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Last Build Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2017 14:45:06 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2017

In the news: Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 14:45:06 -0500

Greater Toronto and Golden Horseshoe area media report on public transit issues today. Greater Toronto Area BlogTO post, “This unfunded TTC program could significantly improve your commute”, here. BlogTO post, “There’s now WiFi at 54 TTC stations”, here. BlogTO post, “10 fascinating secrets of the TTC”, here. Canadian Press article, “TTC dismisses 73 people over alleged multimillion dollar benefits fraud scheme” (from the CBC News Toronto website), here. CBC News report, Are shields the answer? Fatal stabbing has bus drivers calling for safety barriers”, here. CBC News report, “Conservative MPs laugh at Amarjeet Sohi’s past as [Edmonton] bus driver”, here. CBC News Toronto report, “Here are 3 different futures for King Street”, here. CBC News Toronto report, “Toronto’s auditor general to probe Scarborough subway complaint”, here. CBC News Toronto report, “Metrolinx to consider fare based on distance travelled”, here. CBC News Toronto report, “Tory not ruling out sales, gas tax for Toronto, if he can get province on board”, here. CBC News Toronto report, “Should GO Transit abandon its York U stop? For 1 student, it would be a ‘disaster’”, here. CBC News Toronto report, “From TTC commute to wedding bells - how a bus driver and rider fell in love”, here. CityNews Toronto report, “Metrolinx considers fare by distance for GTHA transit users”, here. CTV News Toronto report, “TTC delays in 2016 amount to 26 days of lost service”, here. CTV News Toronto report, “Neethan Shan wins Ward 42 byelection”, here. Daily Commercial News article, “GTAA reveals plans for Pearson transit centre”, here. Globe and Mail article, “Metrolinx rejects Bombardier’s claims of laxity in wake of court filing”, here. Globe and Mail article, “Rethinking King Street: Is Toronto ready to move forward?”, here. Globe and Mail article, “No tolls? Tory wants provincial money for DVP, Gardiner”, here. Huffington Post Canada post, “Liberal MP accuses Tories of Laughing atAmarjeet Sohi’s Past as a Bus Driver”, here. insauga post, “Some changes to MiWay services are coming”, here. article, “All-day, two-way GO train service won’t come to Milton until 2041”, here. article, “Metrolinx challenges story about all-day, two-way GO train service in Milton”, here. article, “War of words between Bombardier and Metrolinx escalates”, here. article, “A transit-first pilot project coming to King Street”, here. column, “TOINTRANSIT: Don’t believe the budget hype”, here. article, “Search for female suspect as women beaten, thrown into TTC bus”, here. article, “Love is on the bus: TTC driver finds future wife on temporary route”, here. article, “Brock councillors trying to improve transit”, here. Oshawa Express article, “Province doubling gas tax funds”, here. Railway Tracks and Structures post, “IO, Metrolinx move forward with RFP for rail tunnel project”, here. Steve Munro’s post, “The Metrolinx Fetish for Fare By Distance”, here. Steve Munro’s post, “The Metrolinx Fetish for Fare By Distance (II)”, here. Steve Munro’s post, “2017 TTC Budget Smoke and Mirrors at City Hall”, here. Steve Munro’s post, “Transit First For King Street?”, here. Steve Munro’s post, “Exhibition Loop Reopens for Streetcars”, here. Torontoist post, “Cars Take Up Too Much Space on King Street”, here. Toronto Star column, “Wake up Toronto and tackle transportation”, here. Toronto Star article, “Metrolinx to Bombardier: ‘Stop blami[...]

