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Will removing TTC streetcar stops speed up service?

Posted by Derek Flack / May 27, 2014

TTC streetcar stopsThe TTC will discuss a report calling for the removal of a significant number of streetcar stops at its next meeting on May 28th. Rather than as a service cut, the Commission frames the proposed changes as a way to increase both rider safety and speed. The idea here is that the streetcar stop network is very old in certain parts of the city (dating back almost a century), and there are thus unnecessary stops that are 1) less than 200 metres from another stop or 2) could be better located at an intersection with a traffic signal for rider safety.

All in all, the TTC is looking at eliminating 39 tightly bunched stops, as well as all remaining Sunday stops (an under-utilized stop-option designed to deliver customers closer to churches around town). On top of that, another 20 stops will be moved from their current locations to signalled intersections.

So will this actually make for better service? One suspects that the TTC claim that riders tend to jaywalk the most when exiting surface vehicles at stops without traffic lights is absolutely correct, so there's certainly some sense in repositioning stops. As for the elimination of closely spaced stops, I suspect that the passengers who use these stops on a daily basis won't share the sentiment that these changes represent a service improvement. Steve Munro has an interesting take on the way the TTC is selling these changes over on his blog, which is worth a read for the way in which it calls into question the Commission's self-touted commitment to customer service.

What do you think? Will you miss these streetcar stops?

Photo by Jared Krause in the blogTO Flickr pool.



iSkyscraper / May 27, 2014 at 09:49 am
Yes, deleting stops will speed service. It is not a service cut.

Worst offender -- Yonge - Victoria - Church. The new streetcars are so long the back will still be at Yonge St when the front is stopped at Victoria. Enough already.

If the TTC wants to make the best use of its invaluable rail assets, as it should, it can't operate them like it's 1940.

Eliminate stops. Make all payment off-vehicle. Remove left turning cars. Improve signage and maps. Get. It. Done.
Kelly / May 27, 2014 at 09:52 am
Fewer stops means bigger crowds at stops, which leads to slower loading during busy times. I doubt this change would make any difference at all.
Julie / May 27, 2014 at 10:00 am

It seems like the street car stops get closer and closer the closer you get to Yonge St which takes forever to get to work and forever go get home.

Just as a small example, the Queen street car stops at University, York St, Bay Street, Yonge Street, York Street.

The fact that you can stand at Yonge and Queen and see the stop 100 feet over at York Street is ridiculous. The thing can barely get going, as soon as it starts up it needs to stop again.
skube / May 27, 2014 at 10:16 am
Yes great idea!

There may be more people per stop, but the new streetcars have twice as many doors and I suspect they won't eliminate high volume stops.
Charles replying to a comment from Julie / May 27, 2014 at 10:17 am
Yes its the same at Dundas. You can stand at Yonge and Dundas and see The Bay St stop and the Victoria Street stop all are within walking distance of each other.
Liberty Villain replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 27, 2014 at 10:18 am
While that is a valid contender, the actual worst offender is Simcoe - University - York.

The west end is where most of the ttc capacity is coming from these days. And they all jump off at York to jump on at St. Andrew Station. Then, 120 metres later the remaining few jump off at University to do the very same.

It should really be John - University - Bay, considering you can take the PATH the whole way (for those complaining when winter arrives).
Dan / May 27, 2014 at 10:26 am
Yes, get rid of Victoria street at King. Utterly pointless. Less than 1/2 a block from Yonge and King.
WOW $20,700 for a week in Niagara Falls on the TAXPAYER / May 27, 2014 at 10:33 am

Norm Kelly defends $20,700 Niagara Falls business trip
Jacob / May 27, 2014 at 10:41 am
So THAT'S what the "Sunday" stops were for? Churches?

W. K. Lis replying to a comment from MW / May 27, 2014 at 10:55 am
The NIMBYs on Spadina & St. Clair got upset when the TTC wanted to remove stops along those routes, to speed them up. Didn't happen, so there are extra stops that are really not needed. Expect other NIMBYs along other neighbourhoods to do the same.

Same with proposals to remove bus stops.
Paul / May 27, 2014 at 10:59 am
Been saying they need to do this for a long time. Along Dundas there is a stop at every intersection it seems. The streetcar would hit a lot more green lights if it wasn't stopping as often
cosmosuave / May 27, 2014 at 11:14 am
Should consider this for bus routes also ... Less stops mean increase fuel efficiency and less wear and tear on vehicle specifically brakes... Note remove the 504 northbound stop at Broadview and Queen the stop before it is only a 100m away...
Michael Fox / May 27, 2014 at 11:17 am
Absolutely agree. A simple rule: if it's faster to walk between two stops than wait and ride the streetcar between them, remove it!
Brandon / May 27, 2014 at 11:27 am
I think it will help. Think how long it takes to get a short distance along the east-west roads. Currently it takes forever during busy periods (even if there's little/no other traffic) because the streetcar is stopping at every single stop, 100 feet apart from each other. It's infuriating when you're trying to get somewhere with some urgency but you keep stopping because people refuse to walk an extra little distance.
Bob / May 27, 2014 at 11:29 am
lets make sure the motorists don't get inconvienenced.
the transit rider. well what the heck they can be made to go further to a stop in a Toronto winter.
and really! how much will be saved by making it harder for folks to go to church on Sunday morning. sure it is little used but to the users it is important. and if little used it won't save any time. is an oxymoron.

little used stops don't delay service because they are little used, but thee few folks that use them, they are really important.

but it will be the same story to the folks "eliminate a lot of stops, just not mine"

Tuli replying to a comment from Bob / May 27, 2014 at 11:59 am
I disagee. I think the majority of the proposal makes sense, as for the Sunday stops, traffic is usually lower on Sunday morning so the TTC should no if people are really using those Church stops at all anymore.

