“Driver Bob” Writes About the Queen Car (Updated, Again)

I received a long comment in reply to an earlier post about service in the Beach from a TTC operator, and this deserves its own thread.

Updated November 11:  Driver Bob left a short note attached to the wrong thread in which he dismisses the discussion here.  I have added it to the end of this post just before the comments. 

A second comment, apologizing for the first, has also been added.

Here is the comment:

Would any of you like to hear from an actual streetcar operator on this? I doubt it, since most of you have already communicated with TTC staff, have been told what the problems are and have decided that we are either liars, incompetents or both. I try to offer these same explanations each and every day, mostly with the same result. People refuse to accept a reasonable explanation and prefer to reiterate complaints with added vehemence.

Yes, short turns suck. Does anyone think *we* enjoy it? Hey, here’s a lark! I’ll turn this thing at Kingston Rd. and get insulting speculation about my consumption of Country Style coffee and donuts. I may even get assaulted. Wheee! Similarly, do you actually think the line supervisor is just making excuses? He’s just fabricating that whole gridlocked downtown Toronto traffic thing, right?

I’m amused by the comment above saying there’s “maybe” a grand total of one car accident a week on Bathurst. Hilarious. Since you won’t believe any of us lazy good-for-nothings at the TTC, perhaps you should contact Metro Police. There are dozens/scores of accidents in this city every single day. Even a fender bender can cause a ten minute delay while the drivers get out, have a good shout at one another, compare and exchange information, and stand around waiting because they don’t know they’re supposed to go to a reporting center instead of waiting for the CSI team to come and take chrome samples from their bumper.

This doesn’t include the stupid cyclist who blew the red light and got clipped by a courier van and had to be loaded him into an ambulance (complaining all the while how motorists in this city just don’t respect cyclists). It doesn’t include the delivery van that parked too far from the curb and blocked the rail. It doesn’t include the fire trucks that did the same thing. It doesn’t include construction, taxis, wandering homeless or any of the other little obstacles one encounters each and every day on the roads of a busy, increasingly congested city. I find it amazing that all you people can live in this city every day and actually deny the reality of traffic gridlock. Yet here you are, doing so. If you can’t see it from where you’re standing, it’s just not there.

These, like short turns themselves, are the realities of urban light rail. Crying out for buses isn’t the solution you think it would be. They don’t carry the load. You’d need at least three buses for each ALRV you take off the line, just to meet current demand. Now consider how much more fuel just one of those buses consumes than a streetcar. Consider how much greater its emissions levels are. It’s an irrational, counter-progressive reaction.

The official Commission desire is for more right-of-way lanes for the streetcars. The less time the streetcar spends in the same traffic as automobiles, the better the line runs. Period. Yes, Spadina sometimes has problems, but nowhere near the amount. It’s just logic. But it inconveniences automobile drivers. So it doesn’t happen. The city is still designed for the car and you can’t blame the TTC for that.

Now, myself? I would suggest breaking the 501 line into three. One from Neville to McCaul. Another from McCaul to Humber. A third from Humber to the Branch. It would cut down (but not eliminate) short turns. However, I doubt it would stop the complaints. I’ve seen Ms. Knight’s anecdote about taking three cars to get where she was going on Queen. There would be plenty of that.

Which brings me to the petition. May I say it smacked of that sense of elitist privilege and entitlement which pervades just about everything that comes out of the Beaches. It sounds as if the Beaches were the only place where short turns occur. Fortunately, others have commented in this thread to remind us that other areas exist, so I’ll only say that reading Ms. Knight’s essay, one would think the TTC had singled out the downtrodden Beachers for the most vile and prejudiced treatment imaginable.

A little context: the recent track reconstruction project in the Beaches included shuttle bus service throughout and was finished ahead of schedule thanks to the money and political pull of the residents. Did anyone know (or care) the people of Regent Park on Dundas have been without streetcar service since February due to track reconstruction? No shuttle buses. Nothing. Walk to Parliament or walk to Broadview. This means the elderly, children, handicapped and all the other people wept for in postings on this issue. The only difference is, they’re poor. No petitions for them. No computer chat halls either. In contrast, the poor Beachers seem to be doing very well indeed.

A more constructive and less elitist-looking approach might have been to make your petition about the entire system; the entire city of Toronto, which is in deep, deep doo-doo, Ms. Knight; Mr. Munro. You do know that, don’t you? They are talking about shutting down an entire SUBWAY LINE and you are talking about creating a new bus line specifically running between your downtown destination and your Beaches front door. Instead of a petition with thousands of names from across the city, you gave them one with a few hundred Beachers grumbling about their local issue. Can anyone take that seriously?

We just had a municipal AND provincial election. Where were all you transit activists? You could have taken this issue city-wide; not just to that glad-handing baby-kisser Giambrone, but to your *other* city councillors; to David Miller; to your MPP; to the Premier. You could even be taking it to Stephen Harper, who has promised millions for transit and not delivered one thin dime because they’re “studying” how it should be spent. Make them understand that your vote is contingent upon good transit, not tax cuts. If you do, you might be taken more seriously.

I sympathize to some extent with these comments, but must make some of my own.

First off, as anyone who reads this blog knows, I have written reams about the problems we have in financing the TTC and city services in general.  Moreover, I have been fighting for better transit funding for decades, and especially recently.  Politicians love to talk about how they will improve transit, but it’s always something that will happen “next year”.  Council’s gutless deferral and then dilution of the new taxes, and the vain hope that the Feds will actually spend money in Toronto combine to push hoped-for service changes off until fall 2008.

As a transit activist, I speak to lots of politicians, but speaking to Tories is a total waste of time.  They don’t give a damn, and wouldn’t even if we voted for them.  (Look at how little we got from the Liberals too!)  I happen to vote NDP, but that’s because I live in Jack Layton’s riding.  Elsewhere, my vote might go to a Liberal if it would help a Tory to a richly-deserved defeat.  I prefer to be ignored by a party that occasionally has a social conscience rather than by one who treats me and my city like dirt.

Some have left comments here with a less then generous attitude toward organized labour, and I have defended the operating staff frequently in these pages.  Nonetheless, some operators do take advantage of the system and run off-schedule with no justifiable reason.  Yes, there are delays, accidents, fires, what-have-you, but they don’t happen on every block every hour of every day. 