King Street transit-priority corridor: City staff present three pilot options

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:50:53 -0500

TTC streetcars and buses operating along King Streets East and West between River and Dufferin Streets serve the busiest surface transit corridor in Toronto. They carry as many as 65,000 passengers every Monday to Friday. Despite the large number of riders on King streetcars, service is often slow and erratic. Streetcars share the street with other traffic and left-turning vehicles often delay the cars. In many cases at many times of the day, pedestrians can walk faster than the streetcars can travel the same distance. King Street is also an important east-west traffic artery in downtown Toronto, connecting many neighbourhoods with the largest concentration of jobs in the city, region, and country. The King Street corridor will continue to grow significantly in population and employment in the coming decades, leading to further demand on these already heavily congested transit routes. Moreover, even though most people travel by transit on King Street and very few by car, the design allocates the most space to motorists. Over the past few years, the TTC has made operational changes to improve streetcar service, including: allowing all-door loading (to become more effective with the new low-floor streetcars); adding supplemental buses; extending turning and on-street parking restrictions; optimizing transit stop locations and route running times; adding route supervisors; and improving night service. But, staff acknowledge that operational changes can only achieve so much — King Street needs “something bigger” to truly unlock the potential of the corridor. Since July, 2016, TTC, City of Toronto and Toronto Parking Authority staff have been reviewing options for improving King Street, and transit service in particular. They’ve studied the street between Dufferin and River Streets to come up with ways to speed up transit service. They also hope to improve the overall design of the street, while continuing to support businesses on King. Streetcar speeds are erratic in this area and service reliability is unpredictable especially during the busiest time of the week, Mondays to Fridays before about 7 p.m. Last Monday, February 13, staff, led by the City’s chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, presented three options for improving the street. The City and its partners intend to develop one of these options as a temporary pilot project, hopefully, by next year. According to the City’s website, “Pilot projects are an efficient and cost-effective way for cities to quickly test out new ideas… to learn important lessons about what works and what doesn’t. The City can monitor and collect data to measure how [the pilot meets] overall objectives… and make adjustments before [making] a larger investment in permanent infrastructure… Pilot projects also offer an opportunity to [discuss new ideas] with stakeholders and the public.” The three options (Option B has two sub-options): Since the east end of the study area has more nearby streets to handle traffic that would usually travel along King, the City has decided to pilot the project between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets — and possibly as far east as Parliament Street. This area is where streetcar ridership on the King corridor is also the highest. About 300 people attended the first public meeting on February 13. The City and its partners intend to consult further with residents, business owners and members of the public to narrow the three options down to just one. They expect to present a final pilot project plan to the Toronto Transit Commission and then City Council to consider late this spring. They also intend to start implementing the plan this fall. From the Transit Toronto archives: “Let’s Move on the King Transit Mall”, by James Bow, here. “Route 504 - the King Streetcar”, by James Bow, here. [...]

Exhibition Loop reopens February 18

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 06:49:02 -0500

After more than a year of construction, the TTC is reopening Exhibition Loop to transit vehicles 5 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, February 18.

Buses and streetcars operating along these routes resume regular service into and out of the loop:

  • 307 Bathurst overnight;
  • 363 Ossington overnight;
  • 509 Harbourfront; and
  • 511 Bathurst.

The TTC continues to operate buses, instead of streetcars along the 511 Bathurst route due to a general shortage of available cars and ongoing construction at Bathurst Station.

While the loop was closed TTC and Metrolinx contractors

  • rehabilitated concrete on TTC and GO Transit properties , including the eastbound train at Exhibition GO Station);
  • replaced a 100-year-old retaining wall with a new barrier wall that separates the respective properties;
  • upgraded the drainage system; and
  • replaced tracks.

Surveying near Main Street Station: TTC streetcar detours, February 18

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 06:45:29 -0500

Surveyors are working near Main Street Station, preventing streetcars from entering the station terminal tomorrow, Saturday, February 18, morning.

The TTC is detouring streetcars operating along this route:

from 7 until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Shuttle buses replace the cars east of Coxwell Avenue.



Keele Station construction closes parking, secondary entrance, February 17 to 19

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 04:23:14 -0500

TTC continues its project to upgrade Vincent or “Keele” Subway Yard so it can store more subway cars there overnight.

