In May 2007, I wrote a column about missing and misleading signs in the TTC. None of the locations I mentioned have been fixed yet.
One long-standing example of inadequate directions is St. Patrick station, just two blocks from the Art Gallery of Ontario.
At St. Patrick, there are four ways up to the intersection of Dundas and University. Each exit should have a sign describing where it leads, plus a list of major nearby landmarks. Not here.
Looking for the AGO, or Sick Kids Hospital? You’ll have to find out yourself.
You see, the walls were retiled more than four years ago but the previous signs were never replaced.
Acting marketing director Carla Basso tells me the station has water leaks in the walls, which are taking a long time to resolve. I admit this is a common problem in the subway, but it did not stop the installation of other permanent signs at the same exits; signs about TTC bylaws and the presence of video cameras.
Leaks or not, somebody at the transit agency needs to put up temporary directional signs for St. Patrick. It just can’t be that hard — or that expensive — to aid riders.
Next, I’m still waiting to unravel the mystery of the blank information pillars at Spadina station. Used in other high-traffic TTC locations, such four-sided signs point out platforms or surface destinations. The Spadina info columns were probably installed more than a decade ago, and I bet they’ve been empty since. You can regularly see bewildered riders trying to transfer between subway lines here, so why not ease their confusion? The TTC’s Basso says she will investigate.
There is welcome progress in another communication mystery: Where do you catch emergency shuttles when the subway is disrupted? Currently, when riders have to board replacement buses they rely on supervisors to direct them. If you’ve been caught in a subway shutdown, you know the chaos that can occur.
Unlike other urban rail systems, there are no consistent markings at Toronto stations to show where emergency shuttles will stop. I’ve been asking transit officials for some time: Why not here?
Thankfully, the TTC is finally going to run a pilot project. I hope well-marked, pre-designated bus stops can reduce the chaos.