TTC Route Planner

TTC: Give Us A Route Planner

Okay... I've agreed with too many people lately on this point: it is ridiculous that the TTC does not offer some sort of route planner tool on their website. You know... go to a website, punch in where you are, where you want to go, and tell me how to get there.

They have just approved $9.9 million to be spent on a satellite system to give travelers an accurate update on for arrival times. GPS data will be relayed to bus and subway stations to let you know precisely when to expect your ride.

That's great. But someone please give me a good reason for not making a trip planner a priority. Although they have recently unveiled their new website, a trip planner is still M.I.A.

How many times have you had to download the huge PDF version of the system map, zooming in with your fingers crossed that your computer doesn't hang up, so that you can try to plot out a decent route to get somewhere? An automated trip or route planner seems like such an easy way to drastically improve service.

There is the TTC phone hotline but believe me, you won't get much help there. Call expecting someone to tell you how to get from point A to point B - they're about as helpful as a candy store is to a diabetic.

I'm not a tech wizard, but it just doesn't seem that complicated. When I lived in Mississauga, I guess I took their Click n' Ride Online Trip Planner for granted. But Ottawa has one. So do Calgary and Vancouver. They make it so easy that it's hard to imagine not having.

So maybe Toronto's transit system is larger than all those cities. Perhaps it's too complicated to translate online. Hold on. London and New York have pulled it off.

Actually, there is a private website, MyTTC.ca, that does exactly this. It's not affiliated with the TTC but provides a pretty good tool for planning trips online. For major routes I'm sure it works great but I have my doubts about how well it can work, given that it uses limited data and can admittedly give some "wacky" information. I think it's awesome that they went ahead and did this, but you would think that the TTC would have access to all the data to make something like this work best.

I'm not the first to point out the ineptitude of the TTC's website, but I just had to rant on this one point that stands out for me as one of the major shortcomings of our transit system. I hope they don't plan on stalling on this one for much longer.


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