There’s a big problem with line management, and this is compounded by the fact that there isn’t enough service.  Moreover, on Queen, the ALRV-based schedules artificially increase the length of any gap.  Twenty years ago, you could short turn a car at Woodbine Loop, and the service frequency to Neville was still well under 10 minutes.  Now half hour gaps are common.

Comparing the shuttle services in the Beach and in Regent Park during track construction is not fair.  The Beach is landlocked and has few alternative services.  Either you walk up to Kingston Road (assuming you really like the hill), or you hike to the Main or Woodbine buses, hope one shows up, and go out of your way to get to a downtown-bound service.  On Dundas, there is service on Queen to the south and Gerrard to the north.  A shuttle bus did operate in this neighbourhood, and the most people I ever saw on it was three.  It was faster to walk in from services surrounding Regent Park than to wait for the shuttle.

As for a direct bus line to the Beach, I have no use for that at all and have written on several occasions that the Beach Express is a monument to the failure of good service provision on the streetcar line and a waste of resources.  The TTC claims that the line breaks even due to the extra fares, but ignores the fact that people should get good service without having to pay an extra fare for the privilege.

Fixing the Queen car, and transit service in general, is not a simple thing to do, and there are many competing interests.  Providing reliable, frequent service will go a long way to improving relations between riders and operators who bear the brunt of complaints as front-line staff.  Part of this is a funding issue, part is a management issue and part is a labour issue.  All of these are intertwined and anyone who critiques only one aspect will miss the deeper picture.

Updated November 11:

Here is Driver Bob’s additional comment and my reply.


So much for debate.

Rant on, complaint junkies.

“Debate” presumes that there are different points of view.  If all you want to do is rant that nobody has the one-and-only correct view of the world as seen from the driver’s seat, that’s a big problem. 

There are serious issues with how the line is scheduled (something Operators and Route Supervisors complain about a lot), problems with the level of service (too little to give the needed flexibility in operations), problems with how it is managed (CIS control never seems to understand the real world on the street), and problems with how some operators make up their own schedules thereby screwing both the public and fellow workers. 

Nobody is going to wave a magic wand and fix all of this overnight, but the more we understand how the line really works, and the service passengers actually experience every day, the better chance we have of doing something worthwhile.


Mr. Munro:  I refreshed that other thread and didn’t see my post there, so I assumed it had been ignored. I’m afraid I submitted a surly comment about stifling debate before I dug around and saw you had favoured me with my own thread. I apologize profusely.

Thank you.

24 thoughts on ““Driver Bob” Writes About the Queen Car (Updated, Again)

  1. “Providing reliable, frequent service will go a long way to improving relations between riders and operators who bear the brunt of complaints as front-line staff. Part of this is a funding issue, part is a management issue and part is a labour issue. All of these are intertwined and anyone who critiques only one aspect will miss the deeper picture.”

    Well said, Steve.

    I appreciate Driver Bob taking the time to write a fairly eloquent comment about how he sees the issues, although I do not agree with everything he says. Neither additional funding, nor dedicated transit lanes, or appeals to one’s councillors or politicians are panaceas. These are all worthy actions, but there are also serious line management and design issues with the 501 that are not solved by lobbying bureaucrats or politicians, but by revisiting the operational philosophy of this line — something that can be done with existing resources.


  2. Steve you only fight for LRT and to heck with other technology. What I see on queen and King today I saw back in the early 50’s to early 60’s on bloor street. Allan Lamport hired a consultant to determine where the next subway should go and he stated Bloor street, then Queen. He tackled the problem quick and efficiently. God bless the TTC driver who wrote back, I’m surprised you didn’t discard his statement like you do with others. There is simply too much “ACTION” on Queen and King to warrant streetcar operation anymore, stop giving excuses about private lanes and priority signaling and start thinking underground for these streets man, what’s the matter with you, Can’t you see or is it because The BEACHES would never have a subway running under it so why bother, You all been subjected to too much fumes from Ashbridges Bay.

    Steve: One of the joys of running a blog is that now and then someone leaves a comment like this that really cries out for a reply. The number of errors in the assumptions behind Moris’ statements are amazing for so short a post.

    I don’t just argue for LRT, but for technologies appropriate in each corridor.
    The demand on Queen is not now and will never be at a level justifying a subway. The only way that ever made sense, if you look at TTC proposals from the 1940s, would be to merge the streetcar services of Dundas, Queen and King into a single line to combine their demand. This might have vaguely made sense 60 years ago, but today, with the spread out nature of downtown and the revitalized neighbourhoods served by those routes, we need local service on all three of those streets.
    The idea of funneling the streetcar lines into a central subway goes back to an era when the surface lines carried huge numbers of riders into downtown before the Bloor and University subways were built. Once the Bloor line opened, the streetcar lines’ role became much more oriented to demand on each street.
    Very few of the comments submitted here are discarded, even those I disagree with. People writing in here get to leave long comments and these often generate a string of replies on their own. Try getting the same treatment from any of the daily newspapers where 100 words is a long letter to the editor.
    In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t support private lanes, as Morris calls them, on King and Queen because there’s no room for them.
    I don’t live in the Beach, and have no interest in running a subway out to Neville Loop. Such a scheme is a classic example of what’s wrong with subway plans: if there were a subway, most potantial riders in the Beach would be a long way from the stops whose locations would likely be at Kingston Road, somewhere around Wineva and out at the water works.

    The single biggest problem with Queen is that the combined effect of the mid 1990’s service cuts and the change from CLRV to ALRV operation have widened headways so much that the slightest disruption causes a major gap in service. Combining the 501 and 507 into a single route was done to save money, not to provide better service, and it has made the line extremely difficult to manage, even assuming that the TTC made the effort.


  3. As I read Driver Bob’s comment, it boils down to:

    Delays and consequent short-turns are inevitable; don’t blame the Commission or operators
    Problems are everywhere, not just in the Beach(es); make your complaints city-wide

    I don’t really buy point 1:

    Some runs do indeed operate on time, day after day; why can’t the other runs?
    I know the late-evening 501 schedule westbound from Yonge:

    501 Humber 11:02, 501 Long Branch 11:12, 501 Humber 11:22, 501 Long Branch 11:32.

    This is both on the website and on the infopost at the stop.

