Beam Me Up, er, Adam?

Ads are appearing in TTC vehicles jointly from the TTC and its three unions extolling both the virtues of Transit City and of the service provided by the system’s over 10,000 employees.

The headline proclaims:

Going Where No Streetcar Has Gone Before

We know that Admiral Adam already has designs on a modest fleet of ferries, but streetcars boldly going out into uncharted lands, such a concept! What will they find? Will they roam forever lost in the outer reaches of the GTA(H)?

TTC and Star Fleet. I’m not sure that the world is ready for this marriage.

16 thoughts on “Beam Me Up, er, Adam?

  1. Reminds me of those York University ads on streetcars that I saw a few months ago (they might still be there). The irony being that streetcars go nowhere near York, but they serve U of T and Ryerson, thus a person who takes the streetcar would be better off (in terms of commuting distance) going to one of those two. With the Jane line, streetcars will go to a university that they have never gone to before. (Although York U still insists on locating the bus/streetcar terminal on the northwest corner of campus, rather than a more sensible location.)


  2. *scratches head* not sure if this is a jab at the headline or one of those “read between the lines” sorta things. Either way, I must say that streetcars (in rights of way) work better out in “the burbs” due to the wide streets, and ample room for a RoW. While I dont think that it will happen before I’m my grandfather’s age, I would love to ride a streetcar from Oshawa to Hamilton.

    Steve: Please note that this is filed under “Fantasy”.


  3. curious my entry word was “cynic” – because I gotta say the other part “there’s no intelligent life down here” as I filed my WWLRT submission on Friday; and I’ll likely go look at your next post. But even when the fricking EA says “it’s not a good deal” 14! years earlier, guess what’s the major plank for the core in the Transit “city” program?


  4. I know that this falls under the fantasy catagory, but the ads said streetcar. I am now feeling a little concerned because I get the impression that this is going to be a boondoggle such as Queen’s Quay or Spadina. I am crossing my fingers that this isn’t the case.


  5. I saw that ad today and I was repulsed by the lack of attention given by its creator(s) to good writing. The next time you see it, have a good look. The capitalization in the header is completely haphazard. There are hyphens and dashes where there shouldn’t be. The text contains awkward phrases like “the TTC’s over 10,000 employees” and misleading platitudes like “serving every neighbourhood in Toronto, and beyond.” I’m paraphrasing from memory, but you get the idea.

    The appearance of the ad is another shame, but I’m not qualified to talk about that. My point is that corporate marketing is a big deal these days, and it should be a bigger deal for an organization seeking to attract and retain customers, some of whom may be graphic designers or anal-retentive grammarians.

    Steve: Yes, it really is a dog’s breakfast of an ad. I have no idea who wrote or designed it. They cannot make up their mind whether it is a pitch telling us how hard those 10,000 employees work at serving the city, or a pitch for the coming expansion of the network. Two ideas, one ad, zero coherence.

    I was posting this mainly to see how many Ster Trek fans would bite, but they must be away at a convention somewhere.


  6. Here’s hoping that the Transity City Trams/Streetcars travel a little faster than Warp 1. I don’t particularly enjoy traveling at 20km/h for 95% of my journeys.


  7. Steve said: “I was posting this mainly to see how many Ster Trek fans would bite, but they must be away at a convention somewhere.”

    I figure they’ve all ridden streetcars into those pesky service-sucking wormholes we were talking about recently.

    @ Deb McFarlen – Don’t get the TTC dreaming about new route numbers. Next thing you know they’ll come up with a new route number series dedicated to the Transit City lines in a vain attempt to make them rapid, as if a number somehow makes a route faster. Remember “604 Harbourfront”? (Perhaps the subway and RT lines lost their 60X designations because they’re always bogged down these days.)


