This is the first article in a series reviewing the details of the TTC’s 2016-2025 Capital Plan. The topic here is the plan for the TTC’s three “conventional service” fleets: subway cars, streetcars and buses.
The Capital Plan provides for two types of spending: vehicle acquisition and major overhauls. No transit vehicle lasts until its design life without overhauls, and these are a substantial portion of the annual budget
The fleet plans for each mode are summarized in the charts linked from each section of the article. The information in them has been adapted from the TTC’s Capital Plan “Blue Books” which contain details on every project. In some cases, the numbers have been reformatted for clarity, and information has been consolidated from multiple charts.
Subway Fleet Plan
The TTC owns two fleets of subway cars which are assigned to the two major routes on the network:
- The T1 series operates on the Bloor-Danforth line (2), and a few of these cars also operate on Sheppard (4). The T1s now on Sheppard will shift to BD in the next year or so.
- The TR series operates on the Yonge-University-Spadina line (1). Delivery of this fleet is still in progress, and there will eventually be 76 6-car trainsets on YUS, and 6 4-car trainsets on Sheppard replacing the T1s.
The YUS fleet of TRs is considerably larger than required for service to day, but this excess will be consumed when the Spadina extension to Vaughan (aka the TYSSE) opens in late 2017, and by service increases planned once the line switches completely to Automatic Train Control (ATC) in 2019-20. (Specifics)
The Sheppard line will have its own dedicated fleet of TR trainsets by 2017. Current plans call for the same level of service as today out into the indefinite future, although there is one “contingency” train that could be used to boost service if needed.
The BD fleet of T1s is also larger than required for service because, until the ATC project came along, some of the T1s would have remained on the Yonge line serving the Spadina extension. The excess will not be consumed until the planned 2023 Scarborough extension (SSE) opening. The T1 fleet will be due for replacement in the mid-2020s when it reaches the 30-year lifespan, and the next generation’s order can be sized based on then-known requirements for service. With the T1 fleet, the TTC will only be able to operate every second peak train beyond Kennedy Station onto the SSE, and full service cannot be provided until the TTC has more trains.
Several related projects affect planning for the BD line, and as they are currently structured, they leave the TTC with conflicts in project timing.
- The BD line is to be upgraded to ATC signalling once the YUS project is finished, and this will likely run concurrently with the construction of the SSE. The SSE would be built as an ATC line much as the TYSSE is today, and so it could only be operated by trains with ATC systems.
- The T1 fleet does not easily support conversion to ATC, and this is further complicated by its age. The capital cost of ATC for the T1s would be considerable, and it would be a short-term investment.
- The next generation of trains for BD is not scheduled to enter service until 2026-31, well after the SSE is supposed to be open.
- Storage for trains is at a premium, and the TTC is fitting in extra storage tracks wherever it can on the system. Expansion of Greenwood Yard would be very difficult given its shape and location in a residential district. Ideally, the TTC would like to have a second yard on the BD line somewhere in the west end, and investigation of potential sites is underway. The only additional storage planned for the SSE project is a set of tail tracks to hold six trains, but no new yard.
I posed a series of questions about this to the TTC. The replies come from Mike Palmer (Deputy Chief Operating Officer, responsible for subway operations) via Brad Ross (Executive Director, Corporate Communications).
Q: The replacement fleet for the T1s will not begin to arrive until 2026 with the order spread out to 2031.
A: Procurement actually needs to start in 2016/2017 for us to meet the original timescales. We are procuring differently based on lessons learned from the TR, namely:
Early prototyping with probably 3 trains. This is to allow for through testing and getting the passenger compartments correct to avoid the mods such as low ceiling grab rails, and exterior announcements where mods post production [are] not best practise and expensive, i.e getting the interior right at construction and design is the best way to go. (We all have degrees in hindsight!)
Delivery would be stretched out over a longer period to realize the optimum production schedule (time versus cost), i.e. a faster rate is disproportionately expensive per unit cost.
We need to modify carhouse/yard locations and find new ones as well. So modifying Wilson at the same time as delivering new trains, expanding the fleet size and dealing with 6 car permanent consists was far from ideal.