From 2 p.m. Friday, February 17 and from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19, the TTC is closing its Keele Station parking lot on Indian Road to let crews install electrical cables along the subway bridge. The work also block the eastern secondary entrance into Keele Station off Indian Grove.

Crews use special equipment on a flat-bed truck and portable lighting to complete this work. For safety reasons, they must complete part of this work at night.

You can only enter or exit Keele Station at the main entrance while crews are working.


Toronto Transit Commission meets, February 21

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 17:52:24 -0500

The Toronto Transit Commission meets next Tuesday, February 21 at 1 p.m. in the Council Chamber, City Hall, 100 Queen Street West.

The commission is the TTC’s board of directors. It oversees matters of policy and planning, building, maintaining and operating the TTC system and expanding its services and facilities.

Commissioners include City of Toronto councillors and members of the public.


Family Day holiday service, February 20

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 08:17:04 -0500

The TTC, GO Transit and other transit agencies in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area are adjusting their schedules this Monday, February 20Family Day.


Metrolinx board of directors meets, February 17

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:12:41 -0500

The Metrolinx board of directors is holding its next meeting this Friday, February 17.

As usual, the agenda for the meeting contains both public and confidential items. The board will discuss the confidential items in a private session that starts at 8 a.m. The board then meets in public to discuss the other items on the agenda at 9:45 a.m. At the end of the public session, the board again meets privately.

The meeting takes place in the Peter R. Smith Boardroom, Union Station, West Wing, 4th Floor, 97 Front Street West.

You can view the agenda for the meeting here.


Metrolinx proposes fare-by-distance, and other models for integrating fares

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:32:58 -0500

More than 55,000 transit passengers a day in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton currently pay two fares for each trip, creating, Metrolinx says, a “barrier” that discourages people from using public transit. As rapid growth continues in the region, trips between municipalities form an increasingly large share of total travel. Since local and regional transit agencies and their passengers are increasingly using PRESTO fare-cards, Metrolinx sees more possibilities for new regional fare approaches. Expanding rapid transit will be better with an integrated fare system, it claims. In a report to its board of directors meeting this Friday, February 17, Metrolinx staff suggest that charging passengers for the distance they travel might be one way to improve the fare structure across the region. Over the past year, Metrolinx has been considering three other models for charging fares, particularly when passengers travel on vehicles from more than one transit agency. All models depend on all regional and local transit passengers fully using the PRESTO fare-card system. The three models that it’s already been reviewing: 1.) Modifying the current fare environment to address the most significant issues With this model, most fares would remain the same, except for passengers who cross municipal boundaries. Instead of paying double fares, as they do now, these passengers would receive a discount for the second (or third) fare. This would be the simplest model for Metrolinx and the local transit services to set up and would require no change to the current PRESTO system. However, Metrolinx notes that discounts can’t fairly price the variety of trips across municipal boundaries and that “municipal boundaries still have arbitrary impacts on trip price”. (Staff are referring to passengers who may only travel a short distance - from East Mississauga to Etobicoke by MiWay and TTC, for example - but still have to pay extra because they has to transfer from one transit agency to another.) 2.) Re-introducing fare zones With this model, Metrolinx would develop a new regional fare structure with passengers paying extra fares as they travelled from zone to zone. This model would allow transit agencies to charge less for short trips. However, similar to municipal boundaries, zone boundaries have arbitrary impacts on trip price, depending on the position of the trip start and end points with respect to the boundary. The TTC previously used fare zones until 1973. York Region Transit still uses zones for passengers travelling between north and south York Region. 3.) Using a hybrid model With this model, Metrolinx would develop a new fare structure with a region-wide flat fare for local trips while charging fare by distance for trips by rapid transit and regional trips. Fares would better reflect the value of each trip, Metrolinx says, independent of location or municipal boundaries. This model would require little change to how passengers use PRESTO to pay fares. However, staff have concluded, it introduces a price discrepancy between long trips on local transit and those on rapid transit and has limited ability to lower pricing for short trips. It also provides a limited range of practical pricing options to address the loss of fare revenue resulting from region-wide flat fares on local transit. With this report to the board, staff introduce the new fare-by-distance model for all fares in the region. (GO Transit uses a version of this model in its pricing, but it also adds a premium for express travel.) 4.) Charging fares by the distance that each passenger travels Staff say that this model provides the greatest consistency in fares across all services and has the potential for high ridership due to lower-cost fares for short trips. M[...]

