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TTC installs new signage at Bloor-Yonge Station

Posted by Derek Flack / March 3, 2014

TTC signage bloor yonge stationMonths after unveiling the design for its new wayfinding and route signage, the TTC has taken the next step by installing it at Bloor-Yonge Station, where the Commission will try it out and gather customer feedback. St. George Station is soon to follow, which will perhaps prove even more of a litmus test of the new markers given the mess that the wayfinding is there. Aside from a cleaner design in general (and a healthy return of the original "Toronto Subway" font), the new signage ushers in a significant change as pertains to the naming of subway lines, which will now be numbered in addition to the older nomenclature (e.g. Yonge-University-Spadina).

There's a compelling argument to be made that this is the, ahem, better way, as it's not immediately clear to new users of the system when, for instance, the University portion of the line gives way to the Spadina section. By using three markers - number, name and colour - the new maps and signage should make the system easier to navigate. Perhaps even more importantly, as the TTC slowly adds additional lines like the Eglinton Crosstown, a numeric and colour-based list of routes is easier to keep track of.

What do you think of the changes? Is this a step in the right direction?



Steven Marks / March 3, 2014 at 11:52 am
Great. More fodder for the catlady gestapo to whine about on Twitter.
W. K. Lis / March 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm
Eglinton-Crosstown will be 5. However, 5 is used by the Avenue Road bus. 6 is Bay, and 7 is Bathurst. Will those bus route numbers be changed?
Rob / March 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm
Numbers seem kind of silly now, but maybe with 7+ lines it will sound more natural.
Mayari / March 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm
The "Next station: Rosedale/Northbound to Finch" sign is glossy and reflective. I can't read it from the platform due to glare.
Jennie / March 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm
The article indicates that signage will be "cleaner," but will show the new (confusing-to-me) subway route numbers in addition to the older nomenclature. However, on the photo of the new sign, the older nomenclature (which has the advantage of actually telling people where they might wind up) is not visible. So I'm not sure how the new signs are supposed to be more helpful. (For the record, as a visitor to New York, I'm invariably confused about where the various subway trains, identified only by a letter, go. I don't see how identifying subway routes by numbers is going to help anyone, and I think it's a stupid idea).
Marisa / March 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm
I don't understand why money was spent on changing the signs when in just a few (hopefully) years they will have to change them again to add the additional YUS subway expansion. Also, is our subway system that complicated that we need to title lines by numbers? Compared to many other cities, Toronto has a particularly small amount of subway lines (thats another story). If people are finding "Bloor-Danforth" and "Yonge-University-Spadina" too complicated why don't they just call them by colours? Thats how I describe them to all my friends visiting the city - I personally believe its the simplest and direct way to title the lines.
CaligulaJones / March 3, 2014 at 12:35 pm
Yeah, it was SO much fun dodging the bloody display this morning after the Danforth line (accurately described as #2) was delayed 5 minutes...
Aaron / March 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm
Typical TTC. What stupid leadership. Nobody asked for that!!!!!!! Now Stinz wants to run for mayor? Complete airhead with no clue to run the TTC let alone the city. Wonder how much the signage cost the riders? Stinz doesn't care one bit.
Brent / March 3, 2014 at 01:09 pm
The "healthy return of the original 'Toronto Subway' font" must refer to the station names that were already engraved into the tiles, or maybe the caption at the start of the video (using the awkward lower-case letters). All of the actual new signs are in Helvetica (or Swis721...).
JW / March 3, 2014 at 01:11 pm
To set us up for future expansion, I don't think its a bad idea. Paris uses the number system and it was very simple to follow. Now all we need is new lines feeding the downtown core!
Marc replying to a comment from Marisa / March 3, 2014 at 01:22 pm
Perhaps because some people are colour-blind. That and we have a shit ton of accessibility standards that have to be in place in the next decade - and to do so you follow best practises in other jurisdictions.

Why didn't you google why people use numbers instead of colours. You could've taken the time you used to bash out your un-constructive comment above and actually learned something about way-finding.

There's uneducated and then willfully ignorant - waste of taxpayer funded education.
iliveattheverve / March 3, 2014 at 01:27 pm
makes sense. numbers are really only the universal language (although some may argue that it's love or music). and easy to understand. and for those out there that complain that they're used to calling it what it is, get over yourselves - the SkyDome is the Rogers Centre, the O'Keefe Centre is the Sony Centre, a venti is a large.
EZ / March 3, 2014 at 01:27 pm
Old vs. new photos would be helpful. Thanks.
Fred / March 3, 2014 at 01:29 pm
About time a better way-finding roles out.

Well, for those complaining and had hatorade in the morning, it might be a silly way to spend money now for something that seems ridiculous now as the city has so little subway lines. I completely agree with that and much rather see the money be spent in a desperate needed relief line!

