Recent stories beginning with the Toronto Sun, and followed by other media including Global, CTV and City, latched onto a claim from a recent study that Toronto was the sixth worst city in the world for commuting. The study from UK’s Expert Market blog writer Sean Julliard combines data from several other sites and indices to formulate a commuting index for 74 cities around the world.
Toronto likes to think of itself as a “transit city” while having severe congestion problems that are regional in scope, not simply confined to the core area which is a tiny fraction of the overall territory covered by this study. That ranking intrigued, but did not surprise me, and I set out to determine just how Toronto ranked so low in a rather long list.
Links to both an Excel and PDF version of the scores and their components are available in Julliard’s article.
First off, it is vital to understand just how these scores were compiled. Here are the components:
- Metro population: This is the regional population, not necessarily the same as the city population. No source is cited for these values, nor is there a guarantee that other factors are drawn from the same geographic scope. For example, the population given for Toronto is almost 6 million (obviously the GTA), but the price of a monthly farecard is based on the undiscounted value of a TTC Adult Metropass.
- The following four values come from the Moovit Insights compendium of public transit facts and statistics (Toronto page):
- Average time spent commuting: These are transit commuting times and have nothing to do with traffic congestion except as it might affect transit vehicles.
- Average time spent waiting for a bus or a train daily: Again, this is a transit value and appears to be a compendium of all wait times on journeys, not just the initial stage of a trip.
- Average journey distance: This is a transit journey distance. The value shown for Toronto, 10km, lines up with information from other studies. It is slightly higher than the average for the TTC itself because regional commutes are included in the total. This is a one-way value.
- Proportion of commuters who have to make at least one change during a transit journey.
- The following value is derived from the Numbeo Cost of Living index (Toronto page):
- The percentage of a monthly salary represented by the cost of a monthly transit travel card. In Toronto’s case, this is a salary for Toronto proper, and an undiscounted adult Metropass.
- The following value is derived from the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard:
- Average hours spent in traffic congestion over 240 days (twelve twenty-day months)
Note that most of these factors refer only to transit with only the final one having anything to do with road congestion. This did not prevent many from reporting on how the study showed Toronto with the sixth worst congestion in the world.
Julliard notes that his composite index was primarily based on two factors:
The final ranking is weighted, with cost and time spent commuting judged to be the most important factors.
He does not explain exactly how much weight each factor is given in the total score.
Toronto ranks high on the transit cost component because of our relatively expensive Metropass. Numbeo notes:
Toronto has 13th Most Expensive Monthly Pass (Regular Price) in the World (out of 444 cities).
As for congestion, Toronto sits at 49th place (with 1st being the worst), and its position is rising (bad) thanks to increased time spent by commuters in traffic.
And so we have a sixth worst ranking on Julliard’s scale because we have rotten traffic and expensive transit.
The INRIX scores rank many North American cities, including Montréal (38th), worse off than Toronto for congestion. Los Angeles tops the list with New York (3rd) and San Francisco (5th) not far behind. On a world scale, we are better off than London (7th) and Paris (12th) among many others.
This is a very different view than presented in media reports based on Julliard’s blog.
Toronto is almost at the bottom of the list for the average time spent commuting by transit at 73rd place out of 74 in Julliard’s list. This is not surprising with a very high 96 minutes spend on average claimed by Moovit. Remember that this is for a round trip, and so their value for the average one-way trip is 48 minutes. That’s a reasonable number for Toronto. It is worth noting that of the 74 cities, only 24 have values of an hour or less. Others in the 90+ list include: Portland, Miami, Istanbul, Philadelphia, Sao Paulo, Birmingham (UK), Salvador (Brazil), Rio de Janiero, Brasilia, and Bogata.
This also begs the question of the scale of transit service in various cities. It is quite likely that in the overall list, it is physically impossible to spend as much time as in Toronto on commute journeys either because the city regions are smaller, or their transit networks do not reach as far as Toronto’s.
For transit wait time, Toronto is much better off at 41st with a relatively low value of 14 minutes. We may take long journeys, but we spend less time waiting to make them.
Our journeys are comparatively long at 10km reflecting the geography of the GTA’s population and work locations, and we sit at 63rd place in the list.
As for transfers, we rank well down on the list at 69th, and that is a direct result of our transit network’s design. Most riders (73%) have to transfer at least once, and given the size of Toronto, that would be hard to avoid except with massive duplication of routes to provide many more one-seat rides. Only 17 cities in the list have a value under 50%, and they tend to be smaller than Toronto with populations averaging 1.7 million (25% of the GTA value).
