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.

35 thoughts on “TTC Service Review Meeting

  1. The TTC truly has become a sad shadow of its former self. While the rest of the world (including the US) is embracing LRT, and Streetcars, we are stuck with an agency who cannot maintain the system we have. Cities would kill to have our system.

    Sad, truly sad.

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  2. Streetcars and LRT could have a better presentation, if Spadina and St. Clair (and the Queensway R.O.W.) had their transit priority turned on. If the transit priority is done right, they could even be able to save a couple of vehicles for use elsewhere in the system, instead of waiting at red lights.

    Steve: I had the dubious pleasure of riding from Spadina Station to Harbourfront last night, and spent a lot of time waiting for “transit priority” signals to clear in front of me. The funniest example was southbound from Bremner to Queen’s Quay where the operator had to drive briskly through a “blushing amber” at Lake Shore. Otherwise we would have sat there for two minutes waiting for our next chance to cross, and then another minute at Queen’s Quay to make the turn. Then there are those wonderful signals on Queen’s Quay where the streetcars get less green time than anything else that moves.

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  3. What ever happened to the idea of the TTC splitting up the 501 and bringing back the 507 long branch? You mentioned it in an earlier blog, was it not at least mentioned at this meeting?

    Steve: The TTC is fighting tooth and nail to prove that it doesn’t need to break the route apart. That would be an admission that all those years of denial, of pretenting that the decision to join the routes in the first place, was a bad one.

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  4. Oddly enough, there was no discussion of splitting up the 501 last night- in fact (due to the many 504 users, which has easy access to Metro Hall), there were suggestions to split up the 504.

    Also, when I asked some of the staff there, they didn’t know anything about the Transit Priority Signals.

    And on the topic of the US, a few people were talking about how some US cities was smart enough to get rid of streetcars and replace them with buses, and how the TTC was living in the past by keeping them.

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  5. Hmm a Union style addition of a second platform to Yonge station intrigues me, but I can’t remember how close the south wall of the station is to the surrounding buildings.

    How much do you think this would improve passenger flows at Bloor-Yonge vs adding a third platform to Bloor station (considering the tracks would have to be spread apart) Steve?

    Steve: A new south platform at Yonge Station does nothing for congestion problems upstairs at Bloor Station where the service would be most frequent under the TTC’s plans. Such a platform actually is partly inside of the parking structure of the Bay (the model I saw years ago had a structural column in the platform itself), and connecting this platform vertically to Bloor Station would be tricky given surrounding structures and soil conditions.

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  6. I was at the meeting as well.

    Mitch Stambler did a brief introduction about all the good things that were coming, including super-duper signal priority Real Soon Now. He then stated that Toronto was a world leader in signal priority already. This cause my brow to furrow greatly. Was I in the right universe?

    The King car got more criticism than the Queen car. People want some kind of dedicated lanes or right-of-way, and urged politicians to take a stand and do something. Unfortunately, the most passionate advocacy happened while Adam G. had ducked out of the room.

    The Jane bus encountered lots of flack for seriously bunching service from several people. I had lunch with some ex-colleagues earlier in the day, and two of them live close to each other around Jane and Dundas, and both complained about the Jane bus service.

    Several people, including myself, criticized the TTC for poor or nonexistent communications when something goes wrong, for example the recent power outage that shut down the Bloor end of the B-D and station doors were shut by a bit of string with a piece of paper saying “subway closed” attached.

    The actions of the operators, as well as the overall TTC communication policy, turns otherwise understanding riders into irritated, frustrated, fuming, and occasionally yelling riders.

    There was only one person I can recall who was specifically against streetcars and wanted them replaced by buses. He has given the same spiel before, and does not strike me as particularly credible for a few reasons.

    After the formal part of the meeting, John Chamberlain, Superintendent of the 501 Queen Project, came around to talk to me. He was genuinely interested in my observations. As I’d been through a couple of ill-handled diversions in the past week, we talked about problematic aspects of diversions, such as how to exit or board streetcars at the end of the diversion (think WB Queen diversion via King and Spadina — how do people board/alight at Spadina?), and why shuttle bus operators have to know where the heck they’re going, and why diverted or short-turned streetcars should NOT say “hey, I’m 30 minutes ahead of schedule now, I’ll go really, really, really slowly”. Amongst other things.

