Ottawa transit boss pleased with first few days of LRT operations – Ottawa Business Journal

Ottawa transit boss pleased with first few days of LRT operations - Ottawa Business Journal
LRT riders with disabilities share pros, cons of new Confederation Line
Ottawa’s new light-rail transit system rolled through its first rush hour on Monday with no problems, says the city.

The trains started on time and there were no incidents or delays, said the city in a statement, although staff are investigating an incident involving a trespasser at Tunney’s Pasture Station before service began.

The city also said Sunday that "O-Train ambassadors" are at all LRT stations to help riders access the line. Staff are also available to help show disabled riders how to best use LRT, and "support persons" can accompany them on-board for free as long as they've applied for the proper pass.

Monday morning was the first real test of how the $2.1-billion light rail system moves thousands of week day commuters and most people reported a smooth and effective ride. We caught up with commuters on their way home to see if the Confederation Line’s rave morning reviews still held true.

"It's just frustrating because I'm a very independent person," she added. "I like the feeling [of being] able to go out and do things myself, but it's frustrating when I come across silly little things like not being able to put my own pass through."

After a weekend of fun, LRT gets down to weekday business

“It was a nice ride, however, when we got to Blair it was really messy, over a hundred people trying to get on the same bus, trying to get to Place D’Orléans or Trim. It was really difficult, we all were waiting. We didn’t know where to go, and it was too much people and not enough busses,” said Melanie Sorrell who was trying out the LRT system to see if it was more convenient than driving from her home in Orléans to her job at the University of Ottawa.

“Hopefully they’re going to have more buses, if they do than it’s fine,” she said.

In a written response, the City of Ottawa said fare gates have been designed to accommodate people with mobility issues, with wider gates having two card readers at different heights so that riders can choose the one that's best.

University of Ottawa student Marie Du Cénacle Bumwemana said the LRT system has made her commute to school easier and faster.

She was also concerned about the lack of mirrors in the elevators, as she couldn't see if someone was behind her while backing out — or where the elevator platform ends if she backs in.

“For students trying to get to Carleton, it’s now going to take three different modes of transportation and make (commute time) an hour and 15 minutes. Taking the 39 to Blair, then the O-Train from Blair to Hurdman and then the bus from Hurdman to Carleton.”

However, he's concerned about how far it is to transfer between buses and trains at some stations, especially in winter. He also said he'd like to see larger buttons on the elevators.

Bonnie Clement, who works downtown, arrived back in Kanata shortly after 4 p.m. and said the commute was smooth sailing going both ways. She even managed to get a seat travelling both east and west.

But Sarah Bayerns has another story. She lives in Arnprior, and takes her car to a park and ride on Eagleson Road in Kanata, followed by a 40-minute bus ride to Tunneys Pasture, and a quick train ride downtown — a three-stage journey that was once only a two-stage trip.

"I have no peripheral vision. I could have easily driven over that and not seen it. And people with low vision or who are blind could have easily fallen over it."

Deb Richardson, who lives in Kanata North, used to take one express bus downtown. It is now a two-stage trip. There were two full buses before she could get on. And she notes that waiting for buses in the winter will be very cold.

The train itself is lovely. But the commute itself is more strenuous, she said. It just feels longer. Theres a lot more walking. Heres what some other commuters had to say about their Monday morning ride on Twitter:

Then, there's a steep curb near the Scott Street entrance to Tunney's Pasture that doesn't have any warnings to warn people, Lougheed said.

First business day with our new LRT! Hurdman to Parlement in 8 minutes! @OC_Transpo @JimWatsonOttawa thank you!!! #OttawaLRT pic.twitter.com/IRtL3IRhFl

"The gentlemen at the gate just opened it for me, but I don't know if they're going to be around forever to do that," said Lougheed.

Dennis VanStaalduinen, executive director of the Wellington West BIA, tweeted that his high-school daughter shaved 50 minutes off her commuting time on Monday.