Q: On the TYSSE, the extension was originally planned with a conventional signal system as an interim measure so that T1s could operate to Vaughan. However, this plan was changed and the TYSSE will now be one of the first areas to get ATC. The TR fleet plan was adjusted to account for this some time ago so that the YUS would have an entirely ATC-ready fleet by the time the TYSSE opened.
A: TYSSE will be the second section on the ATC project. We changed suppliers last year as it made no sense to install traditional signalling on green field leaving it as old fashioned signalling when we have the time now to include it in ATC.
Q: On the SSE, it does not make sense that a conventional signal system would be installed from Kennedy northward only to be ripped out later, but you will not have an ATC capable fleet to operate all of BD until 2031. There appears to be a timing problem with the SSE, T1 replacement and BD ATC projects that could trigger the need to advance replacement of the T1s just as happened on the YUS. In turn, that would advance the spending needed for the new fleet and yard capacity (at a minimum for co-existence of two fleets).
A: We agree and have already reached this conclusion. See below.
Q: Would anyone care to comment on the misalignment of the timings for these projects?
A: There are five projects in the future on BD which have serious interdependencies
- T1 replacement
- Scarborough extension
- New storage facility
- One-person train operation
Some are below the line and some are above the line. However, the dates and order of projects don’t align, so to minimize changes and maximize efficiencies the correct order should be
- New storage facility (ready for permanent 6 car consists
- New trains (ready for ATC)
- ATC or OPTO (with ATC and OPTO ready trains)
- ATC or OPTO
- Scarborough extension
By doing these in the right order, the TTC will save money and time — we won’t have to modify trains for ATC if they arrive ATC ready, OPTO equipment would be built in during manufacturing, etc., etc.
This situation begs a difficult question for the SSE project. If it is to open in 2023, then either the replacement of the T1s must be considerably accelerated, or a way must be found to deal with the non-ATC T1 fleet. Both of these represent new capital costs during a period when the City’s budget is already straining to handle committed projects.
An important part of the Capital Plan is the overhaul of vehicles at various points during their lifespan. Subway trains do not simply run for 30 years, and major overhauls are needed at various points along the way. The T1 fleet goes through a major overhaul every 5 years, and plans for the TR fleet originally called for a 7 year cycle. In practice, the TRs require more frequent truck and wheel maintenance (every 4 years) to deal with noise and vibration complaints, and some other components require a 5 year cycle.
Finally, there is the question of yard and maintenance space. The TTC has pressed every available space into use for train storage to handle the combined size of the T1 and TR fleets which exceed original projections because some of the T1s were to have remained on the Yonge line as noted above. Additional storage has been or will be provided at:
- Keele Yard
- Kipling Station
- Greenwood Yard (conversion of the standard gauge freight delivery track to a TTC gauge storage track)
- Wilson Yard (expansion to support the TYSSE project)
In the long term, simply storing additional trains in various pockets around the system does not fully address maintenance needs because these locations have little or no provision for running repairs and cleaning. Conversely, adding space to existing yards also has its limitations because this does nothing to increase maintenance and servicing capacity in the carhouses, but adds to the number of trains that must be shuttled through servicing bays on a daily basis.
Future subway routes include the Scarborough Extension, the Relief Line, the Yonge Richmond Hill extension, and possibly even a Bloor West extension. Only the first stage of the SSE (6 trains) uses the existing fleet, and all growth thereafter will require trains, storage and maintenance capacity.
The streetcar fleet plan has been updated to reflect three major changes:
- A revised delivery schedule for the 204-car order now outstanding with Bombardier,
- A change in the retention plans for older cars to focus on the larger ALRVs (two section cars), and
- Incorporation of capacity improvements using the combined LFLRV/ALRV fleet in advance of a future add-on order of new cars.
The approach to route capacity is an important change because it allows service on many lines to see replacement of existing CLRVs with new LVLRVs on a one-for-one basis thereby providing almost twice the capacity. The follow-on order of new cars now explicitly is used, in part, to replace the remaining ALRV fleet.
