The Long Sad Tale of the Queen Car

One of the joys of year-end housecleaning is that I run across old files — letters and reports from bygone days that show how much, or how little has changed over the years.

Back in 1984, the Streetcars for Toronto Committee conducted a detailed survey of streetcar route operations with particular attention to short turns. We presented our manually collected findings in a manner that will be familiar to readers of this post from the detailed reviews of lines’ operation as graphic timetables.

That study prompted the TTC to commission the Joint Program in Transportation at the UofT to make a detailed, formal study of the Queen car. In due course, that study reported and the findings came to the Commission.

In time, I may dig out and publish all of that material, but one letter says far more than the studies. In April 1985, Alderman Dorothy Thomas (the title had not yet become “Councillor”) who represented the Beach wrote to Julian Porter, then Chair of the TTC, about the study. Her letter shows much of the same frustration with the TTC’s attitude to service quality and management as we have seen over the past quarter-century.  (Note that I have scanned in only the text from the letter and have dropped the graphics such the Council letterhead.)

At the time, the Queen route still operated with four-axle cars (PCCs and CLRVs), and had not yet experienced the wonders of wider headways with six-axle ALRVs nor the service cuts of the mid-90s.

Recently, the TTC attempted a trial operation with a split route using turnbacks at Shaw and at Parliament. I have requested but still have not yet received the vehicle monitoring data for the months of October and November 2009 that would allow a detailed review of that operation nor of the “standard” arrangements in place for part of each month and on weekends.

What we do know is this:

  • Staff hated the scheme, and some actively sabotaged it.
  • Although notices were sent at least twice advising that operators should carry riders west to Dufferin and east to Parliament, this was almost completely disregarded by staff, some of whom were quite aggressive in telling people they could not ride beyond the turnback point.
  • There was no attempt visible any time I checked to manage the merging of the two services, and it was common to see pairs of cars crossing downtown together.

A report on the split operation is expected early in 2010, but based on what I saw and heard, it will confirm what some TTC management probably wanted to demonstrate all along, that the community and the advocates should keep their fingers out of operational planning.

Among the comments in Alderman Thomas’ letter we see both how the TTC’s characterization of problems does not fit with empirical data, and that some problems arose simply from the way the line is managed.

Back in 1984/5, it was sad to see how much the TTC attempted to deny the problems they had with service reliability, and the degree to which they simply did not collect real data in the field.  Twenty-five years later, the TTC is doing some internal analysis of data from the vehicle monitoring system (CIS), but I have still not seen anything as sophisticated as the articles published here.

I’m an “amateur”, albeit one with a very strong IT background and a talent for making sense out of the large amounts of CIS data.  The TTC has never invited me to discuss my work, nor to make suggestions either for improvements or corrections to the methodology.

We’re all still waiting for “Next Bus” to be rolled out with online route displays of anything more than the Spadina and Harbourfront lines even though the contract for this system was awarded over three years ago.

When many routes appeared, briefly, in a beta version of the system, but with less than stellar accuracy in displays, we were told that the problem lay with the completion of the GPS rollout.  Either that rollout is going much more slowly than planned, or there are still problems handling additional routes.  We’ve seen publicity shots of central dispatchers looking at the Queen car on a real map, not a bare-bones text display from the dawn of CIS.  Why are these displays not available to the public?

Promises of new, accurate information channels for TTC riders come frequently, but I can’t help feeling a lot of them short-turn well before they reach their destinations.

31 thoughts on “The Long Sad Tale of the Queen Car

  1. While transit fans are not any better, or any worse, than transit planners when it comes to, well, planning, I cannot fathom why you are not considered an expert, and not a “dilettante”. Does the Jane Jacobs award mean ANYTHING to these people?

    As well, how patronizing of the TTC, even when the Commissioners were not City patsies, to snub their noses at the vox populi. Not that they are the ONLY system that acts this way, but still, their “Father nows best” attitude covers-up a lot of sins.

    Let’s hope the New Year will bring new enlightenment … Probably not.


  2. We are still waiting for that trip planner on the TTC website that was supposed to come in the fall of 2 double 0 9. I bet you it will not be as good as myttc.

    I am sure they track their buses/streetcars … how hard is it to put it on a website/screen? (points to Google Latitude that uses the GPS from my phone).

    Wait … ignore this, as I don’t want any GPS element to the TTC. Have you ever seen the GPS screen at Spadina for the 510? The icons are so bunched up that you can’t even see the directional arrows (NB/SB).