    So I came up the steps of the Maritime Life Building at 11:05 this past Friday evening, to get to Long Branch. No problem, huh?

    there was a westbound streetcar sitting at the Eaton Centre pedestrian crossing that I’d just missed
    the next streetcar was a HUMBER car at 11:27 (almost 25-minute gap!)
    the 11:32 LONG BRANCH car arrived at 11:33 (so I waited half an hour in the cold rain for my streetcar, when it should have been seven minutes)
    What happened to the 11:12 LONG BRANCH car?
    abducted by aliens
    short-turned at Broadview or Parliament (I would have seen it at Church)
    running seven or eight minutes fast

    I suspect the last.

    How is running fast the result of traffic delays and congestion?

    As for point 2, I think it’s at least as useful to give concrete examples of problems I can document (i.e. experience first-hand) and send these complaints to the TTC and local councillors, than complaining in a vague all-inclusive way (need more money!) to people who aren’t local representative (provinicial and federal MPP/MPs).


  4. Good response Steve. I think you’re pretty much on the money.

    Though it’s interesting to see a driver’s point-of-view. I’ve seen very little here blaming drivers for the delays. I think everyone is well aware that drivers have very little control of these type of delays – a minute here or there perhaps – but not the 30 to 40-minute gaps people on Queen East complain about.

    In terms of special treatment for the Beaches. Is there ANYWHERE in the city that has such huge unscheduled service gaps, outside of Lakeshore West (not coincidentally at the end of the same 501 streetcar!).

    Regent’s Park residents complained about the loss of service during the Dundas reconstruction and were quickly rewarded with a shuttle bus that looped from Broadview/Gerrard down to Queen, and then up Parliament and down Dundas and up River. It was quickly cancelled because no-one was using it. In contrast the Beaches received a replacement bus on Victoria Park (route 13) that was well used during construction. The difference of course at Regents Park is that it was never a far walk to the steetcar service on Dundas, Queen, or the Parliament buses, that actually went to a destination, rather than looping.

    The one thing I disagree about is that a subway on Queen would never support demand. Never east of the Don perhaps – and I don’t think anyone will ever see one running under Queen East through the Beaches. But I think a Queen subway between Bathurst and the Don River somewhere (presumably heading to Pape as the long-discussed downtown relief line) would be well used – perhaps as well used as the Bloor subway. However, as useful as this would be – it is clearly a post-2020 project as there’s already 2 subway extensions and the SRT extension already on the books, not to mention a lot of streetcar tunnel to be constructed on Eglinton, Jane – and perhaps Pape – in the next 15 years.


  5. Steve, the easiest way of fixing the service is three things. Spliting the route into two. 501/507 should be split at Humber, rebuilding the CLRV and ALRV fleets and putting in the new LRVs with the rebuilts. New garages would need to be built but the service levels would be good for the price for rush hour relieve. And thirdly bypass tracks, run new tracks and overhead on places like Pape ave. Woodbine, Victoria Park, Dundas St. E. East of Broadview. Since I am an east ender I can only used these streets as an effective example. There is no excuse from the higher ups to not have the ability to have extra diversion options to make streetcar service great.

    In regards to the timing and the short turns, if the streetcar is behind its schedule, let the streetcar finish its route! It’s bad enough it’s behind, don’t short turn it. People know the service stinks as is but don’t short turn the only streetcar to pass Kingston Rd. in the last hour!

    There’s no simple solution to this and the only solution seems to be on the plate is money. I know with the resources we have we can make it better, it can’t get worse can it? (Lightning strikes Warden Station and we lose the whole subway system GULP)


  6. There are many problems with the 501, I wont go into details, but suffice to say that that line is troubled.

    I just want to point out one thing. There are problems out here in Etobicoke too. The Beaches may have an express service (which by the counts that I have done out there, is a pathetic joke). Here in Etobicoke, we are treated like decent transit is but a joke. We quite often wait 30 minutes for a bus as per scheduled service, there are parts of Etobicoke that need more service desperately and don’t get it.

    My home route at one time was 15 minutes service all day! not cut down to the 30 minutes service that it is now, during rush hour it is 20 minute service, late evening service is 1 hour service. Our route at one time was a very busy route, but with the continued cuts in service and the decrepit state of the walkway to Islington Station, people have stopped taking this route and it has slowly dwindled in frequency. During the rush hours and quite often during the day both weekdays and Saturdays, the buses are nearly standing room only, even once in a while standing loads nearing crushload. The closest alternative route is not wheelchair accessible nor does it run late at night, last run is 10:15 from Islington station, which itself is not accessible.

    The area I live is not the nicest area, there are a lot of low income apartments here, and a lot of disabled in the area as well, since parts of Regent Park were emptied and the people sent here, it has become a lot rougher and less safe, there are problems, but the area NEEDS decent bus service, not the skeletal service that exists.

    Even the short little route 66 Prince Edward has 15 minute service till 9pm, why not the same for my route? It is the ONLY accessible connection between Jane and Kipling Stations if the subway is down. The shuttle buses usually do not have room or are guaranteed to be accessible ones.

    I came to this city almost one year ago, for many reasons and am proud to be a transit activist, I so far have stayed mostly in the shadows and watched and learning.


  7. Has anyone ever given thought to running the Queen and King cars in a loop, as a single service, with cars running westbound on Queen and eastbound on King? The two streets aren’t that far apart, so I’m not sure why they both need cars running in both directions. It seems to me you could then increase the service levels substantially without adding any new cars.

    The Broadview, Roncesvalles, Neville Park and Long Branch lines could be treated as branch extensions off the central loop. Exclusive rights of way would also be easier to implement under such a one-way operation, as only one streetcar travel lane would need to be reserved on each street. It’s worth noting that the only new streetcar system in North America, the Portland (Oregon) Streetcar, operates as a loop on parallel one-way streets. When I visited there this summer I used it daily and found the service very convenient and reliable.

    Steve: This has come up before as part of discussions about one-way streets. The big problem is that it increases the walking distance to or from transit quite substantially, and in the Dufferin to Shaw section, a railway prevents walking trips through from King to Queen.


  8. I know this isn’t a political blog and that I’m a rare breed myself, but there are certainly Tories that care about cities. Maybe not many around but real Radical Tories (and not just the silly Red Tory label meaning the left side of the Conservative Party) do care about cities and historically have done a better job than anybody else supporting them with people like David Crombie and Bill Davis.

    Are Radical Tories uncommon? Sure. But without us you get either Tory or Liberal individualism (i.e. no level of caring about the collective of a city) or New Democrats collectivism (who I have more in common with than the rest of the political spectrum), which doesn’t seem electorally popular in a wider sense.