King West / Spadina track repairs: TTC detours, February 13 to 17

Sun, 12 Feb 2017 14:16:27 -0500

TTC track crews are repairing broken rail

  • on King Street West just west of Spadina Avenue

four nights this week.

The TTC is detouring streetcars operating along these routes:

  • 304 King overnight; and
  • 504 King;
  • 514 Cherry.

Shuttle buses replace the cars while they’re detouring. They operate between Atlantic Avenue and Peter Street / Blue Jays Way.


To decrease disrupting traffic and nearby residents during projects to repair or replace streetcar tracks, the TTC recently bought a concrete milling machine. The machine speeds the work, reduces the amount of digging by backhoes and reduces noise levels. However, effectively installing the new rail still requires overnight work, including concrete chipping.

Crews will occupy the track area on King Street West, restricting traffic to the curb lanes through the work zone. The City of Toronto is temporarily restricting parking and turns to create a safe work zone for the crew and keep traffic moving.

During this project, crews are:

  • removing old concrete to expose the old rail;
  • repairing or replacing the rail; and
  • placing new concrete.

They’ll mostly break and remove concrete between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. each day, while streetcars are operating through the area.

Traffic can travel over the new concrete after it has cured.

The TTC originally scheduled this project for overnight from Tuesday, February 7 until Thursday, February 9, but postponed it, likely due to inclement weather.


TTC upgrading overhead streetcar wiring at Bathurst / King West, February 13 to 16

Sun, 12 Feb 2017 13:54:06 -0500

From 9 p.m. Monday, February 13 until 5 a.m. Tuesday, February 14 and continuing overnight nightly until 5 a.m. Thursday, February 16, TTC crews are installing new overhead streetcar wiring at:

  • the intersection of Bathurst Street with King Street West.

The TTC originally planned this work for late November, but due to poor weather conditions it rescheduled the project.

By upgrading the overhead wiring, the TTC is getting ready to operate its new accessible Toronto Flexity streetcars along Bathurst. Over the past few years, electrical crews have been upgrading the overhead wire system along most streetcar routes in the city.

To complete this overhead work safely and with less impact on traffic, crews work overnight. On average, they’ll use two to three overhead trucks with hydraulic equipment. You can expect to hear beeping when the trucks are backing up or notice bright equipment lights each night.

The work restricts traffic to just the curb lanes in each direction through the work zone.

Since the TTC has temporarily replaced the streetcars that usually operate along the 511 Bathurst route, the work won’t affect regular transit service.