    Steve: The same display has been available online for a long time. At the moment I write this, there is a big gap northbound from King to Harbord, and another one southbound from Dundas to York Street.


  3. This is incredibe…

    Earlier this year I learnt about a system called APRS which is used for vehicle tracking … I setup a GPS tracker that publicly broadcast on a HAM radio for under 300$ … no backend technology was needed, the signals are automatically repeated and put on the internet for free by HAM radio operators around the world … i was up and mapping my travels in minutes … the ttc should have gone this way, so that anyone could get the signal and process it themselves.

    The backend of this seems rather simple (just a database, perhaps with some data mirroring) … the front end seems like it would be relatively simple as well … a simple web service frontend and it would be done.

    Likewise any reports that are generated should be automated and could probably be done in excel, or better yet crystal, or some other transit specific system (they must exist).

    This is one of those times when data that is set free is more useful than data that is kept hidden, the public would be all over this creating and duplicating, probably making better tools than the TTC will ever make (see what happens when they gave you the CIS data)….rather it looks like they are trying to get it perfect before they release it, which in this day and age is asking for more work than is necessary.

    At the least the ttc should be giving the public a roadmap as to when this data will be released and why it is taking so long.

    Steve: To be fair to the TTC, it’s not quite as simple as you describe it. First off, GPS locators on the transit vehicles are quite recent (although they’ve been available for quite some time), and the TTC used a rather primitive way of figuring out where its vehicles actually were (this is described in detail in one of my articles). This information was transformed from what was basically “location X plus Y metres” (or more accurately, Y axle turns which translate approximately to metres) to a specific point. You will note that this information does not contain a direction, and that is inferred from the vehicle’s schedule. Of course, if the vehicle is late, or is wandering off route, things get confused rather quickly. A lot of the programming work I had to do, in effect, worked backwards from the known problems of the data to strip out the junk and interpolate missing info.

    I have not yet received any data based on GPS info, although the way that the data is presented (with the internal TTC map of signposts and offsets translated to street names) the external data could come to me in the same format as today. I suspect the TTC is already doing this type of translation to interface new systems with old ones.

    The dataset for one day’s operation of one route is rather large, let alone for the entire system, and the extracts I see are only a subset of the full data stream transmitted from the vehicles. All the same, it would be useful for those who want it if the TTC developed a mechanism for posting this data for all routes somewhere and keeping some number of days available (say one week) for download.


  4. Bittorrent it if it’s really big, a week at a time…

    Better would be to give out passwords for a realtime feed or an api, limit the number of uses to some number, then charge a nominal fee for anything above that…if you can’t give it away for free then monitize it…

    I don’t think anyone is thinking that an open api and the associated costs should be carried by the ttc, but the data should be available for one-time downloads, and then if people want to host it themselves they could…

    How big are we talking? I’d be willing to setup a hosted godaddy environment to store the data if we could get it from the ttc in some sort of regular batch…12$/month for unlimited space/transfer…

    Steve: The daily source data for Queen is about 1.4mb and you should basically scale up the system as a whole based on vehicle counts (every vehicle on a route is generating data). One week’s data would not be a lot in terms of storage, but it is a lot in terms of download bandwidth if a lot of people went for it. Of course everyone isn’t going to fetch every route every day.

    The TTC would also have to generate this extract as a regular job for every route, something they only do now on request even though this type of analysis was one of the selling features of the original CIS, but never implemented.


  5. Hi Steve,

    “Staff hated the scheme” – any particular reason for that?

    Steve: I think it was viewed as an experiment imposed by the politicians and the planners. I overheard a few conversations where operators, replying to comments from passengers, said something like “the politicians made us do it”. To what degree this attitude filtered down through the organization and from what level I cannot pinpoint, but from day one, there was no attempt to make it work.


  6. I challenge that rather than actively sabotage operations, staff may just be lazy.

    My job is customer service related; I am front desk at a condo. If a resident gets guests who only know their first name, I can refuse them access. Last name, and/or suite number are required. But, if I want to (and I dont HAVE to) I can put in the extra effort to make the connection (IE use the ‘search’ function in the computer, ask a few extra questions, like does he wear glasses etc). If I choose not to do so it is because I chose to be lazy, not to sabotage the resident, and when I hear of cars heading downtown back-to-back it reminds me of the times while on the job I HAVE chosen to be lazy.

