TTC Service Review Meeting

Grzegorz Radziwonowski passed along the following notes from last night’s annual public meeting re service improvements.

* The people who came to the meeting are much more unhappy with the 504 King Streetcar than with any bus, streetcar, or subway route.

* There continues to be a dislike. at times hatred, of Transit City, LRT ROWs, and Streetcars in general. Many people were proposing the TTC put in Electric Buses (Trackless Trolleys) in the Transit City ROWs, rather than Streetcars.

* At least 3 people were talking about the 30 Lambton leaving High Park Station 4 minutes early during the evenings.

* Apparently buses are to be a part of a second phase of Transit City; however, no further details were given on this.

* When I spoke to some of the TTC planners, they currently want to renovate Bloor-Yonge Station by adding the second (Eastbound) platform at Yonge Station.

* While speaking with planning staff, I also found out that minibuses were unfeasible because the biggest expense would be to pay the drivers (which would be from ATU 113), and that that cost would outweigh any benefits the TTC might gain from reduced fuel costs. They also told me that while they really want Articulated vehicles, they have yet to find one that meets their criteria (I have yet to find out what exactly that criteria is).

* A lot of people wanted either the SRT or 21 Brimley to be extended until the last B-D train arrives at Kennedy. Many of these same people want 133 Neilson to have an express branch, running to Scarborough Town Centre, preferably via Highway 401.

Other smaller issues were raised, but I really can’t list all of them. I only listed either reoccurring ones, or one that would affect Transit for all.

I can’t help feeling sadness and despair that the TTC has done such a thorough job of making streetcars unpopular.  We don’t have enough of them.  The TTC is better at finding excuses for poor service than actually making cars run reliably.

Nobody believes that the Transit City lines can be built quickly and cheaply because the counterexample of St. Clair stares everyone in the face. 

On other notes, the “Transit City Bus Plan” is intended to flag major routes that will be guaranteed good service all the time, with express operations where they are warranted by travel patterns.  This is related to the posts I did a while ago about the 10 and 20 minute networks.  (By the way, those posts were for discussion purposes, not as definitive lists of routes.)

The really big problem with minibuses is that they don’t last anywhere near as long as a full size bus, and the cost over a comparable lifespan can actually be higher.  This depends, of course, on assumptions you make about what is “equivalent”.  The labour issue is a red herring, but is a convenient excuse the TTC can trot out to avoid discussing the issue.  They already operate several “community bus” routes, and labour costs on these are lower than on major routes because the crews are off-peak work which tends to cost less to operate.  Artics, needless to say, are intended for a completely different type of route.