This is a much improved plan compared with earlier versions that would have retired the ALRVs as soon as possible, and actually would have reduced total fleet capacity because the pace of retirement would have been greater than the pace of additions to the fleet, even without allowing for Bombardier’s late deliveries. Although the total scheduled service stays roughly the same for several years, the change in fleet makeup adds to service capacity.
Recently, the TTC substantially revised its bus fleet planning to improve maintenance and availability, and to smooth out requirements for new vehicle purchases. Part of the Hybrid bus fleet will be retired earlier than its planned lifespan to reduce maintenance costs. 286 of these vehicles will be kept for their original 18-year life.
There is a severe shortage of garage capacity because of the delay in building a new garage in northern Scarborough. This was among the “savings” that Rob Ford’s service cutbacks brought. In the short term, the TTC will lease a 250-bus site somewhere (the location is still under discussion and not announced), and McCowan will open in 2019. Even then, the fleet will be larger than the total system capacity although there will be some relief from this as new rapid transit lines open in the early 2020s (Eglinton and Scarborough).
The fleet plan does not include any purchases of articulated, higher-capacity buses, although McNicoll Garage has been designed so that it can be used by either standard or artic vehicles depending on the future fleet mix.
In the years 2016-2019, there is a total of 131 buses for “Customer Service Initiatives”. These are improvements to services based on the more aggressive plan to rebuild and expand service that started in 2015. Each year’s vehicles are rolled up into the base requirement for the following year.
As with the rail fleets, buses require regular overhauls during their life to reach the 18-year target.
I see that one little bizarre legacy of the Sheppard Stubway insanity is that it will have TR trains even although there are no plans to install ATC there and no need for the extra capacity. Gross overkill, but the T1s are needed for BD.
Which leads to this question: when we amortize in the cost of the new TR equipment, how much subsidy per ride will Sheppard now consume?
Why is a subway line that is barely used and losing revenue getting brand new trains? Why is the Bloor Danforth line (which is many many times more heavily used than the Sheppard subway can ever dream of) not getting newer trains instead? The answer is simple: the Sheppard subway runs through some very high heeled areas which is precisely why it was built. The Sheppard subway should be closed until ridership can be built failing which there is absolutely no case to make against the Scarborough subway expansion since no matter how low the ridership on the Scarborough subway may be, it would still be many many times higher than that of the Sheppard stubway. The people who so vigorously oppose the Scarborough subway alleging not enough ridership conveniently look the other way when subways are built in ultra low density high heeled areas which are getting new trains too when they don’t even have enough ridership to justify the old ones.
Steve: You are so full of crap with your anti-Scarborough conspiracies! Sheppard gets new trains so that they can run over the ATC territory of the Yonge line to reach Davisville Yard.
Not to mention the fact that a good many passengers on the Sheppard line arrive at Don Mills Station on buses from Scarborough!
The original bus fleet planning overhaul blamed hybrid overall being expensive to maintain as the reason to retire them early. Now we’re seeing that only the NGs (1200/1500/1700) are problematic (the 1000 series are not retiring early). A bit fishy? Too bad there’s no Orion to chase after.
Steve: If they need 283 streetcars now by 2031 and more for any port land expansion, have the TTC plans for a new carhouse to be built in the 2020s?
Also, the 224 uses 6 buses for both peak peroids. Your chart shows 1 bus will be freed when the 224 discontinues. Is a typo or does the TTC plan to reinvest those 5 other buses into the 24?
Steve: The combined capacity of Russell, Ronces and Leslie is 50-60 cars more than the initial 204-car Flexity fleet. As for the 224, it currently uses 6 vehicles, but most of the service is south of Steeles Avenue and will either remain as a separate, but shorter route, or will be folded in to the 24. Don’t know which yet.
“There is a severe shortage of garage capacity because of the delay in building a new garage in northern Scarborough. This was among the “savings” that Rob Ford’s service cutbacks brought. In the short term, the TTC will lease a 250-bus site somewhere (the location is still under discussion and not announced), and McCowan will open in 2019. Even then, the fleet will be larger than the total system capacity although there will be some relief from this as new rapid transit lines open in the early 2020s (Eglinton and Scarborough).
