Updated April 26 at 2:30 pm:
I received a note from the TTC castigating me for the “gotcha” nature of this article. In effect, in my zeal to show this as a staff error, I left out information that would have painted a different picture.
The background for this is that at the December 2010 meeting (the first of the new Commission), there was a presentation on the options for serving Variety Village. This presentation is not available online, but was sent to me with the complaint. Given its size, I have excerpted the portion relating to the proposed 12 Kingston Road split in which it is clear that (a) service would be removed from Kingston Road at some hours and (b) staff do not support this option.
The December report accompanying the presentation includes an earlier report on Variety Village which mentions the split 12 Kingston Road service as an option, but recommends against it. There is no mention in the 2004 report that a split service would remove buses from Kingston Road completely during some periods of operation.
The loss of service with this option is not mentioned in the April report or recommendation approved by the Commission, nor in the “Commission Highlights” posted after the meeting. It is quite clear that this was seen as a “good news” story, and that the Commission did not understand (or if they did, care to acknowledge) that a service cut was involved.
The original post from April 25 follows below.
As I reported recently, the TTC will modify the 12 Kingston Road bus effective May 8 so that the 12B branch operates past the front door of Variety Village.
When this proposal was before the Commission, the report stated:
“… the modification which would have the least detrimental effect on existing customers would be to change the 12 KINGSTON RD bus route so that every second bus operates via Birchmount Road and Danforth Avenue, with the introduction of a new stop on Danforth Avenue in front of Variety Village …”
However, the service change notice for this on the TTC’s website describes a very different change:
There will be no change to the 12 (Victoria Park Station-St Clair) branch, which will continue to operate via Kingston Road in both directions.
With this change, service will be removed from Kingston Road, between Birchmount Road and Danforth Avenue, in both directions, in the late evening from Monday to Friday and at all times on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
The reason service disappears is that route 12 does not operate at all times, and for those when it does not, service on part of Kingston Road will disappear. A reader alerted me to this problem and writes:
The major effect is that 12 does not operate after 10 PM Mon-Fri or weekends and holidays. This means that there is no service on Kingston Rd between Birchmount and Cliffside on weekends. There will be four stops missed eastbound and two stops missed westbound.
The major stop in both directions is Glen Everest (at the bottom of the hill for those who know the route). These two stops are very busy as there are several apartment buildings here (including TCHC). There are many seniors and mobility challenged passengers who will lose their late evening wekday service as well as all weekend service.
I have been operating this route on weekends for quite some time now and I am very concerned for these people who will lose their weekend service. Seniors walking with the aid of canes and walkers will not be able to get to the closest stops to catch the bus. This past weekend, I kept an informal personal poll of riders at Glen Everest: every trip through this section had at least one person (usually two or three) getting on or off the bus (this was Sunday from 8AM until 4:30 PM. This is not the every other bus scenario that was originally proposed.
Will someone at the TTC please explain how taking service away from one part of the route, presumably for the greater good of Variety Village, meets the terms of the proposal made to and approved by the Commission?
Also worth mentioning here is the effect this change has on walking distances to transit for people living south of Kingston Road. Given that the TTC no longer seems to care about this (based on the defeat of an attempt at including such a criterion in service cutback evaluations), how many more riders will find that they are simply not important enough to warrant service?
The service change came from a request by Councillor Gary Crawford who, I am sure, was not aware that some of his constituents are about to lose their bus service.