My daughter took this time lapse of her new commute across town to high school – joking that the #OttawaLRT ride was only 30 seconds. But even with a bus transfer, she arrived at school 50 minutes early today. #OttLRTlaunch pic.twitter.com/KsEvuHDNok

Video: On the Same Page LRT Special

Darcy White stood on the Tunneys platform with an electric scooter and a big smile. He rides the scooter from his home to a bus station near Bayshore and will transfer to the train from now on. I think its amazing. Its a masterpiece. TOM SPEARS / POSTMEDIA

Good morning! I'm LIVE at Parliament Station on Day 3 of service on the Confederation Line, and the line's first weekday service. Trains began rolling through here just after 5 a.m. @1310NEWS @OttawaMatters #ottnews pic.twitter.com/m8RSztrzBY

Post-LRT launch weather: A touch of autumn, but warmer week to come

Darcy White stood on the Tunneys platform with an electric scooter and a big smile. He rides the scooter from his home to a bus station near Bayshore and will transfer to the train from now on.I think its amazing. Its a masterpiece, he said. So far I find that I can get where I want to go because theres no traffic. He had already tested the LRT, riding a train on the weekend.

West-end routes including the 61, 64 and 62 will now end at Tunney's Pasture, where passengers can hop onto the Confederation Line and continue their commute downtown.

Video: Egan: We love LRT but were still in the honeymoon stage

Transpo energized by positive feedback after first morning transit commute

Passengers use the Lyon Station gateways as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

A man boards the train with his bike at the Pimisi Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

There's a live musician playing at Parliament Station. Before this one, he played Downtown by Petula Clarke. How appropriate! @1310NEWS @OttawaMatters pic.twitter.com/TNvKCrT5Tm

Passengers ride the train as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

The O-Train's new Confederation Line has entered its first weekday of service, but commuters will have up to three weeks to get themselves personally ready for rail.

A train pulls into the Lyon Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

A woman looks out the window as the train pulls into the Lyon Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Starting October 6, there will be changes to 86 OC Transpo bus routes, but 52 routes will remain unaffected by the LRT.

Performer known as Lucky Ron belts out a tune in the Lyon Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

More than 25 major bus routes including the 91, 94 and 95 will be given new numbers and will no longer travel downtown.

Jim Watson meets Tay Reeves,8, who wore a conductors cap to the ceremonies this am at Tunney's Pasture LRT Station.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

A busker started playing 'Downtown' by Petula Clarke Monday morning just before 8:30 a.m. at Parliament station. 

Former Mayor Larry O'Brien (L) and Councillor Eli El-Chantiry catch up as the LRT officially opens with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Passengers walk under a colourful ceiling as they head for a train at the Parliament Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

“For students trying to get to Carleton, it’s now going to take three different modes of transportation and make (commute time) an hour and 15 minutes. Taking the 39 to Blair, then the O-Train from Blair to Hurdman and then the bus from Hurdman to Carleton,” she said.

Future customers wait outside the Tunney's station as the LRT officially opens with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

But Sarah Bayern had another story. She lives in Arnprior, and takes her car to a park and ride on Eagleson Road in Kanata, followed by a 40-minute bus ride to Tunney’s Pasture, and a quick train ride downtown — a three-stage journey that was once only a two-stage trip.

Caroline Mulroney, Ontario Minister of Transportation and Mayor Jim Watson unveil the official plaque as the LRT officially opens with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Video: Former mayor Bob Chiarelli at the LRT Confederation Line opening day

LRT up and running in Ottawa

A phone booth in the Lyon Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

“It’s horrible. It’s overcomplicating it for absolutely no reason,” Davies said. “Before we used to take a bunch of direct buses, and now we have to transfer and with how unreliable the buses are, how reliable will the train be?”

A train pulls into the Pimisi Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

For west-end commuters who took the train downtown and back, there was a common refrain: the train is great, there was lots of helpful assistance from transit workers, but Tunney’s Pasture is a bottleneck on the afternoon commute that has to be addressed.

