TTC Meeting January 21, 2013 (Updated)

This month’s TTC board meeting has a rather thin agenda.  Whether that will lead to a short meeting is another matter.

Updated January 22, 2013 at 8:30 am:  Results of the meeting have been added to this article.

Strollers on the TTC (Added Jan. 22)

We get lots of deputations at TTC meetings by interested or aggrieved members of the public, and many of these presentations vanish without a trace.  One, however, triggered a short debate at the meeting and a much more vigourous one in the press: should there be restrictions on baby strollers (and by extension shopping buggies and other similar objects) on the TTC given the limited space available and the effect multiple carriages have on service.

This problem has been brewing for years thanks to a combination of factors.  With the arrival of a (mostly) low floor bus fleet, the difficulty of physically getting a stroller on buses has fallen, and larger models are now quite common on the TTC.  The effect of this was quite evident when the St. Clair car reverted from bus to streetcar operation.  Parents who had become used to getting on buses with strollers suddenly were confronted with high-floor vehicles.

The deputant asked that the TTC consider limiting the number of strollers that could be on a vehicle and/or charge an extra fare to account for the space that they take up.  The Commission referred the matter off to staff for a report, but it is unlikely we will see any change in current policies.

In the Twitter and Facebook debates that exploded on this issue, many have noted that much more fundamental issues exist with the quality of TTC service and overcrowding.  This begs the question of the degree to which service should be improved generally, not just to ensure that there is room for carriages.

The issue is not just the accommodation of the youngest TTC customers, but of the problems faced by any rider with special needs.  This includes not only people with mobility devices, but those with difficulties that prevent them from using packed transit vehicles as standees.

Probably the deepest irony is that one rider’s presentation about the problems of baby carriages can trigger a debate with the sense of a problem that must be fixed “today”.  Meanwhile the disabled community must wait until 2025 for legally mandated access to kick in.  Even then, they will have to put up with escalators that run only one direction, when they run at all, single elevators that can make a whole station inaccessible when closed for maintenance, and paths through stations limited by the arrangement of elevating machines.  Toronto Council caps Wheel Trans funding hoping that more riders will shift to the “conventional” system, and Queen’s Park contributes nothing to the expensive capital refit needed throughout the subway system.

Baby carriages are a symptom, not the problem.

Technology Choice for Sheppard East and Scarborough LRT Projects
(Updated Jan. 22)

In response to a request from the Commission, TTC staff prepared a report on the options and implications of subway technology replacing the LRT lines planned on Sheppard East and as a replacement/extension of the SRT.

This issue is moot, at the TTC level, because the question has been debated at length and decided at Council, and agreed to with Metrolinx who have no intention of changing the technology choice again.  (See my article on the Torontoist website for comments about the SRT technology issue.)  What we are seeing is an attempt by some Scarborough Councillors to give the impression of “sticking up for Scarborough” on an issue that is now completely out of their hands.

This could be the long debate in an otherwise quiet TTC meeting, or the Commission may decide that the matter is closed.  Will the Commission as a whole actually confirm and support the plans already underway, or continue to send mixed signals about their commitment to the LRT network?  The report is an “information item” meaning that, procedurally, no actual decision can be taken unless the matter comes back at the meeting in late February.

Update:  What could have been a long, contentious debate vanished in a puff of smoke.  Clearly, the Commission did not want to discuss this matter, and Commissioner De Baeremaeker didn’t even attend the meeting (although he was reported to be nearby in City Hall).  Chair Karen Stintz moved that this report be deferred until the City of Toronto staff has completed its consultation on new revenue tools and reported to Council, and Council makes a decision on “appropriate ways” to finance transit expansion.

In effect, the whole matter has been punted to beyond the next municipal and provincial elections when the transit landscape may be very different.  However, it leaves us in the quandary of whether Metrolinx will lock down the technology choice by signing a contract for rebuilding the SRT as an LRT line in the interim.  Given the extended period for contract development, tendering and evaluation, this is unlikely.