ALSO if were having stops at "Churches" we should also be adding stops in-front of temples, mosques, etc.
Mark / May 27, 2014 at 12:41 pm
The real way to speed up streetcars is to ban all left turns on streetcar routes.
bobo / May 27, 2014 at 01:23 pm
I have always hated the people who get on and off at Victoria street on King.
cathie / May 27, 2014 at 01:33 pm
Its the bus routes as well. Anytime a condo goes up, they put up a new stop right in front of it, if there's an existing stop 50 feet away, it stays. There are at least 3 stops on Finch between Bathurst & Yonge that could go, I'm sure its the same on every route. Make people walk.
MR / May 27, 2014 at 02:03 pm
Wonderful idea! While you're at it, why don't you FINISH THE DAMN CONSTRUCTION ON SPADINA (I'll take actual service you clowns) I'm all for eliminating stops, but eliminating service for a couple of years is kind of ridiculous. How about spending money on THAT instead of on surveys and studies a monkey could do, oi.
Jordan / May 27, 2014 at 02:03 pm
I'm totally in on this - the Victoria stop on the King line has bothered me for years.
DL replying to a comment from Kelly / May 27, 2014 at 02:06 pm
Except that the new streetcars will all have POP embarkation meaning that all passengers may board through any door, significantly lowering that threat.
DL replying to a comment from @26ÂșC / May 27, 2014 at 02:10 pm
Most traffic congestion on streetcar routes is indeed due to poor infrastructure, in that we are still accommodating streetcars in one of the largest urban centres on the continent. And hey, we aren't just accommodating them, we're even making them bigger with absolutely no improvements to how traffic flows on the streets carrying their routes!
McB replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 27, 2014 at 02:42 pm
Agreed! The Victoria stop between Church and Yonge on King needs to go.
tommy replying to a comment from Jacob / May 27, 2014 at 02:42 pm
How is this at all surprising? Extra stops in front of churches from a time when far more people went to church and rode the TTC. This really shouldn't be a 'wow' moment...
james / May 27, 2014 at 02:55 pm
For those who are wondering about crowding and bunching that is addressed in the report under each councillors concerns that were voiced. The short of it is, there are still other platforms near by, and increase in demand is a different issue that wont be solved by having more stops/less standing space.
Abe replying to a comment from tommy / May 27, 2014 at 03:02 pm
These old church stops should be removed or we should demand stops in front of all buildings of religious worship not just churches.
dan replying to a comment from Kelly / May 27, 2014 at 03:05 pm
Kelly, take a look at the link. I was worried about the crowded stops around the subway too but the staff response is that they eliminate these stops after the new streetcars are in operation and the new streetcars have all door access.
Chris B. / May 27, 2014 at 03:16 pm
Is anyone who actually rides these lines complaining? Stopping once, and then again 100-200 metres away, as often happens, makes no sense. It makes no sense for TTC riders, for drivers, for bikers--everyone is slowed down. (Except those bikers who plow through the crowd at a streetcar stop, those guys are only mildly inconvenienced). A streetcar stopping is a major event on a road as it stops all traffic going one direction. (This includes the streetcars behind when they get bunched up.) We should therefore think carefully about where stops go--and it's nice to see the TTC seems to be doing that, rather than letting inertia dictate. Sure there may be other traffic management improvements that should be made, but this is a quick win that will benefit everyone on the road. It is absolutely a service improvement.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from DL / May 27, 2014 at 03:49 pm
No. Many urban centres are adding streetcar lines (Washington DC, LA, Atlanta, etc.), restoring them (Philly) or keeping them going (Boston, San Fran). It's not the mode of transit that is the problem, it is how it is being operated.

Amy / May 27, 2014 at 03:58 pm
I'm not sure it will make much difference when traffic is at a crawl anyway.

Parked cars in the right lane mean all vehicles are driving in the left lane. If even one person is waiting to make a left turn, nobody advances.

Get rid of the on street parking and everyone will get moving again.

Aside: is there a plan to remove the stops without obstructing bike traffic or littering the road with concrete bits?
Rae replying to a comment from Amy / May 27, 2014 at 05:24 pm
The Street Cars are one of the main contributors of the CRAWL. Removing stops will help speed them up. On street Parking is generally now allowed during peak rush hour times in the morning and the evening.
Theo / May 27, 2014 at 05:51 pm
It would work really well on the ones with right of way. It could be like a true surface train there.
gonzo / May 27, 2014 at 06:48 pm
How about getting rid of the stupid streetcars altogether?

