ttc streetcars

New study blames passenger loading for slow streetcars

Why is the streetcar so damn slow? A new study by Toronto transportation services on the 504 King line has an answer -- one that might be a little surprising. Although traffic and bunching play their part, an efficiency report on the 504 line suggests that passenger loading is the primary culprit. With only two entry and exit points, vehicles often remain at stops for minutes while passengers pay their fare and exit the vehicles.

The arrival of the new streetcars later this month will help alleviate this problem given that they have four doors through which riders can board and leave the car. Unfortunately, these new vehicles won't be on the King line until 2017 (the cars are slated to start service on the 510 Spadina line).

This is both good and bad new for the TTC. On the one hand it allows them to tout just how helpful the new low-floor vehicles will be, but on the other, it sounds a whole lot like riders are being blamed for slow service. If only we could be more efficient about getting on and off the cars, things would be so much better, so the argument seems to go.

The reality, of course, is that there really is a problem with the current streetcar design on busy routes and that the TTC should probably investigate ways to expand its Proof of Payment system beyond the Queen and Lake Shore lines (and, you know, actually have people whose job it is to ensure that people have a Metropass or transfer. The new streetcars are coming soon, but they won't be rolled out across the city for years.

Correction: The original version of this post attributed the study in question to the TTC, when if fact it was conducted by Toronto Transportation Services.

Photo by Ben Roffelsen in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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