Read these daily “on schedule” posts to find news and other information that affects your daily commute. You’ll learn about public meetings, special events and construction projects that affect transit services today.
As part of its regular program of maintaining its streetcar tracks in a state of good repair, the TTC is grinding the rails in a number of sections of its streetcar network that have developed roughness.
The next sections for grinding are on Gerrard Street East:
- Friday, April 29 - between Bowmore and Gainsborough Roads;
- Saturday, April 30 - between Glenside Avenue and Leslie Street; and
- Tuesday, May 5 - between River and Parliament Streets.
By grinding the rails and removing roughness, the TTC is reducing noise and vibration levels, extending the life of the rail and providing smoother streetcar service through these areas.
The slow moving rail-grinding unit starts operating from about 9 p.m. until about 5 a.m. Afterwards, a street sweeper will clean the track area each day.
The TTC is detouring streetcars operating along these routes, while contractors grind the rails:
Shuttle buses replace the cars.
They brought long-awaited good news to Brantford, announcing that the bus they arrived on was only the first of many to soon serve the terminal. GO Transit will start serving a new bus route, linking the city with McMaster University and Aldershot GO Station, this September.
GO buses will pick up and drop off passengers every hour Mondays to Fridays during rush hours and every two hours at all other times of the week. GO will operate 26 buses daily Mondays to Fridays along the new route and 18 daily Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
At McMaster, Brantford passengers can connect with other GO buses operating along the Highway 407 corridor to and from downtown Hamilton, Square One GO Bus Terminal and York University. They can also connect to Hamilton Street Railway buses to continue their trips to other parts of Hamilton. McMaster will also be the western terminal for the future Hamilton light rail transit line.
At Aldershot, passengers can link with frequent trains to and from Toronto along GO’s Lakeshore West line. The Hamilton Street Railway and Burlington Transit also serve GO’s terminal at the station.
“Wynne noted Brantford’s population was 94,000 in the last census in 2011 and by 2020 is expected to reach 115,000.
“‘This growth shows how much talent, capital and culture Brantford is attracting, so now is the time to build on this growth so that this community continues to flourish,’ the premier said in announcing the new GO service.
“‘Your elected officials have made the case over and over that this kind of connectivity is necessary for Brantford to flourish,’ Wynne said.
“Brant MPP Dave Levac, who together with city officials has long lobbied Queen’s Park for GO service for Brantford, urged people to ‘get on GO.’
“‘If it’s not used, we have little likelihood of getting the train,’ [Brantford mayor Chris] Friel said.
Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said the GO bus service to Brantford is estimated to cost $1.3 million a year to operate.
“‘We’re anticipating that we’ll grow the service over the next two years to carry about 1,000 (riders) over the course of a week. We expect that will be very sufficient, that will enable the service to be able to grow,’ said Bruce [McCuaig], president and CEO of Metrolinx.
“A GO bus like the kind Wynne arrived in for the announcement seats 57 people. If each bus were full each trip, they would carry 1,482 people daily or nearly 7,500 people a week.”
Image courtesy SOCAN.
I’m sorry to have to report that Peter Coulman, transit enthusiast, historian and frequent contributor to Transit Toronto, passed away on April 17 after a battle with cancer, three days shy of his sixtieth birthday.
I’ve known Peter for the better part of a decade, even though we never met in person. As I was working on the Transit Toronto site, particularly the bus route histories, I approached Peter to ask permission to use some of his work that had appeared on Alan Gryfe’s transit history website.
Not only did he grant me permission to reprint some of the information, he provided more information that he’d collected over time, including historical documents that had been purged from the Toronto Transit Commission in ages past. Over the next ten years, with the help of Jeffrey Kay and others, we did what I thought would have been impossible, and created a website documenting the history of every bus route to have been operated by the Toronto Transit Commission in its history (that we know of, anyway). Peter also helped in researching information on many other articles on this website, including the history of Toronto’s independent suburban bus networks.
Peter was passionate about transit history, even if he felt that the TTC lost some of its character when the tricolour rollsigns were phased out of its vehicles. He was always happy to talk on the subject, and we shared many great conversations by e-mail.