Let's get something that doesn't stop both lanes of traffic every 100 yards.
Let's get something that doesn't need a costly and consistently repaired track.

The 1950's were great. But this is no place for nostalgia, I gotta get my ass to work.
Jon / May 27, 2014 at 06:59 pm
Local stops help people access the system. This may slow down the system a little, but its a balance. Making people walk 10 minutes to a stop rather than 3 is a big deal, especially in winter and especially for the disabled or elderly.

On the other hand, I think there are definitely some downtown stops that could be eliminated. Try riding the 501 between University and Spadina: Simcoe, McCaul, John, Soho. Are all these stops really necessary? Half the time you can walk to the next one faster than the car will get you there.
Aaron / May 27, 2014 at 07:04 pm
Make a subway-like tunnel and place the streetcars there instead. Streetcars would go quicker stop-to-stop and above ground traffic would flow much quicker too.
Reality replying to a comment from gonzo / May 27, 2014 at 07:14 pm
streetcarer / May 27, 2014 at 07:14 pm
make u-turns illegal and ban left hand turns on streetcar routes. simple. done
Lesley / May 27, 2014 at 07:57 pm

It's ridiculous how close together some of the spots are. People get off at the stupid stops just because its faster to walk (ie. Victoria to Yonge) than sit on the streetcar and wait to get off at Yonge.
gonzo replying to a comment from Reality / May 27, 2014 at 07:59 pm
Good reasoning.

I know the benefits of "Light rail transit"....streetcars.

You know what doesn't happen with busses? This.

or three years straight of this:

Instead of just copying what other cities are doing, we should be looking at our unique situation (crap subways, narrow streets, high expansion and compression of roads due to weather)...and what's the right solution for that? Busses? Underground LRT? Subways? Maybe all 3?

Either way, get out of the left lane you mobile stop sign.

Holy Thundering Jesus replying to a comment from gonzo / May 27, 2014 at 08:46 pm
Yeah that does happen because of idiot drivers like this

what they should do is ban car's from the downtown core
or charge a toll to drive downtown.
ButteredBiscuit / May 27, 2014 at 11:30 pm
Anyone catch John Torys new transit plan on the news tonight? Loved it!
Schooled / May 28, 2014 at 05:23 am
We'll still need to store buses the same as streetcars there champ! No sale of land possible, try again.
Dove / May 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm
There is a Sunday stop(for a church) at Close and King. That is about 90 metres tops from the next stop at Dunn and King. Crazy! Lose it. Probably a tradition from 75 years ago, or more.

King and Victoria should go. Those of us that use it bobo(he commented above) can't stand the crush and madness one stop later. We find a nice quiet spot near the back. Blame the system not the opportunistic at the end of a long effing day!
Canterbury Tail / May 28, 2014 at 09:26 pm
No that could never happen with buses.



Oh wait...
Steven replying to a comment from Arturo / May 29, 2014 at 03:13 am
Sell off all the land where they store streetcars and buy new land for new bus garages. That sounds like a great idea.

Actually the cost of running buses and streetcars for 30 years is about the same. A new streetcar replaces 4 buses. It costs more, but it lasts 30-35 years with no overhaul. A bus lasts 18 years max with a major overhaul during the 10th year. They save on operators, gas and cleaning/maintenance as it's one vehicle, not 4. It costs more for track rebuilds but unlike a bus, a streetcar always runs on smooth rail instead of potholes destroying buses' suspensions.

With gas prices being unpredictable, streetcars wouldn't cost that much more on a long run. They wouldn't be manufacturing streetcars (especially in Europe) if they're luxury vehicles that have little benefits.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 29, 2014 at 06:20 pm
And, what about the people who need to get to St. Michael's Hospital? What will they do? What will the people who can't walk like they used to do when they can't walk so far to a streetcar stop? How will the handicapped cope? Or do you even care?
Jeb / May 30, 2014 at 04:19 am
OK stops for everyone then! That St Mikes person needs to get on/off at the other end to, let's put a stop in front of everyone's home
eastender / May 30, 2014 at 04:17 pm
I'm surprised that stops on Queen St/Laing St and Coxwell Ave/Robbins Ave are not among to be removed.
Coleby replying to a comment from Dan / June 2, 2014 at 09:21 am
I love on Victoria and I agree with you
Lonny / June 20, 2014 at 09:48 pm
Right here they can publish some health benefits of cycling is to go down to your local independent cycling shops
South rider Africa. Traffic rider rules in Russia
provide for cycling on dirt roads. You shouldn't hav to be
this way. 00 a gallon in most locations it oonly makes sense to offer clinchers.
Although the bicycles were fantastic, Headwater also offer the option of different types of programs every couple
of weeks. Combine this with the ever increasing cost of fuel
and the amount of miles per gallon your vehicle will do.
Dino / July 22, 2014 at 07:12 pm
Remove the streetcars all together and replace them with buses... Follow the changes new York has implemented... The streetcars take up to much lanes and leaves cars fighting for space with cyclists... Create a designated bus lane, along with a bike lane and have cars flow along freely without waiting all the time due to streetcar stops...
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