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Former 507 Long Branch streetcar route to ride again?

January 22, 2008 04:52 PM

When the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) decided to extend the 501 Queen Street car into south Etobicoke 12 years ago, it was with the idea of improving service.

On Wednesday, Jan. 23, commissioners will be looking at turning back the clock, stopping the Queen car at the Humber River, and re-instating the old 507 Long Branch route, for exactly the same reason.

Service on the Queen Street streetcar route - the longest in the city - has deteriorated for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the route’s prodigious length, stretching from Long Branch in the west to Victoria Park Avenue in the east.

The TTC is looking at a variety of measures to improve the reliability of the streetcar, including adding drivers and streetcars, monitoring scheduling more closely, and making the route itself shorter.

Ward 6 (Etobicoke Lakeshore) Councillor Mark Grimes said cutting off the Queen car at Humber makes sense - and is long overdue.

“That would suit me just fine,” said Grimes.

“I’ve had a lot of complaints about the service along the Lakeshore here. People waiting half an hour for streetcar service is unacceptable. If they brought back the 507 streetcar, that would be a terrific improvement.”

According to the report going before Wednesday’s commission meeting, the Long Branch streetcar was originally eliminated and the Queen car extended to spare south Etobicoke commuters the inconvenience of making a transfer at the Humber loop.

The report says condominium development in south Etobicoke and the heavier ridership that comes with that makes it more desirable than ever to avoid the transfer at the Humber River. However, given the problems with the rest of the route, it acknowledges that the inconvenient transfer could be the lesser of two evils.

The matter is being debated at Wednesday’s TTC meeting.