Today, the TTC, in the best tradition of oiling the squeaky wheel, agreed to a one-year trial operation of a premium fare express bus from eastern Mimico to Union Station. This ran contrary to the staff recommendation that the route would not meet the criteria for a financially viable operation.
During the debate, Commissioner Hall suggested that, as a condition of this trial, the Humber Bay condo owners should stop operating their own private bus service over the same route. However, this idea was withdrawn. Chair Adam Giambrone supported the scheme with reservations, but expected that the ridership numbers would bear out what staff predicted and the route would not survive its one-year review. We shall see.
This service will require 3 additional peak buses to provide 5 inbound morning and 4 outbound afternoon trips.
I cannot help observing that this situation (the demand for a special bus) mirrors the situation in the Beach. The TTC is reaping the effect of two decades of ignoring the poor quality of service offered on Lake Shore. Despite all the claims of better operation on the 501, the efforts at managing operators to avoid short turns only takes place in the east, and has yet to be implemented westbound at Roncesvalles. Moreover, the 3 morning trips on the 508 Lake Shore, trips that should run like clockwork, are not predictable or worth waiting for.
It will be amusing to see whether the TTC manages to get the buses to their stops on schedule, and how long it takes for the would-be riders to complain about infrequent, unreliable service.
It’s always interesting to listen to people talking about how fast they can drive downtown, and therefore how good the bus would be. They ignore the need to walk to a stop, to wait for a bus and to get through downtown traffic to their stop.
Meanwhile, all of you whose routes are still crowded will wait a little longer for service meeting the TTC’s own standards. Even with recent increases, there remains a considerable number of routes that are overcrowded and for which the TTC has no spare equipment.
Sometime late in 2009, we may see the 501 Queen service extended from Humber to Park Lawn, provided that the forty-two municipal agencies that appear to be incapable of co-ordinating any transit-related construction can get their acts together. It will be intriguing to see what effect this has on demand for the premium fare bus service and what the comparable running times, including waits, really are.