The fleet plan does not include any purchases of articulated, higher-capacity buses, although McNicoll Garage has been designed so that it can be used by either standard or artic vehicles depending on the future fleet mix.”
* The TTC hasn’t considered using Danforth, but from the looks of it, I heard they are being clearing out for the move.
* If McNicoll begins commissioning in 2019, why bother keeping Birchmount open? Otherwise, I heard from many ops that the TTC is closing Birchmount and possibly selling the property off for development.
Steve: The remaining property at Danforth will not hold 250 buses, and major changes would be needed to make what is left into a workable garage. At most this would be a storage location. I can certainly see TTC selling off the property for development in due course. As for Birchmount, McNicoll will only partly catch up with the backlog of space requirements, and there is no way Birchmount can close for at least a decade. That said, I would not be surprised to see long range plans to eventually close both Birchmount and Queensway because of their size and age. But certainly not soon.
With the current two-person crew on the Toronto Rocket trains, I can see why they would want to convert the Sheppard Line to OPTO (One Person Train Operation). It would be a cost savings going to a one-person crew.
LikeLiked by 1 person
YRT is slated to take over the TTC 224 services and combines them with its own 224B WOODBINE to form the 24 WOODBINE later in the year. (Source: YRT 2016 Plan)
Steve: Also since I wrote that reply, the TTC has announced that a new express bus service is coming to Victoria Park in late March 2016.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Based on the questions you asked Mike Palmer, are they not happy with the permanent 6-car configuration of the TR. I would imagine the movement and logistics within the yard difficult. Is TTC better off going back to individual cars, and making them ATO, similar concept to the SRT, instead of one permanent 6 car set. As much as we think it’s cool to walk through the cars, it must be a hassle in the yard. Plus Greenwood may not have room to make way for a facility like Wilson based on rumors.
When it comes to Danforth Bus garage, there was a community meeting to make it into residential units. Part of a plan to change Danforth in the area.
Steve: The SRT cars are married pairs, not individual units.
– With Danforth nearly out of the way, looks like there’s some extra space at Birchmount (south west corner) or Mount Dennis (behind the wall, just west) to store buses. Out of consideration is the former Davenport Bus Garage (closed Jan 1993). Also an option is the 391 Alliance Avenue which the TTC likely owns.
– According to this link, Councilor Mary-Margaret McMahon wanted to make Danforth as an heritage site. So chances of storing buses at Danforth is highly medium for now.
This can work but that will likely serve as a satellite for Birchmount and/or New Eglinton which will see major repairs done as part of the criteria below:
1. No inground bus hoists or pits, all lifting of buses will be done by mobile hoists,
2. No fueling of buses inside the facility, this will be done externally to the
3. No paint or body repair booths at the facility.
(Source: Lease for Interim Bus Storage and Maintenance Facility, Nov. 2015 – p.6)
So far they have retired 3 streetcars that I’m aware of-2 CLRVs and 1 ALRV. 4107 and 4206 went this week and about 2 months ago I believe it was 4037 (not positive on the number). Ever since the trolley wire welded itself to the “B” section in 2008 4206 has spent more time on the dead track than in service. All 3 were cannibalized for parts before being brought up to Hillcrest.
Some information about TR train sets, Sheppard Subway, OPTO and other sundry items.
1) The TR train sets have to stay in 6 car units because of the open gangways which adds about 10 % capacity.
2) ATC requires an interface between the wayside control system and the cab car. If they went back to married pairs this would triple the number of interfaces required and they are not cheap.
3) Sheppard is getting 6 TR trains of 4 cars each equipped for one person train operation as a test bed for conversion of all the other equipment to OPTO.
4) Since the Sheppard trains are serviced at Davisville they will have to be equipped for ATC for service moves, so it makes sense to put the TRs on Sheppard.
hello steve i wanted to know if the hybrid retirement will still commence in 2017 and also which hybrid bus series would get rebuild the 15 -16-17-18 series hybrids?