    I also challenge that operators may not wish to carry passengers all the way because of possible difficulties later on. For example, I rode with a friend on route 54, Lawrence East, to his house, and then planned to take the loop back home. I explained this to the operator, (who asked me to disembark) who then said he was going to have a layover, then thought a little more, and told me I did indeed have to get off the bus. So I did. Walked to the next stop. And got picked up by him on the way back a few minutes later. He was very helpful in that he flagged down the collector at the SRT station (who let me know I’d missed the last southbound train) and helped me find out exactly where to connect the the eglinton blue night route.

    I can understand that on a layover/break, that he would want the bus to be empty. It’s not a requirement he carry me, but its not a requirement he tell me to leave either. As someone who works in customer service, I understood his request and complied without argument.

    Sorry that is such a long paragraph, but from my prospective, the problem is not that the TTC as a whole is unwilling to change, but that they are unwilling to put in the EXTRA EFFORT required for a change to work. Why they are unwilling to do so (orders from management, laziness from management, hate of management, laziness of employees, etc etc etc) I will refrain from commenting on, as I’ve already done so in the past, and that topic alone is a discussion onto itself.

    Steve: The point about having a passenger-free layover speaks to something that could have easily been addressed. For westbound cars turning at Shaw, the appropriate layover would be on Dufferin after a connection was made with the 29. For eastbound cars, simply reversing the direction of the loop would bring every car to Broadview, and they could then layover southbound on Parliament.

    There was a management issue simply in the way the trial was “approved” by the Commission. Staff said, we’re going to do this, but we won’t tell you how, just approve it please. The details of the operation were not known until the schedules came out and there was no opportunity to spot potential problems and get them corrected before the fact.


  7. Dorothy Thomas wrote a very good letter and it’s really terribly sad that 25 years later one could – and you do – make exactly the same points (and doubtless receive exactly the same answers from TTC management. Or are simply ignored!) Plus ça change and and all that!


  8. The only way to solve this Queen Car problem is to build a ROW on Queen or build a subway underneath Queen (DRL).

    The ROW would make the streetcars run faster but would disturb the already narrow and thin Queen Street. It could run into problems like the St. Clair ROW, like the left turn lanes.

    The Queen Subway would take the streetcars off Queen. with a possible local bus every 20 – 30 minutes. Besides making service on Queen much faster, it could also act as a DRL. The problem with this method is construction period and method of construction. Tunnel Bore would cause less commotion but still needs Cut and Cover for stations. Cut and Cover is the cheapest way, but it disturbs Queen Street even more than the ROW would.


  9. I’ve sent Adam Giambrone a message requesting contact info for someone who could setup a nightly batch (any contact info you have would be appreciated, you can just email it to me)…

    I think an ftp job would be the simplest, with an extract run every night at 12:01 for the previous day … they can upload the file and delete it after the file has been sent.

    Upstream from them should be about 1-2gb/day from what you said … I’d imagine initially that I’d process the files into either routes or vehicle seperated files by date, so that people could download small parts of the data at a time, rather than the whole file … downstream could be limited via kb downloaded, but we’ll see what the usage is … I doubt besides ttc nerds that there is much demand for day old transit location.


  10. Will a GPS-based system even work on all routes? GPS units in cars routinely fail downtown in and around the financial district. Due to the skyscrapers, GPS units can’t find satellites, so they make errors about your location.

    Steve: The TTC had to purchase higher-quality GPS units than the typical off-the-shelf stuff you are talking about specifically to deal with this problem.


  11. On CP24 last night, there was a segment showcasing TTC ops — including a wall sized screen which showed “the GPS location of EVERY TTC vehicle” using “recently installed technology” which we learned was housed behind the rear seats in streetcars and would aid in providing timely information to better manage routes.

    I was shocked to learn this project was complete and only available internally.

    Steve: Ah yes. That was a repeat broadcast, but I remember the original. I will believe that it is actually working system-wide when it is made available to the public.


  12. Just how far back do these reliability problems go? Did they by any chance start when the TTC ended Muiltiple Unit operation of PCCs on Queen or did they start some other time?

    Steve: They have always been with us and stem from an attitude that keeping cars on time takes precedence over providing service. The problem became much worse as the service was cut back, the ALRVs replaced the CLRVs and the hookup with Long Branch occured. The TTC is still tinkering, but has not actually rolled out a model for headway-based rather than schedule-based operation.


  13. From reading this again I think that my previous comments are a bit wrong, as you use the word “Staff”

    David Gunn was “Staff” as is that bus driver out for his first ride. The problem with the TTC if I may be so blunt is that “Staff” hates “Staff”. Different positions, of course. The hate and distrust is part of what makes it so difficult to make any real changes, as changes that are perceived as helping or hurting some “Staff” mean that “Staff” as a whole, will “hate” it, not because they hate “it” but because they hate the other “Staff” members who are helped / not hurt by the change.

