Read the 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.
Yesterday, Tuesday, June 18, the TTC and the Distress Centres of Toronto renewed and extended an agreement that continues the Crisis Link suicide prevention program through to July 31, 2018. Crisis Link began as a pilot program in June 2011.
Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk mental health initiative joined the chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, Karen Stintz, the TTC’s chief executive officer, Andy Byford and Distress Centres executive director Karen Letofsky to sign the agreement at the TTC’s head office. Bell has generously provided the pay-phones on each subway platform that immediately connect someone in distress who is thinking about suicide with a Distress Centre counselor. Crisis Link phone calls are free.
When a TTC passenger calls Crisis Link from a payphone near the designated waiting area on every subway platform in the system, a counselor with the Distress Centres knows exactly where on the TTC the call is coming from. The counselor then determines whether the caller is in danger of harming themselves. If they are, the Distress Centres notifies the TTC’s transit control centre where staff can slow subway trains entering that station and then dispatch help for the caller.
Since the TTC introduced Crisis Link in 2011, the Distress Centres have received 218 calls from individuals in distress. Of those, counsellors determined that 12 per cent of the callers had suicidal thoughts that required action by the TTC and police. Another 18 per cent of callers expressed suicidal ideas but the councillors did not deem them to be threatening to harming themselves. The Distress Centres have handled an average of 2.75 incidents each month of people contemplating suicide on the TTC. No person has ever attempted suicide on the TTC immediately after speaking with a Crisis Link counselor.
In 2010, the year before the TTC and the Distress Centres set up Crisis Link, 29 suicide incidents occurred on the TTC. In 2011, the year they introduced Crisis Link, 16 suicide incidents occurred. In 2012, 19 suicide incidents occurred and to date in 2013, there have nine suicide incidents have occurred on the TTC.
The TTC is training front-line personnel on issues of mental health and about what to look for in someone contemplating suicide on the subway. In a news release, the TTC explains that “the tragedy of someone losing their life or severely and permanently injuring themselves extends beyond the individual and his or her family. The train crew, other TTC personnel involved in suicide incidents and all witnesses face possible life-altering post-traumatic stress disorders.
The TTC says that “As an employer and provider of a public service in Toronto… [it] takes suicide prevention very seriously. It has worked with, and will continue to work with, health-care professionals to help end the stigma resulting from seeking help for mental health issues. A case in point: the TTC purposely uses the word ‘suicide’ in all of its published material — including posters in the subway system — to make sure everyone knows that help is just a phone call away.
The budget for extending the five-year program is $536,000.
In 2011, the Ontario Association for Suicide Preventionhas presented the TTC with the Arnold Devlin Community Service Award, recognizing the TTC’s suicide-prevention programs, including Crisis Link.
The photographs must contain images of TTC vehicles, stations, facilities or properties. A panel of judges will choose the winning photographs, “based on creativity, photographic quality and the genuineness/authenticity of the content”.
- Matthew Blacket, the publisher and art director of Spacing magazine;
- Sam Javanruh, photographer of Daily Dose of Imagery and photography blogger;
- Sharon Switzer, curator for the Toronto Underground Film Festival and the Art in Transit series for One Stop Media on Subway Platforms;
- Patrick Cummins, photographer, City of Toronto; and
- Chloe Ellingson, photographer.
The contest is open to all amateur photographer residents of Canada. (Employees of TTC, Spacing magazine, the City of Toronto, the Toronto Underground Film Festival and their and the judges’ immediate family members are not eligible to enter the contest. The judges will choose the winners from the submissions they receive.
To enter, send an e-mail no later than Thursday, July 4 at 11:59 p.m. to email@example.com containing your name, address, postal code, telephone number and e-mail address, attaching at most five photographs.
The TTC will reproduce the first-place-winning photograph in the 2013 summer Ride Guide. The winner of the first-place photograph will also receive:
- From TTC, one Metropass for one month in the 2013 of the winner’s choice;
- From Spacing magazine, a one-year subscription;
- From Spacing, a choice of one set of TTC subway station buttons; or one set of TTC subway station fridge magnets.
- From Spacing, one set of Metro magnets.
The TTC will reproduce the second-place-winning photograph in the 2013 fall Ride Guide.
It will reproduce the third to thirteenth winning photographs on the “gallery” page of the public web site of TTC.
You can read exact details of the contest rules here.
(Contractors are working to build new tracks to connect the future Leslie Barns streetcar maintenance and storage facility — on Leslie at Commissioners Street — to the tracks on Queen Street East.)
Tomorrow, the construction team will be working at the intersection of Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard East, switching the current traffic lights to temporary signals which will remain in place throughout construction. This work will take about 14 hours, during which time traffic signals will not be functioning.
