Riding the TTC with the customer in mind11/7/14 6:00 AM
Earlier this week, I rode the 504 King streetcar to talk with Operators and customers about the challenges we face serving one of the busiest and most congested roads in the city.
We are working with the City to improve the flow of the 504 service. It was good to see the new, illuminated no-left-turn signs that have been installed to reinforce turning restrictions during rush hour. This is just one of a suite of measures that is being implemented in partnership with the City.
Other initiatives include stricter parking enforcement, restrictions on times when deliveries can be made and better on-street supervision by TTC personnel to manage bunching and gaps in service. Operators told me that more needs to be done to prevent motorists from blocking streetcar tracks late at night – an issue that we will take up with relevant parties.
The Operator I rode with is an experienced 15-year veteran of the King service so he was well-placed to describe the daily challenges on that route. By 5 p.m., the streetcar was already full as we headed west through the city, this being a typical evening rush hour.
So what are we doing to improve service? In addition to the measures described, we are taking another look at our fleet plan to maximize the number of higher capacity, articulated streetcars, or ALRVs, on King (and Queen) before the new streetcars enter service on these routes. We had originally intended to retire the ALRVs first as they are less reliable than the standard-sized cars, but our 2015 budget request will seek funding to extend the life of the ALRVs to maximize capacity and mitigate crowding.
Second, we are reviewing the roll-out plans for the new streetcar to see if sufficient vehicles can be delivered in time for earlier deployment onto these two major routes, rather than the current plan of 2016/17. Plans for next year also include measures, such as all-door boarding across all streetcar routes for customers holding proof of payment.
As CEO, it’s important, of course, that I spend time on the network to see what more needs to be done. With continued management focus – and an increase in sustainable funding – we will progressively work to improve the quality of your journey.
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