airport.

Additionally, you will find taxi lines and rent-a-car services at the Ottawa International Airport, which will make it easier for you to go to the city. If you carry a lot of luggage, it is recommended that you use these transportation services.

Future expansions

During the year 2013, the higher ups of the Ottawa City Hall made the unanimous decision of expanding the Ottawa Metro to make it 30 kilometers longer and to give it 19 additional stations. This expansion was planned in a project called Stage 2 LRT, which included both the expansion of the current line, as well as the construction of an additional line.

According to the official sources, once the project is completed, which will be finished on the eve of the year 2023, 70% of the Ottawa inhabitants will live within a five-kilometer radius of a train station. The construction works will take place during 2019, and the estimated date of completion is around the years 2022 and 2023.

Meanwhile, the project known as Stage 1, which is the other expansion project besides the Stage 2 LRT project, is an expansion project of the current line. This line will be expanded to connect to Eastern Ottawa. Meanwhile, the Stage 2 LRT project plans to unite Western Ottawa with two other routes: the Trillium route, and the Stage 1 project route. The current line is called the Trillium route.

Recently, during mid-2017, the Canadian federal government announced that there were additional funds added to the budget for the Stage 2 LRT project, so that an additional expansion is added to this project. Additionally, the government said that the current trains would be replaced with more modern ones, and even more trains will be added to the metro system. These new trains will comply with the highest standards of being eco-friendly, which shows the commitment of the government of taking care of the environment.

Touristic attractions

The best places to visit in Ottawa are located downtown, which can be reached by disembarking at Bayview station and then boarding any bus at the Bayview 2A bus stop. From there, you could visit places such as the Canadian War Museum, which explores thoroughly the military history of the country in all of its aspects. This museum has records of the first violent deaths ever recorded in Canada, which happened hundreds of years ago, as well as all armed conflicts in which the country has participated. Among the most important permanent exhibits include samples taken from battles that took place on Canadian soil, the role of the nation during the Cold War, the different operations to support peace in foreign countries, and a section of the museum dedicated as a memorial to all of the fallen Canadian soldiers.

Additionally, from that same station, it is possible to get a ride towards the National Gallery of Canada, which is considered one of the most important museums on the American continent. It has a vast collection of exhibits that include paintings, sculptures, photos, and drawings. Even though the museum mainly shows Canadian works, it also displays interesting works made by renowned artists from all around the world. The aisle dedicated to contemporary art is especially charming since it has some of the most emblematic works of the filmmaker and artist Andy Warhol. It is also possible to learn about Native Canadian art throughout the hallways of the gallery, which is an experience that, along watching all the other exhibits, gives the visitor a view of the lifestyle and cultural heritage of the Native people.

Video

O-train map

Metro map of Ottawa Full resolution
Map via www.octranspo.com
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Ottawa O-train

  • Also Known As: O-Train
  • Passengers/Day 12000
  • Fares:
  • 24h operation: No
  • Air Conditioning: 0
  • Walk between platforms: 0
  • Driverless trains: 0
  • Screen Doors Platforms: 0
  • Operator: OC Transpo
  • 3/3.65$
  • Ottawa Metro Official Website
  • Tlf: 613-741-4390
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