Editorial Archive

New streetcars bring the TTC a step closer to full accessibility

7/18/14 6:00 AM

In just six weeks, Toronto’s new streetcar enters service on the 510 Spadina route. The TTC is, of course, focused on achieving a smooth launch.

For the past 18 months, we have been conducting exhaustive tests on every aspect of the new vehicle and on all the routes that it will serve. The test program included cold weather trials, both in Ottawa (at the National Research Council’s vehicle testing facility) and here in Toronto during a particularly harsh winter.

We have put our test vehicles through thousands of kilometres of trials, covering every inch of the Toronto streetcar network. Each test has been documented and used to fine tune the design of the final production units.

In parallel, an extensive training program is underway to ensure that our Operators, Supervisors and carhouse staff are competent and confident to operate a vehicle quite different from that to which they are used to today.

At the same time, TTC crews have worked to upgrade overhead wiring to provide the additional power for the air conditioning and other passenger comforts that are a feature of our new fleet.

Working with the City, we have also carried out modifications to streetcar islands and curbs to facilitate the ramp that makes the streetcar fully accessible. We have consulted with ACAT, our advisory committee for accessible transit, to ensure that our processes ‎are fit for purpose and fully understood by Operators and customers alike.

Our city can be rightly proud that we are progressively moving towards a fully accessible transit system. Our bus and subway fleets are already fully accessible and we have installed elevators at approximately half of our subway stations, with the balance due to be upgraded by 2025. The one big obstacle remains our streetcars, but this will be rectified with the roll-out of ‎the full 204-strong fleet in by 2019.

The new streetcar marks a milestone in our ongoing program to modernize the TTC. We are determined to get it right.

> Congratulations to the Halton County Radial Railway in Milton, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary with many special events on Saturday, July 19.

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