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. Waiting for a train at Tremblay Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Confederation Line testimonies: Day 1 LRT riders hopes and reviews

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. Waiting for a train at St. Laurent Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

“We’re taking advantage of it while we still can,” said Nika Hashemi-Akkaya. “We thought it would be a huge mess. Our co-worker said it was a nightmare. People didn’t know where they were going.”

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. Hundreds of people waiting to get onto the new LRT at Blair Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

All systems go: Ottawas Confederation LRT Line opens to passengers

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. Waiting for a train at St. Laurent Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

By 7 a.m. a steady wave of bus riders were boarding trains at the Tunney’s Pasture LRT station smoothly. Trains there were running less than half-full. Red-jacketed guides were everywhere like a swarm of Walmart greeters.

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. A train arrives at Cyrville Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

“It was really difficult, we all were waiting. We didn’t know where to go, and it was too many people and not enough buses. Hopefully they’re going to have more buses. If they do, than it’s fine.”

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. Hundreds of people waiting to get onto the new LRT at Blair Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

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Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. People waiting to get on the new LRT at Blair Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. A train comes into Blair Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. Blair Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Previously, he took a single bus across town. Now his commute involves a lot of stairs and escalators, and he had to stop at least twice to ask a red-vested LRT ambassador, "Where am I?"

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. Security at Blair Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

"I think eventually it will be good," Chouinard said. "But for some people for sure, it causes a lot of transfers, and I can understand why some people aren't happy."

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. People waiting to get onto the new LRT at Blair Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Nathalie Chouinard also used to take one bus to get to work, but she doesn't think the addition of LRT to her route will slow her down because of the speed of the train.

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Kate Beshiri, 13, said she loves riding trains, and couldn't wait to take the LRT from Tunney's Pasture to Blair station, a bus ride that used to take 45 minutes.

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

"A lot of people did get off at Blair, but then I also saw a lot of trains that were crowded, so I thought, nope, not doing it," Prosper said.

Artwork on the walls of Lyon Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

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Passengers check the route as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

The entrance to the Lyon Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Artwork in the Lyon Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Passengers on the train as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Troy Charter, director of transit operations with the city, confirmed there had been some “intermittent issues” with escalators, including the longest transit escalator in Canada — 35.3 metres — at Rideau station. “Escalators on the system are working. There have been a few intermittent issues as can be expected on a new system.” There are extra technicians on hand to respond, he said.

Directions on the sidewalk along Queen St near the World Exchange as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

On Monday morning, it will be time to get down to business as Ottawa’s new $2.1-billion light rail system undergoes its first real working test: rush hour. For many commuters, the big question will be whether the shiny new system — Phase 1 of the LRT — makes their commute easier or more complicated.

A historic day in the capital Saturday as the public finally got to ride the LRT system. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia   Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

A historic day in the capital Saturday as the public finally got to ride the LRT system. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia   Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

He had some minor problems getting his bike up the staircases and noticed a few other issues. “There’s some spots on the train where it’s not easy to grab onto a bar. There are additional places where more signage could be helpful, but those are tiny, tiny fixes.”

The doors close as a train is set to leave Pimisi Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

At the official opening ceremony on Saturday morning, former mayors, Larry O’Brien and Bob Chiarelli, two of the fathers of the Ottawa LRT, joined other local dignitaries and children who had won contests to name the cars and were among the first to ride them.

LRT launch, September 14, 2019. Photo by Jean Levac/Postmedia News assignment 132258   Jean Levac /Postmedia News

There was a sense of celebration in the air over the weekend as thousands of residents took Ottawa’s new LRT for a spin. They took selfies, brought their kids, brought their bikes, enjoyed the views and, generally, had good things to say about the experience.

A historic day in the capital Saturday as the public finally got to ride the LRT system.   Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

Jim Watson enjoys the first LRT ride during the LRT launch, September 14, 2019. Photo by Jean Levac/Postmedia News assignment 132258

Chantal Therrien who rode the train the entire distance from Blair Station to Tunney’s Pasture on Sunday will be back on it Monday morning. The Orléans resident said she plans to use LRT for her commute to work downtown everyday.