    Steve: I deliberately use the generic term to avoid getting into a situation where one could assume I am painting all of “management”, or “planning” or “operators” with different characteristics. There are good folks all through the TTC, but there are also bad ones coupled with a very paternalistic organization that breeds a “we know what’s best” attitude.


  14. I agree with Jon – the 501 needs to be on its own ROW along Queen (where the problems with reliability occur) or put in a tunnel.

    Another option would be reliable improvements for the route. For example, the Lakeshore Planning Council wants the 507 restored, but it would operate between Long Branch Loop and Dundas West via Lake Shore Blvd. W., the Queensway, and Roncesvalles. The 501 could be terminated at Humber – perhaps operating only east to Parliament. Another car (perhaps the 502) could operate between McCaul and the east end (the 503 would still provide service – and a direct connection – between Bingham Loop and downtown.)

    Steve: You have come to this discussion late in the day. The various schemes for reorganizing the 501/502/503/507 started some years ago with a proposal from me, and it has been discussed here at length.


  15. This behaviour by TTC is, at best, false advertising. Riders who show up at stops and read the schedule are led to believe there will be more service than there is, not on an exceptional basis but on a continuous basis. If it affected 1800 people on a GO train it would get attention but since it’s 200 people on a streetcar it’s deemed “a price worth paying”.

    During extreme weather alerts the TTC should be instructed that on no account should short turns occur unless the line is physically blocked. In the central part of the network there are more alternate routings available and commercial premises to find shelter. If service is impeded, buses should be dispatched to fill the gaps as they are on the subway.

    As for route performance, in the absence of CIS it might be possible to crowdsource at least some data. The passenger group “Rail Users Ireland” has been asking regular riders on one route to advise arrival times so that Irish Rail’s reliability statistics can be checked.

    “I note that the advertising budget for the TTC is over one million dollars for 1985. The best advertising is a good word of mouth.” The Operating Budget does not break out commission marketing costs but 25 years later I’m betting it’s a LOT more. The Alderman’s commentary on the best advertising remains, erm, right on the money.


  16. I’m waiting for the day Toronto has something like the 7th Ave transitway in Calgary. It has its problems with traffic light timing but still it’s a heck of a lot better that the Queen car in Toronto – which has similar ridership numbers as the C-Train. If Toronto can’t ever come to terms that transit, and pedestrians (Stephen/8th Ave Mall in Calgary) are more important than cars, at least on parts of Queen Street, than let’s all just give up.

    I mean Calgary, built on oil and gas, figured this out (though there were plans to build an east-west freeway through downtown had there been enough money 30 years ago) why can’t Toronto? Yes, we have to pick winners, and why is it always cars in a city that always seems to have the best intensions that are never fully realized.


  17. Well, comparing the C-train to a streetcar route is not quite fair. The C-Train is to Calgary, a city of about a million, what the subway is to Toronto, closer to three million. The Queen Streetcar, on the other hand, runs through a street that can’t be simply closed to traffic without a veritable uprising. I still don’t understand why the TTC’s pilot for King Street never proceeded even though it was approved in principle, but that’s for another discussion.

    Steve: The King Street proposal was seen as overkill. Also, if the City were serious about King Street it would enforce the “transit lane” and get rid of the illegal parking by taxis. Make what you’ve got work first before reconfiguring the street.


  18. Someone suggested headway based scheduling.

    I think that a headway based schedule would work better for some routes, but would be lousy for other routes. For example a route that has vehicles 3 minutes apart it would work well, but how about a bus that runs one every 30 minutes? People who live on such routes tend to go by the schedule, so they don’t end up standing out in the rain or freezing weather for 29 minutes because they just missed the previous bus.

    As for the Queen car, the suggestion of a dedicated ROW, might work for 90% of the route, but the problem is The Beach, where the street is narrow and buildings are tight to the street, while traffic is heavy and there is parking along both sides.

    The city can’t eliminate the parking, because merchants firmly believe that eliminating so much as one on street parking spot means that every business within 40km of the eliminated parking spot would need to go out of business within a week. For a similar reason they can’t restrict motor vehicle traffic, in the area, the BIA would be having councils hide.

    There is a streetcar yard off Queen, perhaps they should turn some cars there, so that some streetcars would turn there and some would go to the end of the line, effectively making a permanent, scheduled short turn. Destination signs would reflect which cars go to the end of the line and which ones do not.


