NOW magazine’s Ben Spurr reports that the TTC will award a contract to Nova Bus for 153 articulated buses. The award is already shown on the TTC’s website with a date of August 2, and this will be confirmed by the Commission at its meeting on September 27.
Plans to buy artics have been in the works for a while at TTC, but this is a particularly large order, roughly the equivalent of two years’ of past bus purchases. NOW lists many routes where these might run (the topic has been discussed in past reports to the Commission), and there are no surprises.
The critical point in any rollout will be the degree to which service capacity is actually increased. For decades, riders on Bathurst and Queen streetcars have put up with wider headways (which are compounded by delays and short-turns) from the use of articulated streetcars. The TTC bases service levels on the alleged demand and capacity of the route. Demand that gives up and walks, cycles or drives isn’t counted. Vehicles that never show up because of short turns, or which appear in a parade and run little-used, are of no benefit to riders but count toward the scheduled capacity. TTC service standards were changed thanks to the Ford administration’s penny-pinching to stuff more people on routes that provide frequent service, and there is no sign this decision will be reversed.
With luck, by the time the new buses arrive, a more enlightened transit funding policy will be in place at Council, but until then, riders on major routes shouldn’t count on any improvement.