Lots of Za, No Buses, No Operators

Forty Minutes or It’s Free?

We’re in the middle of the United Way campaign, and the TTC is hard at work selling pizza all over the system.  Remember, this is the same TTC that once tried to have eating food banned in the subway and on vehicles until someone pointed out that there was a MacDonalds inside Dundas West Station.

In case you were wondering, the Za comes from Pizza Pizza who were the only firm able to supply in the quantities and timelines that the TTC needed.  The TTC is paying $10.80 per pizza, and just under half of the sale price winds up going to the United Way.  The total order comes to $300,000.

Councillor Pantalone and the Dufferin Bus

For reasons best known to the Councillor, the CNE grounds are the centre of the universe, and the Councillor (and Deputy Mayor) is miffed that the TTC won’t extend the 29 Dufferin route to the new National Soccer Stadium on a year-round, 24 hour/day basis.  (Just in case you had a hankering for a very late game to work off all of that pizza.)

This item was early in the agenda last Wednesday, and the Commissioners squirmed trying to find some way to give Joe the two additional peak buses his request would require.  Alas, we have no extra peak buses, and for off peak service we have no extra operators.

In a fit of penny wise, pound foolish budgeting, the TTC cut down on its training capacity because our friends on the Budget Committee wouldn’t let them run more service.  Now that riding is growing at 3% annually, the combined effect of retirements and the planned extra service in 2007 mean that we will actually be short operators until sometime next fall.  If anyone wants to run additional service in their ward, they need to find someone else’s ward to pilfer for resources.

TTC staff took some glee in pointing this out to the Commissioners who, nonetheless, cobbled together a ridiculous motion that went something like this:  if the Exhibition Place folks will agree to provide a dedicated right-of-way for the bus using their own resources (barricades), then the TTC will think about it, maybe, in December in time for a spring 2007 implementation.  Frankly, they should have turned Councillor Joe down flat.

For those who don’t know, Councillor Pantalone is also a strong advocate of the Front Street Extension, a project that Council hasn’t yet had the guts to kill.  Let’s make a trade:  we will run his Dufferin Bus extension in exchange for abandoning the Front Street project.

Councillor Cho Asks For Better Service 

Much later in the meeting, Councillor Raymond Cho appeared asking when the already-approved new services in his ward would be implemented.  These are:

  • An easterly extension of the Steeles East bus, and
  • Extended hours of service on the Neilson bus.

The intent is to provide transit to a fast-growing part of northern Scarborough which has severe problems of transit access thanks to delays in providing new service.

Pitty poor Councillor Cho:  he was told to wait until next fall when the TTC would have the resources, maybe, to extend service.  This outrageous situation shows just how far Toronto has fallen from the so-called transit city ideals.  We have put off spending for so long that we can’t even run service to an area that deserves and needs it.

Does anyone seriously believe that we are capable of making the decisions and raising the money necessary to build the Transit City schemes or any of the additional new services planned for the waterfront?  We will build subways to fields in the middle of nowhere, and we might even run service to a Soccer Stadium at 3:00 am in February, but Councillor Cho’s constituents can just walk, thank you.

3 thoughts on “Lots of Za, No Buses, No Operators

  1. I’ve noticed that the buses the TTC finally added to my overcrowded route on the weekend had little effect – the improvement from a bus 8 minutes down to 6 still results in 20 people standing in an Orion VII on a Saturday — the extra service just got swallowed up by ridership growth yet again.   And another condo building is nearing completion on the other side of my street.

    How can we extend service to northeast Scarborough when the buses in the long-established areas are swollen with passengers?

    Election season is back — it’s time to change the focus from garbage back to transit.

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  2. What is happening to the old “New Look” GM Diesels as the new (horrible) Orion buses are phased into service.  Is the total bus capacity of the TTC expanding, or are the GM buses being retired one for one with the addition of new Orions.  Also, are there any plans to keep a few GMs in the fleet (a la Peter Witt and PCC) in memory of the stalwart service that these “best buses ever” provided for the TTC over more than three decades. (the model, not individual buses.)

    Steve:  In theory, the TTC is supposed to have different loading standards that should generate more buses when a route converts from one vehicle type to another.  In practice, there are two problems.  The change doesn’t always happen as planned due to a shortage of buses, and the off-peak loading standard doesn’t take into account the real number of seats in the Orion buses.

    I haven’t heard of any plans to preserve one of the “new looks”.

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  3. Hi Steve

    Thanks for taking a big swipe at the Front St. Extension folly – yes, it’d be a good trade for the taxpayer, transit and the City if we had a bus into the Ex vs. Front St. dumb growth.  Somehow the EA is missing what might happen to transit if the Gardiner traffic gets unleashed at Bathurst, apart from seeing how much effective transit we could have with that quarter-billion.

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