  8. I consider myself a Star Trek fan. Some good one-liners could be…

    “The Prophets predict this campaign will fall flat”
    “This ad is quite illogical, and Mr. Spock would agree”
    “Lets hope the streetcar gets home before USS Voyager does”
    And the best of all
    “heck, even Data could draw better” lol!


  9. See? Not only are alien abductions of streetcars taking place as we speak (where’s my Long Branch car, dude??!?), but they are scheduled to be vastly increased for Transit City.

    Please excuse the occasional short turns at Low Earth Orbit; I’m sure your Alpha Centauri car will be along….well, sometime.


  10. Well I’d rather be called a Star Trek fan than some of the other nasty things you, I (and Mark Dowling) have recently been called. For those interested it’s over on the Toronto Life site Phillip Preville’s politics blog.

    (The trolls will boldly go where no troll has gone before.)

    There are many times where I’d trade a transporter for the 504 that’s for certain. Regardless of “Bones” opinion of the transporters!

    Steve: My recent post about Metrolinx and Queen’s Park was “inspired” by Preville’s article but I wanted to make my reply more general rather than just trashing what he had to say.


  11. I’m surprised no one here has complained about the prominent CLRVs on the ads. I think it would do Torontonians a world of good to be exposed to some modern LRV porn.


  12. Hey, have you ever thought about running for city council or other public office? May THAT would be a good platform for you to press transit issues. you could be the politician who advocates sensible transit alternatives as opposed to the gadgetbahn lovers, brt lovers and subways-at-all-costs nuts. (OK, I’m somewhat of a subway advocate myself but definitely nowhere near the degree of some.)

    Steve: My focus on issues is rather narrow for a Councillor. I’ve seen what happens to people who go from being advocates to being politicians. You can be buried under issues that are important for neighbourhoods, but far from advocacy within a specific portfolio. If you read through committee and Council agendas regularly, you will find that transit doesn’t actually come up a lot of the time.


  13. Following Michael Vanner’s post I revisited the Preville post and saw the comment he referred to – maybe I should ask Matt Blackett about the feasibility of making “Steve Munro queer transit groupie” buttons…

    Steve: For those who are wondering, the exact quote is:

    Ever since I moved here, I have been amazed at the amount of civic pride, ambition, identity and symbolic power that is invested in the TTC. Until now I have avoided saying out loud what I really think, which is that all that energy is terribly misplaced. There is something about reading the comments on Steve Munro’s blog that sometimes feels like being at a Star Trek convention: you are among über-keeners who are far too invested in the tiniest details. Our obsession with public transit is a form of extreme introspection and introversion, because it so intensely focuses discussion within our own boundaries.

    Yes, some people here spend an inordinate amount of time wondering about the minutia of transit operations, and on more than one occasion I have remineded people that the fine details of lines that won’t open for a decade are really premature. That said, the discussions here turn on the role of transit in the larger picture — how transit can rise to the challenge of being part of the GTAH’s mindset, not just something for people in walking distance of the subway.

    I know that my own detailed operational analyses of various route operations can get tedious, but without knowing how transit service operates now and how it can be improved, we are doomed to present the Queen car as the shining example of transit’s best to very skeptical suburban voters.

    At the end of the many comments (with thanks to my defenders who have posted there), we get this little gem:

    Mark and Michael, are you a couple of Steve Munro’s queer transit geek groupies? I’d rather see a subway on Queen or King than listen to Steve Munro. If Steve Munro is so good, why hasn’t the TTC offered him a job?

    Admiral Adam would like to conscript me (although in the naval analogy, “pressgang” might be the appropriate word), but working on the outside has huge advantages. Once you are inside the TTC, you are hemmed in by an extremely hierarchial, conservative culture and bringing forth positions such as I have done would be extremely career limiting. There was a time, during a former Chief General Manager’s tenure, when talking to me was a firing offence for TTC staff.

    As for queer transit groupies, well, I’m bi, actually, as if that makes any difference, but Preville’s not my type.