In the news: Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 22:37:16 -0500

Greater Toronto and Golden Horseshoe area media report on public transit issues today. Greater Toronto Area BlogTO post, “These are the ideal travel times between TTC subway stations”, here. BlogTO post, “People don’t like TTC fare inspectors”, here. BlogTO post, “TTC makes over 35 promises to improve in 2017”, here. BlogTO post, “10 quirky things you didn’t know about Union Station”, here. Brampton Guardian article, “City to consider $4.4 M on new LRT route studies”, here. Brampton Guardian article, “Proposed airport transit hub would connect Brampton to the world says mayor”, here. Canadian Press article (from the Macleans website), “Bombardier seeks injunction to stop Metrolinx contract termination”, here. Canadian Press article (from the Toronto Sun website, “Premier scolds OPG execs over pay hikes” , here. Canadian Press article, “Liberal cabinet minister apologizes for insulting GO train riders” (from the CBC News Toronto website, here. Canadian Press article, “Baloney Meter: 60 per cent of projects done?” (from the website, here. CBC News Toronto report, “Toronto’s Pearson airport unveils design for new transit hub”, here. CBC News Toronto report, “Focus on 905 to 905 transit, less on downtown Toronto, says transportation planner”, here. CBC News Toronto report, “Ride the GO train? You could be breathing in diesel fumes, researchers say”, here. CBC News Toronto report, “Roofless ramp causing parking garage problems at Burlington GO Station”, here. CBC News Toronto report, “After insulting GO train riders, Liberal cabinet minister apologizes”, here. CBC News Toronto report, “Transport minister fires back at Bombardier for court injunction”, here. CityNews Toronto report, “Bombardier files motion for injunction against Metrolinx”, here. CityNews Toronto report, “Bus driver bypassing Lake Shore stop, TTC blames driver confusion”, here. CityNews Toronto report, “Lakeshore tops worst GO train line for delays in 2016”, here. CP24 report, “Bombardier files injunction to stop Metrolinx from terminating contract”, here. CP24 report, “Tory meets with NDP leader, says it may be time for ‘rethinking’ of City of Toronto Act”, here. CP24 report, “Ousted president of ATU Local 113 says he won’t step aside”, here. CP24 report, “TTC parent union denies local union representatvies were intimidated”, here. CTV News Toronto report, “Two teens charged after man robbed, stabbed at Ajax GO Station”, here. Daily Commercial News article, “Government shuts down road-toll plan for Gardiner, DVP”, here. post, “Teens charged after victim stabbed during robbery at Ajax GO Station”, here. EyeOpener article, “The long way home: On commuting and mental health”, here. Financial Post article, “Bombardier asks court to stop Metrolinx from cancelling $770M contract for 182 light rail vehicles”, here. Global News Toronto report, “Bombardier files injunction against Metrolinx over notice to end contract”, here. Global News Toronto report, “Unifor lends its support behind Bob Kinnear in spat with TTC union’s parent association”, here. Global News Toronto report, “Temporary trustee of TTC union reinstates 10 board members, but not president Kinnear”, here. Global News Toronto report, “TTC fixing subway station accessibility signage after speaking with Global News”, here. Globe and Mail article, “Toro[...]

