TTC 2015 Fleet Plans (Updated)

Updated March 2, 2015 at 9:20 am: This article has been extended with additional illustrations and information from the detailed TTC Capital Budget. The original version was published on January 28, 2015.

Within the TTC’s 2015 Capital Budget, the Fleet Plans give an indication of current thinking on the evolution of TTC service. Now that Toronto appears to have a pro-transit administration at City Hall, the plans are somewhat out of sync with a revived interest beyond “subways, subways, subways”. The details in the plans need review, and this will affect planning in future budgets.

Some policy decisions are evident within the fleet plans, although these have not yet surfaced in public discussions.

The Bus Fleet

2015BusFleetPlan

2015 will see the last of the lift equipped (“LE”) buses bringing the fleet to 100% low floor status.

New bus purchases in 2015 will increase the fleet by 30 buses net of retirements, and the size of the fleet continues to grow through 2020 when the Eglinton-Crosstown line opens. This is a major change from the plan presented in the 2014 budget. [The chart below was prepared by me from the 2014 version of the Fleet Plan.]

2014BusFleetPlan

The total fleet required in 2020 has increased from 1,956 standard sized buses (or their equivalent in a mixed fleet with articulated vehicles) to 2,192, an increase of 236. Over half of this change arises from an increase in the allowance for maintenance spares to 18% of service needs in 2016, and from the capital spare pool needed for major overhauls. (These figures were not shown separately in the 2014 plan.)

                                    2014 Plan    2015 Plan    Change
Total Service Requirement in 2020     1,698        1,803        105
Spares:
  Operating                                          325
  Capital                                             64
  Total                                 258          389        131
Total Fleet                           1,956        2,192        236

A related problem arises from the lack of garage space. In the 2014 plan, there was already a shortfall requiring the construction of McNicoll Garage that was presumed to open in 2020. With the new plan, there are more buses for service improvements in the short term, and a larger fleet in the long term requiring yet another new garage. The Capital Budget is silent on this issue.

Update March 2, 2015

The relationship between the bus fleet size and garage requirements is shown in the following chart.

2015BusFacilitiesPlanC

The blue bars show the number of buses stored at various garages, but this number does not include vehicles at Harvey Shops for major overhauls and repairs, nor does it include vehicles returned to manufacturers for warranty work. The red line shows actual garage capacity, and the numbers in white show the excess or (shortfall) in system capacity.

The fleet grows in 2016 not just because of planned service improvements, but because the TTC will move to a higher spare factor (18%) to compensate for the increased complexity of bus technology and to improve in-service reliability. As shown in the table above, over half of the change in fleet size goes to the expanded spare pool, not to on-street service.

Completion of the Spadina extension reduces peak service requirements slightly both through the ending of construction-related additions to service, and from the restructuring of the bus network, but this shows up only as a temporary halt in the rise in requirements for service. The fleet grows because of the change in the spare factor.

A big drop in the fleet happens following the opening of the Eglinton Crosstown line in 2020. However, projections beyond that date appear to make little provision for growth even though the next rapid transit expansion, the Scarborough Subway, will not come into service until 2023.

The Streetcar Fleet

2015SCFleetPlanC

The streetcar fleet plan has changed for 2015 with the inclusion of a rebuild program for 30 of the articulated streetcars (ALRVs). This will allow for preservation of capacity on King and Queen during the transition to the new low floor cars. In the previous plan, the new cars would have entered service on the standard (CLRV) streetcar routes, but the larger ALRVs would have been retired first. This would have left the system without adequate capacity for service on the ALRV routes well before new cars entered service there.

The footnote about “New Opportunities” is a likely reference to the waterfront which might consume some of the new fleet before the proposed 60-car add-on order can be delivered.

Also, the rate of deliveries for the new cars shows a proposed ramp-up to an annual rate above the originally planned 30/year as a “catch up” provision for delays. Whether Bombardier can actually achieve this rate remains to be seen.

