ttc cold weather

Extreme cold weather in Toronto is messing up the TTC

The work week is getting off to a painful start in Toronto this Monday morning as cars, buses, streetcars, traffic equipment, roads, buildings and human bodies struggle to cope with windchill values as low as -38 C.

Tale as old as time, sure, but it never gets any easier.

As of 9 a.m, January 21 was the coldest day of the 2018-2019 winter season so far with a high of just -12 C and a low of-20 C (though it'll feel closer to -40 C throughout the morning.)

Environment Canada issued a new extreme weather warning for the City of Toronto around 5 a.m. on Monday to warn of the potential for frostbite, but they're not the only agency prepping the public for cold-related problems today.

"Minor travel delays" is a gross understatement.

Toronto's public transit system is a bloody freaking mess right now on account of malfunctioning equipment — chiefly older model streetcars, some of which have now been on the roads for more than 40 years and don't hold up well in extreme cold weather.

"Despite heroic efforts by TTC crews, we experienced some frozen switches in our Wilson Yard and at Leslie Barns," wrote TTC spokesperson Stuart Green on Twitter at 8:18 a.m. "All available low-floor streetcars and buses are out in place of legacy fleet to avoid breakdowns."

Shuttle buses are out, according to the TTC, but they're doing little to help people get to work on time...

Or in any sort of moderately comfortable fashion...

Or without turning them into a popsicle first.

Streetcar riders, in particular, are feeling the chill in a very big way as hundreds of people clump together at outdoor stops only to watch cars pass them by.

Some people report waiting for nearly an hour outdoors to catch a ride, only to give up and go home, take a cab or call an Uber.

And where there are streetcar delays, subway delays are sure to follow.

Like the streetcar lines, Toronto's major subway lines have been experiencing mass overcrowding all morning.

Many people report being unable to get onboard the trains at all.

The situation is so disastrous that some are wondering aloud on Twitter how cold weather can cause so much chaos in a Canadian city.

According to the TTC, it hasn't.

"There were several issues along Line 1, signals, mechanical, 4 emergency alarms, our apologies," wrote the transit agency's customer service account in response to a query just before 11 a.m. on Monday.

Transit shutdowns and very slow service continue to plague the city.

The TTC advises everyone traveling by transit to leave themselves extra time today, but has yet to advise on how the system will be running during the evening commute. Fingers crossed.

Lead photo by

Hilary Grant


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