  19. The Beach area vehemently opposes any slight loss of service to their neighbourhood. That is why I seem to recall an unprecedented effort at the TTC to make sure every car made it through Neville Park at the cost of service to the west. There is also a loop at Coxwell for short turns, but there presumably is enough demand east of there for the service currently scheduled … And I highly doubt that 90% of Queen Street is suitable for a ROW. It is a major thoroughfare, and I don’t think you can just claim it for streetcars simply because the line is badly managed.

    Steve: That’s another part of the counterargument against the TTC’s calls for intrusive transit priority. If they actually made a decent job of managing what they have and could prove it couldn’t be substantially improved without the right-of-way, people might listen. However, when the standard response is to throw up your hands, say you can’t do anything with mixed traffic, and make more service cuts, it rings a bit hollow.


  20. I’m actually a little surprised that the TTC is using the 510 as a beta route available for online GPS tracking.

    I would think the fear of putting this data out there would be that it showcases how even when streetcars operate in mixed traffic, performance doesn’t seem to be vastly improved. It seems like the ‘mixed traffic’ line is the ‘go-to’ excuse with them. (Granted, I’m sure the service would improve if the 510 used signal priority on Spadina).

    I could be wrong here, but I don’t understand why so many 510 cars have scheduled turns at king. I understand that the southern section of the route is less dense, but in my experience the trip from Queen’s Quay & Spadina to Union station is actually pretty quick and wouldn’t cause significant problems if more cars were scheduled to complete the entire route.

    As it is, cars seem to bunch up at King and we always have cars travelling in packs between King and Spadina Stn.

    For example take this screenshot:

    With 18 cars on the route (some are hiding behind others that may not be clear in this photo, but is evident in the high-res original) there is not one car south of King. Yet there are 3 in Spadina Stn, and 6 SB cars in between just Dundas and King.

    or this screenshot:

    If you want to go Northbound from Bremner (Union Station and Queen’s Quay cars both serve this section) you will be waiting 23 minutes. Luckily, if you wait that long you will have your choice of 3 cars all arriving at basically the same time.

    These were taken at Rush hour, for what it’s worth.

    I actually wonder if the TTC purposefully tries to make using the 510 from Union less desirable hoping to keep people on the under-utilized University Subway from Union.

    Steve: With no service south of King, I suspect something was blocking the line further south. This would not be a typical situation, but I know the line can be a mess a good deal of the time and “mixed traffic” is not the answer. As I write this on a snowy Sunday evening, the service looks quite decently spaced.

    By the way, if too many cars go to Queen’s Quay, they exceed the capacity of the “transit priority” intersections which are really oriented to managing car traffic and letting the occasional streetcar through.


  21. Jonathon said “There is also a loop at Coxwell for short turns”.

    Yes, but not for Queen cars. Coxwell Loop can only serve 506 cars coming south on Coxwell, and throwing them back north again. The exit track does not connect with through westbound service on Queen.

    Steve: And cars can only enter from the north. I want to watch one of the new Flexities go around this loop!


  22. The NextBus roll out has been delayed by a dispute between TTC, the City and Nextbus over where to put the Information signs. So until they can all agree on where to put the signs, it will remain in beta testing on Spadina.

    Steve: And what does this have to do with online access? Why should Nextbus even care?


  23. David Cavlovic says:
    January 3, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Jonathon said “There is also a loop at Coxwell for short turns”.

    Yes, but not for Queen cars. Coxwell Loop can only serve 506 cars coming south on Coxwell, and throwing them back north again. The exit track does not connect with through westbound service on Queen.

    Steve: And cars can only enter from the north. I want to watch one of the new Flexities go around this loop!

    They could do it but if they ran a two car train it would probably block itself from leaving the loop. A single car could not stop in the loop very easily without blocking part of a sidewalk. I bet if they want to store a couple of cars they will start to send them to Woodbine. The Flexities are going to cause problems at a few loops:

    1) Lansdowne [Earlscourt]: If they have trouble getting into the loop their tail end will still be on St. Clair. When in the loop they could block the driveway that comes up there, and if they exit onto St. Clair while the light is red they will still be in the loop blocking the sidewalk and the two car lanes. This loop will need a properly designed traffic phase for exiting.

    2) Wolseley loop could be tight for a Flexity. You certainly will not be able to park two cars in it.

    3) St. Clair West Station: How are they going to do the loading and unloading? Are they going to do both at the same platform or try something stupid like use the spare track for eastbound cars and the regular tack for westbound? They should have rebuilt this loop properly when they had the tracks torn up and done something like the ex where the tracks have crossovers.