Transit history was not the only thing he was passionate about, either. He was a talented musician, composer and arranger, working for the CBC and the rest of the film and television industry from the early 1970s onward. His name can be found in the credits of numerous documentaries and television shows, and you may well have heard his work without realizing it. His work won him awards with the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), including sharing the SOCAN Domestic Animated Television Series Music Award for his contributions to The Busytown Mysteries and the SOCAN Children’s Music Award for his contributions to The Doodlebops. In 1998, he also won a Gemini Award for Best Original Music Score for a Dramatic Series.
I will miss the man who shared my interest in transit history, who helped me discover more of its breadth and depth, and who helped put together something of which I am immensely proud. I am lucky to have known him. My condolences go out to his friends and family.
Ambassador Weilan Huang helps a passenger during a subway closure in February. (Weilan’s team, T2P Films, hosts the Virtual TTC Academy, where transit enthusiasts simulate Toronto subway operations.) Photo: TTC.
The TTC is using Great Connections, “one of Ontario’s most successful full cycle employment services agencies” to help it find individuals interested in working as front-line customer-service representatives or “ambassadors”.
Ambassadors direct and help passengers during subway closures, streetcar and bus diversions.
It’s currently recruiting for part-time weekend shifts, usually working from five to 11 hours each day, when necessary.
You can learn more about the position and how to apply here.
As part of its five-year and rural-north service strategies, Durham Region Transit says “it’s implementing significant improvements across the system including:
- better PULSE bus rapid transit with more frequent buses, new traffic-signal priority and more reserved bus lanes in Pickering;
- more than 4,000 extra hours of new bus service;
- more than 2,000 extra hours of ‘specialized service’ (door-to-door accessible service); and
- eight new conventional buses and four new ‘specialized-service’ buses.”
But more service comes with a price.
In a news release, DRT says that “to continue building on the improvements introduced in 2015, DRT’s approved 2016 budget includes a five-cent increase to the cost of a single-trip PRESTO Card (e-purse) tap or paper ticket, and a 25-cent increase to cash fares. Monthly passes will see increases of $3.00 for adults, $2.50 for students, $1.50 for children, and $1.00 for seniors and Access Pass holders.”
You can view a chart listing the new DRT fares, starting Sunday, May 1 here.
After May 1, you can still use “old” DRT tickets and passes, even though those tickets will expire. You have two options for using expired tickets.
From Sunday, May 1 until Tuesday, May 31, you can use “Effective May 1, 2015” series tickets with a “top-up” — simply drop an extra five cents into the fare box with your ticket.
From Sunday, May 1 until Wednesday, August 31, you can exchange your old tickets for their value. Visit any of the four DRT PRESTO locations to apply the cash value of the tickets to a PRESTO fare card.
DRT Orion VI bus #8005 lays over at the new U of T Scarborough bus loop, in service on the 923 BAYLY route. TTC Orion VII Next Generation hybrid bus #1096 pulls away, in 38 HIGHLAND CREEK service on July 4, 2014. Photo by James Bow.
Photo: Adam Irving.
This year’s Hot Docs film festival in Toronto features screenings of Off the Rails. The documentary will likely interest Transit Toronto readers in several ways — and not just because it’s about someone who loves public transit.
The film tells the remarkable true story of Darius McCollum, a man with Asperger’s syndrome, whose overwhelming love of transit has landed him in jail 32 times for impersonating New York City bus drivers and subway conductors and driving their routes.
As a boy in Queens, NY, Darius found sanctuary from school bullies in the subway. There he befriended transit workers who taught him to drive trains. By age 8, he memorized the entire subway system. At 15, he drove a packed train eight stops by himself, making all the stops and announcements.
Over the next three decades, Darius commandeered hundreds of trains and buses, staying en route and on schedule, without ever getting paid. He attended transit worker union meetings, lobbying for better pay and working conditions for a union he didn’t belong to.
Although Darius has never damaged any property or hurt anyone in his decades of service, he has spent 23 years in maximum security prison. Darius’ recidivism embodies the criminal justice system’s failure to channel the passions of a harmless, mentally challenged man into a productive career and purposeful life.