If Ontario winds up with a Tory government, Toronto will almost certainly see cutbacks in transit funding and possibly a provincial takeover of transit operations and planning.

Gateway News Stand Lease Extension (Added Jan. 22)

In October 2012, the Commission received an unsolicited offer to renew and consolidate leases from Gateway that would see the term extended 10 years from its current 2014 expiry.  At that time, the Commissioners believed that there were no counter-offers, and they approved the renewal.  Subsequently, another vendor cried foul and asked why they had not been given an opportunity to bid.  In December, the Commission decided to reopen the matter for discussion at the January meeting.

Although staff recommended that a Request for Proposals process be undertaken, the Commission decided to accept Gateway’s offer.  The whole discussion was a bit murky, with hints that there is more to the matter than the Commissioners wish to debate in public.

See also:  The Globe & Mail

CEO’s Report

Although this is the January 2013 update, it is effectively the report closing out activities for 2012.  The usual Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are here, but I have already discussed their limitations in previous articles and won’t belabour the point.  New or more detailed reporting on service quality may be coming in 2013, but until we see what it is, there’s nothing to report.

Riding for 2012 hit an all-time record of 512-million trips, and is running about 3% above the 2011 rate.  Service is not increasing at a comparable pace, and crowding is more and more a factor on the TTC.  Plans for the 2014 budget and for the promised 5-year plan must address this problem, but that’s a matter for later this spring.

By year-end, the TTC’s “surplus” (actually the amount of subsidy included in the budget, but not required) was running at $41-million.  About 1/3 of this was due to higher fare revenue than projected, and the remainder comes from cost savings.

Coming in 2013 are two new initiatives:

First, we will be releasing the first-ever TTC Customer Charter, which will commit us to specific, time-bound improvements to be delivered each quarter. We will ensure accountability by publicly reporting against these commitments.

Second, we will be rolling out a new way of managing our subway service. As mentioned above, Group Station Managers will be accountable for groups of stations and adjacent bus and streetcar interchanges, with a mandate to improve customer service and safety, to motivate and manage groups of staff, and to be highly visible members of the local community. [page 5]

The Customer Charter will prove interesting reading.  Either it will commit the TTC to real improvements that riders will see, including more reliable service, or it will take aim at a basket of low-hanging fruit that can be “picked” with comparatively little effort or real organizational change.  There is always a temptation to aim low, to set goals that can be easily achieved as a morale building exercise.  This would be counterproductive, rather like letting a child graduate from grade to grade while turning out indifferent work.  The TTC needs to decide what it is aiming at, even if they may not reach the target for several years.  Stay tuned.

The second point is about managing stations, not about managing subway service per se, but it will be useful to have staff whose job is to care about the stations rather than accepting them as they are.  Why is that escalator still broken?  Why are two-month old diversion notices still on the walls?  Will that ceiling ever be repainted after repairs?  Are stations with major projects set up the best way possible for passengers to navigate through construction?

The TTC continues to report service reliability by mode against a ±3 minute goal as I discussed at some length in a recent article.  Unlike many transit systems, the TTC does not publish vehicle reliability stats showing mean times to failure for its various classes of equipment.  With recent concerns about the brand-new TR trains and their teething problems, a more detailed public report would show whether and how things are improving.

The index of vehicle cleanliness continues to rise, but the effect, if any, of shifting to outside contracted staff won’t show up until reports later in 2013 when third party companies begin to take over this work.

The TTC will continue with Town Halls in 2013 and seeks “local advocacy groups” as partners for this.  With complaints about the system, notably about service, on the rise, Town Halls will have to listen and eventually include reports of improvement.  One big problem with customer outreach is that at some point, those pesky riders expect their experience on the TTC will actually improve.

Planned major subway shutdowns include continued work at Union Station for the second platform project, and on the west end of the Bloor line for completion of the Jane Crossover project.  Work continues on attempts to reduce noise and vibration in houses near the subway, but the CEO’s report contains no information on the degree of success to date.