    I’m a Radical Tory, I usually vote for the Conservatives (and occasionally the NDP or the Greens), but I agree with almost everything you’ve ever written on this blog about transit and Toronto. However as long as the City of Toronto votes only for the Liberals (or the odd NDP seat) we’re going to get screwed. The 905 belt is in play, the 905 belt gets goodies. Simple as that. It’s stupid and short sighted, but so are most politicians.

    Without a quality politician (and I have to rule out Mayor Miller and Premier McGuinty on this front, and probably John Tory as well—though he would have been a very good Mayor) who get that infrastructure and cities are important, we are in an untenable position overall.


  9. Steve, you do not really address Driver Bob’s point, which is that all the money and all the planning in the world will not change the facts that Queen is one of the busiest streets in the city and is as wide as it is ever going to get. Real service improvement is going to require something radical.

    You did not address my earlier question, which was a genuinely inquisitive question to which I am seeking a reasonable and intelligent answer. Why does it make sense to spend a huge amount of money burying much of the Eglinton TransitCity line, but not a similar length of Queen? The demand and congestion are surely similar, and Eglinton is, in most places, a wider street than Queen, on which a surface right of way could be placed.

    Steve: In fact, a lot can be done to improve Queen in its current surface operation starting with a change back to CLRVs and an increase in the amount of service. Lines operating in these conditions need surplus capacity, and they need frequent service so that when things go wrong, the disruption is not as catastophic. The TTC also needs to manage their service properly, something they quite clearly do not do from the data I have. I talked about this a bit with the Christmas Day charts, and will give additional examples in future posts.

    Definitely Queen is a challenging route, but with just the interest on the cost of building a subway, we could make huge improvements in the amount and quality of the surface operation. It will never be faster than a speeding bullet, but it can be a lot more frequent, reliable and uncrowded.

    As for Eglinton, the underground section is planned for the narrow stretch of Eglinton from Leaside through to somewhere west of Keele. This section is only five lanes wide with buildings right to the sidewalk line, and there is no room for a right-of-way. The great strength of an Eglinton LRT is that the outer parts of the line can run on the surface unlike subway or RT technology, and this can link with other routes in the Transit City network. This is very different from Queen Street where the roadway is narrow from end to end.

    One challenge for this line will be the tradeoff between stop spacing and service accessibility. At a quick guess, underground stops on Eglinton would be, at best, located at Laird, Bayview, Mt. Pleasant, Yonge, Avenue Road, Spadina (maybe), Bathurst, Eglinton West Station, Dufferin, Caledonia, Keele — basically about a kilometre apart with few exceptions. The bus stops are much more closely spaced, and a residual surface bus will probably be needed, but on a reasonable headway unlike what the TTC did to the residents of Sheppard east of Yonge.


  10. Hi Steve and Motorman Bob:-

    Well, interesting to hear from an actual front line warrior. I’m not surprised that you are as defensive as you are Bob for that is to be expected. You did miss some points about what has been discussed in this site though and I think Steve covered most of those points in his rebuttal, for Ms. Knight is not the sole contributor and source of opinion.

    Having met Ms. Knight one day while waiting in the Beach (I’m not a Beacher but am a spoiled East ender who remembers better streetcar service everywhere in Toronto, save for Rogers Road) at the Wineva car stop for a westbound car. While I was reading a book I saw a young woman looking at the posted Queen car schedule and as I had been waiting over 10 minutes for the listed 5 minute service for the fifth time that week I commented to her that the work of fiction that I held in my hand was comparable to the timetable on the post. This got us into a discussion and her commenting about being late for meetings downtown when indeed she’d allowed herself plenty of time when relying on the streetcar in the recent past. I’m afraid I was the one who introduced her to Steve’s web site during that wait for the car. We were at the stop another 5 or 6 minutes by the time a Queen car showed up. Good for her, but delay for me.

    But Bob, Ms. Knight is not alone in her frustrations with service and I didn’t get the idea about her being a spoiled Beacher for she seemed to me to be a fairly down to earth young woman. The fact that she was so ‘p’do’ and had the wherewithal to start her petition I applaud her for. True, you’re aware of other areas of the city with troubles, but Ms. Knight can only speak to what she knows.

    I am also a frequent user of the Carlton car to Main Street (when it isn’t short turned). Here is another example of poor line management, for why should a rider (me) have to be put off the first of three cars actually signed for Main Street at Coxwell (the Operator was called from Control at Ashdale, the stop before, to short turn) and then wait three more cars for one actually going through. Pretty poor if you ask me and I know you’re asking! The car I got on was standing room only until Woodbine. Neat,eh?

    But back to Queen. Yesterday, just before reading your post Bob, I waited over 20 minutes for an eastbound car at Lockwood Road. This was at the time of day when 5 minute service was being ramped up for the evening rush. If the car that was next hadn’t been short turned while I was waiting, then the service level would have been just right, just about 5 minute service, for when I arrived at the stop, I saw a car had already passed and was just beyond Woodbine. Ah, no problem, a car in sight, but noooo, it’s going into Woodbine Loop. But one just came out of the Loop and a car had followed it out of the Beach by about three minutes. OK westbounds are well spaced. Altogether 6 WB cars went past or were refed from the loop while I waited. That’s better than one car every 3 minutes from the Kingston Road. Not bad, but I was intending to go the other way and this didn’t count the Kingston Road cars intermixing with the Queens.

    As bad as this was I had a worse experience last winter, on a cold, breezy, dry clear evening while waiting at Lockwood Road for an Eastbound. From Lockwood, watching cars being turned and wondering why I didn’t get on one of the many westbounds passing in front of me, merely to get warm, not to get home for they’re the wrong way, was a very very frustrating half hour. And… if I’ve waited a half hour, whan any one of the three short turned cars could have gone east in that period, what does that do for one of the spoiled brat Beachers shivering in the cold waiting for the now non-existant westbounds, ’cause ya can’t send any more west if ya ain’t sent any east and the Beach was emptied in that 30 minute gap. Caused by you and yours Bob? Probably not. But certainly not managed well by your superiors!

    Bob, please don’t wonder why we eastenders get frustrated with what had once been pretty darned good streetcar service. But a car every half hour when there are some available but are instead needlessly turned, or waiting for one in six that actually serve a line’s appendage is a very, very, very frustrating way to be treated!

    Yours in Good Transit Appreciation, Mr. D.


