Transitway (Ottawa)

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(Redirected from Ottawa Rapid Transit)
OwnerCity of Ottawa
LocaleOttawa, Ontario, Canada
Transit typeBus rapid transit
Number of lines11
Number of stations44
WebsiteOC Transpo rapid network
Began operation1983
Operator(s)OC Transpo
System map

The Transitway is a bus rapid transit (BRT) network operated by OC Transpo in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It comprises a series of bus-only roadways and reserved lanes on city streets and highways. The dedicated busways ensure that buses and emergency vehicles on the Transitway rarely intersect directly with the regular traffic, and make it possible for them to continue at full speed even during rush hour. OC Transpo operates a network of rapid routes which use the Transitway to connect communities with the O-Train light rail system. Additional bus routes also use segments of the Transitway.

The Transitway opened in 1983 with five stations. The network expanded greatly to include over fifty stations at its peak. Beginning in 2015, segments of the Transitway were closed to be converted to light rail. Ottawa's Stage 2 and 3 O-Train expansions will see additional segments of the Transitway converted.


During the 1970s and 1980s, the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton approved the construction of a new transit corridor called the Transitway. The purpose of this busway was to increase the speed of city-bound services from east and west. The first two sections opened in 1983: the southwestern Transitway between Lincoln Fields and Baseline and the east between Lees and Hurdman.[1]

The central Transitway was then added in the Westboro and Mechanicsville areas. In the downtown core, buses traveled along dedicated lanes on Albert and Slater streets. The eastern Transitway was extended in both directions, towards Laurier in the northwest and Blair in the east. These segments of the Transitway were serviced by route 95, travelling the full length of the Transitway from Baseline to Blair. Priority measures were later added to Woodroffe Avenue and Regional Road 174, extending service into the suburbs of Barrhaven and Orleans.[1]

In the 1990s, a rail corridor was gradually converted into the southeast Transitway, spanning from Hurdman to South Keys. This new section necessitated the creation of route 97. Route 97 followed the new southwest Transitway before joining route 95 along the existing Transitway segments. The 97 was extended to service the suburb of Kanata. The Kanata section was later split off into route 96.[1]

In 2001, the O-Train's Trillium Line (then simply the "O-Train") opened. Its northern terminus was at the new Bayview station on the central Transitway and its southern terminus at Greenboro on the southeast Transitway.[2]

The southwest Transitway was gradually extended southward, first to Fallowfield in 2005 and then to Barrhaven Centre in 2011. A median busway section was added along Chapman Mills Drive to Nepean Woods in 2014. The first segment of the western Transitway opened in 2009 connecting Pinecrest and Bayshore. This was extended to Moodie in 2017.[3]

Beginning in 2015, sections of the Transitway closed for conversion to light rail for the Confederation Line. Buses were rerouted to bus-only lanes along Highway 417, Regional Road 174, and city streets.[4] The Confederation Line opened in 2019, along with a major re-organization of the Transitway network. Rapid routes no longer travelled through downtown Ottawa. Instead, all rapid routes use the Transitway to connect communities to the Confederation Line at one of three stations: Tunney's Pasture, Hurdman, or Blair. Routes were also renumbered to correspond with their geographic service area, resulting in the retirement of route 95, the Transitway's busiest and oldest route.[5]

Temporary Transitway bridge connecting Scott Street to Dominion Station

Multiple sections of the Transitway were permanently closed for O-Train Stage 2 construction in 2021 and 2022. In September of 2021, the Transitway was closed between Moodie and Bayshore, followed by the section between Bayshore and Pinecrest in April of 2022. Buses were detoured along Highway 417, with Moodie station being relocated to temporary bus stops at the interchange ramps, and some bus routes bypassing Pinecrest and Bayshore stations eastbound as a result.[6][7] In June, the entirety of the central Transitway between Tunney's Pasture and Dominion stations was closed, as well as the southwest Transitway between Iris and Baseline. Buses were detoured along Scott Street parallel to the former central Transitway, with a temporary extension and bridge connecting to Dominion Station. Buses were routed along Iris Street and Woodroffe Avenue between Iris and Baseline stations.[8]


The following are OC Transpo's rapid routes, which travel along the Transitway with frequent service connecting communities to the O-Train. Additional OC Transpo routes also use segments of the Transitway.

