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Suffering the TTC

There are very few days in the year when I’m not on the TTC at least once. On a regular basis I spend at least 40 minutes on a streetcar or in the subway, and I have to say, there are also few days where I don’t have issues with the TTC.

For one thing, I can’t tell you how many days of the week I’m on a streetcar headed home and they decide to short turn, forcing everyone off to wait for another vehicle. Most of the time when I get on the streetcar it says it’s going all the way to the end of the line, and then they get an update part-way through the trip and all you can do is groan.

It’s technically not the drivers fault, but they end up being so stand-offish about it that you can’t help but loathe them for it too.

What I can’t imagine is how short turning is a good idea. In most of the cases I’ve seen they short turn within a 10-15 minute ride of the end of the line. And there are always at least 20-30 people onboard.

I can’t imagine how customers get abusive with drivers, but that said – the TTC doesn’t help the cause by behaviour that treats the customer like second-rate citizens. The idea that the TTC continually thinks this is fair treatment, and an acceptable practice, is ridiculous. Especially when most of the short turns that I’ve seen happen between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM – also known as rush hour, the one time you’d think the TTC would be prepared.

Ultimately, I don’t care what excuse they have, I just want it fixed. The streetcars are always packed on the 504 line, the traffic is a mess, and there’s no reason to make the ride even worse by making a person’s commute even longer.

Ed Drass, who write for Metro Toronto, had a piece about customers on the Queen line being upset about this same issue, and I hope they’ll realize it’s a city-wide problem. If the TTC starts discussing 501, they should take a look at all of their streetcar lines. In my books there is absolutely no reason to short turn and dump customers on the side of the road unless the road is actually closed. If the TTC wants to serve their customers properly, and stop inciting anger from their total disregard for their customers, they should start with issues like this.

I’ll also happily add that if the TTC is committed to having streetcars in the city, they need to make room for them. Specifically, I think they should convert portions of all the streetcar lines to transit only lanes and get rid of street parking in those areas. I can hear all the car-drivers complaining already and I really don’t care. This city focuses far too much energy on drivers and needs to pay real attention to public transit instead. Especially since I’d wager that a huge percentage of those drivers are coming from outside the city border from that hellish local known as the suburbs.

Have your say on the issue over at Spacing and you can head over to for other discussion on Toronto’s transit.

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