    4) I am not sure but I think that there is enough room in McCaul for a Flexity to park without problems as I seem to recall stopping two or three PCC’s there.

    Perhaps the TTC should make a clearance checking car by pulling a trailer behind a CLRV that have multi coloured paint sprayers on it just to make sure what the clearances are.


  24. Robert Wightman:

    Methinks some of the loops you mention will have to close! There is no way Coxwell or Wolseley Loops have enough space for a rebuild, so Woodbine Loop is going to be some busy, while goodness knows what short-turning will happen for Bathurst cars at Queen (though it would be funny to see a Flexity block itself from leaving the loop: sort of emblematic of TTC policy.)

    Steve: A Flexity could not block itself at Wolseley because the loop is counter-clockwise and a short-turning car does not cross its own path.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, reversing the loops at Coxwell, and at Earlscourt may solve the problem … Nah!

    Steve: Neither Coxwell-Queen nor Earlscourt Loop is well-situated to be reverse given that they would both require a left turn into the loop just beyond an intersection.


  25. I’ve always wondered what prompted the odd configuration at Coxwell Loop. It is the only place in the entire system with a fully-curved switch that continues right through the blade. Does anyone know of another system that used one of these? It is also almost a gauntlet with two overlapping tracks allowing only one route at a time to pass. When a Flexity derails here Bombardier will blame the unique track configuration.


  26. Kristian says:
    January 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    “I’ve always wondered what prompted the odd configuration at Coxwell Loop. It is the only place in the entire system with a fully-curved switch that continues right through the blade. Does anyone know of another system that used one of these? It is also almost a gauntlet with two overlapping tracks allowing only one route at a time to pass. When a Flexity derails here Bombardier will blame the unique track configuration.”

    The loop does not go far enough east to allow there to be a trailing point switch on Queen before the facing point switch as there is at St. Clair and Lansdowne. There is also no need for a car that loops at Coxwell to go west on Queen. It could just go straight down Coxwell. I am trying to remember if that loop will hold two CLRV’s. If it doesn’t hold two of them it won’t hold a Flexity. I would not be surprised to see the Flexities use Woodbine instead of Coxwell for 506 short turns. Woodbine has two tracks so they could use one 501 and one for 506.

    Steve: Yes, Coxwell-Queen Loop will hold two PCC/CLRV sized cars, and therefore one Flexity, but only just. It’s fairly easy to measure the size of the loop off of the satellite shot on Google Maps.


  27. Good Heavens! When did this open? Last time I was by there, admittedly a few years ago, it was a greasy spoon. Now it’s sure to cause a few derailments.

    Steve: You will get more derailments on Queen West on Saturdays a few blocks west of Bathurst where there’s quite a show in the window.


  28. Out of curiosity Steve, at the risk of going too far off topic, did the TTC ever seriously consider replacing Coxwell loop with a new one further south during the redevelopment of Greenwood Raceway?

    Steve: No.


  29. Ah, Queen Street! What would Toronto be without you?

    Always an entertaining experience, even back in the day.

    I remember seeing in the 70’s “other” Adult book stores à la Times Square, on the stretch between University and Bathurst, complete with old men in trench coats. Actually, I think it was the same store, which was constantly relocating west due, I guess, to increasing rent in what was the beginning of the Queen West village. Such a great scene around the Rivoli in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

    I also remember, for what seemed like a couple of decades, west of Bathurst, a Ukrainian real estate agent, with the sign A. Hrynyk Realty. It seemed his only client was the barber shop right next door, which had in its window “For Sale, A. Hrynyk Realty”. Local colour: gotta love it.


  30. Last week I took the GO train home to my local stop Long Branch, where I catch the 501 streetcar. Every day last week there were 2 ALRVs in the bypass track, lights off but operators within, around 6.30 pm.

    We all had to wait (not too long) for active 501s to come. I asked one of the active 501 operators what the other two ALRVs were doing there, & she said they were there in case of need.

    Seems a bit much having 2 streetcars on emergency layover at the west loop of the line.

    Steve: This is what passes for line management at the TTC. Put “gap cars” at the outer end of the line so that they can fill holes in service in the counter-peak direction. Pay operators to sit in these cars (that could be providing useful service somewhere), but hardly ever use them. Then complain how you can’t improve scheduled service because you have no free cars or operators, and how it would all be a waste anyhow to throw more cars out into mixed traffic.


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