    On the topic of Queen routing variations, here’s what I heard:

    1) There are lots of people who would have to connect at Humber loop (some 4800 if I recall) should the Long Branch car be split from the Queen car. In fact, more people would be inconvenienced by this than by splitting Queen into an east-of-Yonge and west-of-Yonge route (3500? inconvenienced). Therefore, any kind of split will happen downtown, not west of Roncesvalles.
    2) Some analyses show that the cheapest option is just to run *all* service between Neville and Long Branch. Not sure just how “cheapest” was calculated.

    Steve jumps in: None of the proposals I made ages ago involved a split at Humber Loop, and I don’t think anyone seriously expects them just to go back to the old 501/507 split. The lines need to overlap so that short-turning 501s don’t spoil the through service in either direction. At a minimum, the 507 has to come east to Roncesvalles and I’ve proposed it go to Dundas West to supplement the spotty service on the 504.

    Mr. Chamberlain also recommended that I talk to Service Planning about the wide headways on weekdays: AM peak service is less frequent than Saturday afternoon, and PM peak service is less frequent than Sunday afternoon. Late in the evening I caught up with Jeffery Kay and his manager (whose name I forget).

    They talked about loading standards, and it had been a long day and I didn’t have any good counterpoints. However, I will submit further comments to the TTC on this:

    1) How accurate/recent are ridership numbers?

    2) How do ridership numbers account for service variations? On Queen, it’s common enough for delays to cause three or four streetcars show up convoy fashion. The first ALRV holds 160 jam-packed riders, the second holds 45-50 riders, and the third and fourth cars may have fewer than ten riders.

    We have four streetcars carrying 230 or 240 people, or in theory 60 riders apiece: no problem! But what really happens is that two thirds of these riders experience crush load conditions, and that’s what they’ll remember. Averaging number of riders by number of vehicles does NOT work when service isn’t consistent, and service is not consistent on Queen, Jane, Bathurst, etc. etc.

    3) Loading standards dissuade network connectivity. The Shorncliffe bus has a short-turn version that runs between Kipling station and Sherway Gardens. In the afternoon peak period, service between Sherway and Long Branch loop is less frequent than at any other time of the day. Granted, the buses are not necessarily packed in that segment, but that’s major connectivity and it gets dismissed because the buses aren’t packed.

    Steve: That problem with uneven loading of packs of cars and buses is a chronic issue with “average” riding counts. One benefit of the new standards is that a lower average is needed to trigger more service, assuming the TTC has the vehicles and the budget to cover it.

    The perception by the average rider that cars are crowded is also important, and the TTC needs to do more to break up parades like that.

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  7. Nothing to do with the post, but you were quoted in today’s ‘Metro’ today, and cited as a “transport advocate”. (I only read that paper to find out when to have my non-Superbowl party).

    Steve: It was in the Star too in a longer version of the article. “Metro” is “Toronto Star Lite”.

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  8. Re 507, in defence of the TTC’s original decision about through service on 501, I do see the vast majority of riders riding through the former transfer point at Humber. Similarly, I also see the vast majority of riders riding through the popularly-suggested “breaking point” of Roncesvalles. Wouldn’t it be better to break the route where the natural ridership patterns dictate, instead of at artificial points where you force a transfer on everyone? Sure, the service at the west end might become more reliable, but a lot of the benefit of that would be watered down by the forced transfer. It seems logical to me that the best place to break the 501 would be in the downtown as that seems to be where most people get on/off anyway. The problem is to find a place where the double looping of east-end and west-end services can happen without delays. Perhaps there are some smaller streets in the downtown that could be closed to traffic and become a de facto streetcar terminal for streetcars to loop?

    Steve: Without duplicating what I have written before, the worst thing we could have is a common “terminal” where an eastern service meets a western one and everybody transfers. Overlaps are key.

    My old proposal for the 507 was that it would run downtown via King in the peak (what we now know as the 508 Lake Shore car, but more frequently) and to Dundas West evenings and weekends. I am unsure about other times. This is not a definitive arrangement.