Sylvie Béland goes through the gates at the Lyon Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Christiana and Paul Bauer got on the LRT with their bikes at Blair station, not far from where they live, and got off at Tunney’s before heading to a walking tour of the Civic Hospital neighbourhood and then a bike ride along the canal.

Andrew Maffrey and Daphne Lessard with their daughter Sabine come through the gates at Parliament Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Jim Watson and Caroline Mulroney (R) enjoy the LRT launch, September 14, 2019. Photo by Jean Levac/Postmedia News assignment 132258

John Manconi (L), Allan Hubley and Jim Watson enjoy the LRT launch, September 14, 2019. Photo by Jean Levac/Postmedia News assignment 132258

A historic day in the capital Saturday as the public finally got to ride the LRT system. People check everything out at the Lees Station between trains coming and going. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia

A historic day in the capital Saturday as the public finally got to ride the LRT system. A young child takes time on the Hurdman Station stairs. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia

Manconi and councillors offered no firm numbers for how many people jumped on the train instead of staying on the bus system, which will keep operating as it traditionally has until a major changeover on Oct. 6. 

A historic day in the capital Saturday as the public finally got to ride the LRT system. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia

"I suspect there's some water cooler discussions of people comparing their commute times bus to rail. There might be some people opting to use the rail inbound for tomorrow morning," Manconi added.

A historic day in the capital Saturday as the public finally got to ride the LRT system. 20-week-old Theo Eisener enjoyed his ride on the train Saturday. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia

"This is all normal. Those elevators and escalators go through a fine-tuning period," he said. "There's heavy loads so [the technicians] adjust the belts and so forth.

OC Transpo Special Constable agents walk through Lees Station on Saturday.   Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

A card reader for the LRT system, which opened to passengers on Saturday.   Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

Riders will have to adjust to more than 100 route changes. Fewer than 200 OC Transpo drivers will be laid off, a number that has been steadily dropping over the years.

A view of Hurdman Station on Saturday afternoon as trains come and go.   Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

Ottawa transit officials say they were pleased by the smooth transition commuters made to light rail on Monday morning, a day OC Transpo has been planning for years.

Without LRT Id just be sitting in traffic over there on the bus, White said, pointing to Scott Street. Once you get past Tunneys (eastbound) traffic starts to slow the bus. It takes as long to go from here to downtown as it does to go from Bayshore to here. I think it (LRT) is a huge improvement.

The 59 elevators and 43 escalators along the full length of the new Confederation Line are monitored in real time so interruptions are spotted right away, he added.

OC Transpo is maintaining bus service as usual until Oct. 6 to allow commuters to get used to the changes that come with LRT.

"This morning's commute was was very, very good on all fronts," transportation general manager John Manconi told reporters at a noon-hour briefing.

Commuters at the Tunneys Pasture LRT on Monday morning. Patrick Doyle/Ottawa Citizen Patrick Doyle / OTT

>Commuters from Ottawas western suburbs must take a bus to the Tunneys LRT station, which is the most western stop on the line.>Peter McRae said he came from Stittsville on the bus to the Tunneys LRT station. My bus stops just above (the train) on the trackway up there. So getting off the bus, getting down here at this time of day has been simple.

The transition so far has been awesome.You dont expect to see too many problems with the morning integration. But the returning home rush hour integration— you might want to compare the two. I suspect there are going to be a lot more people here waiting for buses than there are people here waiting for trains.

If you live in the burbs, you already know there is no easy way downtown during rush hour traffic.  We decided to compare notes with Alyson:  she timed her trip on transit and a CTV news crew drove. 

Trains run on the Confederation Line – between Tunneys Pasture and Blair stations – every five minutes or less during rush hour, which is between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Transit commission chair Allan Hubley tells CTV News there was an eight minute delay in the late afternoon due to a default code that needed to be reset. The issue has been solved and trains are moving.