On the streetcar system, service to Spadina south of King is expected to resume in mid-May.  Reconstruction of Queen’s Quay loop is planned for the fall, probably after Labour Day, at which point the streetcars will disappear again for a month or so.

On Queen’s Quay, current plans call for streetcars to resume on July 5, although it is possible this date could be moved up depending on construction progress. Because of the lead times for new schedule implementation, the TTC will make a judgement call in March on whether streetcars will be able to return sooner than July.

Having buses still in operation for the busy Canada Day weekend does not appear to be the best in planning.  However, construction delays on Queen’s Quay are not the TTC’s doing as the main work through the fall and early winter was for utility relocation and expansion.  Detailed information about the work underway on Queen’s Quay can be found on that project’s page at Waterfront Toronto.

The new streetcar project is running behind schedule, with only car 4400 on the property.  However, I have been advised by the TTC that 4401 is undergoing dynamic tests at Bombardier in Thunder Bay.  Car 4402 is expected in Toronto in early March, with 4401 to follow later in the month.  On-street testing will begin in the spring.  The TTC has not released an updated delivery and implementation schedule for the new fleet.

The CEO’s report contains information on other projects such as Presto, but little has changed since the previous report and I leave it to interested readers to read the full document.

About Steve

Steve thanks you for reading this article, even if you don't agree with it.
This entry was posted in Accessibility, Finance, Scarborough RT/LRT/Subway, Sheppard East LRT, Spadina Car, Transit, Union Station, Waterfront. Bookmark the permalink.
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36 Responses to TTC Meeting January 21, 2013 (Updated)

  1. So the new streetcars won’t be tested during a Toronto winter. That’s not a good sign. They’ve had one on the property for months. Can’t they get it up and moving?

  2. Benny Cheung says:

    Steve, do you know those Flexity trams will be delivered? I did like to take a few photos of them. The geography of Hillcrest is not conducive to photography even with 600mm glass. The alternative to that will be to wait for the trailers carrying them on Highway 11 anywhere from North Bay to Sault Ste Marie.

    Steve: I believe that future cars will come in by rail using a new spur into Hillcrest from the CP line to the south. Car 4400 came as far as Lambton Yard by rail, not by highway. The exact dates for 4401 and 4402 are not set yet.

  3. Transity Cyclist says:

    They asked for a report on subway technology for Sheppard East as well? This is ridiculous!

    Equally ridiculous is Metrolinx’s proposal to have the TTC be the operator for the LRT lines, whilst an entirely different party is maintaining the infrastructure and vehicles. I actually thought Metrolinx was finally starting to make some sense when it proposed to have the lines privately operated and maintained by the same party. Their announcement of the lines being TTC-operated no doubt serves to appease Toronto politicians for now and quiet down some of the criticism they are facing.

  4. W. K. Lis says:

    The TTC will be owning and operating 204 new Bombardier Flexity Outlook models as single-ended streetcars. They will be given the number 4400-4603, in red and white colours.

    Metrolinx will be owning, but the TTC will be operating, 182 new Bombardier Flexity Freedom models as double-ended LRV’s for the Transit City lines. What numbers will they be given, and what colours will they have?

    The Peter Witt streetcars had TTC numbers 2300-3018 (even numbers only), while the trailers had TTC numbers 2301-3029 (odd numbers only). The current TTC roster has a gap between 1830 and 2999 inclusive. There were diesel buses with those numbers, but are now retired.

    Do you know if the Freedom models will be assigned with TTC colours and numbers? Personally, I would like to see them assigned with 2000 series of numbers, in memory of the old Peter Witt streetcars.

    Reference here for the numbers.

    Steve: I don’t know what fleet numbers will be used, but based on illustrations and the mock-up Metrolinx is showing off, the colour scheme is likely to be green.

  5. MWM says:

    W.K. Lis says:

    Do you know if the Freedom models will be assigned with TTC colours and numbers? Personally, I would like to see them assigned with 2000 series of numbers, in memory of the old Peter Witt streetcars.

