Of all the crowded bus routes in the TTC system, Metro readers write me most often about two streets — Wilson Avenue and Steeles Avenue West.
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There’s good news for those who travel along Wilson, especially on weekends. Come September, a substantial number of buses will be added to this corridor.
TTC planner Scott Haskill says additional vehicles will roll out to other lines next month, above and beyond the seasonal changes that occur every September. One bus each will be added during rush hours to the busy Highway 27 and York University “Rocket” routes. Two more streetcars will ply the 501 Queen route and five buses will once again be ready for crucial “standby” service.
In all, 39 routes will see 95 “service increases” after Labour Day. Of those, 74 are in busy off-peak times and 21 occur during peak periods. For perspective, the TTC operates around 1,300 buses during rush hour.
Says Haskill, “Some of the service increases we‚re making in September we would ideally like to have made (earlier this year) in January, February or March.”
What held the TTC back? Haskill replies, “A lack of resources to implement the changes ... money, drivers and buses. We’ve added as much service in September as we can, given all those restraints.”
An extra 100 buses are to join the TTC’s fleet in late 2007, and we’ll have to wait to see what effect they’ll have on crowding. The catch is that Toronto’s city council has to approve the cost of running the buses. What’s more, there is no sign of new streetcars for years to come.
I wish I had better news for long-suffering riders of the 60 Steeles West bus. On this route the TTC planner says, “We're not making any service increases, other than the usual end-of-summer service changes.”
However, more buses were put on in September 2005 as well as May and June of this year, at various off-peak periods.
What about peak time? Says Haskill, “Rush hour is busy, but according to the counts we have, not overcrowded.
So we’ve been concentrating our efforts on relieving the routes that clearly have a number of customers per bus on average that is in excess of our standards.”
As e-mails to In Transit state, the number of buses is only one concern. Are vehicles properly spaced along the entire route? How many are short-turned, leaving riders to wait for the next bus?
Here’s an idea. Since municipal elections take place in three months, why don’t candidates head down to transit stops to meet the voters? It’s good visibility, but also gives first-hand knowledge of what riders are experiencing.
for more information
• Look for service changes to be posted at some transit stops and at www.ttc.calater this month.