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  9. I was also present at the meeting, and was somewhat confused at the format – Adam Giambrone specifically said that they would not be answering questions – merely accepting people’s suggestions and noting them. Then he immediately went on to answer a number of questions from people who stood up to the microphone, which made the process much longer than it needed to be, since the responses usually prompted more comments/questions/ranting.

    Besides that, it’s clear that the TTC needs to take action on the 504 – I used to live in Liberty Village and it was one of the biggest black marks of life in that neighbourhood – and that was 3 years ago. The fact that absolutely nothing has been done since then speaks volumes.

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  10. Steve,

    There were quite a number of people from Scarborough (not just myself).
    Why are all these meetings held in a central location. It takes 90 minutes from either end of the city.

    I asked Mitch Stambler (Manager/Service Planning Department) about holding these type of meetings in the ends of the city, not just the core.

    He suggested the civic centres. I suggested Scarborough Civic Centre.

    He said it is not accesible.

    Doesn’t Scarborough Town Centre have moving escalators? or does it have to have elevators to be considered accessible?

    Steve: I work in that building and can assure you that it is accessible from the buses and RT provided that the escalators and elevators in the RT station are actually working (one of them has been in pieces for weeks with no sign of activity). There are ramps between the levels out on the plaza, and there is a ramp down from the north entrance (RT side) to the Council Chamber level.

    Metro Hall is actually further from the subway (and via a more roundabout route) than Scarborough City Hall is from the RT.

    Now it may not be “accessible” to people living in Etobicoke, but maybe they should have more than one of these meetings. Poor Mitch may never get home, but folks wouldn’t have to travel from the ends of the earth to attend.

    Among many of the staff I found that many of them work at the North York Civic Centre, so when they came down to the Metro Hall building, they took a long time using transit, like me but from the far north instead of the far east.

    Certain Admiral … I am trying to not say a stick up somewhere … but I swear I think he likes to hear his own voice and is more of a talker than listener. It could have been the night.

    Someone forwarded me a note the Admiral made on his facebook that was talking about that blackout that happened and how the trains themselves are on their own “hydro” but the stations are shut down when there is a blackout … why can’t he do that on ttc.ca? He is in his early 30’s.

    Steve: The problem is that ttc.ca is not set up for the chatty sort of thing he posts on facebook, and the TTC has not yet devoted the resources needed to keep a regular flow of info in that site.

    A lot of the meeting was about communication. What I mentioned was two things.

    1) The e-alert updates: send a second one when the service goes back up

    Steve: Yes, they know about this. See comment about dedication of resources to looking after the website, etc. There are “it’s back” notices some times, but not always. This will be even more important when they start posting about surface routes and diversions.

    2) The 169 Huntingwood goes via Sheppard during rush hour, outside rush hour and on weekends it takes over the 10 Van Horne routing.

    Sheppard is such a bottle neck between Victoria Park Avenue and Don Mills Station. 24, 224, 167, 85, 169, 190 go through that area. 169 should go via Van Horne during rush hour. There is also the idiots who are on the left lane of Sheppard (westbound) that skip 4 lanes to get on the 404. Then there is the ramp to the DVP and 401 which by itself is a bottleneck.

    There was mention of the 95 York Mills, how the older buses can’t go up that hill and how the driver tells the passengers to get out and meet the bus up the hill.

    Were you aware that Metro Hall has a whole set of elevators but only ONE was working and the others had out or order signs?

    Steve: I wonder if the TTC got the maintenance contract for the elevators (grin). On the 95, I have noticed that the hybrid buses handle the hills better, probably because electric motors have better overload capacity than direct diesel drive. This location has been a problem for decades for the diesels.

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  11. “And on the topic of the US, a few people were talking about how some US cities was smart enough to get rid of streetcars and replace them with buses, and how the TTC was living in the past by keeping them.”

    History has shown that replacing streetcars with buses resulting in lower ridership. There are now cities in the U.S. replacing their downtown buses with streetcars, resulting in increased ridership.

