This Law’s An Ass

Buried in the marathon TTC meeting last week (a new record: 7 hours, 43 minutes from the announced start time of the public session) was a proposal to update Bylaw No. 1.  This scintillating piece of legal literature adorns every TTC vehicle in a shortened form, and it’s rather out of date.

Never fear!  The TTC Legal folks bring us the new, revised version.  It’s a lot longer.  I think the TTC will need to install station domination advertising just to fit all the text in, or they will need a scrolling video in every car.  Thrilling reading.  Not including the definitions or the table of fines, it is 8 single-spaced pages long.

You would think that an organization that trumpets its ability to manage billion dollar projects, to write complex requests for proposals, to operate the largest single part of the municipal infrastructure, could manage something as basic as telling people what they can’t do on the TTC.  But no.  This bylaw reads in places as if it were drafted by someone who never actually used the system and who has little idea of the implications of its content.

Before the report came up for discussion, I flagged it as problematic and gave an annotated copy to the Chair for information.  To my surprise, rather than holding the report down, Chairman Giambrone suggested that it be approved with an amendment to come back to a future meeting.  Fortunately, to come into force, the bylaw needs to be submitted to the Chief Justice for approval, and if the TTC has an ounce of sense, they will hold off until they fix the problems.

Some of what follows may seem legally pedantic, but it’s this sort of poor drafting that gets TTC customers hassled by security staff who have nothing better to do with their time than to enforce badly written rules.

The full bylaw is available on the TTC website.

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Service Changes for September 2008

Fall 2008 brings service back to its standard levels on the TTC network after some summer cutbacks.  I have consolidated the service changes, most due to increased riding, in a two-page summary.

I have omitted a lot of information on school trips and other seasonal changes, but if you want the gory details, you can either visit the TTC’s website or read the summary on Transit Toronto.

A few notable points in this round:

  • Off-peak service on the Yonge and Bloor subway lines is increasing to meet rising demand.  Even with the added service, the lines will be only slightly below the service standards threshold at which more trains have to be added.  The off-peak standard is 500 passengers per train, or 83 per car (a small number of standees at the peak point).
  • For everyone who dreads off-peak visits to the Distillery District, the Cherry Street Union Station service will now run every 15 minutes on Saturdays, and every 30 minutes in the evening.  This is far from spectacular, but it’s an improvement for those who prefer not to walk to the King car.
  • Better service comes to the Harbourfront car recognizing that people on the waterfront actually exist, and they stay up late.  The Spadina car will now run to Union Station until the subway closes.
  • Service improvements on Eglinton West, Jane and Morningside address growing demand in these corridors (all of which happen to be part of Transit City).

Further improvements are expected later this fall including the next round of the Ridership Growth Strategy with full service on all routes during subway operating hours.  Coming in 2009, budget permitting, is a move to 20 minute maximum headways.

The Psychology of Free Parking

Over the past week, since the TTC proposed, then approved, the elimination of free parking for Metropass holders, I have been amazed by the volume of comments on this blog, other sites and in feedback in the mainstream media on this subject.

Parking is something dear to the hearts of motorists, and taking away free parking seems to be on a par with kidnapping a firstborn child.

Several people commenting on my site have claimed that getting rid of free parking at TTC or at GO lots will drive people (sorry about that) into commuting all the way downtown even if they have to pay for parking. There is a long comment by Andrew currently at the end of the thread comparing the costs and time required for various types of trip (all car, part transit, paid and unpaid parking). The viewpoint embedded in his calculations mirrors that of many who write about the need for free parking. Continue reading