    In my opinion, ever since the LRT lines were announced as part of Transit City I have always thought that the LRVs used on these lines should be in the 3000 series. Looking at the breakdown of how the TTC classifies their vehicles right now, they seem to fit in best in the 3000 series as they are not buses (eliminates 1000s and 7000-9999), streetcars (eliminates the 4000s) or subway trains (eliminates 5000-6999). I can’t see them using the 2000s for rail vehicles, I think they will save the 2000s for if they ever decide to get more hybrid or other alternative fuel buses in the future (and possibly some test vehicles like they did in the late 90s-early 00s in the 1000 series).

    Steve: Oh bitter irony to use the same range as the ICTS cars!

  6. Joe Drew says:

    Steve, while it’s not called out in the CEO’s report I believe it’s the case that 510 Spadina will be replaced by buses for platform and track reconstruction again this year. Do you know when (if) this starts?

    Steve: I believe that the King/Spadina intersection will be replaced in early July on roughly the same schedule that we saw at Queen in 2012. However, Queen’s Quay Loop (which it would really make sense to do at the same time), may not happen until the fall to stay clear of high season at the waterfront. I am not sure when the College intersection is planned in 2013, but it would make sense to do it at the same time as one of the other projects. Dundas and Spadina is scheduled for 2014, and so there will be another shutdown.

  7. Walter says:

    When I read the last two paragraphs of the TTC, I get the impression that the subway is not that bad of an option. It is stated that

    “The Scarborough RT corridor could be effectively served by either light rail or subway”.

    It also says that

    “the Commission should avoid another prolonged debate over the future of the Scarborough RT”.

    Could the Commission interpret this to mean that they should immediately and firmly recommend the subway?

    Steve: No, the report is saying that either mode works, but there are tradeoffs, including the cost and coverage.

  8. Kristian says:

    Chances are quite good that if the TTC is to operate the TC LRVs then the fleet numbers will have to be compatible with their existing data systems, therefore requiring unique four-digit fleet numbers. GO Transit doesn’t have any rail cars in the 3000-series and only 3000/3001 in buses if what I read is correct. This means there shouldn’t be any conflict with using the 3000 series starting at 3002 after the buses or 3028 after the SRT. Past practice would probably have the group start at 3100.

    This day-dreaming is a little goofy I admit. I will agree with Steve on the lovely irony and add that it would be nice to see the SRT butt-out and quit wasting an entire series of digits for the sake of 28 unique and crappy vehicles. I do dread the thought of what might have been if this series had actually grown substantially along with it’s ROW system.

  9. nfitz says:

    It’s all very fine for Andy Byford to be running around saying he doesn’t want to limit strollers on buses. However they already limit wheelchairs to 2. And if you really want to deal with the increasing number of strollers on buses, the solution is to reduce the loading standards to account for it.

    It’s time for TTC to put its money where its mouth is.

  10. Michael S says:

    I think it would be reasonable to define a maximum allowable stroller footprint (m2) per child. The trend towards land yacht sized strollers has been growing, and if people are going to ask for concessions from fellow riders for stroller space, some reasonable limits need to be put on stroller sizes, especially since sensibly sized strollers do exist.

    Can you picture the headlines (for those who insist on huge strollers):

    “Underused bike racks now also for strollers!”

    Steve: I am waiting for the kids to be issued racing goggles for their rides up front!

  11. Jonathon says:

    In Ottawa, the accepted practice is for strollers to occupy the wheelchair space on the bus — when a mother boards with a stroller, people vacate the handicapped seats and everyone proceeds as if it were a wheelchair.

  12. Raymond Kennedy says:

    Everyone who rides transit knows the problems caused by SUV-sized strollers. They take up several seats, partially block the aisle restricting flow and delaying service and the TTC collects one fare. At a minimum two fares should be charged even if only a child rate is applied to the stroller and child. Consideration should be given to restricting or prohibiting large strollers and permitting only small foldup ones. They do exist, I see one once every hundred big ones. I have actually seen a man and woman board a bus not in heavy traffic time after removing the child and folding up the stroller. The adults sat down and one had the small child on their lap. I wonder where they were from? Sure not a Toronto homebody!