    New York City is now considering a streetcar for 42nd Street, river to river, and with cars banned on it, See http://thetransportpolitic.wordpress.com/2009/01/28/the-merits-of-a-streetcar-along-42nd-street/ for more information.

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  12. Oh Great Prognosticator, where do you see Transit City Mark II Busways being planned?

    Steve: You must imagine that I am sitting on a small cloud (in the theatre, it would be called a “glory”) looking off into the middle distance.

    The Transit City Bus Plan (or whatever) will concentrate on major routes, and the idea is to run them as trunk operations with a consistent level of service all day. The real question is how closely spaced a grid we might have and the inevitable political fights about getting “my” route into the list of “TC” services.

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  13. Steve you said: A new south platform at Yonge Station does nothing for congestion problems upstairs at Bloor Station where the service would be most frequent under the TTC’s plans. Such a platform actually is partly inside of the parking structure of the Bay (the model I saw years ago had a structural column in the platform itself), and connecting this platform vertically to Bloor Station would be tricky given surrounding structures and soil conditions.

    I say: If they can connect Union TTC Station to Union station in 1954 using a ramp such as it was, then this should be a breeze.

    Steve: I remember that ramp, and down at the bottom was a stair and escalator back up to the existing concourse level (near the west end of GO’s eastern concourse in an area now occupied by a store). Ramps don’t work for what you want to do. The Bloor line is at least 15 feet below the Yonge line (I have not been out there to measure it, but that’s a reasonable guess for this discussion).

    The maximum grade you can have on a ramp (for safety) is 1:12 (one foot vertical in 12 feet horizontal). This means a 15 foot change requires a ramp 180 feet long, not allowing for a landing part way along as a place to stop on the level (important for uphill trips). A ramp from the west (southbound) platform of the Yonge line would have a very hard time fitting in the available space before running out of Bloor line platform to the west, and the situation would be even worse from the northbound platform which is closer to the east end of Yonge Station.

    Yes, we could have an L shaped ramp, but it would still be quite long and would not necessarily fit within the available space.

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  14. This is the first mention of “Transit City Bus Plan” that I have heard about. Is this strictly a matter of service levels for buses that will be implemented when part or all of Transit City (LRT) is built ? How are buses related to Transit City, which is light rail ?

    Steve: See previous replies re this plan for an explanation.

    The “Transit City” brand name is on the verge of being overused. What I fear is that the evil machinations in some quarters will kill off the LRT lines for which it was coined, and leave us with a few bus routes. That would be the ultimate insult.

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  15. Steve says:
    “A new south platform at Yonge Station does nothing for congestion problems upstairs at Bloor Station where the service would be most frequent under the TTC’s plans. Such a platform actually is partly inside of the parking structure of the Bay (the model I saw years ago had a structural column in the platform itself), and connecting this platform vertically to Bloor Station would be tricky given surrounding structures and soil conditions.”

    True the upper Bloor-Yonge station on Yonge subway line at 197,000 daily boardings has more passengers than the lower Bloor-Yonge station on the Bloor-Danforth line at 179,000 daily boardings. But the upper Bloor-Yonge station on Yonge subway as two very wide side platforms,…. whereas the lower Bloor-Yonge station on the Bloor-Danforth line currently has only one centre platform,… thus the number of passenger per platform space is much higher on the lower Bloor-Yonge station on the Bloor-Danforth line.

    Currently, one of the main problems with the Bloor-Yonge subway interchange is that the two subway lines crosses at a “T”,… so everyone from Yonge line has to go to north end of platform to get to Bloor-Danforth line,… crashing into everyone from Bloor-Danforth line who has to enter the Yonge line platform at the north end.

    A new south platform for eastbound train on the lower Bloor-Yonge station on the Bloor-Danforth line would require new stairs, escalators and elevators to be located in the middle of the platforms of the upper Bloor-Yonge station on Yonge subway line. Thus, those on Yonge line switching to Bloor-Danforth line eastbound would make their way to middle of the platforms on upper Bloor-Yonge station. While those switching to go westbound would make their way to north end of the platforms on upper Bloor-Yonge station. Thus decreasing congestion on the upper Bloor-Yonge station by getting passengers off the platform faster, improving passenger flow and having more stairs, escalators and elevators between the upper and lower stations.