Here are the Toronto transit connections: First, director / producer Adam Irving was born and raised in Toronto and regularly rode the TTC. Second, he actually filmed several of the re-enactments for the film at Lower Bay Station.
Photo: Adam Irving.
The film is playing:
- Wednesday, May 4, 9:15 p.m., Scotiabank Theater, 259 Richmond Street West.
- Friday, May 6, 1 p.m., Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West.
- Sunday, May 8, 7:15 p.m., Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue.
You can learn more about the screenings and how to buy tickets here.
You can view the trailer for the film here.
Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, offers an outstanding selection of more than 200 films from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences of more than 200,000.
The 2016 Hot Docs Festival takes place Thursday, April 28 until Sunday, May 8.
Photo: Adam Irving.
Representatives from other Greater Toronto and Hamilton area municipalities will also attend to discuss regional issues. The meeting will be open to the public and Metrolinx will webcast it live.
The meeting takes place from 6 until 8:30 p.m. in the Metrolinx Head Office, West Wing, Union Station, 97 Front Street West, Fourth Floor, Executive Boardroom.
The Toronto Transit Commission is also holding its regular monthly meeting earlier the same day.
The Toronto Transit Commission meets this Wednesday, April 27 at 1 p.m. in Committee Room #1, Second Floor, City Hall, 100 Queen Street West.
The commission is the TTC’s board of directors. It oversees matters of policy and planning, building, maintaining and operating the TTC system and expanding its services and facilities.
Commissioners include City of Toronto councillors and members of the public.
Starting Wednesday, April 26, the City of Toronto is closing:
- Bedford Road between Dupont Street and Bernard Avenue
during a major construction project to replace and re-line the water-mains.
The TTC is detouring buses operating along these routes, while the street is closed:
This phase of construction on Bedford Road and the detours continue until May 23. The project as a whole continues until February 2017.
- 680 All News Radio report, “Police respond to armed person at TTC Scarborough Town Centre”, here.
- BlogTO post, “TTC extends WiFi to more subway stations”, here.
- BlogTO post, “TTC has no idea when it’s getting more new streetcars”, here.
- Canadian Press article, “Getting random testing of TTC employees won’t be easy: Expert” (from the Toronto Sun website), here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “TTC boss frustrated by yet another streetcar delivery delay”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “TTC board approves random alcohol and drug testing for employees”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Workplace random drug and alcohol testing needs ‘checks and balances’, commissioner says after TTC plan”, here.
- CityNews Toronto report, “By the numbers: TTC releases 2015 operating statistics”, here.
- CP24 report, “Delivery of new streetcars hits yet another snag”, here.
- CP24 report, “Toronto man faces charges after Toronto women allegedly sexually [assaulted] on TTC trains on the Bloor - Danforth line”, here.
- CP24 report, “TTC says it’s moving ahead with random drug and alcohol testing”, here.
- Daily Commercial News article, “Second building demolished at Crosstown collapse site”, here.
- DurhamRegion.com article, “Ajax man facing robbery charges after Durham Region Transit passenger robbed”, here.
- DurhamRegion.com article, “Pickering road work will affect traffic”, here.
- Global News Toronto report, “Downtown Relief Line should be Toronto’s highest transit priority: poll”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Why commuting from the ‘burbs can be more costly than living downtown”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Can the private sector ease Toronto’s transit woes?”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Union Pearson Express can’t break even at lower fare, report finds”, here.
- Insauga post, “How does Mississauga feel about the Union Pearson Express?”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “New streetcars delayed by Bombardier again”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Toronto Mayor John Tory, Scarborough MP Gary Anandasangaree meetwith residents in transit town hall”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Toronto Mayor John Tory, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne sit down to talk transit, mental health and more”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “UTSC development plans linked to transit line will change east Scarborough”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Transit users in Fort York and Liberty Village will be getting some relief”, here.
- InsideToronto.com column, “Building collapse could slow down Crosstown LRT construction”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Toronto man faces charges after Toronto women allegedly sexually [assaulted] on TTC trains on the Bloor - Danforth line”, here.
- Metro Toronto article, “Mayor Tory praises transit in Asia on his return to Toronto”, here.