  11. Re: Queen streetcar / LRT line underground?

    Technically, it might be possible to have a mixed (partly underground) solution on Queen, similar to Eglinton. The underground portion would have to stretch from Roncesvalles to Parliament or to DVP. West of Ronces, the streetcars have their surface right-of-way already. The eastern section of the route would still run in mixed traffic, but benefit from escaping the downtown congestion. It is even possible to retain the surface rail above the underground rail, so that a short surface route (Ronces – Parliament) serves frequent stops on downtown Queen whereas the long-range underground route serves major stops only. The surface rail could also serve as a backup should the underground get blocked, and in the late evening, all operations could switch to surface.

    Realistically though, the above scheme is quite expensive, and largely competes with the WW LRT plan, with WW LRT being more cost-efficient. Also, the underground construction would take years to complete, while improvements to the routing / scheduling on existing lines can be implemented within a few weeks once the decision is made.


  12. Mr. Munro: I refreshed that other thread and didn’t see my post there, so I assumed it had been ignored. I’m afraid I submitted a surly comment about stifling debate before I dug around and saw you had favoured me with my own thread. I apologize profusely.

    As for this thread, there are indeed some interesting responses. I’m surprised at how little slamming of the actual drivers there is. In my day-to-day experience, there’s a lot of that. Now, I’ll definitely cop to the fact that some of my fellow operators are indeed a big part of the problem. Lazy, surly, petulent misanthropes and goldbricks who think it’s still 1974, union power rules, the city is flush with money and the very idea that they should earn their high salaries is ludicrous to them. One of the worst parts of my daily job is working with them. All I can say is most of them will be retiring in the next few years and there is a new bunch coming up from the recent hiring drive. Most of them have better attitudes.

    The management of the commission, however, is severely entrenched and out of touch. The short turn issue is a handy example. The supervisors at CIS are safely tucked away in their little hidey-hole at Roncesvalles division, so they can issue a command to turn at Coxwell when the car is at Ashdale without fear of reprisal. So they do. Try being the guy who makes that announcement.

    You’re going to be hearing a lot about operator salaries and union demands in the media as our March contract deadline approaches. I hope you will remember that those supervisors draw six-figures each (operators make maybe $60-70K). Management is completely uninterested in change and does not listen to the suggestions made from us at the “bottom” (so it’s no use telling the operator your ideas for service improvement while he’s trying to get his doors closed).

    I still think there’s a rather cavalier attitude about that walk from Regent Park to Gerrard, Parliament or Dundas. It’s not as if any of you have had to actually walk it. I was talking, after all, about elderly, children and handicapped. I would also mention that it’s REGENT PARK. At night, walking becomes problematic for quite a few people. Cutting through those regions of darkness between the main streets is just plain unsafe. Yes, they put that useless circling shuttle bus. Yes, it went nowhere and nobody used it, so they closed it. Do you think that wasn’t the idea? Now Giambrone can sound-byte that they addressed the problem and the ingrates in the area spurned his goodwill. If they actually wanted to provide (and PAY for) an alternative, they would have made that bus actually GO somewhere; to the subway, for instance, like the 505/6 shuttles are doing in the west end between Landsdowne and Dundas West. Odd that they didn’t think of that simple thing, eh? Meanwhile, city work on the Dundas bridge over the Don continues. I maintain my belief that, had this kind of thing been happening in the well-fed and well-funded Beaches community, there would have been none of this malingering and the streetcars would be running again.

    I’ve thought about your idea of going back to CLRV’s on Queen. It seems to me to be counter-progressive as well. I will be driving Queen today and tomorrow. I can tell you that my ALRV is full to the doors at Queen station. A CLRV would be unable to meet the demand. You believe that if there were more CLRV’s, more closely spaced, the crowds would theoretically be smaller. Perhaps. What I think more likely, however, is that the more vehicles there are, the more opportunities there will be for one of them to get blocked and delayed by something. Remember, I told you that a block in the line can be as simple as a delivery van parked too far from the curb. The more streetcars there are, the more opportunity there will be to encounter such a thing. Add to this the fact that you would effectively double the number of operators you have to pay on the Queen line (and everyone knows what overpaid bums we are), you are adding a huge cost to the line.

    Steve: Putting CLRVs on Queen is part of a larger proposal that includes moving the ALRVs to King. My intent is that the capacity of service actually operated would stay at least as good, and ideally should be improved. There are limits to what can be done during the peak, but more offpeak service would also allow supervisors more flexibility in managing the line when headways are wider. Also, from a cost point of view, better off-peak service reduces the number of split shift crews and their associated allowances. Some of that extra driving time is actually free.

    I don’t agree with you about more cars = more delays. Taking this to its extreme, we could argue that the less frequent the service is, the more reliable it should be as it would be unlikely to encounter any barriers. I believe that the extra flexibility of more cars more than makes up. Although cars may still run in pairs, those pairs will be closer together. Spacing them apart is something CIS and the on-street supervisors should do, but it’s rare I am on a car that is told to hold to space service.

    I maintain that the only way to make any kind of urban light rail system work is more right-of-way construction. Not overheads. Not underground. Just commandeer the middle two lanes of all major streets and curb them off. Period. Don’t tell me that some streets aren’t wide enough. Have you ever been to the city of Amsterdam? The street plan of the old city was done in the late 17th century, when horses and pedestrians ruled. Yet in 2007, they have a tram right-of-way down every one of those streets, as well as a complete network of bicycle lanes with their own curbs, signals and cops who make sure the cyclists drive responsibly. And the automobile driver can just suck it up and take a lap.

    When you say a street isn’t wide enough, you mean “without inconveniencing in any way the automobile driver”. That’s our North American prejudice and it’s going to take a lot for us to get past it. The Dutch just don’t bring their cars into the city. It’s more convenient to use transit. Until we stop trying to balance the real need for urban transit with the increasingly impossible task of accommodating two lanes of two-ton cars carrying one person each, we are going to have no luck with fixing the short turns or any other problem.

    Steve: In theory, I agree with you. Politically, the problem is that something like this will never happen, and we have to make the best of a bad situation.

