Track construction on Dundas Street, a long overdue project to replace decrepit rails and roadbed, has diverted the Dundas car for much of its length up to the Carlton route.
One particularly hard-hit area is Regent Park where streetcar service was removed long before road work actually started, and where streetcars will not return until late fall after completion of work on the bridge at the Don River.
In early May, at ward Councillor McConnell’s request, the TTC approved a shuttle bus to provide a clockwise loop via Broadview, Queen, River, Dundas, Parliament and Gerrard. The problem with this scheme is that the bus runs every 15 minutes, and there is not much point in waiting for it unless you happen to be at the stop when the bus comes by. Walking from a nearby route on Queen, Broadview, Gerrard or Parliament is generally faster and these routes, unlike the shuttle, actually go to real destinations like the subway or downtown.
The bus was implemented at a projected, unbudgeted cost of $350,000 to run through to November when the bridge will re-open and streetcars will return to Dundas between Parliament and Broadview.
According to the staff report, this bus has carried an average of two passengers per trip and often runs empty. The most I have ever seen is one.
Today, despite an attempt by Chair Giambrone to advocate on behalf of Councillor McConnell, the Commission had the good sense to kill off this waste of service. The last day of operation will be Sunday, July 15.
This is where politics shouldn’t ever mix with the operational planning of services at the TTC. Service Planning staff recommended against providing such service based on years of experience of streetcar closures where service was disrupted (and no bus service provided) but political meddling went against such advice and as a result, wasted a fair chunk of change where the TTC can’t afford to spare any.
When the politicians at City Hall start lambasting (and they already have now) the TTC to cut their budgets, the TTC should just point back and tell them to stay out of the running of their operations. There’s a long list of routes that ran solely at the request of a local councillor (and going against TTC staff) and subsequently cancelled because of poor (usually extremely poor) financial performance. The largest of such routes was the 194 Zoo Rocket.. which was cancelled twice before the politicans finally gave up. I can see the current Downsview Park route to be the next on this list.
Thank goodness for [Laurence’s post ends abruptly here]