Read the daily “on schedule” posts to find news and other information that affects your daily commute. You’ll learn about public meetings, special events and construction projects that affect transit services today.
BAI Canada and the TTC are bringing wireless internet service (Wi-Fi) to Dundas, Queen, King and Union stations, as part of their plan to extend Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities to all underground subway stations.
The partners intend to expand the service to all downtown stations on the 1 Yonge - University - Spadina line and four stations on the 2 Bloor - Danforth line by the first quarter of 2015. Each station will host the TCONNECT Wi-Fi service and will be cellular-capable, ready for local cellular operators to join the network. The network provides connectivity for transit riders and lets the TTC use business and transit applications, such as digital signage, for its passenger information services.
In introducing Wi-Fi to TTC stations, BAI Canada also launched TCONNECT, its free-to-the-public, sponsored Wi-Fi service. TCONNECT has worked with organizations like Mondelez, Tim Hortons, the City of Toronto and Koodo to provide free Wi-Fi to TTC riders. Since then, more than 200,000 unique users have accessed the TCONNECT network more than 1.5 million times. In June alone, TTC riders used more than three terabytes of data on the Wi-Fi network.
The TTC and BAI plan to install Wi-Fi in these downtown stations over the next few months:
- Spadina - December
- St Andrew - January
- Osgoode - January
- St Patrick - February
- Queen’s Park - February
- Museum - March
For the second time in a row, a new mayor of Toronto has launched his term of office making a significant statement about public transit in the city. But whereas on December 1, 2010, Rob Ford announced the cancellation of the Miller-era Transit City and proclaimed “the war on the car is over”, John Tory’s announcement is more modest, and likely to be welcomed by TTC riders and transit activists. According to the Toronto Star, Mayor-elect Tory has asked TTC CEO Andy Byford to reverse cuts to TTC bus service that were made by the Ford administration in 2011 and 2012. During those years, as part of a city-wide reduction of department budgets, TTC service was reduced or ended on 41 routes throughout the city.
The details of the restoration are yet to come about, but the request has the support of CEO Byford, who said “Those cuts in 2011, 2012, did have a very hurtful impact upon the travellers.” For TTC passengers and transit activists, the hope is that Tory’s request is coupled with an acknowledgement that these service reductions can only come through a budget increase, and that funds will be made available as soon as possible.
Indeed, Toronto City Council has some catching up to do in order to restore the same quality of service Torontonians had before Rob Ford took office. Since 2010, TTC ridership has increased from 477 million to over 525 million, an increase of almost 50 million passengers. With service levels cut in 2011 and 2012, this has meant increased crowding throughout the system. Worse, the inability of the Ford administration to provide sufficient budget for the TTC to increase its bus and streetcar fleet has meant that the TTC has had to recently cut service on a number of bus routes, increasing crowding beyond the TTC’s restricted guidelines, because insufficient vehicles were available to provide the service to the standard the TTC requires.
To get the TTC fleet up to the number of buses and streetcars required to reduce wait times and crowding to 2010 levels, much less improve things beyond that, newly elected mayor John Tory must be willing to pay for a significant increase in the TTC’s capital budget, to clear through critical maintenance that is underfunded, as well as providing more garage space for an expanding bus fleet, more buses, more streetcars, and the personnel to drive them.
However, Tory’s acknowledgement that the Ford-era cuts to the TTC needed to be reversed is a welcome signal to transit riders across the city that their concerns are at least being heard by the new administration, rather than being ignored altogether. It’s a good first step that offers hope for further steps in the future.
- All Fired Up In The Big Smoke post, “Narrowing the gap”, here.
- BlogTO post, “Will narrowing traffic lanes make Toronto streets safer?”, here.
- BlogTO post, “10 quirky things to know about Riverdale and Leslieville”, here.
- Canadian Press article (from the Globe and Mail website), “Canadians find commute a time to relax and rest, survey says”, here.
- Global News Toronto report, “Selfie campaign launches to promote better TTC service”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “TTC pleads with subway riders to save alarms for emergencies”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “TTC launches media campaign on proper use of emergency alarm”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Province to pay for community bus to get seniors, people with disabilities and youth around Toronto”, here.
- Metro Toronto’s Ford for Toronto post, “Tory’s LRT fence-sitting leaves door open for political opportunists”, here.
- Metro Toronto article, “Pan Am Games traffic plans include expanded HOV lanes, free transit trips for spectators”, here.
- National Post article, “Cost of Union Station and Nathan Phillips Square overhauls could go up, John Tory says”, here.
- National Post article, “Toronto hopes to reduce lane widths in hope of getting drivers to slow down, using extra space for other things”, here.
- Newstalk 1010 report, “Lane-narrowing plan looks to ease congestion, enhance safety, says John Tory”, here.
- Ride This Crazy Train post, “Someone better check on the gerbil”, here.
- Steve Munro’s post, “The Not So Speedy 509 Harbourfront Car”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “TTC subway riders: Think 911 before pushing that yellow strip”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Presto launches on TTC streetcars this Sunday”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Union Pearson train needs deep discount, says airport workers union”, here.
- Toronto Star commentary, “Toll lanes should be transportation legacy of Pan Am Games”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “New narrow car lanes ‘all about safety’”, here.
- Toronto Sun editorial, “Pan Am plan: Road to ruin”, here.