Test run of commute to new job this morning. Clean and comfortable 46 mins from Stittsville to Parliament Station – one transfer. Could not do that in my car! Liking the new addition to @ottawacity . Well done @JimWatsonOttawa @JennaSudds @C_Mulroney @karenmccrimmon #OttawaLRT

Ottawa Councillor Jeff Leiper rode his bike to the station and locked it up before jumping onto an LRT train for a Monday morning ride.

Counc. Mathieu Fleury, who also Tweeted about his rush-hour ride on Monday, said it took him only a few minutes to get from Rideau to Lees stations. It is fast!

That would be awesome if we have LRT, said one woman at the Barrhaven Marketplace transit station, Maybe only 20 minutes going to downtown?  That would save a lot of time.

Some commuters were still getting used to the LRT stations, with one person tweeting Monday that Lyon station was confusing.

Lyon station needs a map or someone to direct commuters. It was more confusing than Union Station in Toronto.

Alyson hops on the bus at 7:37and is on the train at 8:17, forty minutes later, even recording part of the experience, which she finds relaxing.

Was pleasantly surprised during my very first ride aboard Ottawa's LRT this morning. It's just a bummer that my commute is now 10 minutes longer. Can't wait for the east extension to Trim! #ottLRT #welcomeaboard #octranspo

It has made longer . Earlier i used to take 97 from bayshore to south keys but now it takes 20 mins longer . And have to change 3 times

The Société de transport de lOutaouais had a group of smiling agents on the south sidewalk of Wellington Street on Monday morning, explaining how STO passengers will still be dropped off two blocks north of Lyon station but this will change in the future. Sometime. None of the passengers appear bothered in the slightest

Kathy Turner, who commutes from the east end of the city, estimated the LRT system shaved 15 minutes off her hour-long commute on Monday morning.

“This is just great. I’m really excited about this,” she said. A regular commuter from her home in Bayshore to an office on Bank Street, she said she was keen to know whether she could detect on which side of the train the doors would open and close. She said the “sound cue” about doors about to open/close came from the correct side of the train.

Taking the train from its east end makes it a lot better. It makes it quicker, she said. Im looking forward to the change on the way home as well because Im commuting through the density of rush hour (downtown).

Commuter Felicia St-Amour also saved time. She lives in Orléans but got a lift to the Cyrville LRT station on Monday. I counted the time to Tunneys and it was exactly 20 minutes, she said. The bus would take 25 to 30 minutes, said St-Amour.

Many were awed by the shockingly deep station at Rideau, which both gives way to the shopping centre and ByWard Market. But there were, too, necks craning at the impressive canoe paddle installation at Pimisi, the iron-work motif at Parliament and applause for the intelligent way the stations were laid out.

The big difference with LRT? Lots of stop and go on the bus, especially downtown, she said. This (train) is really quick considering all the stops it has to go through. I feel it was pretty smooth with doors opening, people getting on and getting off. Way better than buses.

With certain people the bus needs to be lower, and that can take time. Then you hit the red light and youve got to wait. So its more unpredictable by bus going through the downtown.

Up and down the system, especially on Sunday, the trains were full of young families on an outing or retired people on reconnaissance, or everyday people curious about what 10 years of effort (and a Titanic amount of money) had produced, a milestone in the city’s transit history.

St-Amour said had a seat for her LRT commute. It started getting crowded at Hurdman station, but traffic was lighter at Lyon, she said.

Commuters at the Tunneys Pasture LRT station on Monday. (Patrick Doyle/Ottawa Citizen. Patrick Doyle / OTT

But, Saturday and Sunday, it was all sweetness and light as thousands turned out for leisurely rides — often to nowhere in particular — on brand new trains stopping at sparkling stations, 13 in all, stretching from Blair Road to Tunney’s Pasture.

One early issue appears to be the yellow grab bars. Many of them are overhead and more than six feet above the floor. Some passengers said they were too short to reach them and suggested that Transpo install handles that either hang down or swing down on a hinge.Several commuters heading west on Monday morning were also pleased with the LRT system. Tony Peluso lives downtown and travelled three stations from Lyon to Tunneys. Its better (than the bus) because the roads are getting quite bumpy so its a much smoother ride, so thats nice. And in winter youll be underground and waiting more comfortably. And Im hoping it will be more reliable. You wont get into traffic jams.