# Terminus Terminus Notes Map
 39  Millennium
 39  Trim
 39  Place d'Orléans
 39  La Cité
 N39  Rideau
  • Select peak trips extend to/from La Cité and Samuel Genest school
  • Overnight extension N39 terminates at Rideau
 45  Hospital / Hôpital Hurdman
 N45  Rideau
 57  Crystal Bay
Tunney's Pasture
 N57  Rideau
  • Frequent service provided between Tunney's Pasture and Bayshore during most time periods. All other trips start/end at the Department of National Defense Carling Campus.
  • Overnight extension N57 terminates at Rideau
 61  Stittsville
 61  Terry Fox
Tunney's Pasture
 61  Gatineau
 61  Pimisi
 N61  Rideau
  • Trips are extended to/from Gatineau during peak hours.
  • Early morning trips travel via Pinecrest Garage on Queensview
  • Overnight extension N61 terminates at Rideau
  • Serves Pimisi on Canada Day for customers with accessibility needs.
 61C  Stittsville Eagleson
  • AM peak: travels directly from Castlefrank to Highway 417 and Eagleson, bypassing Katimavik and Terry Fox
  • PM peak: serves Katimavik, but do not serve Castlefrank north of Katimavik, or Terry Fox station
 61D  Terry Fox Eagleson
  • Travels via Highway 417 between Castlefrank and Eagleson station. This route only operates during the AM peak periods.
 62  Stittsville
 62  Terry Fox
Tunney's Pasture
  • Before noon on weekdays, eastbound buses travel via Fringewood between Abbott E. and Hazeldean, while westbound buses travel via Iber
  • After noon on weekdays, buses follow the reverse direction on both roads
 63  Briarbrook via Innovation Tunney's Pasture via Briarbrook
 63  Gatineau via Briarbrook
 63  Pimisi
  • Eastbound AM peak period trips travel via March instead of the business park and are extended to Gatineau; the reverse occurs in the PM peak for westbound
  • Serves Pimisi on Canada Day for customers with accessibility needs.
 74  Nepean Woods

Limebank (2023)

Tunney's Pasture
  • When the Line 2 expansion opens in 2023, Route 74 will be extended from Nepean Woods station east along Strandherd and Earl Armstrong, connecting at Riverview station before ending at the new terminus Limebank station.[9]
 75  Barrhaven Centre
Tunney's Pasture
 75  Gatineau
 75  Pimisi
 N75  Rideau
  • Overnight extension N75 terminates at Rideau
  • Serves Pimisi on Canada Day for customers with accessibility needs.
 97  Airport
 97  Airport via Uplands
 97  South Keys
 N97  Rideau
  • Select late evening southbound trips travel via Hunt Club and Uplands instead of the Airport Parkway in the southbound direction only. Select peak tips are extended to start/end at Hunt Club loop but signed as 97 South Keys in the southbound direction.
  • Overnight extension N97 terminates at Rideau. Service to/from the Ottawa MacDonald Cartier International Airport will be replaced by Line 4 in the service change that was originally scheduled for fall 2022; that opening has been delayed.[10] This route could potentially be removed due to routes 98 and 99 offering parallel service along its entire route.
 98  Hawthorne Hurdman [12]
 99  Barrhaven Centre
 99  Citigate
 99  E.S Pierre De Blois
 99  Greenboro via Uplands
 99  Hurdman
 99  Riverview
 99  Spratt / Limebank

Limebank (2024)