Update March 2, 2015:

The table above has been replaced with a version that has better resolution, albeit without the colours of the original.

The planned overhaul of 30 of the articulated streetcars (ALRVs) is described in the detailed capital budget.

2015ALRVOverhaulScopeC

This work will proceed with 6 cars in 2015 and 12 in each of 2016-17. The cars will be re-wheeled in 2020-21. The budget for this project is $25.8-million including inflation.

Although the new Flexity streetcars are only in their early days of service, plans for the first major overhaul appear in the later years of the Capital Budget beginning in the early 2020s and ramping up to 40 cars per year. The scope of the overhauls will be better known once experience with the cars reveals how robust they are and which components will require work.

The Subway Fleet

2015YUSFleetPlanC

2015BDFleetPlanC

The subway fleet plan shows a few items of interest:

  • For the Spadina line, there is a provision for two trains for a Wilson short turn in 2014. These two trains were, in fact, added to the regular service, not to a short turn operation.
  • The long-proposed extension of the St. Clair West short turn to Glencairn (using the centre track between Glencairn and Lawrence West) is now included for 2015 service. Note the arithmetic error where two trains are added for the extension, but the total only goes up by one. Moreover, it is hard to believe that extending trips from St. Clair West to north of Glencairn is physically possible with only two more trains.
  • The extra trains for the Spadina/Vaughan opening are shown in 2016 requirements, but may not actually be needed until 2017. An alternative, staged opening of the route is among the options now under study with a report on the entire project due from consultants in March 2015.
  • Extra trains for closer headways are now shown in 2019 when the ATC project is expected to be complete.
  • Two growth trains originally planned for the Bloor-Danforth line in 2018-19 were shifted back to 2014. No additional service is planned on that route until 2026.
  • Equipment for the Scarborough Subway will come from the existing T1 fleet which is larger than current needs. (Originally some T1 trains would have stayed on Yonge, but they would not be compatible with ATC operation and have become BD spares.) This would provide an offset in the subway extension budget because the current fleet would not require a new yard, nor would it require the purchase of more cars. Both of these are now included in the SSE budget. The costs would come in future years when ridership on the extended BD line drove fleet and yard expansion, but this would likely be treated as a separate project, a hidden future expense.
  • There is no provision for increased service on the Sheppard Subway, ever.
  • Procurement of replacement trains for the T1 fleet has been pushed back to begin in 2026 and complete in 2030. This has implications for ATC implementation and service improvements to headways below the level possible with the existing signals.

Updated March 2, 2015

The original fleet plan tables, above, have been replaced by versions with improved resolution.

Subway cars, like all transit vehicles, do not run forever without major overhauls. The details and budgets for these overhauls are shown in the tables linked below.

T1OverhaulScope

TROverhaulScope

For reference, there are 370 cars in the T1 fleet, and there will eventually be 480 in the TR fleet.

51 thoughts on “TTC 2015 Fleet Plans (Updated)

  1. Steve it is interesting to note the ALRV continuing service on King through 2023, and the fact that they are already indicating a shortfall of LFLRVs in the out years. I am glad to see that they are paying some attention to the increasing load, and the very real possibility that they will require additional cars.

    I have to admit I am also concerned with the relatively small increase in the bus fleet. Does this small increase reflect the coming into service of the Crosstown and YUS extension? Are you comfortable even with these services in place that the fleet increase in buses is large enough, or is it still a couple of hundred short? Is this a deliberate approach to attempt to not create too large a shock?

    Steve: Now that we see the fleet plan for service improvements, we can ask the TTC to translate this into specifics. I don’t think they have provided enough vehicles in the medium term, but have no hard estimate of the shortfall.

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  2. I’m not sure how in the subway plan, they intend to open the Danforth subway extension in Scarborough in 2023, and yet don’t plan any additional service until 2026. The line is already near capacity. Surely their modelling must show that extending the subway will increase ridership between Kennedy and Yonge. Surely then, ATC has to be delivered at the same time as the extension.

