Recent comments in the thread regarding the split operations on 501 Queen, as well as a reported incident where an operator was unaware that GO Transit could be used as a “bridge” between two TTC routes, led me to send questions for clarification to the TTC’s Director of Corporate Communications, Brad Ross.
Here, with my comments, are the replies. The questions have been slightly reformatted so that they can stand outside of the context in which they were written.
1. What is the proper procedure in the case of a fare dispute or other disagreement with an operator? At Exhibition Loop where the TTC Times Two rule would apply, cars have time to kill and a discussion with the operator would probably not hold up service. If you’re sitting in traffic at, say, Queen and Shaw, things are a little trickier.
- Proper procedure for the customer, as with all fare disputes, is for the customer to pay a fare, retain their original proof of payment (Transfer in this case) and contact Marketing and Customer Service after the fact.
- It would have been prudent for the operator to contact CIS to determine whether the transfer was valid or not, the operator did not and apparently chose to delay their trip and then drop the issue.
- A reminder notice will be posted, and ensure all Supervisors are aware of the policy that allows such transfer use.
2. Is there a generic requirement on all routes for operators to carry passengers around the loops? In many cases there are loops that have stops on them.
- At night after subway closure, we do not allow customers to stay on vehicles as they enter subway stations i.e. 306 night cars into Dundas West/Main and cars into Broadview after closing or before opening, etc.
- We also stop taking customers into High Park after 9:00pm (This is printed on the stop card WB on Howard Park at Parkside Drive).
- All vehicles (Bus and Streetcar) are required to service all stops on ‘On-Street’ loopings. This is sometimes an issue for some operators’ interpretation on Transfer Validity i.e. is it valid only for travel around the loop or for the following trip.
- The customer issue on the 507 (Queen to Parliament) branch of Queen is that cars have layovers NB on Parliament at Shuter. Of course, any customer normally wishing to transfer to a 504 car to get north on Broadview would want to stay onboard and transfer to a Dundas or King car NB at Dundas and Broadview.
- The customer issue on the 500 (Queen to Shaw) branch of Queen 501 is that cars have a layover on Dufferin North of Queen.
- The operator issue on either the 500 or 507 branches of the 501 route is that having customers onboard their vehicle during a ‘recovery’ layover is not desirable, particularly during the evening.
I will give Brad Ross the benefit of the doubt and assume he means that “500” cars lay over on Dufferin north of King. If they are laying over north of Queen, Adam Giambrone has started to build the Dufferin streetcar without telling anyone. There’s also a rather thick wall in the way.
The issue about operators having people on vehicles while laying over is inconsistent with previous statements that people could ride around the loops. Either they can or they cannot, and the TTC needs to sort this out. Also, there are many locations where vehicles routinely lay over with passengers onboard — every subway station for example.
I can understand the premise at work here, but it doesn’t hold up to a very basic issue — that the TTC exists to provide service, and designing routes so that people are kicked off before major transfer points is incredibly bad customer service. If the TTC or Local 113 is really adamant about this, they should reverse the direction of the loops so that passengers can travel outbound as far as possible before the cars turn back toward downtown. For cars turning at Shaw, the layover is after they reach Dufferin, and there is no reason passengers could not be carried to King and Dufferin where they could connect with the bus.
Brad Ross acknowledges that the two policies (no layovers with passengers on board vs. carrying people around loops) are inconsistent, and that the TTC needs to sort this out.
3. What is the policy for vehicles going out of service on carhouse trips? It is extremely common for cars running to and from Spadina to run in service, and a similar arrangement applies to other routes. Is there a different policy for bus garage trips which run clearly marked “Not in service”?
- As long as the vehicle is fit for revenue service (Not disabled; carrying a farebox and transfers with a transportation operator), the vehicle remains in revenue service while running into or out of service. One of the reasons for this is that, since they can not pass an ‘in service car’ there is no advantage to the commission of operating out of service – No trip time savings.
- Buses used to be in service while entering or leaving service. That changed in either the late seventies or early eighties. They ‘deadhead’, thus the commission saves some running time on the ‘deadhead trips’ because the buses can operate with no interruption to/from the garage.
4. If a vehicle is on diversion, is it supposed to serve all stops it encounters enroute, not just the ones on its “home turf”?
- Yes, Streetcars are always in service on diversionary routings, whether the diversion is planned or not. Again, there is no real advantage to ‘deadheading’ as the can neither pass a car on its own route nor be passed by a car on their home route. The critically important issue is for the streetcar operator to ensure any boarding customers are aware that it is a diverted car and also to announce any turns off of the diverted route, and to issue transfers to customers who might have neglected to get them on paying their fares.
This doesn’t address the issue of bus diversions, and I’ll leave that for a future response from the TTC.