Every spring for some years, the TTC has been caught flat footed with air conditioning units in trains and buses that do not work when the hot weather arrives. This year is easily the worst in my memory. Instead of the occasional “hot car”, they are so prevalent that the official advice is to avoid the middle pair in a train on the BD line (Line 2) because that’s where they stick the ones with no AC.
This started out as a “we’ll fix them as soon as we find them” earlier in the season to an admission today that the fleet won’t be back in working order until the end of the summer. Here is the TTC’s Brad Ross on Twitter:
The problem even has its own web page where the TTC states that 20-25% of cars on BD do not have working AC.
The situation is made even more ridiculous by the huge difference between the size of the subway fleet and the number of trains the TTC actually needs to operate service.
The Bloor-Danforth and Sheppard lines both use T-1 trains, although Sheppard is being converted to 4-car Toronto Rocket (TR) sets and one is already in operation there.
- Peak trains on BD = 42, or a requirement for 252 cars (summer schedule).
- Peak trains on Sheppard = 3, or a requirement for 12 cars.
- Spares at 20% of 264 = 54 cars.
- Total requirement = 318 cars.
- Total fleet = 370 cars.
Meanwhile, on the YUS line, the TTC has more trains than it needs because most equipment intended for the Spadina extension and for more frequent service with automatic train control has already been delivered.
- Peak trains on YUS = 51 (summer and winter schedules are the same)
- Spares at 20% of 51 = 10
- Total requirement = 61 trains
- Total fleet = 71 (June 19, 2016 Scheduled Service Summary, last page)
This means that the TTC has roughly 50 surplus T1s that are available as an overhaul pool, plus 10 TR trainsets that could be redeployed to the BD line where their working AC units would be most welcome. (And, yes, before someone kvetches, I know that the BD operators would have to be trained to drive the TRs, but many probably know already, and not every crew needs this.)
What we are seeing is a TTC that has been caught out acknowledging the severity of its problem, claiming, basically, that it is impossible to overhaul AC units in advance because they only fail when it gets hot.
The TTC makes a big point of publicizing its Customer Satisfaction stats and trumpeting how strong they are (although we only have numbers to 2016Q1). Hand-wringing over lost ridership is their new passtime, and yet some issues, including failing AC units, are not even mentioned in the staff report on this subject.
It is simply not credible that the TTC is unable, with some juggling of its fleet, to field enough trains where all six cars have AC on the BD line while they get the rest back in proper shape.
All that is needed is the will to organize service around rider comfort.