5 thoughts on “IMAX Streetcars

  1. You actually seemed happy when you wrote this post … very different from the criticism towards politicians, planners, maintenance crew, operators, TTC, and Metrolinx.

    Steve: If you pay attention, you will notice that there are times I am quite complimentary to members of all of the above groups, although politicians can be a bit of a stretch at times. Have you noticed the times I have pointed out that scheduled running times are inadequate for some routes? Yes, some operators play games with the service — that’s been no secret for as long as I can remember — but the real issue is what management does about managing the service or simply letting it run wild.

    Some of the work I did on analysis of vehicle tracking data eventually led to TTC staff doing the same thing (something that had been proposed decades ago when the system was implemented, but never actually built for reasons of internal politics and budget constraint). I have also done more background work as a resource to journalists, politicians, community groups and professionals than I can count, and have the advantage of not being affiliated with any agency or party

    On the maintenance side, I am usually talking about what needs to be done, not how it was done, and have been quite complimentary, for example, about the speed and quality of work on track reconstruction.

    The “TTC” is really three separate groups: politicians, management and the folks who actually do the work. My complaint lies mainly with the first two groups, most recently because they have been reticent to seize the initiative to be advocates for the improvement of transit in general. Part of that is the shadow of the Ford/Stintz years.

    As for Metrolinx, the problem there is again political — Queen’s Park wants a puppet agency that provides nominal isolation, but the real decisions about funding and overall strategy come at the political level and often with little warning or sense of long-term goals.

    The Boards at both the TTC and Metrolinx do not contribute as much as the alleged benefit of citizen members with business backgrounds might imply.

    Should I only write good news stories, or should I say “this, this and yes, this can be done better”?

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  2. The auto industry spends countless amounts of money on advertising that romanticizes its product, makes it look sexy, and gives it a sense of freedom. It’s nice to see the TTC get that treatment.

    Steve: In the current issue of Spacing magazine, there is a wonderful set of posters that were contributed by readers as an example of what TTC advertising could look like if only the TTC cared enough to commission this type of work itself.

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  3. According to StreetcarTO’s Facebook entry:

    “We are happy to announce that the new streetcar will be in the Beaches Easter Parade along with its predecessors the Peter Witt, PCC and CLRV.”

    So that’s why the politicians are excluded. No target for chocolate eggs.

    Steve: I was waiting for this announcement which I knew about a week ago, but was holding off until it was official. Four generations of streetcars in one parade!

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  4. Steve,

    You are generally cautious about the benefits of cosmetic enhancements to the TTC’s operations as opposed to real service improvements, but today as I passed through Castle Frank subway station I was stunned by the transformation that had been wrought – clean, shiny, polished terrazzo floors, apparently waxed. Could this be a harbinger of new brooms at work in the organisation?

    Cheers,
    GraemeC

    Steve: The TTC is on a spring cleaning binge which in some locations is badly overdue. I don’t object to cosmetics provided that they are not touted as the be-all-and-end-all while service quality and maintenance take a back seat. Of course the system should look good, but it can’t be like a store with a beautiful window display, but shoddy goods on the inside.

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  5. The cleaning binge should be ongoing, not an annual one of. Cleaning was one of the cuts made by the TTC to save money. Funding is the main problem. The TTC is short on funding, because they keep on cutting and cutting and cutting.

    The cutting back on employees may have the appearance of saving money, but at the end of the year overtime payments exceed what it would have cost to hire the employees needed.

    Today, Rob Ford wants to get rid of the streetcars and replace them with streetcars. See the Globe & Mail. It’ll take three times the buses to replace a new streetcar, along with three times the number of employees to drive them. With the current funding, that is just not possible.

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