    Steve: First off, all day boardings are immaterial in this discussion, it is peak usage. The TTC proposes to increase service on the Yonge line by 50% (more if you consider that the Yonge trains would have greater capacity).

    I agree that there is no place to put the resulting increase in passenger flow downstairs at Yonge Station. However building and connecting to a new eastbound platform is not simple given ground conditions (a lot of water) and building foundations.

    This is one of those situations where with enough money, and the sheer pig-headedness to tear the station apart for construction, we could do this. The question is why we should do this if there are other alternatives. Note that it’s not just a question of station geometry, but of fleet size, carhouse space, operating costs and other considerations for the Yonge line.

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  16. Steve

    Irrespective of what is done at the upper level, as a commuter I can say with certainty a south platform would be a serious improvement to safety at the BD level, as at Union. The passenger flows are substantial due no DRL and the escalator/stair combo insufficient to cope with arriving and departing trains at both levels. The platform itself has virtually no space to absorb passengers in the case of delays etc and when dumbasses walk along and then randomly stop in the middle of the platform, forcing those who need to get by to step into the yellow line.

    Removing the south side of the existing platform from service might also allow for widening of the existing staircases as the escalators are frequently out of service, like last night when large numbers of commuters and Tamil protesters were transferring from YUS NB to BD EB at about 6.30pm.

    As for station geometry, we seem to be obsessed with straight platforms and a 6 car platform for a 6 car train. Not so in New York it seems. I agree with the rationale for operating with straight platforms, but a 4 car platform with selective door opening would reduce the cost and complexity of construction while allowing passengers not alighting at Yonge to select carriages likely to be less congested.

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  17. I just remembered one thing, not directly in the meeting….all the small things that we all notice….like putting 173 King Street EAST for St. Andrew station on the subway maps in the subway trains…I am sure there are “bloopers” around. One individual blooper is nothing, but if we add all of them then it adds to: What the heck are they thinking?

    I took the subway Warden-Broadview (I hate Bloor-Yonge with a passion), then I head a few levels up and I go towards the escalator … what do I see? There are a few steps you have to walk up to get to the escalator … who/what thought of doing this? That’s like having candy in front of a child and waving it around and teasing that child, except this is teasing people with disabilities that need those escalators. That is now my #1 stupidest thing on the TTC.

    Steve: This escalator was added after the station was built. Because it is directly above the tracks, and there isn’t enough room for the machinery pit at the bottom of the escalator, it cannot land flush with the mezzanine level and a few steps are required. Dumb, yes, but at least now we also have an elevator, when it’s working.

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  18. Mark: The South Ferry is a VERY bad example. The reason South Ferry has selective boarding because of the sharp turning radius of the staton itself, and because the platform at the Outer Loop is not long enough for the whole train. Although I’m not sure on the exact details, only the first fve cars serve the station, then leave. The gap is quite big between the train and platform, so gapfillers are used. Although this is a terminal station, it is very ineffective and time consuming boarding. The inner loop was worse, when trains ran there. This is why they built a new South Ferry Station, which is to be opened in February.

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  19. I ride York Mills a bit and I have never seen or heard of passengers getting off and meeting the bus at the top of the hill…or have my many coworkers who travel that route everyday.

    Perhaps this was a sarcastic dig at the fact that the old buses are indeed very slow, particularly on the hill heading up from the subway station…but they do make it. And from a strictly qualitative study the old buses do MUCH better on a snowy day on that hill (and the one heading east from Don Mills) than the newer Orion V/VII’s.

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  20. Keeping a tram service in mixed traffic on schedule is very difficult. I wonder if there is any will to turn Queen and King St into a car free zone. Torontonians should be shown that by making these streets into car free zone, trams will become fast and realiable.

    This is my proposal. Just for one week, let’s close Queen and King to all motor vehicles except for police and fire. Let’s see the results that we can achieve. The results should speak for itself and hopefully gather enough political support.