    The other issue is NIMBYism and the business community’s short-sightedness. The Spadina line took almost twice as long to complete and ran way over budget largely becuase it had to stop and, often, go back and redo construction due to constant legal challanges. The legal bills were enormous. The same thing is happening on St. Clair. A simple construction project becomes a legal morass. Merchants can rarely see past a few months’ lost business, which is understandable since the smaller ones do live month to month, but the reality is (as any merchant on Spadina will now tell you) transit brings in thousands more customers a day than any road/parking system ever could. Perhaps some of the more vulnerable businesses could be compensated for loss, but really. The businessmen are always bragging about how they are entrepreneurs, bravely surfing the waves of market forces for the sake of progress. Yet when real progress is suggested, they stonewall the process with countless challenges and appeals. Guess who pays for that? Your fare and your taxes.

    Steve: Actually, it took the better part of 20 years to get the Spadina line built and opened from the original proposal in the early 1970s to 1997 when service began. Back in the 70s, the merchants complained that the streetcar right-of-way would prevent them from wheeling garment trolleys across the street. The city actually paid summer students to survey lower Spadina, and not one garment trolley was seen. However, the TTC wanted a full barrier that would have prevented pedestrians from crossing as they do now, and only a handful of stops from Bloor to Front, more like a subway. This did not endear the proposal to the locals.

    Although I was somewhat hostile in my last rant, I meant no disrespect to either Ms. Knight or Mr. Munro. I still think, however, that a more organized, collective approach is called for. A city-wide petition, for starters, instead of local focus. Politicians understand one thing; poll numbers. Let them see you as a block. Don’t restrict yourselves to TTC management and city hall. Take it to Queen’s Park or even Ottawa. Talk, also, with TTC staff. We’re not all monsters and misanthropes. We suffer from the same problems you are complaining of, only we do it 8-10 hours a day. There’s a lot of insight we could be providing and, as I say, management doesn’t listen to us.

    You, they have to listen to…


  13. Although I disagree with Bob’s comments about Regent’s Park and The Beach – I think he is on the money about the King/Queen ALRV/CLRV swap. It might help King Street, but I don’t think it will do much for Queen. Perhaps a slightly higher frequency on the extremes, but for any complaints lost there, there will be more complaints about not being able to get on croweded cars in the centre. That being said, it will help King – and it probably won’t hurt Queen. If it ends up being an unmitigated disaster, it’s not difficult to switch back again. Some kind of Queen service split seems to be the answer. Neville to McCaul is sounding better every day. What about from the west – is it feasible to turn everything at Church/Richmond/Victoria (I’d think trying to turn both east and west at McCaul would be a bad idea – and would get anyone in the west right downtown).

    It’s a shame there seems to be this group in TTC that aren’t listening to the passengers, the Commission, or the operators. Even with all the other issues, it seems there must be a better way to manage service than short-turning 5 cars in a row. I wonder if CIS as it is used now should simply be abandoned on a very-frequent route. It does seem to be a great tool on the lighter and suburban routes. But surely the key on many routes is the time since the last vehicle passed – and not related to the schedule at all. Is there not a way to reprogram the system to reflect this? Or is it that antiquated.

    Steve: Swapping the fleets between Queen and King is only part of a package that also includes multiple, overlapped routes on Queen. I believe that both are needed.

    The time the last vehicle passed needs a bit of tweaking. You can have vehicles “pass” that are de facto not in service — they are going to short turn not far ahead, and therefore don’t contribute to the important, through headway. This also applies in the case of branching routes, or routes with scheduled turnbacks like Queen. For branched routes, not only is the basic headway on the common section important, but especially the reliability on the unique sections where scheduled service is less frequent. I’m not saying this is impossible, but it needs more than cursory thought before someone just rushes out with a countdown or countup timer.

    CIS is rather aged, but it’s unlikely to be majorly re-engineered soon. The big change that must happen first is a conversion of the fleet to GPS positioning. This will get rid of a lot of inaccuracy in the CIS data and will give those monitoring service a better idea of where everything is, and will make analyses like mine a lot easier to perform because, in theory, I won’t have to filter out as much bad data as I can easily identify.


  14. Thank you Driver Bob for your insights into the front lines of streetcar operation.

    I have comments to address on your paragraph:

    We just had a municipal AND provincial election. Where were all you transit activists? You could have taken this issue city-wide; not just to that glad-handing baby-kisser Giambrone, but to your *other* city councillors; to David Miller; to your MPP; to the Premier. You could even be taking it to Stephen Harper, who has promised millions for transit and not delivered one thin dime because they are studying how it should be spent. Make them understand that your vote is contingent upon good transit, not tax cuts. If you do, you might be taken more seriously.

    Part of my frustration is trying to focus the amazing interest, ideas & energy of transit supporters like those on this board into some kinds of effective force. I’ve been a member of, and chair of for a year or 2, of the Rocket Riders Transit Users Group. We’ve had some successes in the past in publicizing transit issues, like More TTC Not More DVP Rally in the Valley to avoid expanding the DVP, and last year’s Transit Forum, at which Steve and other transit advocates spoke. (But no politicians showed. Transit managers like Gary Webster and some from MT did.)

    But almost all of us work or study full time. We are not lobbyists or political experts. I’m now with the Sierra Club of Canada, to expand the word of the importance of transit in the functioning of the city. Steve’s forum here is a great resource in discussing and debating the facts and possible solutions.

    Bob, I invite you to attend the Fix The 501 Transit Forum on Dec 4 2007 at Metro Hall.

    Here’s the post from Transit Toronto:

    Wednesday, November 7, 2007

    Rocket Riders, Sierra Club Consider Ways to Fix the 501 Queen Car

    Over on the Transit Toronto mailing list, a lot of discussion is taking place about the problems of unreliable service on the lengthy 501 Queen streetcar and what can be done to fix them, especially for the residents in the Beaches neighbourhood and through southern Etobicoke. Suggestions include restoring service on the defunct [507 Long Branch]) route, or breaking up the lengthy 501 Queen line into several shorter services overlapping across the downtown core.

    Attendees will be participating in discussions and are hoping to take these ideas public and send them to the TTC where they hope they will be acted upon. They are organizing a forum to discuss the problems associated with operations on the 501 Queen streetcar and are inviting the public as well as TTC commissioners and staff members to attend. The forum will take place on Tuesday, December 4 at Metro Hall at 6:30 p.m.

    The Sierra Club is also taking an interest in this issue, as I was contacted by Mike Oliver, the Sierra Club’s Ontario Chapter Transit Campaigner and himself a member of the Rocket Riders, who is working to coordinate efforts from various groups to present the TTC some strong ideas backed by a united front. In his words:

    Streetcar routes were largely ignored in the recent Ridership Growth Strategy. Streetcars are the backbone of the surface system and are the busiest surface lines, but are often overcrowded, bypassing waiting passengers, and suffer from unreliable service

    There needs to be a vision for the streetcar routes downtown, as they are currently over capacity at many hours, and greatly restricted by the volume of mixed traffic. It is obvious that this situation will only get worse.