- National Post commentary, “Integrating fares across the GTHA is easily the biggest Toronto transit issue we aren’t talking about”, here.
- Newstalk 1010 report, “TTC says Bombardier has delayed delivery of new streetcars… AGAIN”, here.
- NOW article, “The Life and Death of SmartTrack: How to Spur Transit Innovation”, here.
- Oshawa Express article, “Study bolsters case for GO expansion”, here.
- Oshawa Express article, “Price of bus fares going up”, here.
- Oshawa Express article, “U-Pass price hike approved”, here.
- Oshawa Express article, “Funding for rail safety improvements coming soon”, here.
- Oshawa Express article, “The pros and cons of the budget”, here.
- Progressive Railroading post, “Toronto Transit Commission logged record ridership in 2015”, here.
- Ride This Crazy Train post, “This is so true. Let’s also talk about makeup, shall we?”, here.
- Ride This Crazy Train post, “Um…”, here.
- Spacing Toronto post, “The curious origin of the original low-floor streetcar”, here.
- Steve Munro’s post, “TTC Service Changes Effective May 8, 2016”, here.
- Steve Munro’s post, “Why are Subway Cars on Bloor - Danforth so Dirty?”, here.
- Steve Munro’s post, “6 Bay and 94 Wellesley Service Analysis for January 2016 (Part II)”, here.
- TBNewsWatch post, “TTC doubts Bombardier will meet aggressive streetcar deadline”, here.
- Torontoist post, “Duly Quoted: TTC CEO Andy Byford on the latest Bombardier streetcar delay”, here.
- Torontoist post, “Toronto University Students Spend Way Too Much Time In Transit”, here.
- Toronto Star editorial, “TTC should drop random drug testing plan”, here.
- Toronto Star post, “UP Express could cost taxpayers millions in subsidies”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “TTC moves forward on random drug testing”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “What happened to Toronto’s push for free public Wi-Fi?”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “Metrolinx, municipalities in Presto cost-sharing talks”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “Metrolinx board needs to explain ignoring pricing reports: Union”, here.
- Toronto Sun editorial, “Yes to random drug, alcohol testing of TTC staff”, here.
- Toronto Sun commentary, “Random staff testing about safety: TTC CEO”, here.
- Town Crier article, “Demolition continues on site of collapse”, here.
- Urban Toronto post, “Poll Confirms Relief Line as Torontonians First Transit Priority”, here.
- Urban Toronto post, “Redevelopment Coming to Wilson Station Employment Lands”, here.
- Urban Toronto post, “Photo of the Day: South Core from Queens Quay”, here.
- Urban Toronto post, Mississauga Looking for Public Input on Dundas Corridor Plan”, here.
- 570 News report, “Waterloo mayor talks tech corridor, LRT and all-day GO…”, here.
- Erie Media article, “Port Council to ask for better bus service for students”, here.
- Guelph Tribune article, “Guelph still part of innovation corridor, says mayor”, here.
- KawarthaNow post, “City of Peterborough celebrates six new accessible transit buses”, here.
- MyKawartha.com article, “New buses bring Peterborough closer to goal of fully accessible fleet”, here.
- NiagaraThisWeek.com article, “Thorold residents complain of big buses rumbling down secondary streets”, here.
- NiagaraThisWeek.com article, “Regional transit not working for Port: councillor”, here.
- Northumberland Today article, “Feasibility study for GO extension an option for Northumberland, Port Hope, Cobourg”, here.
- Northumberland Today article, “GO service feasibility study already underway, Northumberland County Warden Gil Brocanier says”, here.
- Peterborough Examiner article, “Cost of Peterborough Transit station renovations rises to $2.3 million”, here.
- Peterborough Examiner article, “Federal gas tax helps fund addition of six buses to Peterborough Transit fleet”, here.
- Peterborough Examiner article, “Four options proposed to make Peterborough Transit more affordable for riders with low incomes”, here.
- Peterborough Examiner article, “Uber model seen as rural transit solution for Peterborough County”, here.
- Welland Tribune article, “Transit failing for Port”, here.
- Welland Tribune article, “Welland pitches in toward regional transit study”, here.