However, by releasing this now, with time, the way-finding will improve and perhaps simplified / developed furthermore in order to achieve a cohesive look for the already cluttered-useless-signs that take place all over the TTC. They are testing these now so they will get better with feedback / constructive criticism. Instead of hating, tell them why you do or don't like it and why you think it doesn't work. But that BS of "who cares" or "nobody asked for these" won't help. Have you read the amount of development that will role out in the next 20 years? These are baby steps to improving the overall system in the future, not now. Things like this take time.

When I first moved to this city I was completely confused by how it works and really hated not being able to get the system quicker. (at the time there were no smartphones or apps to help navigate!) Specially when TTC staff aren't as helpful - I literally asked an employee how to use the subway, and before I could expand my question I got this answer "Go to the platform, wait for the subway to come, wait till the doors open and people get off.. then you get on!".. oh .. thanks. Forgot I didn't have perception.

I look forward to see how this change develops over time.
Adobe Wan Kenobi replying to a comment from Brent / March 3, 2014 at 01:29 pm
Brent: There is actually a font called Toronto Subway, and you're right --- it's on the older signs engraved into the walls.

iliveattheverve replying to a comment from Marisa / March 3, 2014 at 01:31 pm
by that logic, we shouldn't have any signs, because who knows when expansion will end. also, you're lucky you don't have colour-blind friends - take the green line? what? or that they understand the English / Latin alphabet. so myopic of you.
iliveattheverve replying to a comment from Marisa / March 3, 2014 at 01:32 pm
by that logic, we shouldn't have any signs, because who knows when expansion will end. also, you're lucky you don't have colour-blind friends - take the green line? what? or that they understand the English / Latin alphabet. so myopic of you.
Brandon / March 3, 2014 at 01:34 pm
Pretty clear to me those making these decisions are clearly not daily riders of the TTC. The number system helps to simplify I suppose. But it is also nice to know what stations are next. As another commented they have virtually made it difficult to see that info now. Second, the number system is fine but really of no use if system wide maps aren't available. I often see people trying to hint for the maps. The location of signage is not logical nor conspicuous. This in particular is evident at transfer stations where I constantly see people confused.
Newsie / March 3, 2014 at 01:37 pm
Yeah! A couple of stations accept Presto cards, and now one station has new signage! Millions of our dollars at work!!!!!!
Rob / March 3, 2014 at 01:46 pm
Stintz more years!!!
Jon / March 3, 2014 at 01:52 pm
These signs cost 3 billion dollars according to Metrolinx.
Blair / March 3, 2014 at 02:36 pm
I think these signs are a step in the right direction. When I first saw them last weekend I thought 'How stupid. Why point out how small and inadequate our transit system is?', and also 'What, are we trying to copy NYC?'. But I think this new signage can be a part of changing the conversation about Toronto transit, which is often so childishly negative. We need a fresh approach to transit - to make it more fun, accessible and modern.
iliveattheverve replying to a comment from Marisa / March 3, 2014 at 02:39 pm
according to the TTC "No new money is required for this project, as all design and production is being done-in-house. Printing costs will be absorbed within existing printing budgets."
iliveattheverve replying to a comment from Newsie / March 3, 2014 at 02:39 pm
according to the TTC "No new money is required for this project, as all design and production is being done-in-house. Printing costs will be absorbed within existing printing budgets."
iliveattheverve replying to a comment from Newsie / March 3, 2014 at 02:40 pm
according to the TTC "No new money is required for this project, as all design and production is being done-in-house. Printing costs will be absorbed within existing printing budgets."
Van / March 3, 2014 at 02:53 pm
Stop complaining people! This is a good change, especially as the number of commuters and tourists continue to rise. How the heck are they suppose to know what the Yonge-University line is?
cathie replying to a comment from Van / March 3, 2014 at 03:08 pm
There's 3 lines in total. If someone can't figure out the very simple TTC subway route, then maybe they shouldn't be going out on their own.
Andrew Ngui replying to a comment from Fred / March 3, 2014 at 03:23 pm
Fred, thank you for your comment.

Strategically, one needs to recognize that sooner or later the boat will be rocked. In preparation of this eventuality, we plan for the future, today.

In lean startup speak, we create a MVP (minimum viable product, in this case it's wayfinding) and then we use it to validate our hypotheses. We learn from the constructive feedback provided and iterate.
Andrew Ngui replying to a comment from Blair / March 3, 2014 at 03:33 pm
Blair, that's an interesting point you've brought up; changing the conversation on transit, I think it's time for each one of us to play a part by providing constructive feedback and to make transit in Toronto, the better way.