  • Extended from Greenboro to/from Hurdman during peak hours in both directions. Select trips extended from Barrhaven Centre to Citigate Barrhaven. Late night and early morning trips to/from Barrhaven Centre are shortened to start and end at Riverview. All weekend trips Travel via Uplands and Hunt Club instead of the Airport Parkway in the northbound direction only. Select weekday trips start/end at Spratt / Limebank. Some weekday trips start/end at E.S. Pierre-de-Blois. Service to/from Hurdman could be extended to all time periods if route 97 is removed.
  • When the Line 2 expansion opens in 2023, the 99 will be extended in both directions to follow Limebank Road south from Limebank / Spratt, in order to connect with the new Limebank terminus station.[9] Once parallel bus service ends after the first winter of revenue service on Lines 2 and 4, the 99 will be permanently shortened with Limebank station being its new eastern terminus, and renumbered to 79.

Stations and segments[edit]


Station Rapid connections Notes
Blair  39 
  • Bus terminal
  • Park & Ride
Montréal  39 
  • Curbside
Jeanne d'Arc  39 
  • Curbside
  • Park & Ride
Place d'Orléans  39 
  • Bus terminal
  • Park & Ride
Trim  39 
  • Curbside
  • Park & Ride
Millennium  39 
  • Bus terminal
  • Park & Ride

The east Transitway currently consists of a series of intermittent bus-only lanes along Regional Road 174 between Blair and Place d'Orléans.

Heron Station along southeast Transitway


Station Rapid connections Notes
Hurdman  45   97   98   99 
  • Bus terminal
Lycée Claudel  45   97   98   99 
  • Busway
Smyth  97   98   99 
  • Busway
Riverside  97   98   99 
  • Busway
Pleasant Park  97   98   99 
  • Busway
Billings Bridge  97   98   99 
  • Busway
Heron  97   98   99 
  • Busway
Walkley  97   98   99 
  • Busway
Greenboro  97   98   99 
  • Busway
  • Park & Ride
South Keys  97   98   99 
  • Busway
Airport  97 
Hawthorne  98 
  • Curbside
Leitrim  99 
  • Bus terminal
  • Park & Ride
Limebank (2023)  74   99 
  • Bus terminal

The southeast Transitway is a dedicated busway adjacent to some rail corridors between Hurdman and South Keys.


Westboro Station relocated to Scott Street following the closure of the central Transitway
Station Rapid connections Notes
Tunney's Pasture  57   61   62   63   74   75 
  • Bus terminal
Westboro  57   61   62   63   74   75 
  • Curbside
Dominion  57   61   62   63   74   75 
  • Busway

The central Transitway was a dedicated busway between Tunney's Pasture and Dominion. It was closed in preparation for O-Train Stage 2 construction in June 2022, with buses now running along Scott Street. A temporary Transitway was built from Dominion station to the intersection of Churchill Road and Scott Street. The new Transitway travels over the old one via the bailey bridge and then alongside until the intersection of Scott /Churchill.


Bus congestion on the former downtown Transitway

The former downtown section of the Transitway consisted of two single bus-only lanes on Albert and Slater Streets (one-way public streets in opposite westbound and eastbound directions, respectively), with stops in each direction at Bay, Kent, Bank and Metcalfe Streets as well as on the Mackenzie King Bridge. Traffic congestion here, where the buses mingle with private vehicles, often caused service delays and was seen by some as the main weakness in the Transitway system.

Initial plans for the Transitway included a bus-only tunnel in this section but the cost of a ventilated tunnel for conventional buses was deemed too expensive and was not warranted at the time. In 2006, it was proposed to extend the O-Train downtown as a tramway over the same streets while keeping existing bus and car traffic. The idea was met with objections from businesses along those streets, as normal access to the businesses would be impeded.

In 2019, the Confederation Line opened, replacing the downtown portion of the Transitway with an underground, high-capacity rapid transit rail line. This service change greatly reduced the number of buses travelling on Albert and Slater streets.


