Streetcars Return to Roncesvalles, Sort Of

Work is now complete on Roncesvalles Avenue, and it is open for streetcar service.

Starting June 25, carhouse trips for the Carlton and Dundas routes will resume via Roncesvalles, but the 504 King bus shuttle will remain until July 30 because that is the next regular change in TTC schedules.  It is possible that some streetcar shuttles may appear, but the TTC’s press release is a bit vague on the details.  The TTC’s route diversion page for King has not been updated to reflect the change.

6 thoughts on “Streetcars Return to Roncesvalles, Sort Of

  1. They must not have proofread the news release on the TTC website as well. As of the morning of June 25, the news release says “Full streetcar service on Roncesvalles Avenue will resume July 30”. Must be a cost savings measure not having a proofreader.

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  2. So work on the street is finished but cars won’t run yet because it doesn’t fit to TTC’s administrative schedule? Customer focused as always I see.

    Let’s see how long it takes until somebody in the media asks Ford about this one.

    Steve: At the point the schedules were put together, there was no guarantee that the work would be done by now, and so it was timed to match the next schedule change. The alternatives (assuming an earlier completion and scheduling accordingly) would have cost more, and saving money is the order of the day. On that basis, the TTC fits with Ford’s agenda.

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  3. geez.. you guys try to find fault with everything! Back 7 years ago where I live in the beach, and yes during King David’s reign, the trackwork from Neville west was completed two or three weeks early. They cancelled the 13 Neville Park temporary bus but they turned the same three buses into rte#201 shuttles that ran from Neville to Queen & Coxwell for the next number of weeks until the new board period. So, I believe, unless it’s a real compelling reason, they have always done it this way! In my case, drivers came from a long way away, Malvern, everyone had picked their work, the public wasn’t expecting streetcars to return, so, no harm, no foul……….

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  4. Instead of continuing the inconvenience to riders making them change vehicles at Sunnyside, here would be a good place for the union to step up and offer an ad hoc solution.

    Steve: The problem is that extending the route up to Dundas West would require complete re-crewing of the line because of a longer round trip time. Given the state of affairs within the TTC both on labour negotiations and the generally beaten-down feeling of the organization under Ford, it would take longer to figure out an interim solution than just waiting until the new board period on July 31.

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  5. Pete, you’re right. I was flippant and looking at the issue without much thought.

    So, let me ask it of everybody:

    Hypothetically, what would be involved in getting service starting sooner?

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    I do get it by the way. The TTC is a pretty big complex ship that can’t turn around fast.

    And I’d argue that larger organizations, like Dupont for example, have been bigger and even more bureaucratic and complex…and yet have still manged to develop systemic structures allowing for more nimbleness at a local level. When basically “We’ll do this during our usual time for these things.” is standard practice, that’s a systemic problem. Yes, its easier for a private conglomeration to affect change as nobody but their shareholders and customers are looking on. And, there are usually alternatives if you don’t like the service. So, you can affect change, and talk about it afterwards fairly quickly and easily. And, in the US, its seems this can be talked about at the public service level too, because there is a cultural expectation of expressing everything done in the terms of best practices.

    In Canada, it’s like there is a taboo about discussing any aspect of the role of bosses in running a public service, apart from politicians. (The right thinks they are do nothings that should be mostly fired and the few left should be kicked into action while the left prefers to see them as faceless unfeeling stooges that don’t actually do anything) I’m not talking about changing how managers do things and bringing in Sigma 6 or anything like that. I’m saying we have an aversion to talk about knowing in depth about what it takes to get tasks done in the public service. Yes, there are public administration schools where a few discuss theories; but when it comes to the masses and their discussions of a public service, we don’t go to that depth.