Instead of just saying, “I don't like it”, explain why it doesn't work for you and how you think it can be improved. Thanks! :D
Jon / March 3, 2014 at 03:41 pm
Metrolinx would like to let you all they are working hard to get a DRL up and running by 2354. You will be able to use their special holodecks where you can wish you were somewhere else instead of being lodged up someones ass. Fares will only cost 3 million dollars per ride. What a deal!
iSkyscraper / March 3, 2014 at 03:47 pm
This is all well and good, but the critical issues are not with station signage but with the line maps on the vehicles (which are nonexistent), the shoddy rail-system maps (which are currently squished above the doors where the line maps should go) and the impossible-to-read system maps in shelters and stations (which confuse streetcars with buses and lack sufficient downtown detail).

This is where the TTC signage gods need to get to work. Yesterday.
Rob Ford / March 3, 2014 at 03:49 pm
What about the Doug line, the Randy line and the Rob line. SRT could be the Kathy.
Simon replying to a comment from Van / March 3, 2014 at 03:58 pm
The same way tourists in London find out what the Picadilly line is. Things have names. Start changing the names around all the time and they no longer have meaning. The Yonge line runs up Yonge. The Bloor line runs along Bloor. The 1 or the 2 could be anything or anywhere. This isn't Paris or New York where trains run everywhere and follow squiggly routes. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Van replying to a comment from cathie / March 3, 2014 at 04:01 pm
Well that's a nice and welcoming attitude! Are you American?
McRib replying to a comment from cathie / March 3, 2014 at 04:03 pm
not everyone is a Rhodes scholar like you, cathie
SDouglas / March 3, 2014 at 04:19 pm
TORONTO DOES NOT NEED TO BE LIKE NEW YORK! This is so stupid, I feel like Toronto - in this case - is lacking originality. We currently have 5 routes on our system, not multiple like NYC - which in that case the numbers and letters are necessary. Since the TTC wants to slowly turn into NYC's Metro, they might as well make the TTC service 24 hours and every one pays the same fair - LIKE IN NEW YORK.
SDouglas replying to a comment from SDouglas / March 3, 2014 at 04:21 pm
W. K. Lis / March 3, 2014 at 04:34 pm
Next thing you know, they'll call the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway the 401.
The Golden Compass / March 3, 2014 at 05:00 pm
These type of signs are used in the subways all across Europe. Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Rome etc...They aways use colours, numbers and the lines final destination station (East, West, North, South, North-East etc). The problem is that Toronto is just really late with the construction of its lines. As the city expanded and became a mega-city the lines should of expanded too. Toronto has more people than most of the major cities in Europe...plus it's more expensive. The signs makes sense and is helpful when you have 20 plus lines (like Paris). As it stands now it looks pointless as Toronto only has 3 lines and it is virtually impossible to get lost. Focus on building more lines then the new signs will make more sense and be helpful.
stopitman / March 3, 2014 at 05:12 pm
For all of the morons complaining about the numbering - the numbers are there for people who are colour blind.

While I would've preferred the rapid transit lines to be letters (A, B, C) so they don't interfere with the bus/streetcar routes, it's an easy way to get on board accessibility laws. Besides, St. George Station has had numbered subway lines for the last 20-odd years. Here's a Google Streetview of the sign that's been there since 1993: http://bit.ly/1i82KXU
The Golden Compass replying to a comment from cathie / March 3, 2014 at 05:19 pm
HAHAHAHA. I agree. And this is not insult to people but to the silly train system we have for a mega city. When I came back from Europe last year I guy from Paris got on the TTC. He was all nervous about getting to Main Station. I guess coming from Paris and knowing how big Toronto is he was freaking out. I explained to him that after our 20-30 minute bus ride Kipling (since we have no direct train to our airport...) Once your on the the train...ride it to Main... How sad is that?
flob / March 3, 2014 at 05:38 pm
I hope all of you folks full of helpful opinions are also directing them to the TTC via wayfinding@ttc.ca. No sense complaining here - as fun as it is.
Rob replying to a comment from flob / March 3, 2014 at 05:46 pm
Ian D / March 3, 2014 at 06:23 pm
All the comments are great. For instance, yes the Yonge Line track signs are way too glossy. This happened because the existing signs were refurbished by the TTC paint shop then reinstalled. They will be replaced by matte Dibond panels - same as the BD line - which look great. This is a pilot designed to test the system and gain feedback - so keep the comments coming! Also wayfinding@ttc.ca for direct messages.
Rob / March 3, 2014 at 06:48 pm
Does nobody else think it is stupid to have the Yonge University Spadina line as a single "number"? Why not call the Yonge Line #1 and the University Spadina line #2. That way to tell someone to go to the Rosedale station from Union you just say go North on the #1 line... to go to Yorkdale you would go North on the #2 line... How can they describe it as it currently is numbered? Just because the join in the middle does not mean they have to be treated as one line. As new extensions are added there will be more loops created. To me that is the biggest flaw in this whole system.
Ian D replying to a comment from Rob / March 3, 2014 at 07:03 pm
This was considered. Yes, it certainly would ease confusion at Union where the same line has two Northbound platforms. The problem was: on a map it would appear like an interchange similar to Bloor-Yonge. People might be confused and think that they need to change trains at Union instead of riding straight through. Ultimately, I expect we will evolve to a terminus strategy similar to Montreal or Rome if we continue to build windy routes like 1-YUS or the proposed DRL. Instead of signing a Northbound University train or a Northbound Yonge train it could become the Vaughan platform and the Finch platform. Trains already display terminus info on the front car.
Rob replying to a comment from Ian D / March 3, 2014 at 09:12 pm
Keep the line colour the same for both lines so it is indicated that they are related just number them different. Naming the platforms does no good for tourists who have no idea what a Vaughn or a Finch is...
J / March 3, 2014 at 10:04 pm
Pretty sure this is the TTC trying to de-politicize transit.

