Thermostats aboard buses, streetcars and subways are set to keep temperatures within a reasonably comfortable range and account for the fact that doors open regularly. Most of the time riders are fine with this, but when things get too hot or too cold the only options are to bear with it, or get off and hope the next vehicle is better.
In general, transit drivers cannot set temperatures but often can decide if the heat or air conditioning is on or off.
TTC streetcars may have the worst record of all GTA transit vehicles. Two years ago, about 70 per cent had fully working heat but the TTC would not give me a current figure. Instead, I was just told cars without heat are sent in for servicing. This may indeed happen on very cold days — but the rest of the time too many Toronto trams have only partial heat.
Most transit vehicles now have air conditioning, although some days a breeze through the window is sufficient. This choice has not been available on the TTC’s newest buses.
The Orion 7 models from Daimler have already given us enough grief, particularly when their hybrid batteries failed, stranding riders. Last year, many of their windows were screwed shut after some fell out. The window manufacturer has finally come up with a fix, which may not be fully in place until this summer. Until then, you’ll have to hope the thermostat is working right.
My advice to the powers that be: Transit users may not formally complain about temperature problems — it often seems pointless. However, modern technology can be used to monitor whether vehicles are comfortable and automatically report extreme hot or cold. Don’t riders deserve this?
And it would be great if those responsible for maintenance could check into some of the comments In Transit readers sent me. I’ve posted excerpts on my blog at metronews.ca/eddrass.
To riders on the 512 St. Clair streetcar: Has service been regular since the route opened? Please let me know.
Toronto-based transport writer Ed Drass covers transit issues every Monday; firstname.lastname@example.org.