The TTC’s busiest stations can be difficult to navigate, especially when thousands of rush hour riders crowd stairwells and platforms.
As transit ridership increases many stations will only get busier, but expansion is not an option in the near term. I have toured various locations with Metro readers and TTC officials, focusing on directional signs and watching how people find their way.
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Thanks to the ripple effect, a single patron who stops to look around can complicate passenger flow — especially near stairs and escalators at transfer stations. A new report indicates the TTC only updates permanent signage as part of construction projects, largely due to financial constraint.
Sections of the Yonge-Bloor interchange are due for redesign over the next few years, but perhaps this station in particular deserves a more immediate makeover. The underground complex contains many decades worth of mismatched signs. Can some be simplified, combined or removed outright? Are signs and maps replaced soon after they go missing? It doesn’t seem that way. How much will it cost to make sure all notices have similar language, symbols and appearance?
If the commission wants to promote safe movement on its property, then it should take another look at those stations where subway lines intersect or terminate. To find locations in need of “wayfinding” improvement, all you have to do is search for questioning faces. Examine information signs — or the lack of them — from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know the station.
Money is tight, but some signage snafus can be eliminated by having the TTC’s various departments communicate better with each other. Since St. Patrick station was renovated more than two years ago, I have mentioned to people throughout the transit agency that directional signs up to the street have not been replaced. Station staff have likely reported the same thing.
As of last week, signs are still missing or fastened with tape. This doesn’t count as a monumental inconvenience to riders — but it raises questions about internal follow-through and communication. How many years have transit personnel from all departments walked by those two huge — and empty — information cubes inside Spadina station without collaborating to ensure something is posted in them?
I can provide a list of locations with out-of-date, unclear or missing signs on transit property, but they’re all visible if you’re looking for them. The question is whether the TTC has the collective will — as well as the funds — to fix what needs fixing.