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Improvements coming down the line

(Posted Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2008)

By Kris Scheuer

SHORTCHANGED BY SHORT-TURNING streetcars, a longtime aggravation for transit riders on Queen 501 streetcar line, may soon be a thing of the past, with changes already underway.

Service on the 501 Queen streetcar has improved.

The TTC, transit users and Beaches-East York councillor Sandra Bussin have worked together since December to solve ongoing problems with short-turning streetcars and poor route management.

And riders, including Beacher Renee Knight, are noticing the difference.

“It’s a start,” she said Feb. 6.

Knight, who had earlier set up an online petition demanding the TTC find a solution, added she’s encountered at most three short-turned streetcars in the last two months.

A transit report presented at a Jan. 23 meeting outlined a series of possible actions, including a change to “customer-focused route management”.

“Workforce availability issues at the streetcar divisions have been addressed,” the report stated.

More supervisors were called upon to monitor service and address various problems.

“In the past, they have tried to keep up with the streetcar schedule rather than meet customer needs,” Bussin said.

Streetcar operators will now have more flexibility to complete the route, even if it means they are behind schedule due to traffic problems.

The TTC is in the process of hiring more drivers for routes across the city. More drivers are being added to the 501.

Up for future consideration is the splitting of the route at Long Branch so streetcars will not back up heading to Neville Park.

A progress report is expected by May.