Steve: I only know what is in the table in the fleet plan. It clearly shows hybrid retirements starting, albeit on a small scale, in 2017. Which buses, when, is not shown in the plan.
So all 48 ALRVs are to stay running but only 30 will be refurbed. I guess we’ll see how that works out…
Also, isn’t there a possibility the TTC will take the settlement of Bombardier’s late penalties in product? That would bring the total first run to something in or around 210, before option cars if ordered. Every little helps. I’m just hoping the next snafu won’t be that the crashing C$ is impacting parts contracts for LFLRVs from global suppliers if priced in US$.
I took a shot at answering my own question about what subsidy increase for the Sheppard Stubway will be required to equip it with TR equipment. Here goes:
1. The existing subsidy has been estimated by TTC Chair Josh Colle at over $10 per ride.
Steve: First off, that’s not Josh Colle’s estimate. The number has been floating around for some time, and he is not even quoted in the article as citing it. There is definitely a high per-rider subsidy, but we have never seen it calculated. Moreover, it is important to distinguish between operating and capital subsidies (with the latter allocated pro-rata over a considerable period).
2. The cost per TR car is $18.2 million. The total cost of the six 4-car trainsets is therefore $437 million. If we assume 15 years of service before a complete rebuild, this gives an annual cost of $29 million per year.
Steve: You really should read your sources more closely. That price is for a 6-car set, not for an individual car. $437-million would buy 24 6-car trains.
3. In the year 2014, Sheppard subway ridership was 15 million.
Therefore the extra subsidy is about $2 per ride, taking the total subsidy per ride to over $12 per ride on the Sheppard Stubway. Yikes!!
And I have not even included the cost of installing ATC so the new trains will actually work. That’s not cheap. On the other hand, this analysis looks only at capital costs. There may be a savings in operating costs, particularly if OPTO can be made to work. The age of the existing equipment may also make it maintenance-intensive, so there may be an operating costs savings in maintenance costs. If we make the wild and blind assumption that these roughly cancel each other out, we are still looking at a subsidy of $12 per ride on the Sheppard Stubway.
Steve: Rather than your convoluted estimate, you could simply have referred to the report in which the TR trains for Sheppard were authorized. The extra cost of adapting 4 6-car trains to make 6 4-car trains is about $26m, plus about $12m for costs that are not part of Bombardier’s supply contract. Add to this the base cost of those four trains ($72m) and you have a total cost of $110m. This is still high, but it’s not at the stratospheric level you cite.
The trains do not require ATC on the line to “actually work” and are perfectly capable of operating manually as all of the trains now on the YUS do today. ATC is not a pre-requisite for one person train operation.
The TTC vehicle roster list has shown only 189 CLRVs and 48 ALRVs since at least October. So that’s 7 CLRVs and 4 ALRVs gone. These are the same numbers as in the streetcar fleet plan above. The Canadian Public Transit Discission Board puts the 4 ALRV retirements as 4206, 4231, 4234, and 4250. It also now shows 8 CLRV retirements (4005, 4062, 4063, 4097, 4107, 4116, 4151, and 4162).
In the October 28th board meeting, they voted to direct staff to consider accepting the damages (both from the prescribed penalties and from law suit for damages above and beyond the $50 million) as “additional LRVs”. So it’s entirely possible. With the downpayment of $50 million for the option for another 60 vehicles being due in 2016, then perhaps there’s a clear solution.
@nfitz 4063 was retired well over 10 years ago and the Greyhound bus incident which I think was 4116 was about 3 years ago.
Perhaps you missed this part of the article,
Steve: Ah yes, my apologies. In any event, it’s not Colle’s number, he is just repeating a value that has fluctuated between about $7 and $14 depending on who was talking and when. It’s worth doing a reasonableness check here.
