ttc short turns

TTC says Bombardier expected to deliver all new streetcars before end of year

Don't blame the TTC for all of those horrendously-infuriating short turns along Queen Street — at least not entirely. 

A new report set to go before the transit commission's board today indicates that our flaky old friend Bombardier and its failure to deliver literally anything on time is responsible, in part, for a sharp spike in short turns over the past year.

There were a whopping 2,121 streetcar short turns in March, according to this month's TTC Chief Executive Officer's Report, up from just 931 during the same time period last year and 1,171 the previous month.

Unsurprisingly, 40 per cent of all short turns took place along the 501 Queen streetcar route.

That's a lot of passengers being kicked off the streetcar mid-route without warning in the cold for no apparent reason (though there are, in fact, valid operational reasons for the practice).

What gives?

"The Queen route is largely serviced by CLRVs," reads the report, referring to the nearly 40-year-old classic streetcars the city is currently phasing out. "These legacy vehicles experienced a high number of mechanical delays and disablements in March."

Simply put, the old streetcars can't keep up anymore, and they shouldn't have to — Bombardier was meant to have delivered all 204 of the new flexity streetcars Toronto for $1 billion by now (before now, actually, depending on which revised timeline you're looking at).

The TTC says it's confident that the Montreal-based transportation and aerospace firm will get Toronto its last 58 new streetcars by the end of 2019, but until that happens, grit your teeth.

"The Queen route is in a transition period with LFLRVs making up a small portion of the vehicles on the route, mixing with the CLRVs that have historically operated on the route," reads the CEO's report. "The different speed and operating characteristics of the two vehicle types inherently leads to more bunching and gapping on the route."

Bunching and gapping lead to short turns, and short turns lead to blinding rage.

The TTC expects to transition the main portion of the 501 Queen route to 100 per cent low-rise, flexity vehicles by this summer. 

Aging old cars will continue to gum things up around the rest of the city, however, particularly along the 505 Dundas route, which is now second only to Queen in the number of short turns it racks up per month.

At least a good chunk of that mess can be blamed on construction — and if there's anything people in Toronto hate more than Bombardier, it's construction.

Lead photo by

Howard Yang

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