    Beyond this blog and maybe a few others, TTC systemic incites are a mile wide and only deep on one half of the equation – the operators and ticket takers are what the media focuses on. Every paper has made a lot of hay over the union’s intransigence – mention the TTC on their discussion boards and all you get in response is union bashing. Joe Fiorito, the token fighting for the little guy voice in the Star, talks to individual operators about their viewpoints. Sure, the General Manager is talked to but, we usually only get general platitudes and discussions of the TTC hot button issue of the time. Very little time has been taken to look at the complexity of the TTC’s various management cultures. The Sun complains about manager’s, as a unit, not listening to needs that paper brings up. The Fixer in the Star gets on the TTC, as a unit, for not thinking things through. Nobody asks, “Ok, so how exactly would this be better done, within current TTC practices given the various TTC units and all their different agendas and approaches and past histories?” All we get is broad policy discussions and individual issue discussions.

    For this city we expect our managers to do and not talk about how they do that. Nobody asks about what its like to be a manager, successful or otherwise, for a public service. In the midst of so many different competing visions within the TTC, and all that systemic inertia, both to keep doing and to keep not doing, there is no public discussion of how the TTC, as a series of complex systems, does things.

    Its all just, “Well, figure it out.”

    Nobody even asks if there are different divisions within the TTC. As far as most people are concerned, there are operators, ticket takers, mechanics, some phone information providers, maybe a website person or two and their bosses….maybe an engineer or two to do some planning and those people you see in behind the smiling face of the TTC on City TV each morning who seem to keep the trains moving….but that’s about it.

    The TTC is a complex beast. And discussing public sector management practices is a taboo in Canada.

    There are a lot of different people with different ideas figuring out how to do things, none of which we are supposed to talk about even though everybody has an opinion on how a TTC driver should behave. The TTC requires complex solutions to its issues.

    None of this is going to change anytime soon. Some of it maybe shouldn’t change.

    And can people really suggest change intelligently without knowing a bit of the depth of the complexity of the systems within the TTC?

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    So, given that, hypothetically, what would be involved in getting service starting sooner?

    Steve: The mechanics would have been quite simple, and we saw this done when St. Clair finally opened to Keele. The TTC scheduled service as if Keele actually was the destination for a future schedule period, even though they were not sure they would hit that date. Until the line actually opened, cars continued to turn back at Lansdowne and buses ran to Keele. This required extra vehicles because, in effect, there were both buses and streetcars “serving” (on paper) the same route. Once the tracks were open to Keele, the streetcars ran through and the buses came off.

    The less expensive way to do this would be to aim at a date where they know the line will be open, and change over the vehicles at the schedule period immediately following (in this case, July 31). This requires only one set of vehicles to be scheduled to cover the outer end of the line. That’s what the TTC did.

    It’s a simple management decision — will the world actually end if buses keep running on Ronces? No, it won’t. Moreover, the service will actually be better because folks on Ronces will have more reliable service than they will see when the King car spends it time trapped in traffic on Queen thanks to King being closed, and most of the 504s short turn at the carhouse.

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  6. Be thankful that the TTC has 12 board periods per year. Most other North American systems only have 4 and you would have to wait until September for streetcars on Roncesvalles. If most of the operators of the shuttle buses were street car qualified then you could put extra cars on and turn the operators at Roncesvalles and have the shuttle operators take them up to Dundas West. This assumes that the TTC has any extra street cars and street car qualified operators.

    Did the TTC really say that they had assigned the Cars from 502 and 503 to other lines so the buses had to stay for the summer? This sounds like inventive BS. I can understand that the bus crews have already been selected and they can’t change back.

    Steve: The service changes for June include the adds and cuts on many routes. At the end of July, scheduled service will return to Roncesvalles with no changes in other parts of the streetcar network, and so vehicle availability is not the issue. This is simply a question of crewing. Any reference to the 502/503 is the product of an ill-informed speaker.

    I have been travelling slowly up the Hudson River and the train service on Metro North appears better than the street car service on Long Branch. This includes third rail locals, Diesel hauled commuter trains and the odd Amtrak.

    Steve: Possibly we can extend the Metro North to Humber Loop if GO ever gets around to electrifying the Lake Shore west corridor.

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