Toronto is 62nd on the list for cost of a monthly travel card (a TTC Metropass) as a percentage of monthly income at 6.5%. Montreal has a value less than half of Toronto’s, and most cities in Julliard’s list fall below 5%.
If you want to complain that the TTC costs too much, especially its monthly pass, that’s a valid point, but it has nothing to do with traffic congestion. Travel distances and times are a direct consequence of a region that has, for the most part, built up around a road network, not around transit. Where once the “old” city with its spine of subways and frequent surface routes dominated the travel market, the city region is now overwhelmingly car-based with sprawling populations and job centres to match. This model “worked” when roads had capacity and the assumption that everyone had a car was taken as read. That is not what Toronto has become, and we now have a crisis in transportation network capacity and in the economic viability of so much travel for work and study taking so much time out of everyone’s day.
The Toronto Sun has even taken up the fight against the streetcar again lumping in the downtown know-it-alls who killed the Spadina Expressway with those who preserved the streetcar system. The fact that the vast majority of the GTHA has never seen a streetcar and manages to be hopelessly congested all the same has escaped them. Toronto being “sixth worst” is yet another reason to drag out this hobby horse.
And, of course, some of the greatest congestion lies on our “express” road network. Unlike downtown Toronto, Etobicoke, Scarborough and North York never faced the prospect of demolishing large residential areas in the name of “progress”. A plan to widen the expressways beyond lands long-ago acquired for their construction might teach folks outside of downtown just what provision of adequate road capacity would mean in their own back yards.
Julliard’s study (really a collection of data, but not a “study” in the sense of a detailed review of how the underlying numbers work and what they reveal) is a convenient jumping off point for lazy politicians (and sadly, I must say, for journalists too), but it has been used without context and with even the data it does include misrepresented. If Toronto had a cheaper transit pass, we would have ranked much better, and there would be no story, but this would have no effect on traffic congestion.
Are there problems in the GTA? Of course there are, and they start with a built form and demand pattern that are extremely difficult (impossible in places) to serve with transit. Once the roads are full, they guarantee congestion, and this will not be solved with a few subways or by getting rid of a handful of streetcar lines in Toronto’s core. The “fix” will take time, and must begin with a recognition that shifting people to transit is hard, expensive work. Simplistic, campaign-driven, vote-buying “solutions” are worthless.
The Toronto Sun is coming up on a half century of useless, misleading, and destructive propaganda. Forty-seven years of what has usually, in terms of long term results, turned out to be anti Toronto crud; all the while smarmily claiming to be some kind of self righteous defender of all that is good for the people.
The stance against any kind of new urban rail is a case in point: If commuters are stuck in traffic, and they certainly are, build more roads! No city in North America has been able to improve its auto movement speeds, by erecting more road capacity, since the mid fifties; but The Sun throws a tantrum if one lane is removed for transit.
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This is why we need to bury the Eglinton LRT and build the Sheppard and Scarborough subways. Otherwise, our ranking will remain poor. We should be ashamed of being the sixth worst city.
Steve: We are not the sixth worse, and the changes you propose will have no effect on traffic in the vast majority of the GTA.
I don’t see the problem getting better cause it seems that TTC Board doesn’t want to properly fund transit on top of that it seems they don’t want to reach a contract which is hurting routes with buses missing.
Traffic congestion exists everywhere in the world. I remember travelling to Narita Airport by bus from central Tokyo. 90 minutes turned into a 180 minute trip due to traffic congestion on the Shutoko toll highways. Think about that, paying tolls to get stuck in traffic. The difference is that in Tokyo, there are rail based alternatives and the built form is much better.
In Tokyo, every train station is a hub of the community. Shops and services radiate from the station. Since stations are about 3 to 4 km apart, most people only have to travel a short distance to the station. On the way, they can get their groceries, pick up the kids and go to a dentist. A bicycle is fast and easy way to get to the station. Even in a car, a few kilometers in a traffic jam is not the end of the world.
Toronto is completely different. Every GO station is a parking lot wasteland. People race to their cars in places like Agincourt GO when the train opens its doors. There is nothing to walk or bike to near a GO station. At most GO stations, even a local connecting bus service is hard to come by. Unionville GO is supposed to be a mobility hub. However, Viva Purple do not even stop directly at the station. It requires a 200m walk across parking lots. Who will use the RER when the station parking lots are full?
