Editorial Archive

Coupler headlines 1987

4/12/13 2:56 PM

From the January 1988 Coupler, Vol. 63, No. 1

1987: a year of growth and change at the TTC

Changes at the top, a long-awaited construction start and yet another year of record ridership were the highlights of 1987 for the TTC.

In February, Jeffery S. Lyons, Toronto lawyer and consumer advocate, was appointed TTC Chairman after Julian Porter, who had served since 1979, decided to return to private life. Three months later Allan F. Leach, former Managing Director, GO Transit, was named TTC Chief General Manager succeeding Alf Savage.

A new Commissioner was also appointed by Metro Toronto Council in February: Mrs. Carole Kerbel, Toronto businesswoman and President of Kerbel Communications.

The TTC also broke new ground in 1987. Construction started on the Harbourfront Light Rail Transit (LRT) line, the first entirely new TTC streetcar line to be built in more than 60 years. The $50-million line will serve Toronto’s fast-growing central waterfront residential and recreational area and is expected to open early in 1990.

North York Centre, the TTC’s 60th subway station, was opened in mid-1987. The $19.9-million project was completed on time and under budget and serves a $250-million civic centre complex in the heart of North York. The station structure was built around the existing Yonge line, which remained in service throughout the construction period.

Reflecting the dynamic growth of Metropolitan Toronto, the TTC inaugurated an expanded all-night service grid in 1987, dubbed the Blue Night Network. It extends service beyond the downtown core to cover 22 routes across Metro and is the first significant change to late-night service since the 1920s. The Network routes remain in operation after the subway closes at 2 a.m., and bring all-night service to within a 15-minute walk of 86 per cent of Metro’s 2.2 million people.

For the eighth straight year and 17th time in the past 20 years, the TTC was presented with the coveted American Public Transit Association (APTA) Silver Award for achieving the best passenger and traffic safety record among transit systems in Canada and the United States serving cities of one million or more population.

The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) presented the TTC with three national safety awards, including Best Passenger Safety, Best Traffic Safety and Best Industrial Safety Record among Canadian transit systems operating more than 10 million kilometres (6.25 million miles) of revenue service.

In the meantime, 456 million rides were taken on the TTC’s 2,723 subway cars, buses, trolley coaches, streetcars and RT vehicles. This eighth-straight yearly ridership record bettered the forecast total by 15 million rides and was a nine-per-cent increase over 1986.

A four-year, $11-million renovation to the Bloor-Yonge Subway Station got underway. Two new entrances, including direct access from Yonge Street to the Bloor-Danforth line and a new entrance from Hayden Street, south of Bloor Street, will benefit passengers. Platforms are being widened by removing walls and partitions. Bloor-Yonge is the TTC’s main interchange station between the Yonge Subway and the Bloor-Danforth line with more than 100,000 people a day using the multi-level station.

Subway riders also saw dramatic improvements to Summerhill and St Clair Stations. Additional windows were installed at Summerhill and a fresh look was provided by new wall tiles, signage and a sound-deadening aluminum slat ceiling. At St Clair, one of the busiest stations and the only one serving four separate transit modes, a third escalator was added at the southbound platform. Riders are also enjoying more natural light, provided by new skylights above two stairwells. Both stations were modernized as part of the TTC’s 10-year, $50-million upgrading program for the 1954-vintage stations on the original 4.2-mile section of the Yonge Subway.

By year’s end, construction was well-advanced on the new $27-million Arrow Road bus garage in northwest Metro. The 250-bus facility is expected to be in operation in October 1988 and will temporarily house Wheel-Trans vehicles until a permanent location is available.

The TTC took delivery of 38 new H-6 subway cars by the end of 1987, the first installment of a 126-vehicle order. The remaining units in the $186-million purchase will be delivered and put into service throughout 1988.

The first of 52 articulated streetcars (ALRVs) also arrived in 1987 and by the end of the year, the TTC had taken delivery of four of these 155-passenger vehicles.

Nine of the TTC’s first articulated buses were received by year end and 21 more of these 60-foot vehicles are expected to arrive on TTC property early in 1988. To replace the older vehicles and keep pace with growing ridership and service improvements, the Commission also ordered 144 standard 40-foot diesel buses.

Timeline, the TTC’s new computerized telephone information service, also became operational in 1987. Each of the system’s 9,000 surface stops was assigned its own unique telephone number, enabling riders to call ahead to the stop of their choice and receive computer-generated schedule information for that route. The new system is expected to handle up to 10 million requests yearly.

Looking ahead, the TTC anticipates another ridership record in 1988 with 466 million riders expected to ride the system. A $540-million operating budget has been set that will enable the Commission to operate an additional one million miles of revenue service.

More headlines from 1987

TTC forces react quickly to subway derailment

On Jan. 2, the TTC experienced a major delay on the Bloor-Danforth subway line when the fourth car of an eastbound out-of-service six-car train derailed near Keele Station at approximately 7:30 a.m. Subsequent investigation showed that a gear box under the car broke loose causing the car to derail.

TTC assuming full responsibility for Wheel-Trans

What started as a two-year pilot project back in February 1975 has grown and developed into a fully computerized, specialized transportation system. With over 17,000 registered riders and 99 vehicles operating during peak hours, the TTC is now at the stage of assuming full responsibility for the Wheel-Trans service. (July-August issue)

TTC Line debuts on Toronto cable network

The premiere of TTC Line, a monthly program about transit produced by Rogers Cable 10 Toronto, aired on Metro’s cable TC network on Sept. 16, and featured Chairman Jeffery Lyons as co-host with popular broadcaster Anne Martin.

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