  13. Grzegorz Radziwonowski says:

    Just wanted to point out two things: I have seen 3 strollers on a bus before (Jane), and that strollers used to be MUCH smaller (perhaps half the size).

    Either way, doesn’t TTC Bylaw No. 1 deal with this, allowing operators to limit strollers during rush hours/heavy loads? And would it not make sense to move the (large strollers) into the spaces for wheelchairs? Sure, 3 less people will be sitting, but more space will open up for standees, and the movement within the bus is unobstructed.

    Steve: The last thing we need is yet another “rule” making this sort of decision “at the operator’s discretion”. That’s a recipe for all sorts of fights between would-be passengers and operators, followed by complaints to Head Office who will inevitably tell the operator that they made the “wrong” decision.

  14. Michael S says:

    Looks like Metrolinx is moving full steam ahead. The Media Release of the RFQ was issued today for the Crosstown/Scarborough LRT. The faster they get this process financially committed, the closer it will be to a reality, though it doesn’t look like the Contract will be signed until fall of 2014.

    Steve: That’s the same schedule they have always talked about. RFQ now, tender in mid 2013, award in mid 2014. Depending on shifting political circumstances, all of this could come unglued. Such are the “benefits” of ongoing delay by Queen’s Park.

  15. Jonathon wrote:

    In Ottawa, the accepted practice is for strollers to occupy the wheelchair space on the bus — when a mother boards with a stroller, people vacate the handicapped seats and everyone proceeds as if it were a wheelchair.

    I tend to ride on the first forward-facing seat behind the side-facing seats that fold up (when on a bus with this seating layout). Whenever someone is boarding with a stroller, I fold up the closest empty side-facing seat to me, or ask someone to move to do so, while the new passenger is paying their fare. I find that, more often than not, people with strollers are unaware that either these seats can fold up so their stroller will be out of the way, or they are unaware that a passenger is permitted to do the folding.

    I do help out with this when a person in a wheelchair or on a scooter is boarding, but often the process of deploying the ramp gives the driver time to fold up the seat as part of the procedure. I suspect that those with strollers who know about the folding seats may think their operation is limited to the driver because of this procedure.

    I was on a bus a few days ago where a seat was already folded up and a passenger asked the driver to have it lowered to use it. The passenger was a little surprised to be told by the driver that they could do it themselves.

  16. Mark Dowling says:

    Great to see the parenting experts weigh in. One thing they don’t tend to remember or know is that fold up/umbrella strollers are not recommended for infants <=6mths who don't have head/neck control. For another, it's bloody hard to push an umbrella stroller through the snow and muck of this time of year. For yet another, take a look at the parent in charge of said stroller. For the most part she or he will be glancing around nervously hoping they are not inconveniencing anyone because the floor layout of an Orion 7 doesn't really give a good footprint to manoeuver any sort of wheeled item. All that to say: if parents have a large stroller are trying to get one on a TTC bus, it may because they have a reason rather than just out to thumb their nose at their fellow passengers.

    Exiting through the back door is also great fun – I broke a component of a stroller trying to get it down from the back because that's where I parked it *so as to not inconvenience anyone further forward*.

    At the end of it all the parent will be obliged to lift the stroller either up/down stairs or over turnstiles at one or more of the many non-accessible TTC stations.

    Ray Kennedy:

    "I have actually seen a man and woman board a bus not in heavy traffic time after removing the child and folding up the stroller."

    As would I – if I was travelling with my spouse or someone else. However, creating a rule that mandates strollers to be folded will inevitably cause embarrassment and upset to *guardians travelling alone* – a significant if not predominant proportion of those just trying to use public transportation like anyone else.