The City of Toronto is closing:
- Lansdowne Avenue just south of Dundas Street West
Sunday, as Metrolinx crews continue rehabilitating the overpass carrying GO Transit trains across the roadway this weekend, part of major projects to upgrade the Georgetown South Rail Corridor and to build the Union Pearson Express line.
This weekend, crews will remove two girders from the bridge. From 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday, November 29, they’ll restrict traffic under the railway bridge while they get ready to remove the girders. They’ll maintain one lane of traffic in each direction. From 7 a.m. until noon Sunday, November 30, the City will fully close the street, to allow the the crews to remove the girders.
The TTC is detouring buses operating along this route, while the street is closed:
- 47 Lansdowne.
The City of Toronto is closing
- King Street West between Bathurst and Portland Streets
this weekend, Saturday, November 29 and Sunday, November 30,
to accommodate private contractors who are lifting a crane into position at a work site.
The TTC is detouring streetcars operating along the 504 King route, while the street is closed. TTC crews will also temporarily remove the streetcar overhead wiring during the crane activities. Shuttle buses replace the cars, serving stops on King Street West between Dufferin and York Streets.
To accommodate the event, Exhibition Place is closing:
- Nunavut Road between Princes Boulevard and Nova Scotia Avenue and
- Nova Scotia Avenue between Nunavut Road and Manitoba Drive.
mornings, afternoons and early evenings from Saturday, November 29 until Sunday, December 7.
The TTC is detouring buses operating along this route, while the streets are closed:
- 29C Dufferin.
“In case of emergency”: Need police, fire services or emergency medical care? Think 9-1-1! A new TTC video, featuring Chief Executive Officer Andy Byford and Executive Director of Corporate Communications Brad Ross, explains when and how to use the emergency alarm on subway trains and how to cut power to the third rail, if you see someone fall or jump to the tracks.
When someone activates an emergency alarm in a subway car, the train proceeds to the next station and waits there until police, paramedic and fire services personnel arrive at the scene, tying up valuable emergency resources, delaying passengers for as long as 20 minutes per incident and backing up trains throughout the system.
More than two-thirds of the 2,677 occasions when a passenger activated an alarm this year, were for situations that were not emergencies. These “non-emergency” alarms resulted in more than 48 hours of delays for subway passengers. Often each alarm has a domino effect, particularly during winter, when people are dressed warmly and can overheat during a long delay. When those passengers feel ill, they may then activate another emergency alarm.
As part of the TTC’s efforts to reduce the number of non-emergency alarms, it’s renaming the current “Passenger Assistance Alarms” as “Emergency Alarms”. You’ll soon notice decals with the new name near the yellow alarm strips in each subway car, as the TTC phases out decals bearing the old name. Information materials for the new public-information campaign, featuring a Toronto firefighter, police officer and paramedic, are already appearing in the subway system.
A new TTC video explains that pressing the yellow emergency alarm on the subway is like calling 9-1-1, and that you should only use the alarm in case of an emergency. If you’re feeling ill on board a train (and you’re able to do so), exit the train at the next stop and notify TTC staff by using the intercom on the platform.
You’ll find emergency alarms throughout subway trains, above the windows, near priority seating and next to all doors — for the safety of everyone using transit.
TTCRiders, a group of TTC passengers who are advocating for better transit service, recently launched its #grumpyrider social media campaign. Next time you’re feeling grumpy on the TTC, the group wants you to snap and send a #grumpyrider selfie to them and to your elected officials at City Hall and Queen’s Park.
(You can also just send a message to your elected officials, if you don’t feel like taking a photo.)
Elected officials need to understand the collective frustration of all of us — Toronto’s 1.7 million riders — feel when we face overcrowding, delays, breakdowns, long wait times and more on the TTC.
But they also point out that some happiness is in sight. Tuesday, December 9 at the first meeting of this term’s Toronto Transit Commission, our elected officials can choose to say yes to improving service now, by including recommendations from the recent TTC staff report “Opportunities to Improve Transit in Toronto” as part of the TTC’s 2015 budget.
The report calls for funding to support, among many other things:
- “10-minutes-or-better” service on all major routes;
- two-hour fare transfers;
- more express buses; and
- more overnight service.
TTCRiders wants you — us — to join in the campaign by taking action and demonstrating your dissatisfaction with current transit services. Take out your cell phones, #grumpyriders. Snap and send your #grumprider selfie to Mayor John Tory and City Hall and to Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario government. Include a personal message that explains why you’re a #grumpyrider, and how the City and Province can make you a happier rider if they fairly fund the TTC. (You can also just send a message, if you don’t feel like taking a photo.)
According to TTCRiders, elected officials respond when members of the public organize and get media attention, as they did earlier this year by approving a low-income fare pass after TTCRiders and others advocated for it.
T2P0 Films will also be hosting its second-ever Finch - St.George - Finch run this Sunday, November 30 at 8:30 p.m. One of the senior Class 1 towers will be going for their Transit Control promotion. They need at least 12 operators for the test to proceed. Virtual TTC Academy members who participate in this run will be able to receive the updated T1 train early.
Those interested in simulating virtual Toronto subway operations in the open source train simulator, OpenBVE, can sign up for a badge number at: ttcacademy.t2p0films.ca/signup.php.