This evening, I attended a concert at Grace Church in Forest Hill. Because I was coming from Mt. Pleasant and Eglinton, the logical way to get there was to go to St. Clair Station, take the 512 bus, and then walk north on Russell Hill. My experience shows that the TTC still doesn’t get it.
I arrived at the Pleasant Boulevard loop in time to see the 7:25 South Leaside trip sitting on the platform. No St. Clair bus. After a 10 minute wait, one arrived, but it parked down at the far end of the loop for a crew change. About 5 minutes later, a second bus arrived and parked behind the first one. It was now 7:40 and I was in danger of missing my concert.
I walked out to St. Clair and Yonge (if I got really lucky, the first bus might make it to the stop by the time I got there), and found that a third bus was coming east on St. Clair. This means that 3 of the 4 buses on the route (on a 7 minute headway no less) were at one end of the line.
I took a cab.
The TTC is fond of telling us how it will build ridership for new rapid transit lines by running really good surface routes in anticipation. The 190 Rocket from Don Mills Station to STC is a good example, and ridership is building up on this route (although to nowhere near subway levels).
The service on St. Clair is a disgrace that bears absolutely no relationship with the schedule. This is not the first time I have found packs of buses and seen long layovers at St. Clair Station. Please don’t tell me about traffic congestion. There was none. If anything, the TTC is driving riders away from St. Clair, a line that is to be the shining example of what we can do with LRT.
Memo to both the TTC and the ATU: Better service means more riders. “Better” includes properly managed, well-spaced, predictable service. More riders means more justfication for expanding the system, and more work for union members.
Also, someone might like to take down the timetable for the Christie bus as well as the handwritten sign telling people that both the Christie and Vaughan buses will take them along St Clair. They don’t run to St. Clair Station any more.