    At this rate, we’ll need the DRL simply to relieve the Danforth subway, let alone Yonge-Bloor station.

    Hmm, “1 train” of T1s converted to workcars in 2015. With the current 61.67 existing 6-car trainsets, that’s 4 new workcars? Surprising they didn’t use some of those 25-year old H6s they sent to the scrap heap last year.

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  3. If I’m not misreading that chart, the plan to expedite hybrid retirement has been set aside? Retirement of 1st gen (2006) was 2016-17 and is now 2021-23, and 2nd gen 2017-21 before, beyond 2024 now.

    Steve: Yes, I should have mentioned that. There is a major change in the retirement plans, and it is related to a line item in the capital budget where funding for new components for the hybrid fleet has become a capital project rather than an ongoing operating expense.

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  4. Just curious, wonder if the TTC will minimise seating on the A/CLRV rebuilds, (similar to Milan Witts), to increase capacity?

    Steve: The single seats on the left side of the cars is the now-standard layout, but I can’t see the TTC going beyond that.

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  5. Can TTC share garage space with York region or Durham region transit? The buses might be far from their routes but it might be a manageable problem as a short-term solution? At least they can be secured and spare parts can be stored properly.

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  6. Steve said:

    “Now that we see the fleet plan for service improvements, we can ask the TTC to translate this into specifics. I don’t think they have provided enough vehicles in the medium term, but have no hard estimate of the shortfall.”

    I just find it interesting that they only grow the fleet 2% and they do not see a persistent shortfall. They then have the fleet actually contracting slightly, and they growing at well below 2%. I understand that other services will come into place, but it makes it seem that the fleet is not making any allowance for improved loading standards or congestion at all. I would have thought they would be looking to grow the fleet much above the rate of ridership growth, and what they have appears to keep it well below current ridership growth. The out years actually showing dramatic fleet shrinkage. I am assuming that is to reflect the operations of a number of LRTs by that point. However, even with these services in operation, I would have thought that they would require at least the number of buses they currently have in operation even after these services came into being. I do not really have a number but by knee jerk I would have thought at least 50% more than the ridership growth of the last 4 years would be required to support current ridership plus the growth of the next 2 plus some allowance for congestion. A 15% increase in bus fleet in the next 2 years actually feels light. I would have expected to see a push to get a number of 40 foot equivalents north of 2160.

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  7. So the bus fleet grows by 1-2%/year, even though ridership is (and hopefull will) grow much faster than that?

    Steve: The growth comes disproportionately in the off peak where the service improvements (but not the need for more buses) are concentrated.

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  8. Is the extension of the St. Claire West short turn up to Glencairn a temporary thing until TYSSE opens? I seem to recall a plan to short turn trains at Downsview (or should I start calling it Sheppard West now?) once TYSSE opens.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: Yes. It has been in the plans for years, but always gets dropped to save money. I don’t think they have allocated enough trains to operate it.

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  9. The Leslie Street carbarns is scheduled to open by summer of this year, 2015 (allegedly). Currently, the CNE loop siding was or is being used to store CLRV’S until the Leslie Street carbarns come available. At 30 m in length for a new streetcar, a regular length bus is about 12 m in length, while an articulated bus is about 18 m.

    The Leslie barns will have a capacity of 100 new streetcars. By September, 2015, I can bet we will not have 100 new streetcars on the streets of Toronto. So there would be room available to house buses, until a new garage is built or the remaining new streetcars arrive and displace the buses.

    Just in case, the CNE loop siding could also be used to store buses.

    Steve: Actually, the CNE loop is being used to provide added capacity during construction at Roncesvalles. This summer, while Eastern Avenue is rebuilt, operation of Russell Division will shift temporarily to Leslie Barns. It’s not as if it will be sitting empty at least in the short term. Leslie is not designed for bus storage in terms of turning radii, and the obstacle course of the poles holding up the overhead network.

    The TTC needs to get on with McNicoll Garage, but this may be derailed by local oppisition.

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  10. >Can TTC share garage space with York region or Durham region transit?