She’s already growing accustomed to other sounds that guide someone visually impaired: the swooshing of the “saloon-style” doors, the beeping of the Presto touch; and she finds the rumble strips on the floor a useful warning about staircases.

Abdon Alwe said his usual 15-minute bus trip from downtown to Tunneys was instead a four-minute train trip.

Its really nice, he said. He thinks many people are nervous about the train but its working well and they will all relax in time. Myself Im very happy.

“It seems to be running very smoothly. The trains are clean, the stations are clean. Everybody here helping out is doing an excellent job. We didn’t experience any other glitches. It’s pretty intuitive. All in all, very positive.”

Alwe does warns the train can squeal sometimes in the curves. And he worries that cost of a monthly pass will rise. Its already high — $116.

First Monday morning service and the flow of passengers through Parliament Station is impressive. People are passing through very quickly and fluidly. Fantastic to watch. Everyone is impressed and happy. A success! The future has arrived. #ottlrt #ottlrtlaunch #ottawa #OttawaLRT pic.twitter.com/UvwKV8srst

The soft opening of LRT went smoothly on the weekend, from the official opening with a whos who of Ottawa on Saturday morning to the first public rides on Saturday afternoon and throughout the day Sunday. There were some minor issues — notably temporary escalator glitches at Rideau station.

Troy Charter, director of transit operations with the city, confirmed there had been some intermittent issues with escalators, including the longest transit escalator in Canada — 35.3 metres — at Rideau station. Escalators on the system are working. There have been a few intermittent issues as can be expected on a new system. There are extra technicians on hand to respond, he said.

On Saturday, Charter suggested the issues may be attributed to customers jumping or bouncing on them as they are excited to ride the Confederation Line for the first time. In a statement Monday, the city said the disruption to escalators and elevators is being monitored. With new escalators, there is a breaking in period and fine tuning during which minor adjustments are required, said the statement.

The adjustments are straightforward and involves a simple reset by a certified technician. We have added technicians on site throughout the system for the launch period and their response time has been expeditious.

Sylvie Béland goes up the escalator at the Lyon Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Passengers walk under a colourful ceiling as they head for a train at the Parliament Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Artwork outside the Pimisi Station as the LRT is seen in operation on day 2 of the system up and running.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Artwork in the Lyon Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Artwork outside the Pimisi Station as the LRT is seen in operation on day 2 of the system up and running.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Artwork on the walls of Lyon Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

A canoe made of paddles is a work of art at the Pimisi Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Ottawa's new LRT system was up and running for the public for the first time in Ottawa Saturday Sept 14, 2019. Waiting for a train at St. Laurent Station Saturday. Tony Caldwell,   Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

A canoe made of paddles is a work of art at the Pimisi Station as the LRT officially opens on September 14, 2019 complete with ceremonies at Tunney's Pasture.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Artwork outside the Pimisi Station as the LRT is seen in operation on day 2 of the system up and running.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Artwork outside the Pimisi Station as the LRT is seen in operation on day 2 of the system up and running.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

Artwork outside the Pimisi Station as the LRT is seen in operation on day 2 of the system up and running.   Wayne Cuddington /Postmedia

The LRT systems 13 stations include a total of 59 elevators and 43 escalators. On Sunday, many people rode the train to see what it looked and felt like. Reaction was positive.

I think it is really smooth and fun to go on, said 10-year-old Dylan Feldberg, riding the Confederation Line with his mother. It is kind of satisfying because this is my first day.

Opening weekend for Ottawas LRT — the biggest milestone in the citys transit history — had been a long time coming. The $2.1 billion first phase of the citys LRT system had taken more than 10 years of planning, including 16 months of construction delays. Along the way there had been a giant sinkhole on Rideau Street where construction of the 2.5-kilometre tunnel under downtown was under way.

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