    Steve: Folks with strollers generally know how to work the “crash gates” at station entrances so that they can roll through without lifting the stroller over the barriers. These are not well marked, but they exist everywhere (I see the one at my home station used all the time, although we also now have an accessible turnstile).

  17. Deb says:

    Regarding the strollers-on-buses problem: Full disclosure here, I need a cane to get around. I’ve never been hit by anyone in a wheelchair trying to board transit, but I can’t say the same for the more militant moms, who sometimes use strollers or baby carriages as battering rams. Those of us who move more slowly than average know we’re often perceived as obstacles by people in a hurry, but a wheeled buggy can do more damage than someone pushing past on foot. When I see a woman with a kid in a buggy, I cringe! And what is the effect on the kids in strollers, who are at the front contact point of the buggy? Unfortunate results for the very young and very slow.

  18. Stan says:

    Why do a lot of the people with strollers want to get on the bus first delaying all others getting on. Most people already on will move for a stroller. I pointed this out to one woman and she agreed with me that letting most of the people on they will go to the back to leave room but when she got on first people had to squeeze past and it took much longer at the stop.

    Steve: I suspect it’s the sense of “if I don’t get on right away, I may not at all”. Also, people tend to be deferential to strollers and let them go first even though it’s counterproductive.

  19. nfitz says:

    Strollers

    “are not recommended for infants <=6mths who don't have head/neck control"

    What, the ones that are still so light that they are a lot easier to put in a sling and carry around? I can't imagine the work involved in pushing them around in one of those massive SUV strollers, when you can just simply carry them.

    And yes I have a 5-month old. And an umbrella stroller. However, he hasn't seen the stroller yet. Though her sister used it occasionally … never saw the point; was easier to carry her until she could walk. And she usually insisted on walking instead of being bored sitting in the stroller. The only real time it was useful was at the Metro Zoo. And yes, I folded the stroller up on the bus both going and coming to the zoo.

    Quite frankly, unless you have twins, or either parent or child are physically disabled – as a parent, I don't really see why some selfish parents think a monster stroller is so important.

  20. Streetcar says:

    @ Darwin- 4401 is currently undergoing winter testing in Thunder Bay.

  21. Ed says:

    “Quite frankly, unless you have twins, or either parent or child are physically disabled – as a parent, I don’t really see why some selfish parents think a monster stroller is so important.”

    I’ve seen SUV strollers being used as big awkward bundle buggies, while the kid is sitting on the bus seat. I have no idea what’s in all the attached bags and packs, though it generally does not look like a grocery shopping trip.

    As if the Orion VII doesn’t already have circulation problems, the strollers are often put in the aisle right where the front wheels already make a narrow aisle.

    On streetcars, I’ve seen two strollers, one on each side of the aisle, directly across from each other. Of course, this is a seat or two back from the front entrance, so everyone entering has to squeeze past.

    My patience with these kinds of shenanigans, including the human barnacles who insist on clinging to the poles at the very front of the cars, or the turkeys who lounge in the doorways of subways, is done. Many a time I’ve rudely shoved past these kinds of thoughtless blockages. And, yes, I suspect that most of those people don’t for a moment think about the fact that this is a public vehicle, and other passengers just may exist.

  22. W. K. Lis says:

    The problem with strollers are the low-floor vehicles and elevators in the subway. When I had my kids, there were no low-floor vehicles available on the routes I used and the elevators were few and unavailable. This meant a parent had to physically lift a stroller (and supplies) on and off a bus, or down and up (if there were no escalators) the stairs at a subway station. The stroller had to be small and light to do that.

    Now with low-floor vehicles and elevators available, the larger SUV strollers do not have to be “clean-n-jerk”ed, but simply rolled on and off.

    Maybe what is needed is for the TTC to put their “stamp of approval” on strollers, much like how the city used to “approve” low-flush toilets. It could become a marketing tool, if done right.

  23. Moaz Yusuf Ahmad says:

    [Comment split. Metrolinx photo portion moved to another thread.]