    Seems like a good idea. McNicoll Garage is so close to the York Region boundary that I wonder whether it could somehow be shared with YRT. Presumably once the Eglinton LRT opens there will be quite a bit of excess bus garage space, I’m guessing that 100 buses (give or take) from routes 32, 34, 54, and 100 won’t be needed anymore. Any excess garage space could then be rented out to one of the suburban transit systems.

    Though it might make more sense to build another garage in York Region that will temporarily be used for TTC then transferred to York Region and/or GO Transit for service expansion after 2020. Isn’t the TTC going to have too much bus garage space after the Eglinton LRT opens?

    Steve: If you look at the fleet plan, you will see that although there is a dip in requirements when Eglinton opens, this is quickly overtaken by growth. Any new garage space needs to be for the long haul, not just a few years. It was the Ford/Stintz service cuts that made the need for space seem to vanish because they reduced the peak period service standards. Restoring, even partially, these standards plus the TTC’s plan increase in the maintenance pool drives up the fleet requirements.

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  11. When the T-1 fleet does retire, what will they do for the Sheppard Line?

    Steve: By then it will be extended west to about Guelph and east to Oshawa, so they will need more cars. Claims will be made that it provides relief for a small road [and a sitting politician] somewhere in Caledon.

    I suspect that the TTC could order some short TR train sets.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. nfitz says

    “Hmm, “1 train” of T1s converted to workcars in 2015. With the current 61.67 existing 6-car trainsets, that’s 4 new workcars? Surprising they didn’t use some of those 25-year old H6s they sent to the scrap heap last year.”

    Considering how the TTC in the past has converted old subway cars into works equipment it is a valid question so a little comparison of the H4s, H6s and T1s is necessary.

    I think that the H6 cars had DC motors and chopper controllers that were extremely antiquated and hard to get parts for. The controllers would need to be replaced. They would have been better off with the old cam controllers which are much easier to repair from the H4 cars.

    The T1s have AC motors and IGBT controllers which are much easier to maintain than the choppers were and a lot more efficient. No one wants to keep any chopper equipment, especially now with, DC motors. If you know anything about the change in motor controller technology in the past 20 years it makes total sense. The H6s were never a very good car. It is not hard to see why they are not wanted.

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  13. The original streetcar fleet plan published in 2013 showed procurement of 1 (2012), 8 (2013), 34 (2014), 36 (2015), 36 (2016), 39 (2017), 36 (2018), and 14 (2019) so an increase to 40 per year isn’t a huge change.

    Given that the new schedule is already out of date, I won’t be holding my breath.

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  14. Josh Colle was quoted this afternoon in the Globe & Mail commenting on the option to extend the streetcar order with Bombardier:

    “But Mr. Colle did not agree that there was any urgency. ‘We can talk about it next year, probably even the year after,” he said. “We have lots of time. We don’t have the money and we won’t be spending the money on that.’”

    As much as Mr. Colle wants to play hardball with Bombardier, I expect delaying a decision will end up costing the TTC.

    Steve: I think there is a valid issue here with the need to make a down payment of $50m+ to preserve continuity on a production line that will not stop running for at least four years. Bombardier, at the end of the day, will be hungrier for the contract and will adjust their deadline (one that was based on a much earlier delivery of cars both for the “legacy” streetcar system and for Transit City. To be fair to Bombardier, they thought they had an order for many hundreds of cars, but a lot of this has evaporated thanks to screwing around by the City and by Queen’s Park.

    The question for Colle is whether he is counselling delay, or is looking to deep six the concept of more streetcars completely.

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  15. Having reading the fleet plan, Steve, could have the TTC possibly convert their hybrid buses to clean diesel? New York and Ottawa are about to convert theirs sooner than expected.

    Steve: This is possible, and I am wondering if the capital line item about new equipment for these vehicles would do just that. Will investigate.