There are a lot of opportunities to intensify near GO stations. With bike share and cycle tracks, people do not need to park their cars all the time. Local transit providers like YRT need to step up and ensure that frequent buses serve the RER stations. 30 minutes for one bus is not attractive.
I had thought that moving away in 2004 I had helped reduce the congestion. Guess not…
No matter how you want to rationalize it, the TTC monthly pass is the most expensive in North America and has been for many years. Most other TTC fares are also near the top of their category across the continent. That is not right and should be addressed. I welcome the study for shedding light on Toronto’s outrageous transit costs.
Steve: Actually it was not the “study”, but another website they used as a source, that contained this info.
TTC passes cost the most in North America because the TTC is the least subsidized in North America. There are no outrageous costs.
Steve: Well, yes, but you also have management and pols who view passholders as freeloaders who should be paying even more. Passes have been a basic part of the fare system for 38 years (May 1980), and over half of all adult fares are paud that way, but the TTC cannot get its corporate mind beyond thinking that they “lose” money. With a pass, extra rides have no marginal cost, and assuming fairly decent service, the rider does not face a new charge every time they have the urge to travel. That’s basic marketing, but don’t try to tell the TTC that.
Passes should be cheaper relative to single fares so that more people would use them. Ideally, there should be automatic monthly capping (as on GO, for example) so that one did not have to pre-commit to paying for a pass, but simply used the system sure in knowing the cost would not exceed a certain value. That’s how the Day Pass will work on Presto when they finally turn in on later in 2018.
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For decades, there was relatively open green space to the north of Eglinton Avenue between Islington Avenue and Martin Grove Rd. – the remnant of the cancelled Richview Expressway back when the provincial government was going to string ribbons of asphalt throughout the GTA to “improve” automobile commutes into and out of the city. Then, in more recent years, the city, seeing all this “wasted” land that could be used to generate more tax income, sold off much of that land through Build Toronto and now there are HUNDREDS of townhouse condos along parts of this thoroughfare, which means at least DOZENS (or maybe HUNDREDS?) of new cars crowding onto the already crowded lanes of Eglinton Avenue West as people come off Highway 401 Eastbound and access it from other major connecting streets to make their way uptown. Had city councillors had the foresight, ambition and the BALLS to actually think about the bigger transit picture years ago and also keep pushing the Provincial government, then this route – which, (SURPRISE!) was part of Transit City – would have been completed as a functional transit route, carrying riders along Eglinton Avenue West and up towards Finch Avenue and Humber College by next year.
No, we shouldn’t be ashamed of being the sixth worst city (or whatever it should actually be). We should be ashamed to even be on the list at all – or any list of bad commute times for that matter. But, when you have a garden (the Base Transit System) and then refuse to water (Proper, Regular Funding); fertilize (Continue to Build and Expand the lines); weed (Replace Worn-out Vehicles and Systems); and deal with the pests (Fare Hikes and Public and Political Critics Who Argue Against Funding the System’s Maintenance, Growth and Expansion) – well, is it any surprise that the flowers and plants languish and die off (that transit use decreases due to there being less of a good and useful alternative for people to use instead of driving)?
If you want to resolve – or better, prevent – problems, then take the time to trace the problem back to the source and deal with that source to give you the desired result in the desired timeframe. The TTC Board and Toronto City Councillors (and the Province, for that matter) have, for too long, abdicated their very clear responsibility to effect change and affect the transit growth in this city for the better. Bad commuting times (at whatever “ranking”) is a clear result of this and the sad thing is that the solution for it is – and has been – just as clear.
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– By “study” I meant the blog post from ExpertMarket
– By “outrageous transit costs” I meant the outrageous cost of a TTC monthly pass. Requiring FORTY-NINE trips to justify a pass is downright inexcusable. Montreal is amazing at 31 trips, while most cities are in the low 40s — i.e. 22 work days per month x 2. Very few cities (Toronto, NYC, Miami, a couple others) dare go over 44.
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Have you been to every GO station? York University GO station has no parking. You make useless generalisations which is probably why Steve did not respond to your comment.
But then you state:
You contradict yourself too. A few kilometres in a traffic jam is not the end of the world but walking 200m is the end of the world? Your comment was probably not worthy of Steve’s response. I don’t mean to be rude and you do make good points from time to time but try not to make useless generalisations and try not to contradict yourself.