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  21. Benny, I agree with you to a certain point, the point at which you said close both Queen and King streets to all traffic for a week. This would gather political support. Support to have the politicians thrown out of office. Closing Queen and King streets would cause a traffic nightmare, while your at it benny why not close bloor street to all public traffic. If you did that you could run buses to supplement the subway without other traffic in your way. My point is that this is just not feasible. I would love to see better transit on those streets but you cannot just shut them down for a week to prove a point, that would not only be chaos but sheer stupidity. what I would love to see is the portions of ALL streetcar routes running through downtown buried. This means there would be no streetcars running above ground through downtown. This would allow for transit priority like the stretch of tunnel from Queens Quay to Union without causing a traffic nightmare.

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  22. Mark, I’m quite curious to find out how you obtained that document, as it seems to be on the TTC’s private server.

    Steve: The navigation is:

    From the main TTC site, go to “Business with the TTC” (linked at the top right of the page), then “Materials and Procurement”. On that page you will find a link to that department’s own site which has a link called “Current Tenders”. This will give you a list of all current and some recently closed tenders. The one for 4063 has just fallen off of the page, but is still on the server so the link supplied by Mark still works.

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  23. This is really sad, both for the loss of the car and for the symbolism of losing one at a time when we need them most. I’d be really interested to know how much the winning bidder paid for it and whether anyone other than scrap dealers we’re bidding.

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  24. @Grzegorz: the original link came from a post I saw on cptdb.ca – good job I didn’t link to metrolinx or I might have the 5-oh knocking on my door as some kind of mad hacker…

    Steve: It’s not nice to taunt poor Metrolinx. They’re a new agency, and they have a hard time getting any respect.

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  25. Transit City Bus routes? Was Stephen Cheung at this meeting? Did anyone see him? I bet this was his idea (probably not). Or maybe the 905 Tories (more likely given their track record and their reliance on an outdated mode of Rapid Transit, if it could be called as such).

    Steve: Actually Stephen Cheung had nothing to do with this. It’s a scheme from Adam Giambrone to brand major bus routes with guaranteed service levels at all hours as well as priority treatment where practical. It is not intended as a replacement for the Transit City LRT.

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  26. Mr. Giambrone was at the first Georgetown Corridor open house this evening. He was getting a strip torn off him by a woman from Weston even though none of it has anything to do with him or the TTC. Makes me wonder why he even bothered to be there.

    Steve: Giambrone also sits on the Metrolinx Board, and in that role he is deeply involved in this process.

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  27. Sorry – incomplete thought. I meant that he was being attacked with things that were completely irrelevant. She was trying to make it personal and trying to claim influence by agencies outside of Metrolinx’s control. There were plenty of other representatives present so he wouldn’t have needed to be there, but I commend him for appearing. He’ll be lucky he’s not hung at the Mount Dennis and Weston open houses by this sort of activism.

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  28. Regarding Bloor station, Im just curious – is there no way to shoehorn some – well, for lack of a better term, “pedestrian tunnels” that could get people from Yonge station to the south end of Bloor?

    I know it may not be convenient or easy and it may not be the safest option or the cheapest one – but I just want to know how possible it is.

    Some transit users can and do walk. Walking 1.5 km (more or less) in underground pedestrian walkways between stations in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore (to name a few) is a pretty common thing.

    Steve: The problem begins with the fact that Yonge is a centre platform station. All existing links to Bloor station go up, and the only alternative path is to go down to get under the eastbound track. This would require construction under the existing subway in an area that has a lot of groundwater and where it would be next to impossible to get heavy construction equipment. This issue was raised in the 1988 report that considered this option. Possible, but not easy.

    As for the anticipated Transit City bus services, that reminds me of the overuse of “cool names” and “brands” to make public transport ‘exciting” to people ~ “Unbus” and “RTV” and “Orange Line” instead of “bus” and “LRT” instead of “streetcar” among others

    Here in Malaysia there are two examples that have been overused:

    “Sentral” for bus and rail stations

    (there are at least 15 “Sentral’s” that I know of, and none of them are centrally located by any means)

    “rapid” for bus services

    (currently there are 2 “rapid” services that are by no means “rapid” with other cities clamoring to jump on the “rapid” bus-wagon)

    Sigh…it doesnt matter if it is a “bus” or an “unbus” (or RTV”), streetcar or “LRV”, as long as it takes me close to where I want to go, with reasonable speed, frequency and good quality.