"See you in court": Bombardier, Metrolinx and the light rail transit cars

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 08:29:27 -0500

Yesterday, Marc-André Lefebvre, Bombardier’s Director of Communications and Public Relations - Americas, e-mailed Transit Toronto (and many other local media covering public transit) to inform us that his company was applying to the Ontario Superior Court for a legal “stay” against Metrolinx. If the court granted the stay, it would prevent Metrolinx from taking any further legal steps against the Bombardier or threaten to end its contract to produce light rail transit cars. Metrolinx has contracted the company to supply 182 cars for the Eglinton Crosstown, Finch West and various other light rail lines in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. Under the terms of the contract, the regional transit agency has expected Bombardier to produce a working model of the light rail vehicles for many months. So far, it has not received that model. In November, Metrolinx went to court to file a notice of its intent to cancel the $750 million contract. A report from CBC News Toronto quoted Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins about the issue. “There have been some concerns about Bombardier’s performance as there have been significant quality and manufacturing issues that, to-date, have not been resolved,” Aikins said. “As a result, we have taken the next step available to us through our contract.” Metrolinx has also included a requirement for suppliers to produce rolling stock in its later requests for qualifications to companies for building, operating and maintaining other light transit projects in the region, including Finch West, Hurontario and Hamilton — likely as insurance against possible Bombardier failure to deliver the cars. In its statement, Bombardier contends that, “Because Metrolinx is a customer, to date Bombardier has been reluctant to speak out. [We] took this step today to protect [our] employees, transit riders, taxpayers and legal rights.” Its statement continues: “If Metrolinx cancels this contract it would: jeopardize over 200 jobs in Kingston and Thunder Bay…; cost Ontario taxpayers millions in a protracted legal battle nobody wants; and puts the start time of the Eglinton Crosstown and Finch West LRTs at risk.” On behalf of his employer, Lefebvre also claims: “Bombardier can deliver these trains ahead of schedule and on budget. The test car has been ready to go for delivery since 2016… Metrolinx refuses to take delivery or even confirm a delivery schedule. “Bombardier recognizes the challenges they have had in the GTA in the past. They’ve taken significant steps to resolve this, as evidenced by [TTC chief executive officer] Andy Byford speaking in January saying he feels they can meet this schedule going forward.” (Bombardier is referring to its problems with delivering new Toronto Flexity streetcars to the TTC.) “Bottom line: this is about getting back to the table to accelerate a resolution. Ultimately, Bombardier wants to fulfill their contract and build these trains for the people of Ontario.” Bombardier has produced a B-roll (a B-roll is promotional video that organizations supply to broadcast journalists to use as backgrounders for on-air reports) showing that it has the pilot vehicle ready to deliver to Metrolinx. src="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen> Bombardier 02 from Soulfood Productions on Vimeo. Metrolinx, in turn, issued its own statement: “[We] have been concerned for some time about the performance of Bombardier and their ability to deliver a quality product [...]

Cherry / Front East overnight filming: TTC detours, February 12, 13

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 06:50:39 -0500

The City of Toronto is closing:

  • Cherry Street between Eastern Avenue and Mill Street; and
  • Front Street East between Cooperage and Trinity Streets

to accommodate an overnight film shoot from 4 p.m. Sunday, February 12 until 3 a.m. Monday, February 13.

The TTC is detouring streetcars and buses operating along these routes during filming:

  • 121 Fort York - Esplanade;
  • 514 Cherry streetcar; and
  • 514 Cherry shuttle bus.



Tunnel maintenance and bridge inspection in Harbourfront: TTC detours, February 10 to 13

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 06:21:16 -0500

Starting tonight, Friday, February 10, TTC crews are maintaining the streetcar tunnel under Bay Street. They continue their various activities through the weekend.

Tonight only, City of Toronto crews are inspecting the overhead portion of the Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway at Lower Spadina Avenue.

Both projects affect TTC streetcar services along these routes in the Harbourfront area:

  • 317 Spadina overnight;
  • 509 Harbourfront; and
  • 510 Spadina.

The TTC is operating shuttle buses to replace streetcars along the entire 509 Harbourfront route. It also operates shuttle buses to replace streetcars along parts of the 317 Spadina overnight and 510 Spadina routes.

Regular streetcar service resumes 5 a.m. February 13.


Map of TTC detour routings after 9 p.m. Friday, February 10. (The detour routing for the 509 Harbourfront service is the same on both maps.)


Map of TTC detour routings all day Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12 and before 5 a.m. Monday, February 13. (The detour routing for the 509 Harbourfront service is the same on both maps.)

Starting at 9 p.m. tonight, the City is inspecting the underside of the expressway at Lower Spadina Avenue. The City has asked the TTC to power off the streetcar overhead wiring, so that City crews can work.

Until 9 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, February 11, TTC track crews are testing new crane equipment in the tunnel.

Until 9 p.m. Sunday, February 12, TTC crews are maintaining the drainage system in Queens Quay Station. They’ll park two vacuum trucks on Bay Street near the stairs into the station. They’ll vacuum out drainage obstructions at the station.

From 9 p.m. Saturday, February 11 until 5 a.m. Sunday, February 12 and from 9 p.m. Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday, February 13, overhead crews are replacing the streetcar contact wire in the tunnel. During this work, you may hear beeping when trucks are backing up.