Steve: I don’t reply to every comment because there are times I just have other things to do. For those who are trolls or otherwise truly unworthy, there is always the “Delete” function which really should have a sound effect of mad, cackling laughter.
Steve is right. The way that this is presented by the media is somewhat misleading. For example, Global reports that,
Note how that “one hour and 36 minutes” is round-trip and the “10 kilometres” is one-way. Misleading!
Still, even if we look at the one-way time of 48 minutes, this gives an average speed of 12.5 km/hr. This is much less than the typical urban bicycle speed of 20 km/hr. And since this study is looking at regional transit, the average includes GO rail, Toronto subway and other rapid transit. These would have the effect of pulling up the average speed.
Steve: Assuming we can take the numbers at face value, a “trip” more often than not includes at least one transfer where the average speed is zero. This is not an issue for cyclists (or pedestrians).
It would be interesting to see the same average speed for the one-third of trips in the GTHA that are between one and five kilometers. I suspect that their average speed is very slow, less than 10 km/hr. So installing protected Dutch-standard cycling infrastructure will double people’s speed for these trips.
A note to everyone who is now thinking about writing back, “Hey, I can ride at much faster than 20 km/hr.” 20 km/hr is used as a typical urban speed because cycle traffic includes children and the elderly. It also includes delays due to traffic signals. Which is why, for the so-called “Green Wave”, traffic signals are set for a speed of 20 km/hr.
It’s simple: Just make passes NO COST and give them away for free! That way the corporate policy of “losing money” is built-in! Then, enact a Vehicle Registration Tax on drivers but make sure to tell them that because of this, the number of cars on the road will be halved, meaning their commutes will be twice as fast! (Don’t tell them that there isn’t sufficient transit capacity to accommodate that potential latent demand for the next 20 years – they’ll just get annoyed….)
This just proves (as you show, Steve) that extrapolating a particular viewpoint from disparate statistics is a mug’s game but works great at selling newspapers and riling up the editorial writers and then the population. Transit has yet again become a “Well, if we do this one thing, then Voila! our transit problems will be a thing of the past” issue, instead of a process – like Transit City.
We need politicians and City staff to actively determine and analyze the existing real-life transit issues. Then, through a proper triage system, they need to determine which problems have highest priority and where any available money can be spent to address and resolve these set goals. I understand that dependence on senior levels of government presents a wrinkle, but if you actually have a plan written down, it’s easier to get approval when the money is available and the MP or MPP or Minister is looking to appear in a glowing photo-op – and then a follow-up photo-op when the work is actually progressing or even complete!
It seems that some on the TTC Board and several on Council are happy to subscribe to the myths that keep circulating because it allows them to promote their own pet projects. It’s easier than doing the work to analyze the dire straits of the transit system and address those issues proactively and they don’t have to call out the snake oil sales(wo)men (some among their own ranks) who continue to peddle useless information to willing ears and wallets.
Josh, this is a transit forum, but I am not a transit expert. However, I have used enough transit in the world to know what a seamless and good experience should be. There are some stations in Toronto where GO does not provide parking. Exhibition GO comes to mind. York University Station is another one, but that station might be slated for demolition. There are very few GO stations where there is a steady walk in crowd.
GO is suppose to provide sub 15 minutes service with RER. Every station has little development around it. Have you seen Daniels, Tridel or Menkes advertising condos using GO stations as selling points? Have you seen any shopping malls say that they are close to GO stations? Ikea advertises that their North York location is close to Leslie TTC Station, but not Oriole GO. The TTC does not advertise telling people not to drive to its stations. GO has a campaign where it tells people to trying walking, cycling, carpooling or taking local transit to GO stations.
What I am pointing out is that GO stations (except Union) are poorly located and accessed. We are in the era of extreme weather. When you in a car, traffic jam is annoying, but not harsh. A car provides a climate controlled envrioment with a guaranteed seat and entertainment on demand. A 200m walk to Viva Purple in 40C weather can be dangerous to certain demographics. If the vending machine is out of service at Unionville, there is nothing else to purchase to replenish bodily fluids. How can transit be attractive if one gets sweaty using it? Suppose you are heading to a job interview wearing a suit, a car will get you to the destination with no sweat. Taking transit will get you sweaty, which option is more attractive to you?
