Streetcars return with confusing, inconsistent signs

Last Sunday, streetcars temporarily returned to part of St. Clair Avenue West and more than a few riders have been caught off guard.


You can ride the streetcar between Keele Street and St. Clair West station, but to continue eastbound to the Yonge subway line, you must hop on a bus. That’s not as easy as it sounds.


Right now both stations on St. Clair can be disorienting, with temporary signs and switched loading areas — and yet most regular riders find their way through.


But what about people who don’t use this part of the system very often, or are in a rush, or need help to comprehend what’s happening?


Even veteran TTC riders travelling through St. Clair West station might get flummoxed, at least until streetcars return to the whole route in late February.

If transit drivers don’t clearly announce what's going on, riders might assume that these streetcars marked "St. Clair Station" are continuing east to Yonge Street.

Transit observer David Fisher reports that on Sunday some riders found themselves heading back out the station the wrong way, and had to disembark at the intersection of St. Clair and Bathurst — a hectic junction under normal conditions, and chaotic now that it’s being rebuilt.

I visited the area Tuesday afternoon, and it was hard to tell which street-level transit stops were even active.

Down in the station were thankfully transit personnel available to direct perplexed riders, but I found the signs confusing and inconsistent.

Patrons transferring from streetcar to shuttle bus had the choice of walking outside to the south side of St. Clair, or riding the shuttle on a congested, circuitous route as it made its way eastbound.

During construction periods, some people inevitably lose their way — it happens. The TTC reports that few complaints have been officially registered since Sunday.

I wonder if that means customers are coping well or that they believe their concerns will not be acted upon.

Unless there is very tight cooperation between the various departments within the transit agency, there is too much opportunity for riders to become lost in the St. Clair shuffle.