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  16. I find it incredibly dubious that the TTC has claimed 100% LFLRVs for 509, 510, AND 511 by the end of the year per the new customer charter. Honestly at the current rate it looks unlikely that even 510 will be done, I guess they have a lot more faith in Bombardier than the rest of us do.

    Fortunately, a Tweet from Chris Upfold during his recent Q&A states that 4405 is due to be shipped any day now.

    In particular it looks really, really bad that they’re promising, what was it, 37 LFLRVs (so 34 more than the existing 3) in service by Dec 31st but 4405, the first of the new 34, hasn’t even been received yet alone put into service as of January 28th! At this rate just the 510 might barely reach the end of year deadline…Bombardier would need to seriously ramp up production for the TTC to keep their promise. Fingers crossed, I’d absolutely love to get LFLRVs on more routes, but I just don’t have that kind of faith in Bombardier’s competence.

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  17. Operational Question:

    When all of the T1s are removed from service from the YUS (presumably they aren’t currently *all* gone), and the signal system is upgraded to TR-only, how is it possible/safe to move Sheppard trains from (Davisville Yard, presumably their long-term home) to the line?

    Steve: The new signal system is able to interact with non-ATC trains (like work cars) but would do so in the manner of a conventional block signalling system. This means that a T1 train would not be able to operate as closely to a TR train, but if these equipment moves occur outside of the peak, it doesn’t matter.

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  18. So, I would assume that one solution to not having spaces for buses would be to run them all night … you don’t need to park something if it never goes to the garage … is this maybe some of the thinking behind increases in Blue Night service levels? I guess the question is if we just need to cover for a few years while we wait for McNicoll to open, why not just ramp up Blue Night service rather than renting/building some temporary location.

    I guess the other option would be move schedules around so bus parking could be staggered in some way?

    Steve: The shortage in bus storage runs well over a hundred buses, and will be accentuated by planned service and maintenance pool increases. This is not a case of a small increase in service. The extra operation cost would have to be weighed against the cost of short term lease of offsite parking.

    In the medium to long term, a real new garage is needed because those extra buses have to be maintained, and that will strain the capacity of existing buildings.

    As for the night services being proposed as a response to this problem, you impute a much more extensive, integrated form of “planning” at the TTC than actually exists. When the better night service was proposed last summer, garage capacity was not yet an issue.

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  19. If I’m reading this correctly, there will be 20 extra TRs on YUS later this year, some of which won’t be needed until as late as 2027. Is there any thought to shifting a couple to the BD line temporarily to increase capacity for the am rush?

    Steve: There are already lots of spare T1 trains available for BD. However, there is a limitation with the signal system and track layout on the minimum headway that can actually be operated.

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  20. Steve said:

    “The growth comes disproportionately in the off peak where the service improvements (but not the need for more buses) are concentrated.”

    I have to admit that this very fact bothers me. I cannot help but have serious concerns that the reason growth is focused off peak is that is because that is where capacity is available. How much harm is the pool of latent demand doing to the economy and the economic well being of our community? Also to what degree does this speak to the degree to which those that cannot really avoid travelling are opting to drive. I would have no problem with the notion that growth was focused off peak if we had timely service and a much more reasonable loading standard. The current one appears to mean that many would be riders would face a bus that cannot comfortably be boarded too frequently.

    I think that Toronto needs to try some experiments with reducing the loading standard to a ridership growth strategy type level, on a few key routes for a sustained period and observing the actual ridership growth. I cannot help but suspect that there would be a surge in growth at peak on those routes as potential riders realize that capacity is available.

    While actually addressing latent demand in places like the Yonge subway may be impossible, being aware of the extent of it is important in planning.

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  21. Steve said:

    “By then it will be extended west to about Guelph and east to Oshawa, so they will need more cars. Claims will be made that it provides relief for a small road [and a sitting politician] somewhere in Caledon.

    I suspect that the TTC could order some short TR train sets.”

    I cannot help but wonder if this subway might not actually experience some much more notable loading, would you not need full length trains at that point? Phase one could be Whitby to the western edge of Mississauga, to make it a more affordable $25-30 billion initial expansion.