  14. @Kristian: The 60X series is actually used by the TTC for the subway, but strictly for internal purposes only, never sees the light of day in the public realm. Yonge-Uni-Spadina is route 601, Bloor-Danforth 602, SRT is 603 (ok, not a subway, but “Rapid transit”, like the TTC originally tried to market the Harbourfront car as, hence the 604 number), and nowadays instead of the Harbourfront car, The Sheppard Line is 604.

    That said, I really do hope that the Transit City Lines do maintain the same numbering system as current streetcars (considering some east waterfront plans I’ve seen from TTC meetings, which includes proposals for a 524 Broadview among others, I believe they will do so). These numbers are divided by service type (except for Blue streetcars grouped together with Blue buses in the same 300-series), and since St.Clair and Spadina and Harbourfront all fall under the same series as other streetcars, Transit has to do the same since we have a precedent… I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Eglinton becomes 605 pretty fast though.

    Steve: Actually, no. They used to be 601, 602 etc., but they are now numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4 (look at the Service Summary). Indeed, the old 4-Annette became 26-Dupont to make room for the 4-Sheppard line. 1 was Armour Heights (now part of Avenue Road North), 2 was Anglesey (now 48 Rathburn) and 3 has been variously Ashbridge, Kingsway and Ancaster Park. For a complete history of bus route numbers, see Transit Toronto.

    As and when we get a fifth “subway”, the Avenue Road bus will need a new number. Maybe we can rename it “Oriole Park” just to confuse everyone.


  15. I’m not at all sure what sexual orientation has to do with any of this. (For the record, I’m straight as an arrow, thank-you very much!) However, anyone who is a homophobe has no place on this blog nor anywhere else in society. Even if the comment were a joke I don’t find it very funny because it is in no way relevant to the discussion. (Neither is “Star Trek”, for that matter, but at least it was a tasteful diversion.)

    As to fine details, every little thing counts when getting a transit system right, down to the nuts and bolts. (One little failed metal pin derailed the subway train at Kennedy, prompting a redesign.) If anyone wants to dismiss my concerns about such things then they have no right to complain about any feature they disagree with in their future transit vehicles and routes. These are the kinds of discussions that our politicians and planners should be having and encouraging input to, even though they rarely do. If one single beneficial design detail is put foward and incorporated into our transit system as a result of our “über-keener” brainstorming then the public is better off as a whole and our efforts will have been justified.

    I refuse to apologize for wishing to use a significant amount of my free time researching and discussing transit planning. I do this not only because it happens to interest me personally, but because I know I can actually help make a difference to the livability of this city and region. Boring people with bad ideas throw around the term ‘geek’ to make themselves feel bigger. I will proudly wear the term ‘geek’ if I must, but for my own positive reasons and no one else’s! Much too often good people with great ideas are marginalized simply because some folks are uncomfortable with our dedication.

    Lastly, anyone who thinks we should have a subway under King or Queen is going to have to be prepared to offer WORKABLE DETAILS. And if you think that by marginalizing this blog you’re magically going to end up with what you want because DISCUSSION ‘isn’t getting in the way’, well you’re sorely mistaken. Politicians don’t communicate psychically with the public (only with their alien mothership! See – thread-relevant, tasteful humour!). And never forget that every one of us is equally entitled to a vote on how their tax dollars are spent, via elections.

    Steve, I would encourage you to start a new thread with this because it speaks to the very relevance of this blog and the discussion it promotes.

    Steve: I don’t want to get into a “my blog is bigger than yours” type of argument, and when that article originally appeared, I made a point of not replying to it directly, but to the issue it raised.

    Dare I note that I seem to have far more comments on my site, and a lot of defenders elsewhere too. Not to mention that our friend at Toronto Life refers to this blog as if everyone in the city knows what it is.

    I don’t think we need to have a long debate about why we’re all spending far too much time writing about transit arcana. Let’s concentrate on the issues.


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