Marketplace station along southwest Transitway
Station Rapid connections Notes
Lincoln Fields  57   61   62   63   74   75 
  • Bus terminal
Queensway  61   62   63   74   75 
  • Busway
Iris  74   75 
  • Busway
Baseline  74   75 
Fallowfield  74   75 
  • Busway
  • Park & Ride
  • Connection to Via Rail services
Longfields  75 
  • Busway
Strandherd  75 
  • Busway
  • Park & Ride
Marketplace  75   99 
  • Busway
Barrhaven Centre  75   99 
  • Busway
Citigate  99 
  • Curbside
  • Located across from Amazon's YOW3 facility on Citigate Drive
Cambrian  75 
  • Curbside
Beatrice  99 
  • Busway
Nepean Woods  74   99 
  • Busway
  • Park & Ride
Riverview  74  (2023)


  • Bus terminal
  • Park & Ride

The southwest Transitway includes a dedicated busway from Lincoln Fields to Baseline. Buses then travel on reserved lanes before joining a busway before Fallowfield. This busway extends from Fallowfield to Barrhaven Centre. A separate median busway east of Marketplace connects Beatrice and Nepean Woods before traveling along reserved lanes to Riverview.


Station Rapid connections Notes
Pinecrest  61   62   63 
  • Busway
Bayshore  57   61   62   63 
  • Bus terminal
Moodie  57   61   62   63 
  • Busway
Bells Corners  57 
  • Curbside
Eagleson  61   62   63 
  • Bus terminal
  • Park & Ride
Terry Fox  61   62 
  • Bus terminal
  • Park & Ride
Canadian Tire Centre  62 
  • Bus terminal
  • Park & Ride
Stittsville  61   62 
  • Curbside
Teron  62   63 
  • Curbside
Innovation  63 
  • Bus terminal
  • Park & Ride

The west Transitway consisted of a dedicated busway between Pinecrest and Moodie, however the section between Moodie and Bayshore closed permanently in September 2021, followed by the section between Bayshore and Pinecrest in April 2022. Buses also use reserved lanes on Highway 417 between Moodie and Eagleson.

See also[edit]

  • O-Train, OC Transpo's light rail transit system
Other bus rapid transit systems in Ontario


  1. ^ a b c "Ottawa, Ontario: BRT Case Study" (PDF). Transportation Research Board. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  2. ^ "Ottawa's O-Train rides the freight line". Canadian Consulting Engineer. February 10, 2003. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  3. ^ "Bayshore to Moodie Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Conversion to Light Rail Transit (LRT) Environmental Assessment (EA)". City of Ottawa. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  4. ^ "Ottawa light rail construction closing more of Transitway in December, January". CBC News. October 14, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  5. ^ "New route numbers". OC Transpo. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  6. ^ "Section of the Transitway permanently closing in Ottawa's west end for LRT". Ottawa. 2022-04-22. Retrieved 2022-08-25.
  7. ^ "Moodie Station to be temporarily relocated, Transitway detoured for Stage 2 O-Train construction". Glen Gower. 2021-08-19. Retrieved 2022-09-21.
  8. ^ "Two sections of the Transitway permanently closing to buses this weekend". Ottawa. 2022-06-22. Retrieved 2022-08-25.
  9. ^ a b "OC Transpo to keep parallel bus service through the first winter when Trillium Line launches". Ottawa. 2023-05-26. Retrieved 2023-05-28.
  10. ^ Porter, Kate (March 29, 2023). "O-Train to skip another September at Carleton University". CBC News. CBC. Retrieved April 3, 2023. The 19-kilometre Trillium Line, also referred to as Line 2 of the O-Train, is under construction from Bayview Station to Riverside South, with a four-kilometre spur line to the Ottawa International Airport. The first of three extensions under the municipality's Stage 2 construction project, the Trillium Line was originally scheduled to open in time for the resumption of classes last fall. Best estimates by rail construction director Michael Morgan now see the City of Ottawa taking over that train line this October, after contractor Transit NEXT, a wholly owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin, does its final trial run in September.

External links[edit]