    Queen Street and Lakeshore Boulevard are “Avenues” in the city’s Official Plan and we need to encourage transit use along it with frequent and reliable service. Toronto is planning for 1 million additional residents coming to the City by 2020. This will increase transit, and car use, dramatically, especially in the older parts of the city.

    City densification is predicated on efficient movement of people. Densification along Queen Street and Lakeshore Blvd will not happen with the current 501 service. A significant improvement is necessary on the 501 route is necessary.

    This issue bears watching. The Queen streetcar is still one of the heaviest routes in the system, carrying over 40,000 passengers each day, but it used to carry many more passengers — up to 70,000 passengers per day. A decrease in the levels of service, and an increase in the unreliability of the service has sent 30,000 passengers looking for alternatives each day, and that’s unacceptable. The Queen streetcar is a backbone of transit service through the southern portion of the City of Toronto, but it can do so much better, and the city can only benefit if that happens. Riders are encouraged to offer their ideas, and the TTC is encouraged to act upon the best ones.



  15. Steve,

    I’ve been following the “Queen Car” and “King Car” series with considerable interest. As you know, I have contributed some thoughts to the discussions re: CIS and the TRUMP units, etc.

    I am a bus operator who has driven the 143 Beach Premium Express, 64 Main, 92 Woodbine South, 22 Coxwell, as well as the Queen Replacement Bus during the track replacement project (I have also driven replacement buses on St. Clair during this project). I must agree with several of Bob’s comments (although my perspective could be viewed as being biased as I am a TTC Operator). Short turns are the bane of an operator’s existence – try explaining to a crush load why CIS wants you to short turn.

    I have operated “stand-by buses” as well. I have gone out to perform a “street change-over” from a station and have been verbally abused by passengers on the bus that was running late because CIS told that operator to “stop and stay” until the changeover arrives a specific point. My job was to take the standby, load and leave the platform at the scheduled time to get that particular run back on time.

    Our job is not easy. There are many “senior” operators who are stuck in the mentality of the past. As Bob stated, they will be retiring in the next couple of years.

    In my (somewhat biased) opinion, the biggest problem that the riding public and the “in the driver’s seat” operators face is that the TTC management is stuck in the past (why change something that has worked since the 1930’s). The “management” of surface lines is controlled by supervisors in a little control room watching little bars move across a computer screen. These supervisors are controlled by a corporate culture that demands “on-time” performance – therefore the short turns. At times, I shake my head at the instructions I have received from CIS; but the sad reality is that I have no choice but to follow the instructions or be disciplined for failing to comply.

    CIS computers do not show passenger loads or traffic conditions. Crowded buses (and streetcars) have longer dwell times at busy stops as passengers try to enter and exit the vehicle through the crowds already aboard (please move back behind the white line is just an empty phrase as is please exit through the rear doors). The TTC management just carries on as they do because they do not have to deal with the wrath of the travelling public.

    Steve, I appreciate the support that you have shown for the vast majority of us front line TTC employees and I know that you lobby long and hard at city council and TTC meetings for real change to be made to transit in this city. Until there is a review of the TTC management “culture” however, I don’t think that we will see a change in how transit is run in this city. The TTC management cannot accept the fact that there are better ways (sorry for the pun) of doing things that weren’t developed or invented by the TTC (CIS and the TRUMP system come to mind as well as the new streetcar design).

    I am also a TTC rider to and from work and well understand the frustration that passengers have with unreliable service. I have stood in the cold and rain waiting for buses that never come only to have one arrive that has its “Short Turn” sign up. Bob is correct in stating that management is not interested in listening to the operators. In my division alone, we have collectively given numerous suggestions to improve service on several routes. The standard response is that the suggestion has be forwarded to “Service Planning” (where all suggestions seem to disappear into some “Black Hole” where it never see the light of day again).

    Steve: Thanks for the feedback. You will be interested in the Queen post for December 4, now in preparation. On that day, half of the service turned at Ronces rather than Humber, and half turned at Woodbine Loop. This went on all day and appeared to be a clear attempt at adjusting the schedule to operating conditions.


  16. Steve, you have certainly got me interested in your next installment on the “Queen Car”: HALF the service was short-turned! My experience with short-turns is quite simple. Turn the vehicle in front of me and several things happen: I have to take his passengers onto my bus; I now have to carry the gap from the short-turn point to the end of the line and back to the short-turn point; I end up having longer dwell times at every stop because of the additional passenger load as well as having to explain why there is a gap in the service to all of the irate passengers boarding.

    All of this results in me running behind schedule. If it results in me running too far behind schedule, I will in turn get short-turned. Now the vehicle behind me is now in a gap and so on and so on down the line.

    This is poor line management technique as most short-turns are poorly implemented by CIS. Because of the culture of “on time performance”, the lightly loaded vehicle (which is on time) is not allowed to pass the late running, over-loaded vehicle to pick up time and help out the line (run four minutes ahead of schedule and you get disciplined).

    The only tools available are short-turns or the use of standby buses (at those few stations that have them) to perform street change-overs. I have personally experienced the pass the slow bus, help out, and then sit to kill time because you have hit “Plus Three” routine (both sides of the coin). I have also been told by CIS to get back into proper run order and run to schedule when I have passed a slower vehicle to help out.


  17. Gord said “the lightly loaded vehicle (which is on time) is not allowed to pass the late running, over-loaded vehicle to pick up time and help out the line (run four minutes ahead of schedule and you get disciplined).”

    Isn’t one of the touted advantages of buses over streetcars that they can pass each other?

    If the bus ahead is late, couldn’t you pass it to try to stay on your schedule?

    Steve: Ah yes, but perish the thought that buses might swap positions from time to time to even out their loads! The TTC’s idea of schedule adherence is completely off the rails.


  18. David Youngs wrote: “Isn’t one of the touted advantages of buses over streetcars that they can pass each other?

    If the bus ahead is late, couldn’t you pass it to try to stay on your schedule?”

    It is possible to pass the bus ahead if it is late to stay on your own schedule. However, if the deviation hits “Plus Three” you will usually receive a text message to “Ease Back A Little Bit Please” or “Please Run To Schedule”. At “Plus Four” you will be contacted by 2-way and advised to adhere to schedule and this will be documented. At three “Plus Four”‘s you will be disciplined for failure to follow Schedule Adherance.