Building the '8 line' might sound a bit better to some than say the 'downtown relief line'.

Signage looks great otherwise - but it's newness definitely highlights the poor condition of the rest of the station.
Cooper / March 3, 2014 at 10:45 pm
They should have called one line Andrew,one Ngui and the Sheppard Line Fred.

Seriously I thought this guy Byford was going to make a difference - but it is silliness after silliness. His only accomplishment is lowering the bar of what is acceptable.
Bob / March 3, 2014 at 11:23 pm
The use of numbers can be useful for those new to the system. All the bus routes are number and I don't see anyone having trouble with them. When you say 29, either you know it's Dufferin or you don't take it. Of course the name still exist and can be refereed to that too. The signage update is way overdue. Regardless if this trial works or not, they will have to standardize all the signs anyways.

New York uses numbers and letters because multiple services (NYC term) serves a particular platform. It is necessary to know where the destination is. Similar to taking a bus on Eglinton east of Yonge where 6 different routes run on. For the TTC, not so much since taking a northbound train from Bloor will land you at Finch, never Don Mills.

For the 5 Avenue Rd, 6 Bay and 7 Bathurst bus routes, they will be renumbered. Like they did with 2 Anglesey, it became the 48 Rathburn and the 4 Annette became the 26 Dupont. Yeah, confusing eh? They change the number and the name to reflect today's routing. There are plenty of unused numbers like 18,19,27,93 and etc. It's not a huge problem.
Spike replying to a comment from Van / March 3, 2014 at 11:36 pm
They can check Wikipedia before they come to Toronto, and figure out how to use the subway? A lot of intelligent people do that.

They can also figure what up and down is, as well as east and west, left and right, etc., from the same Wikipedia info, as well as the TTC web page. Hell, a visitor from the planet Vulcan can figure this out-and they don't even live on Earth.
Spike replying to a comment from The Golden Compass / March 3, 2014 at 11:38 pm
He's an idiot for not figuring out our (small and simple) subway before he came here, as are you for not explaining it to him. Go fuck yourself.
dafuqstonr / March 4, 2014 at 11:29 am
I love it.
As a born and raised Torontonian who knows the city better than most people, I love this change. It's clean, and welcomes the addition of more lines in the future.
Everyone needs to stop complaining when nice things happen.
Donald replying to a comment from J / March 5, 2014 at 12:12 am
I agree completely. This is going to make it seem a lot less difficult an argument when talking about a downtown subway over one in Scarborough.

I do also think this is a great opportunity to simplify and standardize the system's wayfinding, which is a hodgepodge mess right now. Some signs havent been changed since station construction.

Do wish they'd use the bought-and-paid-for typeface they had developed for them so many years ago.
bob smith / March 5, 2014 at 09:22 am
These are stupid.
If anyone thinks that our subway system is confusing then they are just dumb.
The signs were fine as they were.
I wonder how much they spent on this? Brutal...
I noticed yesterday that the new directional signs ie the one in the first picture are more confusing.
The old ones were much better with an arrow letting you know the direction of travel. Now whatever direction has been traveled is a bit lighter then the stations that have not passed.
With all the studies that the TTC loves to have, I find it hilarious that there was hardly any public consultation about this change.
Someone should be fired
Wendy / March 6, 2014 at 02:06 pm
The Torontonians whining about this need to get over themselves. This isn't only for them. This will help tourists get around more easily, since they probably wouldn't understand what Yonge-University-Spadina is referring to from hearing an announcement. 1 and 2 are easier to remember for people who aren't used to our street names. This is really really not that big of a deal. The upset people need to stop crying over literally every single change introduced in this city.

Anyway, I agree that the finalized signs should be less glossy, and in my opinion the You Are Here signs on the platforms might need a bit more information on them (but I think they're an improvement from how busy they were previously).

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