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  22. When Rob Ford ordered the 10% cut in TTC services, by picking a number out of the air, this resulted in the problems with the TTC we are having now. Shortages of buses, late arrival of new streetcars, rapid transit plans being altered and timelines stretched out. delays in getting bus garages off the ground, and (of course) shortage of operators. A lot of the current problems could have been, at least, looked at or started three years ago.

    The bad news is that to correct the problems will cost money.

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  23. Hi Steve, I found TTC’s transit planner which will be in effect from Feburary 15th.

    Do you know what is the reason they are changing the division of some route?

    For example, it says that 37 Islington route is changing their division from Arrow to Queensway. I know most of routes in Etobicoke are in the Queensway division…

    But why did they changed only Islington? If the reason is same.. 46 Martin Grove should have changed their division.

    Steve: Various routes are changing in February to balance out vehicle requirements among garages. These are all listed together with other service changes in my article about the February 2015 service. Note that this article is on my old site and has not yet migrated over here.

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  24. Steve:

    There are already lots of spare T1 trains available for BD. However, there is a limitation with the signal system and track layout on the minimum headway that can actually be operated.

    Right, but are the TRs not slightly higher in capacity than the T1s? If they’re just going to sit in the yards anyway, using them on BD would enable the TTC to slightly expand capacity on BD without even having to pay more operators. I recognize that the difference would not be major, but if it would be free, why not?

    Steve: Yes, but small change, and good only for a few years after which the cars are needed elsewhere. Then you would downgrade the line again.

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  25. Saurabh (@twitting_sg): Can TTC share garage space with York region or Durham region transit? The buses might be far from their routes but it might be a manageable problem as a short-term solution? At least they can be secured and spare parts can be stored properly.

    As someone from York region, I have to pay additional fare to use TTC on top of my YRT/VIVA fare and even when TTC buses come to York Region, I have to pay extra fare to use the same and so “Can TTC share garage space with York region or Durham region transit?” The answer is absolutely but TTC MUST PAY TO USE OUR FACILITIES.

    Steve: Obviously York Region should be paid a lease fee. That said, when TTC buses are running in York, they are a contract service to the region, not part of the TTC network, and your fare goes to offset the charge by TTC for running their buses on York’s behalf. This arrangement has been in place for years where it works better for York to have TTC provide some services as part of the Toronto route structure, although gradually York is taking over more of these routes itself.

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  26. When are the new subway trains rolling out on line 2?

    Steve: They are not. The new TR fleet will run exclusively on Line 1 Yonge-University, while the older T1 fleet operates on Line 2 Bloor-Danforth and Line 4 Sheppard. BD will not see new trains until the mid-2020s.

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  27. Steve:

    When TTC buses are running in York, they are a contract service to the region, not part of the TTC network, and your fare goes to offset the charge by TTC for running their buses on York’s behalf. This arrangement has been in place for years where it works better for York to have TTC provide some services as part of the Toronto route structure, although gradually York is taking over more of these routes itself.

    I wish that York Region would ban TTC buses. I have had the opportunity to take different TTC routes in York Region many times and I am tired of no buses for a long time followed by multiple ones showing up at a time whereas our privately contracted out YRT/VIVA buses run largely on time. This is a strong argument for privatising the TTC. Our drivers are paid less, easy to fire in case of wrong doing (such as driver running the vehicle on his own schedule, running red lights, speeding, etc), fined for being late or leaving early and as a result are largely on time.

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  28. John Smith | February 4, 2015 at 1:37 pm says

    “I wish that York Region would ban TTC buses. I have had the opportunity to take different TTC routes in York Region many times and I am tired of no buses for a long time followed by multiple ones showing up at a time whereas our privately contracted out YRT/VIVA buses run largely on time. This is a strong argument for privatising the TTC. Our drivers are paid less, easy to fire in case of wrong doing (such as driver running the vehicle on his own schedule, running red lights, speeding, etc), fined for being late or leaving early and as a result are largely on time.”