    Regards,

    Moaz Yusuf Ahmad
    from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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  29. “As for the anticipated Transit City bus services, that reminds me of the overuse of “cool names” and “brands” to make public transport ‘exciting” to people ~ “Unbus” and “RTV” and “Orange Line” instead of “bus” and “LRT” instead of “streetcar” among others”

    For me, it is the Viva’s use of the terms “Unbus” and “RTV” that are the most offensive. It shows their utter contempt for real rapid transit solutions and their “substitution” of what could be considered an inferior substitute. Whoever coined these terms in Viva’s Advertising campaign is probably laughing all the way to the bank. What Fools!!!!

    Some people say that the 905 area (YRT) needs to be “eased” into an effective transit solution. “Easing” them results in inferior transit schemes such as Viva. In essense, if a solution akin to LRT was “forced” on them instead, it would have had a more dramatic effect. Had a higher transit authority “forced” Viva to be an LRT, its ridership increase would probably be more than the 15% that they are promoting.

    Steve: While we’re on the subject of calling something by a misleading name, we must remember how the “ICTS” (Intermediate Capacity Transit System) morphed into “ALRT” (Advanced Light Rapid Transit). The only thing “light” about it was the rolling stock, not the infrastructure, and the name was coined to trade on the poorly understood “LRT” term that had just come into vogue.

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  30. I have stood in rush hour and watched 11, 504 King street cars (west of bathurst) go by packed to the doors before finally cramming onto a still packed car.

    After having a serious medical emergency on one of these car’s I have become worried about not only the over crowding on the line, but the ability to save someone in the event of a heart attack, stroke or anaphylactic shock.

    I am not surprised that it was one of the most complained about lines. Even with increased frequency during rush hour, congestion is still high, it often remains high through the evenings. They could have them follow behind each other for a kilometer and it still wouldn’t improve the situation on King Street W.

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  31. Leah D. Says:
    “I have stood in rush hour and watched 11, 504 King street cars (west of bathurst) go by packed to the doors before finally cramming onto a still packed car.”

    Why don’t the TTC just put more streetcars on King Street? Oh, because the TTC don’t have any more streetcars to spare. Well, then why don’t the TTC just put more TTC buses on King Street to compliment the streetcars? Oh, because the TTC don’t have any more TTC buses to spare,… especially with all those hybrid buses in the shop getting new batteries.

    Everyday, in the late afternoon and evening, there are fleets of hundreds and thousands of buses in this city that are not being used,… yes, I’m talking about school buses. There might be a problem with the union, so have TTC driver drive these school buses. Might have to pull out a row of seats to make the aisles bigger. Put those big TTC magnetic logo/sticker on the school buses to identify them as TTC vehicles and route them along King Street right by Metro Hall,… and also along College Street right by Queens Park. After all, it was due to the lack of continuous provincial funding for public transit since the mid 1990’s that got us into this mess.

    It truely is a sad state of affairs when the public transit system in Canada’s largest city doesn’t even have enough vehicles to provide adequate public transit for it’s own residents,… yet, talk about expanding subway services outside it’s own city.

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  32. Many thanks to a TTC bus driver on a 7C Bathurst bus going south. I was heading to the Toronto Western Hospital with a high blood pressure on April 22 at 7pm, trying to get in touch with my family, I was so ill and forgot my cell phone.

    I hysterically tried to call my family to let them know what happened to me. Apparently when the driver got to the station, as I kept calling my cell repeatedly, he answered and I told him my medical condition, he was kind enough to understand. He told me to assist me further, instead of sending it to lost and found, in view of my situation, he give me his bus number 8140 and what time he would be back at Bathurst station. By that time 9.40 I was finished with emergency and he returned it to me and told me to take care of my self and explained in view of my medical situation it was no problem helping me to get back my phone that night.

    Not all drivers care what happens to customers. I’ve been taking the TTC for 25 years. This is the second honest attentive and caring driver I’ve met. I do wish we could have more like him whoever he is, it would simply make the world a better place.

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