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Timed transfers could finally be coming to the TTC

Posted by Chris Bateman / August 16, 2014

toronto ttc streetcarAll door boarding, timed transfers, "Ten-Minute-or-Better" bus and streetcar service, and a host of other potentially popular service improvements could be coming to the Toronto starting in 2015 if a new report wins the approval of the TTC board and city council.

The document, titled "Opportunities to Improve Transit Service in Toronto," pitches nine quick and (relatively) cheap improvements to the TTC before the arrival of the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT and Scarborough subway extension. One of the ideas, allowing all door boarding on all streetcar routes, would reduce the length of stops, one of the biggest obstacles to fast streetcar service.

The issue around all door boarding was underscored last month when a report found long fare queues were delaying the King streetcar more than traffic and red lights. Currently, all riders must board streetcars through the front doors, except on the 501 Queen, 502 Downtowner, and 503 Kingston Rd. routes. The TTC says hiring 60 additional inspectors would help mitigate the potential for fare evasion.

Timed transfers--an idea that has been suggested several times in the past--would allow riders to make more than one trip within a two-hour window instead of forcing riders to pay for each new journey. In essence, a transfer would be come a two hour pass. Implementing this scheme would cost about $20 million, the TTC estimates, much of it in lost fares.

There are also ideas for prioritizing bus and streetcars on city streets, through queue jump lanes at traffic lights or getting signal priority over cars.

Five of the seven suggestions detail ways the TTC could reduce wait times and coverage. All buses and streetcars could run 24/7 no more than 10 minutes apart, more express routes could be added, and the night bus network could also be expanded, all of it, sadly, at a cost--about start at $19 million a year, increasing to $69 million by 2018. About $288 million in additional capital funding--the money the TTC uses to build infrastructure--would also be required between 2015 and 2019.

"Yes they cost money, but they are fairly fundamental improvements that we're suggesting for the people of Toronto--things that people have told us that they want," said TTC spokesman Brad Ross. "If we are to achieve our vision of a transit system that makes Toronto proud then we need the long term, sustainable, predictable funding that we talk about to do those things, and that's what this report really gets down to."

The report will be presented to the TTC board for approval next week. The funding, however, will need to be approved by city council.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Chris Bandera/blogTO Flickr pool.



tommy / August 16, 2014 at 12:54 am
The suggestion to eliminate the double-fare for the downtown express routes is a fantastic idea, especially for the Avenue Road and Mount Pleasant routes. The subway is PACKED by the time it gets to Lawrence/Eglinton, and these buses can help alleviate the problem.
Michael Greason / August 16, 2014 at 08:58 am
I think the proposal for "all day" service on all routes means 18/7 - or approximately the hours that the subway is open.
Joe Bloe / August 16, 2014 at 10:09 am
Hopefully, the comments listed in this article about 2 hour or 90 minute timed transfers is not the extent of the thought on this great idea. Here, it is simply mentioned that it would cost 20 million dollars in "lost fares".

The thing is, being able to take the TTC to pick up my kids and only have to effectively pay one way would mean that I would take that option more often and leave my car at home, because it suddenly becomes more acceptable financially. More people would take the TTC, and hence there would be MORE fares.
HK / August 16, 2014 at 11:07 am
Finally for once someone brought it up. Let's hope the ttc committee actually approves of this. It's to unrealistic to have to get off a stop for short errands and pay again.
And for those future commenters who will say "blahhhh never gonna happen" please think to the bright side. At least be thankful that you have public transit in the city and ppl don't have to walk 2+ Hours to get to the place you want.
NewtoTTC / August 16, 2014 at 11:20 am
How about a fare free zone in specific high traffic corridors. Calgary downtown is a fare free zone, it's not a really long corridor but it's convenient for shopping and when it's cold. If people rode it for convenience in one area they may be more likely to become regular riders.
Moaz Ahmad / August 16, 2014 at 01:04 pm
These proposals are great...but to be successful the TTC will have to market them effectively as a solution that will improve the commute for transit users and non-users alike. That is the only way to convince councillors to fund these proposals. Otherwise this service plan will be like the Ridership Growth Strategy and Transit City Bus Plan...left behind at the stop because it was crowded out by petty politics and weak leadership. Cheers, Moaz
Jacob / August 16, 2014 at 02:30 pm
They have timed transfers in most other towns/cities in the GTA. It's a great idea. It may even increase business along transit routes, as getting off a bus/streetcar to check out a shop would be much easier.
JK / August 16, 2014 at 07:27 pm
I like the timed transfers idea, but one couldn't just get off at any stop right? I thought one can only use transfers at certain points, i.e changing to another bus at the closest bus stop. Unless I'm understanding this wrong..
Sandman / August 16, 2014 at 08:05 pm
All door boarding w/ 60 additional inspectors would help mitigate the potential for fare evasion sounds great.

But, what will all the homeless-drunk-crack vagrants do for transportation?
mike in parkdale / August 17, 2014 at 09:07 am
Timed transferrs would increase ridership during off peak hours, when people are generally running errands and going places other than work. It's not a new idea, but it would be absolutely amazing for people who depend on the TTC.

Oh, and Ford will vote against it, if he gets the chance. Let's make sure he doesnt.
kn / August 18, 2014 at 07:59 am
Privatize this train wreck. How are you suppose to build an efficient system when the union is acting like a huge boat anchor.
Jesse / August 20, 2014 at 07:02 pm
I would love it if they would expand their 24hr service to other routes. It would help out all the night-shift workers who would rather use TTC than spend all their money on cab fare.

As for allowing boarding at the rear doors of the streetcar, it already happens. Just not when the bosses are looking. No one moves to the end of the car in the mornings, so drivers are forced to allow passengers to board at the back doors. And yes, this happens on the 504 King.
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