    This results in the “Dance” that frustrates passengers so much: on-time, lightly loaded bus passes late running heavily loaded bus and runs ahead for several stops; stops and kills time while late bus passes and goes back in front and starts to fall farther behind. Lightly loaded bus gets back to zero deviation and once again passes late bus only to have to stop and kill time. It hits a point where most operators just give up in frustration themselves and don’t bother any more because they get tired of the hassle from CIS. The front-line on the street operators know what has to be done to keep a route moving but CIS is so tied up in their own “on-time” mandate that they actually prevent this fron happening.


  19. Gord’s last comment explains a lot of things! The dance is required in some situations even when running on-schedule. I regularly take the 24A, which runs half as often as the 24. The regular branch is evenly spaced, with the 24A in between a pair of 24s. So while service north of Consumers is scheduled evenly, south of Consumers it’s irregularly scheduled, and so one out of three buses is overloaded with 7.5-minute headways while the other two are underloaded with 3.5-minute headways. Almost all the time southbound in the evening it seems as though the 24A drivers are either doing “the dance,” or they’re intentionally missing lights and driving so slowly that you’d think something was wrong with the bus.


  20. I have recently started to read the postings regarding transit and Queen in general, and want to echo the sentiments of many people here.
    As someone stated, “short turns are the bane of our existence “. Amen to that.

    Adding streetcars to Queen would improve service, but what we really need to eliminate short turns are more running time. No one wants to be late, and occasionally I suck it up and complete a round trip at finish time to accomodate passenger loads. Many (not all) short turns are caused by inadequate running times. Add more travel time for a trip, more operators are able to complete said trip. Sounds simple to me.

    Sadly, the brain trust at the top will not listen to us bottom feeders. What could we possibly know? We just drive.
    I think on some routes (streetcar) there are just too many stops. I am all for accomodation, but 2 stops on the same block. Come on now, that’s overkill. Besides, walking is good for people. Perhaps we could have regular service differently abled stops, where people with canes or walkers could stand and get picked up. Otherwise, walk 2-3 blocks and wait with the average joe. I dunno, just a thought.

    If we add time to each trip, properly space out stops, and add the proper amount of service, each line would run properly. But sadly, the people in service planning are never there during rush hour, or rarely ride for more than 20 minutes at a time. We’re out there daily, we know the heavy period and the not so heavy. We know when a short turn would work, and when it’s pointless.

    Not to mention, this newer breed of supervisor is somewhat clueless. They just don’t get it, and they start turning service on a whim. Why?
    Let us make the call too. We’re there.

    Steve: I don’t agree that more running time is a panacea. Indeed, when I see the lengths of layovers taken at terminals and the fact that cars still leave on ragged headways, running time is not an issue. There will be times when truly unusual situations require that service be rearranged, short-turned, split, whatever. The problem is that none of the supervisors appears to be doing much about spacing out the service we already have so that cars carry roughly equal headways and loads.

    We need to find ways to operate a route where the emphasis is on proper spacing of service, not being strictly “on time”. This would typically mean that if traffic were really bad, the average headways would be wider, but at least they would be as evenly spaced as possible. Such a change requires modifications to crewing practices so that work is based on being available for “x” hours, not for trips at specific times. It’s a challenge, but it should be possible.


  21. One more thing.

    Replacing streetcars with buses is transit nonsense. When you have cars parked in the curb lane on a 4 lane street, that leaves 2 lanes in either direction. With cars in the curb lane, buses would need to go where?????

    The middle of the road. Where we are now.

    We’re bigger and more economical. Buses leap frog where there is space. If we had space, we’d be flyin’ too.


  22. This morning, 8:45 or so. Queen and Jones westbound. I get off the 83 bus hoping to catch a ride downtown on the next streetcar. As I step off the bus, I see a Humber ALRV sliding through the intersection and off westbound. Less than a minute later (I’m not yet across the street to the streetcar stop!) a Long Branch car passes by, too. So, I’ve missed 2 connecting streetcars, and I’ve been off the bus for 1 minute. So, I wait, for what turns out to be a 502 to McCaul, which already has many standees. Both ALRVs were lightly loaded.

    How does service get bunched so quickly that 2 ALRVs are less than one minute apart westbound by Jones Ave.?

    Was it like this when service on the streetcar lines was more frequent? Is there anything riders can do about it? Is there a TTC service issue/complaints line of some sort?

    Here on this blog, there is a lot of passionate transit discussion, including lots of suggestions on how to make it better. I have a suggestion: I think the TTC needs to hear from its customers more often.

    Maybe if the TTC ran more reliable service, it wouldn’t need to spend so much time and money for security provisions on vehicles. I’m not saying there aren’t crazies out there, and I’m not saying operators don’t need protection, and frustrated, inconvenienced customers might get a bit lippy from time-to-time. But fewer frustrated customers = fewer assaults on operators?


  23. I have lived in Leslieville and currently live in Long Branch. The Queen car is a problem.

    When I lived in the east end, I would get off at Broadview and transfer to the 504. Now I take the 504 and get off at Roncesvalles. It saves me time.

    As the driver said, the biggest problem is volume on the roads. Dedicated bus lanes help, but even where they do exist cars making left turns have priority.

    A partial solution to the Long branch area are more 508 street cars. It relieves pressure on King St. and provides an alternative going to Long Branch.

    Another solution would involve cooperation between the TTC and GO Transit. Many people take the GO to Long Branch. If there was small fee from there as far as New Toronto, people would take it in the opposite direction of rush hour traffic to get home or to work. It is done in other jurisdictions, why not Toronto?

    If there was any real interest in lowering greenhouse emissions and getting more people out of their cars, Long Branch could offer a partial solution. Build a large parking garage where the present Long Branch lot is. Have a $10 park and day pass. Mississauga Transit already connects at Long Branch, so it would give them a minor boost. There are excellent connections to the 427, the Gardiner and the Lakeshore. It would move more people than the Front St. extension idea. Run trains between Union Station and Long Branch every 15 minutes during rush hour. It would be faster and cheaper than driving into downtown. This is a radical departure from car culture mentality and would take political will to accomplish. This from a government that won’t even legislate HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes. But maybe the provincial riding of the former environment minister could ease some of the traffic flowing in and out Toronto daily.


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