If Sheppard carries 45k per day, then that’s a daily subsidy of $450k. Each rider contributes on average about $2 per trip, and if we allocate half of that revenue to Line 4 (a very generous allocation considering its length), then this is $45k in revenue per day bringing the daily operating cost of the line to $495k. Let’s call it half a million in round numbers. The line operates with the same service every day of the week except for the later Sunday opening, and so we can count at the very least 300 days times $500k bringing the annual cost to $150-million. That’s close to 10% of the TTC’s budget and not a credible amount. Therefore, the $10/ride must be high, unless it also includes paying off the capital investment.
Also, please accept my thanks for the link to the TTC report. One truly disturbing part of the report was to read this sentence about the option of running 6-car trains:
Not that longer trains are going to be required any time soon (or ever). But a lot of the rhetoric about extending the Sheppard line has assumed that the existing line is ready to handle higher traffic with longer trains without mentioning “hundreds of millions” of dollars of modifications. This is something to keep in mind the next time someone tries to raise that zombie from the grave.
Then that is a new situation, as you and others have written differently in the past. For example on your site and at spacing.ca which cites your article.
Yes, that’s over 9 years ago. Demonstrating that mere mortals like myself may miss some changes along the way.
Steve: I was quoting Howard Moscoe who was parroting what management was telling him, not advancing my own argument. TTC management has been overselling various projects including ATC for years as a way to shake subsidy money out of various trees. Saying that it would allow one person crews is the classic “look how we can save money” argument linked to an expensive project that was fighting for funding. I will be generous and say that Howard Moscoe was “badly advised”. Rather like John Tory on SmartTrack, but at least Moscoe was not running for Mayor and hoodwinking the whole city in the process.
So back to the original question of Sheppard subsidy. If we now use $110 million for equipment spread over a 15-year life before complete overhaul, and 15 million passengers per year, this gives an extra subsidy due to the new equipment of about 50 cents per ride. Which brings us to a total subsidy of over $10.50 per ride. I’ll stick with my original comment: Yikes!
Steve: Your math writes down the cost of the trains a bit too fast because their overhauls along the way do not cost as much as the original trains, and they have some capital value left. All the same, that’s why we should not build subways just because someone’s ego, be they at Scarborough City Hall or Vaughan Centre, demands it.
So the TTC projects a service requirement of 267 LFLRV’s by 2027 and growing by 2% each year. That’s just over 10 years away. Given the long lead times for site selection and procurement, EA’s, construction, and the dreaded delays, they really should be planning for it right now. Are they hoping for the Bombardier deliveries to drag out beyond their 10 year planning horizon?
Though to be honest, nothing appropriate comes to mind immediately other than maybe demolishing and rebuilding Hillcrest.
The $10 number is simply not creditable. It means you could shut down the Sheppard Subway (10% total operational budget vs 2.5% total ridership) and build a couple kilometers per year of LRT instead. A much more creditable number that’s also too round, but been floating around is a $10M per year subsidy, which is $0.66 per capita.
Beyond which, a taxi from Don Mills Station to Sheppard-Yonge would be at least $21.34.
It looks as though TTC is sending the 1000 for rebuild. So if TTC does retire the hybrids early I assume it will be the 1200/1300/1400s.
With 108 buses coming in this year, what will TTC retire? Do they have enough room to hold 108 more buses? I would like to know how TTC will pull this off, considering they have no space for the current fleet right now.
Steve: Until we have an announcement on an interim garage, nobody knows what is going on. The deal for the former YRT garage fell through.
What’s the status with Bombardier paying for the operating cost of bus service to fill in for the streetcars. I personally think nothing will come out of it, but it doesn’t hurt to entertain it.
Steve: The legal action against Bombardier is shrouded in confidentiality. Considering the cumulative value of the penalties, I suspect they will hit the contract’s upper bound. It will be intriguing to know just how close we are to that already, in other words, when it doesn’t cost Bombardier a penny more to be even less responsible on this contract.
There’s nothing stopping TTC making claims for far more than the $50 million if they can prove that Bombardier hasn’t acted in good faith. The contractual restrictions don’t really hold much water, if one party is grossly negligent.
Steve: Ah, but you have to define “gross” negligence, and prove that is what happened.