Three “paid-duty” Toronto Police Service officers will be on site to direct traffic in each direction, ensuring the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular traffic. Along Lake Shore Boulevard East, the police officers and work crews will maintain at least four lanes for through traffic — two eastbound and two westbound — and a left-turn lane at all times.
TTC passengers riding buses operating along the 83 Jones route should expect delays.
During this year’s Canadian Football League season, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be playing at a new venue — in Guelph — as the City of Hamilton demolishes Ivor Wynne Stadium. (The City’s building a new facility to host soccer during the 2015 Pan / Parapan American Games — which will also be the new home for the Ti-Cats.
You can ride any Guelph Transit bus free of fare from three hours before the start of any home game until the end of service on game day — if you hold a valid ticket for the game. The 2013 schedule starts tomorrow Thursday, June 21, when the Ti-Cats meet the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at 7 p.m. in a pre-season game at the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium.
The Tiger Cats have also partnered with Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers to provide the Findlay Fan Express, a round-trip bus service to take fans from Hamilton and Burlington directly to Guelph on game days.
Two men are spending time in jail after assaulting TTC drivers.
A man was acting in a disorderly manner on a bus operating along the 102 Markham Rd route Saturday, June 8. The driver asked the man to settle down. He refused and the driver then asked the man to leave the bus.
The man then struck the driver four times with an umbrella, resulting in minor injuries for the driver. Toronto Police Service officers arrested the suspect a short time later.
In court, Thursday, June 13, 46-year-old Varatharajan Ponnampalam pleaded guilty to a charge of assault. The court sentenced him to 120 days in jail and one year probation. Part of the probation order requires Ponnampalam not to ride that driver’s bus and not be on TTC vehicles or property with alcohol in his system.
Thursday, April 18, a man assualted a TTC driver working on a bus operating along the 123 Shorncliffe route. The suspect grabbed the driver by the arm as the bus was moving and demanded that the TTC operator drive him to a nearby liquor store. In court Monday, June 10, 43-year-old Anthony Savo-Sadaro pleaded guilty to a charge of assault. The court sentenced him to 25 days in jail and two years probation.
On average, at least two TTC employees are assaulted every day. The assaults range from punching, slapping and spitting, to threatening physical harm or death. The TTC’s court advocates work with Crown attorneys and the courts to secure the stiffest penalties possible for those convicted of assaulting or threatening TTC employees. They continue to seek ways to restrict those convicted of these crimes from using public transit in Toronto.
Contractors are working on the project in two phases:
- In Phase 1, from Monday, June 3 until Saturday, June 22, they’re welding and storing sections of rail on the roadway. The TTC has replaced streetcars with buses and increased the frequency of service of buses operating on north-south routes crossing Kingston Road.
- In Phase 2, from Sunday, June 23 until December, they’ll start rebuilding the tracks.
The work includes:
- Installing new streetcar tracks;
- Modifying curbs so that they’re compatible with the TTC’s new, accessible, low-floor streetcars;
- Rebuilding the pavement on some sections of Kingston Road;
- Improving the “streetscape” by installing new trees, curbs and sidewalks; and
- Updating traffic signals.
During this second phase of the project, the TTC is revising bus and streetcar service along these routes: 12 Kingston Rd, 22 Coxwell, 22A Coxwell via Kingston Rd, 64 Main, 92 Woodbine South, 322 Coxwell overnight via Kingston Rd, 324 Victoria Park overnight, 502 Downtowner, 503 Kingston Rd tripper
This is the fifth summer in a row that buses have replaced streetcars along Kingston Road.
- 2009: “Buses replace streetcars along Kingston Road, starting August 9” here.
- 2010: “Buses replace streetcars along Kingston Road during construction at Bingham Loop”, here.
- 2011: “Buses replace streetcars along Kingston Road until September 12”, here.
- 2012: “Buses replace streetcars along Kingston Road and Queen East, starting May 6”, here.
Also from the Transit Toronto archives:
GO Transit is setting up a special “PRESTO Patio” inside Ajax GO Station, Thursday, June 20 and Friday, **June 21 from 5 until 10 a.m. and from 2 until 7 p.m. and Saturday, June 22 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
At the PRESTO Patio, you can learn more about using the PRESTO fare card and ask staff questions about the card.
The trains operate Friday evenings and several times Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, dropping off and picking up passengers at Union Station, Exhibition, Port Credit, Oakville and Burlington GO stations and St. Catharines and Niagara Falls VIA Rail stations.
GO is also again operating express buses carrying passengers between St. Catharines VIA Rail Station and downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake.
GO continues to operate buses along the 12 Niagara Falls / Burlington route seven days a week throughout the year. The buses meet trains operating along the 01 Lakeshore West line at Burlington GO Station.