    If York’s system is so much more “efficient” then why is York paying the TTC to run service which it can run better for less?

    You seem to blame Unions for many of the ills of everything. Do you like to have weekends off? Would you like to work 60 hours a week to make less than you do now? Do you like vacations, benefits, job security? Because if you do then you are liking things that were won by unions. Over the past 20 years the influence of unions has been diminishing and so has the size of the middle class, average wages, job security etc.

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  29. John Smith:

    “…whereas our privately contracted out YRT/VIVA buses run largely on time.”

    …except when they’re on strike. Contracting out services to the private sector is no panacea for the things people like to complain about.

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  30. Steve glad to see the revision, and uptick in the number of buses in a few years, as well as the moderate increase in the current year. Hopefully we will see this on an ongoing basis. Now if only we could get those streetcars delivered.

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  31. Corrected version – post this one

    Since the streetcar order has been delayed, would this not be a good opportunity to use some of the money for the new streetcars to order additional subway trains to relieve Yonge subway overcrowding? I don’t think we need the 204 we ordered (don’t forget that these are high capacity ones and so 150 should suffice) and use the money saved for additional subway trains until a DRL can be built.

    Steve: There are already 10 additional trains on order for the YUS to increase capacity. However, actually operating more trains is physically impossible with the current signal system and terminal configurations.

    As for not needing streetcars, remember that there has been no increase in streetcar fleet capacity for about 20 years, and that a new line (Spadina) soaked up some of what was then considered “spare” fleet. We need more cars, as soon as possible.

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  32. Steve said:

    “We need more cars, as soon as possible.”

    It doesn’t help that the TTC now has one less CLRV in its fleet after the collision at Main & Danforth.

    The TTC really needs to start thinking of the expanded order as a “retirement postponement” order in addition to a service expansion order if they haven’t done so already. Basically, build up service with the Flexitys before using them to replace the existing CLRV and ALRV fleets.

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  33. ARLV rebuild 30 cars at a cost of $25.8M. Would Bombardier care to pick that up? After all it is their failure to deliver new cars anywhere near on schedule that is bringing up the need for the ARLV rebuilds.

    Steve: I could argue that it is at least partly bad planning by the TTC. In their original scheme, the ALRVs were to be retired even before sufficient Flexities would be on hand to replace their capacity. The Fleet Plan was a joke and originally it ignored the need to improve capacity on the streetcar network. If I were Bombardier, I would be challenging the TTC’s claim that it could actually retire cars as fast as it claimed it would.

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  34. The ALRVs almost invariably gave you a good shower if you sat by most windows during any kind of rain. I presume that the roof rebuild mentioned will fix this. I haven’t ridden enough CLRVs in similar weather, although it’s my impression that they are still considerably more watertight.

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  35. Hmph. At this point, buying fuel buses at all is questionable.

    New Flyer is making battery-electrics now (and so is Proterra, as well as BYD and a dozen other Chinese companies). The fuel savings for urban stop-and-go patterns make the payback on the higher capital costs quite quick.

    But then, the TTC has never been very forward-thinking, has it.

    Steve: Actually the TTC has tried to make a go of hybrid buses, and they have been a big failure in reliability mainly due to problems with the batteries. There are doubts these vehicles will make it to their originally planned 18 year lifespans. I’m as much a fan of electrical transit as anyone, but the vehicle has to work at least as well as whatever it replaces.

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  36. What exactly is the problem of not being on the leading edge of experimental technology consumption? It’s not like investing in an up-and-coming company where the opportunity will disappear if you wait. The buses will still be there in the future if they ever prove themselves and likely available at a cheaper price.

    Energy density, cycle life, and cold weather performance are all still issues with lithium ion technology. Some of these fancy machines also require a lot of dedicated infrastructure to implement before you can use them in heavy duty urban operations. Waiting is the proper answer.

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  37. Nathanael said:

    At this point, buying fuel buses at all is questionable.

