The Bloor-Yonge Platform Experiment (Updated)

Updated November 27 at 10:00 am:

A section has been added at the end of this post with photographs of Bloor-Yonge station showing the crowd control measures.

During the AM peak, the TTC is experimenting with crowd control measures at Bloor Station, southbound with the intention of getting more trains down the line and increasing its peak capacity.

Media reports last week did not fully describe what is happening, and for the benefit of those who do not use the station in the morning rush, here is a short description.

  • The existing station before the change:
    • The southbound platform is double-width thanks to an enlargement of the station many years ago during construction of a new office tower.  There is the original platform plus a passageway of almost equal width separated from the main part of the platform by pillars, and at the north end, a wall with several openings.
    • To the west of the southbound platform is the concourse linking the Yonge and Bloor lines, and two sets of stairs and escalators down to the BD level (Yonge Station).  The set closer to the Yonge subway platform tends to be the more heavily used.
    • Passengers coming from the BD line would tend to congregate at the north end of the Bloor Station platform because (a) that’s where they came from the BD subway, and (b) many passengers want to go to the north end exits at College, Queen and King stations.
    • Yonge trains arriving southbound tended to be most crowded at the north end with passengers intending to transfer to the BD line.
  • Following the change:
    • In the west mezzanine, riders coming up the stairway closest to the Bloor Station platform meet a temporary set of barriers directing them into the passage along the wall side of the platform.  They do not actually get on the platform and cannot board trains until they are over two car-lengths down the platform.  If they really want a north end car, they must double back at that point.
    • Riders coming up the far stairway have the option of joining the flow into the southbound passageway, or swinging to the north either to leave via the station exit, or attempt an end-run onto the north end of the platform.
    • Riders leaving southbound trains are directed to walk north on the main part of the platform and then into the concourse.  This divides the traffic from Yonge-to-Bloor transferees who use the main part of the platform from the Bloor-to-Yonge transferees who use the passageway.
    • TTC staff are positioned at critical locations to ensure that people actually follow the correct path so that ideal flows are maintained.
    • TTC staff are at each of the train door positions to ensure passengers can first get out of the trains, and then to regulate boarding so that when the train is ready to leave (full or with another train nearby) passengers don’t rush the doors and try to jam on at the last moment.

For the first few days, it took time for passengers to get used to the new arrangements, and many are still seeing this setup for the first time.  From talks with TTC staff at the station, I learned that the confusion is falling off, and I saw few problems myself.

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