Jumping The Queue [Updated]

The new 29 Dufferin service described below was approved without debate at the TTC meeting on January 31.  Like some who have commented on this post, I look forward to the creative writing in the six-month review of the trial service.  It’s good to know that influential members of Council can get service to a location with zero demand while people are freezing in the cold from inadequate service.  Maybe the Councillor will champion significant additional funding for TTC operations in this year’s budget.  We shall see.

Here’s the original post: 

Last September, at the urging of Deputy Mayor Pantalone, the TTC approved the extension of the 29 Dufferin bus through the CNE to serve the new BMO Field soccer stadium.  This will not just be a special event service, but an all-day operation.  Every second bus will run south from Dufferin Loop, across the top of the CNE grounds via Saskatchewan Road and Manitoba Drive (past the existing streetcar loop) to a loop just north of Princes’ Gate. 

It should be noted that the Dufferin bus will not pass much closer to the new stadium than the existing streetcar service, and Ontario Place will still be a healthy hike from any transit service.

This wouldn’t be news to anyone except for one thing:  the estimated annual cost will be $350K, but this will be offset by reallocating service from the existing Dufferin route or from other parts of the system.  One or two additional buses will be required at all times of the day, and as we well know, there’s nothing to spare elsewhere in the system.

Try telling this to the residents of northeastern Scarborough who, after a deputation at the TTC last year, were told that the earliest they could get more service, or in some cases any service, would be September 2007 when Mayor Miller’s 100 new buses will start rolling into town.

I suppose that if we built the soccer stadium in Scarborough, we would already be extending the RT to serve it day and night whether anyone was actually there or not.

I have no problem with serving special events at the CNE grounds, regardless of where they are located or what market they serve.  When we start taking service away from the existing system during peak periods for a new full-time service, a line has been crossed.

The list of routes where service is inadequate but where improvement is thwarted by a combination of fleet size, available operators, and the pig-headedness of the City Budget process, is very, very long.  When one Councillor gets service reallocated to serve his pet project, that’s an abuse of the transit system.

This proposal should be scrapped.

8 thoughts on “Jumping The Queue [Updated]

  1. It’s hard to imagine a worse place to add regular transit service: there are zero residents along the route extension, and most jobs are seasonal or irregular.

    Will this change be subject to the usual post-implementation review?

    Steve:  My guess is that given the political influence involved, the review, if we have one at all, will be massaged to look really good.  Maybe they will average the ridership from event days over the entire trila period.


  2. I’ve met Joe Pantalone in my former work with the province (Rob MacIssac too although I don’t know his email address…unfortunately).  Joe is an old school politician who looks to win all the advantages possible for his ward/constituents … the larger city be damned.  He’s also the reason that Miller supports the Front Street Extension.

    For those of us who are engaged, but who also understand how the political system actually works, things can be depressing indeed.  I believe that we make the right choices eventually; we just need to be patient.

    Steve:  I just wish Joe wouldn’t go after things to the detriment of other parts of the city.  There is no reason at all for all-day service to a stadium that will be empty most of the time and is in within walking distance of existing service.  This sort of thing gives him, and by extension his friend the Mayor, a bad name.  If this were someone like David Shiner asking for a new bus service under a Lastman administration, the left would be howling for political blood.  Councillor Joe gets a pass.


  3. I agree.  I do think that those who think that Miller and his supporters on Council can do no wrong have to reassess their position (I would include certain Globe and Mail columnists named after people who cut hair).  This doesn’t absolve him from accountability on the issues we all care about.


  4. I’m not sure that Mr. MacIsaac will ever thank me for this, but here’s his contact information. I pulled it off the directory on the government website. Gilbert

    MacIsaac, Rob
    Phone: 416-361-3030 ext. 1007 Fax: 416-361-0619 Email: rob.macisaac@ontario.ca
    Rob MacIsaac
    3rd Flr Suite 330
    10 Bay St
    Toronto ON M5J2R8


  5. Will this Dufferin route connect, at the very least, with the Exhibition GO station?  Small potatoes, to be sure, but it would be nice to see that they had at least some big-picture thinking in there somewhere.

    Steve:  Yes it will connect, but I can think of easier ways for people to get from the TTC network to GO.


  6. Steve

    I saw a notice about an Express service from Bathurst Station to BMO Field this weekend. Is this a separate development to the one you note above?

    Steve: Yes. The TTC regularly runs express bus service to the CNE grounds for special events. Why, one might ask, don’t they run the really big streetcars express and use buses (which can stop at the curb) to handle the local trips?

    The TTC trots out the issue of “safety” claiming that passengers would walk out to board a streetcar, be left standing in the street, and then be hit by cars. This is an education issue. It is quite common for dead-head trips to bypass passengers, and people could get used to the idea that the “fast” streetcar didn’t stop when there was a special even. Nice signs saying “Express to the Game!” might held things along.


  7. I’m sure you’ve already noted the significant cuts to 29D in the forthcoming Commission meeting?

    Did this have Councillor sign-off or is this a sign the TTC doesn’t think it will need to worry about Joe P in the future?

    Steve: I have no idea whether Councillor Pantalone knows about this or not, and it’s a bit odd that it took the TTC this long to get around to the post-implementation review. Of course, they never did one for the 501/507 hookup and that’s been running a lot longer.


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