    Not as a serious idea, but this made me think of converting buses to overhead electric, because batteries are always problematic. Assuming a cost of $1M per mile, you could cover 5K kilometers with the 30-year TTC fuel budget.

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  38. You mention that the bus fleet “continues to grow through 2020 when the Eglinton-Crosstown line opens.”

    Are any assumptions about the opening of Finch and Sheppard reflected in the fleet plans, to your knowledge? They are, God willing, supposed to open 2020 and 2021 respectively and would further reduce the fleet requirement.

    Steve: There is no reference in any of the budget documents to the Finch and Sheppard LRT lines, and I don’t think they have been factored into the fleet plan.

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  39. I must say that I am anxiously following the fate of those vital Finch and Sheppard lines. They still appear in the Metrolinx quarterly reports, but their absence in the fleet planning documents is nerve-wracking. I wonder how staff would explain the absence of any reference.

    What a travesty and betrayal should they not be built!

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  40. Steve:

    “Actually the TTC has tried to make a go of hybrid buses, and they have been a big failure in reliability mainly due to problems with the batteries. There are doubts these vehicles will make it to their originally planned 18 year lifespans.”

    OK, I’ll go into some detail, because I have done a lot of research into the business. (I discovered that it’s hard to invest in, because *every* bus manufacturer knows that battery-electrics are the future; it’s going to be a competitive market.)

    First: 18 years was an unrealistically optimistic lifespan to start with. The industry-standard expected lifespan of buses is 12 years, last I checked, due mostly to the suspension, but also the wheels and axles.

    Second: hybrids are no good; pure battery-electrics offer a value proposition where hybrids do not.

    Pure battery designs are substantially more reliable than hybrid designs. This has shown up repeatedly. Partly, it’s the elimination of the fuel-engine and all its related maintenance. Partly it’s because pure-battery designs usually take better care of the batteries (thermal control over the battery temperature is essential). But partly it’s simply the use of larger batteries, which creates a less stressful duty cycle for the batteries.

    The fuel cost savings simply isn’t there for standard hybrids. Whereas in a battery-electric (or *theoretically* in a plug-in hybrid, except there aren’t any) you can buy cheap electricity.

    Admittedly, Toronto has unusually expensive electricity due to paying off old uneconomical nuclear plants. So it make take longer for the numbers to pencil out in Toronto than it does in places with *normal* electricity prices. In places which don’t have jacked-up electricity prices, however, switching to battery-electrics has become a no-brainer.

    Anyway, Winnipeg is buying battery-electrics from New Flyer as we speak, even if supposedly it’s for a “test period” (of four years).

    BYD has done successful test runs in NYC, LA, Sao Paolo, and Barcelona, and is running on a longer-term “test” in suburban Washington state.

    This is not new technology and it’s not cutting edge. Cutting edge was buying electric buses in 1993, which Orange County did.

    The bugs have been worked out in the last 22 years. In areas with normal electricity costs, the savings on fuel in high enough that it honestly doesn’t matter if they wear out a little bit quicker; they are expected to last 10-12 years now.

    Here’s a fairly comprehensive review.

    Notably, San Joaquin found that their hybrids cost 62 cents a mile to fuel (similar to diesel costs), but their battery-electrics cost 30 cents a mile. This is a big deal. You can cover fairly high upfront-purchase premiums with that sort of savings.

    Long Beach is simply opening a bidding round to buy battery-electric buses. Not a test, just a bidding round. (They already did, but the bidding was cancelled for not complying with various US federal bidding requirements, so it’s being redone.)

    It may be necessarily for Toronto to keep buying diesel buses for a while. For one thing, the battery-electric bus factory lines are production-constrained. For another, the advantage of battery-electrics is largely in stop-and-go traffic, so highway express routes may still be cheaper to operate on diesel. But it is not sensible to plan to buy lots of fuel buses in 2022. That’s just burning money.

    But then, the TTC is not known, as I said before, for forward thinking, especially when it comes to saving money.

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