Give TTC credit for one thing: the pig-headedness to litigate against a contractor or vendor to the bitter end. If they went all the way, it wouldn’t be the first time they’ve fought all the way to the Supreme Court (where they’ve won before).
If anyone ever litigates Bombardier to death, it could be TTC.
Hey Jason and Steve: I went by Arrow Road garage and the 108 bus order just kicked in delivery. At Arrow Road garage 8510-8519 are seen on property — if you ride the 99 Arrow bus you will see. The Novabuses from 8510-8617 weren’t supposed to come until later on this year so it’s interesting to see them here. They might be replacing some hybrids, who knows. I heard the new Novas might go to Malvern as well. I’m curious if a small amount of hybrids might go for retirement this year.
Steve: The current fleet plan does not include any bus retirements in 2016. This would not prevent troublesome vehicles from being sidelined and raided for spare parts.
Does this mean TTC had to pay extra to get them delivered ahead of schedule? That’s almost 9 months early. Or was this the order that they said would be bumped up. I know TTC wanted a batch of buses delivered earlier. Its nice to see more buses but if there’s no funding to operate them its pretty much useless. So as Steve said, its probably used for a better spare ratio, and will probably help TTC out with the loss of preventative maintenance on the current fleet, seeing as how it will be under warranty.
The TTC really should have the 54 Lawrence East’s ten minute network extended east to Rouge Hill because that route even east of Markham Road is very busy that I took today. There’s lot of condominium and businesses along Lawrence east of Markham Road.
Yeah Jason, I noticed some 79 series buses are being moved out of Arrow since the new Novabuses are coming in, plus the 73 series are old in their last year of service. And yeah also for better spare ratio as well. I have a friend who works at TTC named Tony – I get info from him too. Hey Jason may I ask are you big with the transit buses in TTC too? I know Steve is a big transit advocate which is cool too.
I know the TTC has operated Hybrid buses. And was not overly thrilled with the results. Have they ever looked at operating fully electric buses. Transit bus routes seem to be perfect for electrification. Just install charge points at layover stops. Seems to me that the fuel and maintenance savings would pay out the higher acquisition costs over time.
Steve: That technology is not yet mature. As for fuel and maintenance savings, I am waiting for this to be proved out in a major transit system.
Added bonus, other governments would probably pitch in something both for environmental reasons (no emissions) and to contributed to infrastructure programs (any bus replacement program) allowing the TTC to pocket the operational savings.
Steve: Governments have been bitten by “environmental” projects that burn through a lot of capital for a new technology, but less by way of actual service. What we need is more transit service to get people out of cars. Electric would be nice on major routes, but it’s not the primary goal.
Montreal is introducing 3 fully electric buses in 2016 (system trial runs to 2019) and Edmonton has 5 total from a handful of manufacturers to compare makes and models (2014 ran a pilot project with two) with the expanded report in the summer. Edmonton previously said
If they can get electric buses to work in Canada at a lower life-cycle cost, I’m all for it, but we need to wait until 2020 before jumping on the bandwagon.
I was wondering where they were stealing the 502/503/504 buses from.
With regards to fully electric busses in Montreal, I’ve known they were looking at those for a while but what’s happened to their ETB proposal?
Steve: As far as I know, it’s still a proposal coming into a trial stage. The challenge will be to install enough electrification infrastructure to get good coverage for the vehicles, not just a small demonstration project. Remember that in Quebec, electricity has a major government presence, and Quebec Hydro is financing a chunk of this. No such participation in Ontario for the electrification of GO Transit, as an example, and the big issue here is Hydro’s huge and growing debt.
Comments from anyone closer to the scene in Quebec would be welcome.
The Montreal Gazette reported recently that Edmonton committed to purchasing $391 million dollars worth of Flexity vehicles. The article is illustrated with a mockup of a flexity with “Neville Park” on a non-electronic destination board.
I guess this shows that, in spite of Bombardier’s embarrassing delay in delivering vehicles to the TTC, other Canadian cities haven’t lost faith in them.