One more point, whether Steve replies to my reponses do not matter. Even though I have deep respect for him, I am not him. It is not possible for me to have the same opinion as him. It is nice if he agrees or perhaps everyone with me. My background is different so I view things differently. In my world, people talk about using titanium screws to save a few hundred grams per location instead of aluminum. That weight savings might not matter much on a transit bus, but it affects the take off weight and how much cargo can be loaded to the belly. This does not make me any more right or wrong than others.
I use GO and I’ve always been a big fan, but it’s a victim of its own success; and the parking problem is a major result.
The long ago warning of John Sewell rings in my ears during each GO trip. He felt that a successful commuter rail system would encourage people to move away from their places of employment in search of cheaper housing and cleaner air.
They certainly have; and GO, clean and safe, has become a, usually, very well run system that is beginning to experience capacity problems that are becoming more expensive, by the day, to remedy.
Wait until Doug and The Sun get a hold of that one!
With the current pass system, the TTC gets the full price at the beginning of the month. If the pass is lost or the user goes on vacation without letting someone else get use of it, the TTC still has the full price “invested” somewhere. With the capping, they would only get the “full price” when the cap is reached, usually closer to the end of a month, not before.
Steve: The usability/attractiveness of a fare structure should not depend on the convenience of the transit agency. If they get revenue a bit later, that’s part of the cost of doing business. Moreover, it is a one-time change because the new, “slower” flow of funds would only happen in the first month. It is not an ongoing cost.
@ Benny and Josh;
While I do not agree with everything Benny says I look forward to his input because he has a different and often unique point of view. If this forum only had points of view that were all the same it would be boring.
I think Benny sometimes carries the airline analogy too far and Hamish goes overboard on his calls for BRT but I would not want them to be removed as almost all points of view have a validity, trolls excepted.
There are a number of GO stations that have a sizable walk in crowd from nearby development, Port Credit, Burlington, Hamilton Hunter Street, Main, Scarborough, Eglinton, Guildwood, Brampton, Mount Pleasant and Weston are a few that I know. Granted most of them have parking lots but they also have walk ins.
Brampton is seeing a large condo boom in the downtown with between 700 and 1400 units being developed, along with a new campus for Ryerson. There are ads in the Brampton Station about new and reasonably priced condos going up within walking distance of Georgetown station, Benny.
I am sure that there are other stations with a sizable walk in group but I do not ride those lines. Some stations, because they are on rail lines in industrial areas, will almost always have almost no walk in riders but lots of others in vacant fields will see development occur around them. If that development is properly handled and not forced to be km away because of huge parking lots then there will be more walk in traffic.
The three stations in Brampton all have major bus terminals at them which also helps provide other methods of getting there besides driving and there are actually some people who use the bike parking areas.
One thing that I have noted from my travels through out the US and Canada, and I have driven in every state and province, is the amount of space devoted to the car in the US. Look at any road atlas that shows the expressways in and around cities in the US and Canada and you will see the large swaths of land devoted to highways and interchanges, even in the downtown core. With the exception of QEW-427, 427-401, 401-409, 401-400, 401-404 and 401-Allen/Spadina these are almost non existent in Toronto and certainly not in the core.
Another thing is the amount of land devoted to parking. There are very few true parking garages in downtown Toronto and not many in the outer 416. This is not true in most American cities. The majority of large parking garages in the GTHA are owned by Metrolinx and are at GO stations. While we may not agree with this it does keep cars out of the core of Toronto.
I was walking down Bay Street Yesterday and one underground parking site was advertising a flat rate for day time parking of $30.00 and night time for $10.00. I don’t think that this encourages driving to the core.
When I go downtown during the week I take the GO train from Brampton, on the weekend or evenings I drive to Kipling and take the subway, but a friend has suggested going to Rutherford GO on the Barrie line on weekends and taking it. I shall try it.
Does it really matter if Toronto is #6 or not? Commuting within the city and commuting to/from the city from the suburbs are both undeniably awful messes.
When you consider how much of Transit City would be open now (Finch, Sheppard, Scarborough LRT imminent, if not open, Jane under way) if Dalton McGuinty hadn’t cut $4 billion in funding and kicked the whole thing down the line into the Rob Ford era when he was only too happy to go along with Ford’s killing of it, and if the TTC hadn’t foot-dragged on the relief line for decades, things would clearly be nowhere near as dire as they are today within the city.
