Posts Tagged ‘Transit’

More Of My Thoughts Regarding The TTC

January 18, 2010 Leave a comment

For a person living in Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) the TTC, as I have mentioned before, is not a viable alternative to owning and driving a car unless the person lives right in the downtown core. This post will deal with a couple more thoughts I have on why this is so.

First, I would like to talk about the TTC’c ‘fare currency’ for adult riders: Tokens. The TTC recently spent millions of dollars redesigning their tokens and making these new tokens because the old tokens were too easy to counterfeit. Why, oh why, I and many others ponder, didn’t they just switch to a far card system? I know that this is the long term plan for the TTC and they want to integrate it with the GO Transit system in the GTA but, quite frankly, the TTC should be just doing and letting the GTA transit systems catch up to them. The TTC should ONLY be concerned with the city of Toronto and their own fare collection, not any other transit systems’.

Second, I would like to talk about buying tokens or day passes or weekly passes. Currently, these are available in all TTC subway stations (where a fare collector is present) and “at over 1,200 TTC Authorized Ticket Agents in Toronto” and if you want to know where these Authorized Ticket Agents are located you have to call a information phone line, there is no listing or GoogleMaps mashup which has these Authorized Ticket Agents listed. I just took a break from writing this post and called the info number. After 5 minutes on the phone trying to find out where I could purchase a day pass and going through numerous automated menus the system told me that in order to find out where an Authorized Ticket Agent was located to I should push 0 to speak to operator (between 8am-6pm daily except weekends and holidays). It is currently 5:55pm on Monday, I pushed 0 and the system hung up on me. Clearly, it is somewhat difficult to find out where one can get a day pass or weekly pass without going to a subway station – which for the majority of Torontonians requires a long walk, taxi ride or riding the TTC.

So let’s say I decided that today or this week I am going to ride the TTC and give up my car and I need a day/week pass. I hop on the bus and pay my $3 fare and take the bus to the subway station. I get off at the station and while in the Fare Paid Area I ask the fare collector if I may buy a day pass (they cost $10) for a discounted price because I clearly have already paid for one full price fare in order to get into the Fare Paid Area. The answer, a gruff “No”. Understandable in a way as it is conceivable that someone might buy a day pass from more than one fare collector from within the Fare Paid Area at a discounted price. So why doesn’t the TTC make a special transfer or slip that a bus driver can give out to riders upon request so they may use it as a proof-of-payment when they get to the station and want to buy a day/week pass. Or, better yet, SELL DAY PASSES & WEEK PASSES ONLINE!

Further, even if I did manage to buy a day pass before getting into the TTC system when I come back in order to use it I have to always pass a manned fare collector booth, there is no scanning system for the unmanned subway station entrances in which I can use my day or week pass as one could a MetroPass (the TTC’s monthly pass).

These are only some of the problems that need to be addressed with the Toronto Transit System.

But that’s just my $0.02

TTC: Crowding Isn’t Bad – Just Leave Earlier

May 28, 2009 Leave a comment

So with the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) reporting that in the past year ridership numbers have seen “a boost of about four-million rides from the 12-month high recorded last fall. But TTC spokesman Brad Ross said that while some commuters might disagree, the city’s buses, subways and streetcars haven’t been any more crowded…”Are certain routes crowded at certain times? Absolutely…. And there are strategies that people can use to avoid that. Leave for work a bit earlier, leave a bit later.”” Or, stop taking the train and buy a car? Is this the way you are going to convince everyone in Toronto to start giving up their cars Brad? Telling them that they should give up their warm, quiet, solitary car for the subway but in order for them to not feel like a sardine they’ll have to leave to work earlier? Won’t they already be leaving earlier than if they were driving in their own car simply because if there is traffic in front of a bus they won’t take an alternate route like one could in their car? This is supposed to encourage people to give up their cars and start taking public transit? You’re not a very good spokesman are you, Brad? You’ve got to sell the public on public transit if you want them to give up their cars!

Or, maybe, the powers that be in Toronto would actually suggest you go out and buy a bike to use on the new bike lanes they are adding to streets all over the city and for which they are removing car lanes. I can just see it now, on a freezing cold, cloudy, dark February morning when the snow and sleet is blowing and the dirty slush is being splashed up from the streets by the evil cars a line of commuters biking from North York downtown to their offices in the Financial District in the downtown core, their $3,000 tailormade Italian suits covered by their $300 neon orange snowsuit.

The TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) Improvements

January 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Some serious changes have been going on with the public transit system in Toronto known as the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission). I think that this is great and love that under Councillor Adam Giambrone massive expansion for the system is in the works a lot of which has already been completed.

In 2007, the TTC announced and began a Station Modernization Program aimed at “dramatically improv[ing] station environments, making them brighter, more attractive, and easier to use. Just as importantly, it will make it easier for the TTC to keep these stations cleaner”. I think it is an awesome idea and I love the way some of the redone stations look.

I also love that they are finally going ahead with the extension of the Spadina Subway line and extending it with 6 new stations up through York University and north all the way to Highway 7 in Vaughan. This will be the first extension of the TTC outside of the city of Toronto. This extension will make the TTC’s system so much more useful to so many more people who live in the northern suburbs. It will also make getting to and from York University’s main campus much quicker for the 50,000 students, faculty, and staff who come and go from that campus every day.

Another way that the TTC is expanding its services is with the Transit City plan (pdf link warning). This will add 7 Light Rail Transit (LRT) or streetcar lines to the city much like the ones already in existence all around the city. The slight twist is that they will not be on the street with the cars but will have their own dedicated lanes like the streetcar line on St Clair Ave W (much to the chagrin of many business owners and residents on St Clair Ave W). The thinking behind the Transit City plan is that it is cheaper and quicker to lay down light rail vs building subway tunnels.

Getting back to the subway, just completed December 17, 2008 was a study/presentation about the extension of the Yonge Subway line (pdf link warning) which will extend that line north into York Region as well.

Other improvements have also been implemented as of late. These include an electronic GPS tracking system of the Spadina streetcars soon to be extended to buses and other streetcars. Also included is extended bus hours referred to as “service improvements” for the bus routes that until now have only been available during peak periods or midday. According to the TTC “all bus routes will now align with the hours of the subway.” Awesome! Right?

Wrong! Much as I love the idea of further modernization and expansion of the TTC and its services I don’t agree with the priorities they have set and the methods they have undertaken to bring the TTC into the 21st Century.

In terms of the station redesigning I am all for the idea of it but realistically the TTC needs to worry about expanding service and routes before wasting money on beautification. I notice on the page linked above that there was a partner in the Museum Station remodeling and because of that I have no real problem with it – I even like the way the station turned out – but all the other remodeling projects on that page do not list a source of funds. This leads me to believe that city, provincial, or TTC money is being spent on these beautification processes and it could be used elsewhere. In New York City the subway system is, in my opinion, amazing. A lot of the stations look quite dirty and even if they weren’t grimy I highly doubt anyone would think to call them beautiful. However, the subway service is great! You can get almost anywhere in the 5 boroughs at almost any time day, night or weekend.

This brings me to my next point. The service of the TTC subway ends every night with the last train out of Union Station going north on Yonge is at 1:42am and University-Spadina 1:43am. If I live off of a route that leaves from Wilson station (the second furthest station north on the University-Spadina line) what good does it do me that my route has now been extended to “align with the hours of the subway” when that statement means that the last bus leaves the station at 1 AM not 2:20am (the approximate time I’d be at Wilson Station if I caught the last train from Union)? I’m still walking home!

As well, with all the money the city and the province spends on R.I.D.E. patrols (police check points checking for drunk drivers) especially on holiday and long weekends wouldn’t it be smarter to redirect some of that money and keep the Subway running until AFTER the bars and clubs stop serving alcohol? (last call is 1:45am and service stops at 2am, clubs and bars close at 3am in general) If people knew for $2.75 they could hop on a train when they got out of the bar/club and get back up to the suburbs they’d would be A LOT less likely to bring their car when they go out for the night. Hopefully the TTC will begin to do this after this past New Years when they did just that and kept the subway running later then usual. In fact the last trains on the Yonge-University-Spadina Subway left Union at 3:30 am for Finch Station and 3:34 am for Downsview Station.

Also, though some might think it useful the GPS program is another waste of money in my opinion. Yes, it sounds really cool. Yes, it will be awesome to know if a bus or streetcar is behind schedule so I won’t stand an extra couple of minutes out in the cold. But all in all I would rather have service hours that are later or even 24/7 instead of technology letting me know exactly where the next streetcar/bus is so I can know exactly when to go stand outside and wait.

But that’s just my $0.02, as always your comments are appreciated!

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