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TTC To Unveil Plan For High-Tech Service Improvements

Tuesday November 13, 2007 Staff

A common complaint among TTC riders seems to be that the transit system needs to step into the 21st century.

Moves aimed at modernizing the Better Way are apparently now in the works, and were detailed Tuesday. The high-tech plan, which will reportedly cost in the neighbourhood of $6 million, includes bus and streetcar shelters that’d show wait times as well as email and cellphone updates on any service delays taking place.

Also in the works, a system that would allow riders to purchase tickets and plan routes online.

Riders seemed enthusiastic about the plans, although some said they’d prefer to see more vehicles on the roads than high-tech signs. Those signs are modeled after the VIVA system already in place in York Region, which indicates via LED displays how long it’ll be until the next bus arrives.

“I find the TTC a lot easier (than other local transit). It runs a lot faster and smoother,” explained rider Miranda Glover, comparing Toronto transit to York’s VIVA service. “(When) I come here, I can wait five minutes and four buses can go by. VIVA, you’re lucky if you can catch one bus every 15 minutes.”

But Robing Tan was more enthusiastic about the plan, saying it was “definitely better.”

“You can know what time you arrive,” he said. “Now we don’t know when the bus will come.”

The new plans will be discussed at a meeting Wednesday. If approved the pilot project will begin in 2008.

Coming TTC Upgrades

Next vehicle info

What it is: When the next train or bus is coming or where it is
Where you’ll see it: On electronic signs at bus stops and subway stations
Where you can get it: On cell phones and PDAs or your computer inbox.
When you’ll see it: Surface: Nov 2008; Subway: Jul 2008

New TTC Website

What it is: A world wide site that will enhance current information about fares, routes and more
Where you’ll see it: online at
What it does: It will allow you to customize a specific route from one place to another by inputing a destination and an end point, and return the shortest way to get there by transit.
When you’ll see it: July 2009

Wheel-Trans Remote Booking

What it is: A system that allows you to reserve, book trips or cancel passage on Wheel-Trans
Why it’s needed: It will make the system more accessible and reduce wait times.
When you’ll see it: Full roll out by May 2008

Service Interruption alerts

What it is: An alert about a disruption is sent to all subway signs and the TTC website; also available on your cell phone or via email. Why it’s needed: The announcements are often inaudible and cause passenger frustration. This is expected to allow riders to make alternate arrangements before getting stuck waiting for a train or bus that’s not coming.
When you’ll see it: Nov. 19, 2007 for subway interruptions. Electronic notifications: TBA


What it is: Ability to buy fares over the Internet
Why it’s needed: Ends crowding and fumbling for change at kiosks and on board buses. Includes Metropasses, weekly passes and day passes.
When you’ll see it: Mid-2009