    As for the strollers topic … in the 80s my mum managed to take myself and my sister from our home near the Humber River to Victoria Park (Lambton 30 to High Park Station) every Saturday for years, without much more than an umbrella stroller … and we were as crazy as any little children could be.

    Expectations were different then, and expectations are different now. Even individual expectations are all relative. My first trip on public transit with my son (when he was 3 months old) was using the GO train from Port Credit to Exhibition Station because my wife wanted to see Caribana. We had no problems despite using the ‘travel system’ package. However, on the way to Union Station from Exhibition, we were given a lot of hassle by this Jake Busey look alike “Customer Service Agent” who kept demanding that we move back to give space to people who were disembarking … but didn’t make the same demands of the costumed dancers who were actually standing closer to the edge of the platform.

    On MiWay buses more often than not we have been able to find space, and the stroller is folded up as often as needed.

    Probably the strangest experience was in Niagara Falls, where the driver of the Falls shuttle (an old Orion V, not the new WeGO service) insisted that our umbrella stroller be folded up before we boarded a bus that was completely empty.

    Cheers, Moaz

  24. Mikey says:

    Do you feel that the outcome of the Liberal Leadership race will have a significant bearing on transit affairs? What do you think of the candidates?

    Steve: I have known Kathleen Wynne since her days as a school trustee, and believe she would be the best choice for the Liberals. She has experience and knowledge of government, is a sitting member and Minister, and is the more likely of the two front-runners to find common ground with the NDP. The worst possible outcome would be for the NDP and Liberals to split the centre-left vote, and for the Tories to gain control of the government. If they do, transit policies in Ontario will go down the tubes with little spending and a wealth of something-for-nothing 3P schemes that will make Rob Ford look like a bit player.

  25. With regards to strollers — the issue to me is with the larger ‘SUV’ type strollers that many parents seem on insisting to use — and not just on transit. The smaller types are far more practical all around. Maybe the TTC would be right in insisting on a limit to the size of strollers.

    As for the new streetcars, why are they not being tested now — yesterday’s snow was the perfect weather to test #4400 in — if they can’t handle snow, they won’t work in Toronto.

    Steve: 4400 is not yet out on the street. Still testing in the shop. Meanwhile, 4401 is doing winter testing at Thunder Bay, although there is no slush on the test track.

  26. W. K. Lis says:

    Let’s hope with the new streetcar testing going on, that they will actually test according the conditions in Toronto.

    There was a story I heard of the new CLRV’s going into service on the Long Branch/507 route in winter. One by one, the new vehicles shorted out. The reason, salt and water did not do well with the new CLRV’s. While they did do testing with water, there were no tests done using the salt that Toronto used on streets to melt snow.

    I just wonder about how they will handle should we get an ice storm, like Montréal got in 1998. I just hope they test for those kind of rare conditions as well.

    Steve: Another problem the CLRVs had was that there was an air intake for the electronics’ cooling system. It had a filter. When the overpressure valve on the air tank vented (a common event), it sprayed icy water from the roadway right onto that filter. Overheat and shutdown soon followed. A classic design screwup, and the sort of thing I hope has been avoided this time around.

  27. Robert Wightman says:

    Steve:

    “Another problem the CLRVs had was that there was an air intake for the electronics’ cooling system. It had a filter. When the overpressure valve on the air tank vented (a common event), it sprayed icy water from the roadway right onto that filter. Overheat and shutdown soon followed. A classic design screwup, and the sort of thing I hope has been avoided this time around.”

    One advantage with Low Floor Vehicles is that their auxiliaries are on the roof and hopefully will not ingest salt and other road spray. At least Bombardier has had more experience building rail vehicles than the UTDC had when they designed the CLRV’s.

  28. Steve wrote:

    “4400 is not yet out on the street. Still testing in the shop. Meanwhile, 4401 is doing winter testing at Thunder Bay, although there is no slush on the test track.”

    Exactly my point – they need to get a car on the roads and see how they perform under actual conditions, especially during bad weather in Toronto. And I was told that they would when I was at Roncesvalles carhouse during Doors Open last year.

