Analysis of 512 St. Clair, January 2010 (Part 1: Introduction)

Updated February 26 at 11:15 pm:  The legend on the service chart has been corrected to reflect the actual location of the timepoints.

The 512 St. Clair route resumed streetcar operation from St. Clair West Station to Earlscourt Loop on Sunday, December 20, 2009.  This was the test everyone had waited so long to see — would the right-of-way on the busiest part of St. Clair Avenue make a difference, and how would the line operate.

As we know from complaints that poured in to the TTC and to local Councillors, things did not go well during the first month.  New scheduled were introduced in mid-February, and the decline in complaints indicates that riders are much happier.  Nonetheless, it is worthwhile looking at January 2010 to see where the problems lay.

This series of posts uses TTC vehicle monitoring data to review the operation of the St. Clair route for that first month.  I have requested the February data as well so that a “before and after” comparison will be possible with the new schedules.

This article is an introduction and, for those who have read these analyses before, a refresher on the methodology I have used and the format of the data presentation.  In future articles, I will review the month as a whole, but here the data is from one day, January 1, to set the stage.

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Au Revoir, Andy Barrie

Thursday, February 25th brought regular CBC listeners Andy Barrie’s last show as host of Metro Morning, a role Andy had for the past 15 years.  I met Andy by waking up to a new voice coming out of my radio, a new host on a show I’ve listened to, it seems, forever.  My bedroom radio is never tuned to any station but CBC Radio 1.

Later that Thursday morning, Andy Barrie talked on The Current (scroll down to “Listen to Part Two”) about his history in broadcasting, as a Canadian immigrant, and his relationship with the radio audience.  That friendship, that intimacy comes partly from the nature of morning radio, but also from radio itself, a medium where a good host is part of our daily lives, part of our family because they participate in so many of our routine moments.

I have had the privilege of sitting across the table from Andy or chatting on the phone over the years, as well as the dubious joy of a call from a story producer who would love to have me on at 5:50 am to help get the show rolling.  Guests show up at outrageous hours, something the Metro Morning team does every day, not just because the show has a good audience, but because everyone there cares about the importance of local radio and local issues.

Many people are studio guests for one story, and we never hear them again.  Others, like me, are repeat visitors.  We are all treated well, our stories given respect on air by a host who actually listens, who lets the story unfold even as he gently aims it through an arc to fit the time available.

The sense of family, the rapport between everyone that sounds so good on air is just as real in the studio.

Starting Monday, Andy will be “just down the hall and around the corner” from his old studio, still active at the CBC, but with the luxury of sleeping well after 4 am, of having a life after 9 pm.  He signed off with an “Au Revoir”, and I wish him the best of not-quite-retirements.