Outside, electrification and a large increase in service density was an excellent idea. I read one of the most recent Lakeshore West electrification documents from end to end a couple of years ago and it was a very interesting read because it was very detailed. Everything from substation, booster station, feeder circuit runs, what clearance issues with bridges and such were present and plans to solve them, where overhead supports would have to be built on CN property etc. the works complete with extensive photographs and diagrams were present. This wasn’t a PR puff piece. This was a serious plan the had been developed to the point where construction could pretty much begin on most of the easy parts while detailed design work on the more difficult areas was finished up, except that no contracts were signed to get going on it. Instead, there was that last minute diversion into hydrogen train BS because Kathleen Wynne & Co. never saw a horribly expensive, poorly thought out green initiative that they didn’t like. In all honesty, I think the big mistake was using diesel multiple units on the Pearson express. If that had been built as an electric line from the outset, electrification of the rest of the Go system would have been the logical buildout of an existing system over several phases of construction and would have been well underway by now except the McGuinty government insisted on diesel instead.
Steve: If they had gone electric, the line almost certainly would not have opened as soon as it did, and there’s a very good chance that it would have been even more cocked up than it actually was. A politically motivated service should not be used as the poster child for new technology.
The GO train system runs on existing railway lines that were either built to serve industrial areas or had industrial areas spring up around them so the lack of walk-in foot traffic in most locations is totally understandable. So the parking garages are pretty much a necessity given the poor or absent integration of local transit. Take Hamilton, for example, where the all day bidirectional train service that was going to be in place for the 2015 Pan Am games still isn’t present which means the QEW express bus is still the service to and from Toronto. Go on the respective websites and look at the schedules and you’ll find out that the last QEW express arrives in Hamilton five minutes after the last set of HSR buses leaves the Go Centre. I honestly don’t know how much bad system integration like this exists throughout the golden horseshoe but in terms of Metrolinx’s mandate to co-ordinate transit service across the region, the fact that problems like this still exist how many years later pretty much indicates that they’ve failed in their mandate. So, faced with situations like this, people drive to the train station. I think we can all agree it’s at least better that than driving all the way into Toronto. Maybe the Hamilton and Mississauga LRTs would’ve helped solve the local transit to the train station problems in their respective areas, but Brampton walked which may well be academic anyways since Wynne & Co. failed to get these past the point of commitment before the election and they could very well never get built now.
Benny mentioned development companies not marketing their projects for being near GO train stations. In Toronto, most of them don’t, their angle is to be near a subway station, but outside the city, that’s actually a pretty big marketing angle. The condo development that’s in progress next to Burlington station was aggressively marketed as such. Another developer heavily marketed the Aquazul condos in Grimsby as being on the Niagara GO Expansion complete with a stylized drawing of a train in their ads – marketing their development being near a GO train station that doesn’t even exist yet! These infill developments near GO train stations are going to be the main source of walk-in pedestrian traffic as time goes on. Interestingly, the Metrolinx billboard at the Grimsby station has an image on it showing a blurred train of bilevel cars blowing by an overhead catenary support tower at speed, under wire. At this point, we can only hope that’s the form the train service takes, when or if it opens for service.
Steve: That will be a challenge considering that Grimsby is CN territory and the electrification is planned only to the end of GO Transit’s territory.
At this point, when multiple levels of government have utterly botched the file so badly for so long, it doesn’t matter what the methodology is or where in the rankings Toronto falls, it’s undeniably bad. Everyone that has to fight their way to work somehow, grind through the day, then fight their way home again and somehow squeeze the errands in has been screwed. And with “build a subway to Pickering” being the new government’s plan, none of it’s going to get better any time soon. It’s a shame because a lot of the more recent plans have been reasonably good, but they’ve been the victim of a near total lack of execution.
I am laughing today at stories from The Guardian about how temperatures in subway trains in London have reached levels “illegal for cattle transportation” while recalling the huge furor over a similar matter in Toronto last year on the Bloor-Danforth subway when some cars had non-functional A/C units.
No air conditioning on the subway is a baseline expectation in London. I doubt that was factored into this “sixth worst commute” nonsense. What the GTA residents would think if the TTC had zero air conditioning on trains? I’m sure the TTC would love the reduction in the operating expense allowing you to commute to work in subway cars at 36 degrees celsius, which is what is happening in London now.
The non-A/C T1 cars I rode last summer also has no air movement whatsoever. That made them unlike the earlier non-A/C subway cars which at least had fans (or openable windows) for air circulation. Fortunately I was not going east of Keele, and it was pretty uncrowded. I can’t imagine being stuffed standing in a crowded rush hour T1 with non-working A/C all the way to/from downtown.