  29. Ed wrote,

    My patience with these kinds of shenanigans, including the human barnacles who insist on clinging to the poles at the very front of the cars, or the turkeys who lounge in the doorways of subways, is done.

    If your patience were truly done, you should equip yourself with a marine/sports air horn for the next time you need to squeeze by one of these turkeys. ;-)

    Ed also wrote,

    And, yes, I suspect that most of those people don’t for a moment think about the fact that this is a public vehicle, and other passengers just may exist.

    Sadly, more and more people in society act as though they are a solipsist, or have those tendencies. Whether it is someone walking or cycling on the sidewalk without any regard for others needing to share the space, drivers who pull out in front of others or don’t pull out when the way is clear and hold up others behind them, or the turkeys described above on transit. More and more, people behave like there is no one else but themselves in the whole damn universe.

    These people have me quoting Bruce Cockburn, “If I had a rocket launcher…” Though, the air horn is less lethal. ;-)

  30. OgtheDim says:

    I’m more disturbed about the soundbites coming out of the stroller issue. By the sounds of many media, it was if the TTC was considering banning stollers. By all reports of people there, it was 1 speaker, who it was reported also spent some time asking for the senior discount to be applied to her.

    Not sure how this one person gained so much credibility on transit issues?

    She wouldn’t happen to be a dentist, would she?

    Steve: No, she was an ordinary transit rider who happened to raise a touchy issue on a day when the media had nothing else to cover. Her request about the senior’s discount was completely ignored by the Commission and the media who, by the way, spent more time on strollers than on the controversy about the contract renewal/consolidation/extension with Gateway. The social media focused on strollers too because arcane matters of procurement policy don’t fit well in 140 characters.

  31. Grzegorz Radziwonowski says:

    Well, it only gets picked up when the mayor says something, one week after the commission meeting.

  32. Raymond Kennedy says:

    Today’s (Monday) Star has a full page (E5) with photos of strollers of a reasonable size and price. Proof they exist. Ban the over-sized ones.

  33. W. K. Lis says:

    In the Star poll on strollers, the results show:

    “About six in 10 (57 per cent) respondents to a Friday poll by Forum Research indicated they are against any restrictions or fees for strollers on the TTC.”

    “The group most likely to believe there should be some buggy restrictions:

    Seniors. Forty-six per cent of those over 65 said there should be limits on strollers in some hours, compared with 62 per cent on average among those 18 to 44 years old.”

    “The group most in favour of free access for strollers:

    Those who drive to work. Sixty-six per cent of drivers favoured unlimited buggy access compared with 54 per cent of transit riders.”

    Interesting that the group with the most experience with strollers (from their own children and then their grandchildren) are the ones who want restrictions. The ones who want no restrictions are the ones who don’t use buses and streetcars, car drivers.

  34. W. K. Lis wrote,

    Interesting that the group with the most experience with strollers (from their own children and then their grandchildren) are the ones who want restrictions. The ones who want no restrictions are the ones who don’t use buses and streetcars, car drivers.

    Interesting perhaps, but not surprising. It is my belief that human nature has one judge and be critical of others based on what one would do or not do themselves.

    Those who do not use transit that need to use strollers are used to no restrictions (who would even suggest restricting what stroller they could put in their own vehicle?!?) and would expect this if they were to ever take transit. Even more so, this desire likely extends to the vehicle they own, and if they drive an SUV-sized SUV and would balk at a restriction on that, they would likely be against a restriction on an SUV-sized stroller.

    Seniors who have used strollers, and at some point have been that person to occasionally delay a whole bus of others (and dare I say, might still be doing so without the aid of a baby stroller), would be in favour of restrictions.

  35. Robert Wightman says:

    From what I have read Chicago, New York and San Fransisco now require baby buggies to be folded before being taken onto a bus.

  36. Andy says:

    In reference to winter reliability issues, has Minneapolis had any problems with their vehicles?

    Steve: Nothing that I have heard of.

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