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  1. Grand River Transit Sightings

    They're explicitly putting it on random Cambridge routes as a PR / Ion boosting initiative.
  2. Grand River Transit

    Well, they train new drivers almost every month. If I had to guess based on the respective sizes of the classes and info sessions, I'd guess that info session days are likely no more than 2 months apart, gut feeling is monthly. Having said that, it seems reasonable to guess that they jump people who already have bus licenses to the front of the queue, so the amount of time it takes to get into one of those classes probably varies a lot depending on your prior experience. Swarms of them. I think it was 58 for regular service, and 8 branded for Ion to cover the bottom half of the 200 when the LRT starts? (Those ones look great. And have USB chargers at every seat.) Half of them aren't even on the road yet, a bunch still have the new vehicle protective saran wrap on them, no decals or numbers. There are a number of serious bugs in this run, going back and forth to NF, so it's a slow trickle.
  3. TTC in the news

    If I were making $20/h and was offered a three cent raise for the year, I'd probably be pretty ticked off. $3M added to an operations budget of $2B (yes B!) is a comparable increase. Here, have this unrelated Futurama clip which is not a political statement by me:
  4. Waterloo Region Rapid Transit

    Doesn't seem so. According to the contract they signed with S&B, there will be 2 fare processing machines at each station (Reads tap cards and QR barcodes on transfers), as well as 1 ticket/pass vending machine. Possibly more than one at some stations, not sure exactly. They've ordered 32 of the vending machines (for 19 Ion stations), but if I'm not mistaken they intend to also install them at the Cambridge BRT stations, and at non-LRT bus terminals (IE The Boardwalk), so I think 1 per is probably correct except maybe for the ends of the line? In fairness, I bet if there *were* machines on the cars, there would be a few people who would stand beside them fondling coins in their pocket, never paying unless fare inspectors walked on, and then suddenly they'd have the right coins in hand.
  5. Waterloo Region Rapid Transit

    Related to the above testing: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/ion-lrt-waterloo-region-powered-testing-1.4524759?c "Cautiously optimistic [about] June" is now the latest launch estimate I've seen, and that quote is a month old. That'd probably be June 25, to coincide with the summer GRT schedule... though it certainly wouldn't hurt to start live service a couple weeks before and eat the loss of doubling up, just to make sure there are no drastic teething problems and maintain a ready safety net in the form of the 200 bus. Still betting September, myself, as I have been since last summer. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think we still only have 4 trains in the region? The rest have been at the "almost completed" stage for a couple months now but haven't shipped? Even if I'm wrong and the complete set of 14 are in region in the next couple weeks, April is clearly not happening. Given the track record, I doubt we'll even have all the trains before April. If that's so, June would be a tough deadline to reach, between mechanical checks, Metrolinx equipment installations, track certification (in progress), burn in on each vehicle, and (pretty important) hiring, training, and a bit of all-up, no-passengers simulation of service for the ~35+ drivers and ~15+ mechanical/supervisory/support staff it'll take to run the line. Not to mention putting up fare vending and validation machines at the actual stations. EDIT: Shiner shields?
  6. Waterloo Region Rapid Transit

    According to an Ottawa city council document I found via Google, the Talent's minimum turning radius is 90 meters. (The Flexity is 25m.) Flatly impossible for them to make several of the turns.
  7. Waterloo Region Rapid Transit

    This got sent to me. I'm sure some folks would appreciate this. No idea how the poster got the unit number, but hey, okay.
  8. GRT New Flyer Xcelsiors

    Quite possible that they're not done. Those current decals went on some time in the day or two before the shoot. Heck, they're such recent arrivals the mechanics might not yet have even signed off on accepting them. I agree that it needs a bit more. A nice big "ion" on the back of the bus might even help ridership a pinch as car drivers on the 401 wonder "What's Ion?" and perhaps give the LRT/BRT a try for their commute.
  9. General Subway/RT Discussion

    Your proposed study would almost certainly cost time and money and then be dismissed with no change in plans. At worst, it could turn into a political argument that would entirely kill the Sheppard LRT for another generation - since the plan for that is to have it tunnel down and terminate alongside the subway, and they'd have to entirely stop that until the study had been chewed over. Yes, I know the LRT is on hold right now... probably so that the BD-SSE argument can wheeze along until the next election for political brownie points. However, in general, the paperwork is mostly ready, and if they would make some firm decisions and commit some funding, the Sheppard LRT could break ground right as the Finch LRT finishes up. ~~~~~ Since I'm bored at home on painkillers with a sore back... here's my armchair assessment of your suggestion with things you may not have considered, and some back-of-the-napkin revisions of your numbers. Where I don't know exact numbers, I've tried to lean a little in favour of your proposal. I hope you won't think me rude for shooting it down, this is intended to be an honest appraisal, but it's just.... there's absolutely no way it's going to happen. Let's start with your estimate of time saved. Preliminary planning of the Relief Line north is already saying 2 minutes at peak and 3 off-peak. So the per-person, whole day average station dwell is maybe 1.25min, and 1 minute taking an escalator and walking at a properly designed interchange for an average rider. However, given what's in that area and the current station box, your proposal necessitates a shepherd's-crook tunnel (no pun intended; see the pic attached below) which would add at least half a kilometer of track to the total distance, and it would make at least 1km of it slow-speed, thus eating up a couple minutes or so with extra driving compared to a straight shot. Overall, the full day average per-person-per-trip savings would be 30 seconds at *best*, and at worst possibly a net loss depending on engineering requirements and resultant speed limits, not the 3-5 minute savings you guessed. Assuming the best, how many people will save that time? Well, first of all, it's almost the same identical distance for Don Mills to Queen by way of the Relief Line as it is to go via Sheppard and Yonge. The big factor in this is the time; if the break-even time point is east of Leslie, then not one person will have a shorter trip available to them by implementing your plan. However, let's assume fewer stations on the RL, so it operates at a faster average speed than the Yonge and Sheppard Subways. The Shep had a ridership of 48k in 2015. Of the 48k, 30k passengers can be lopped off the top; that's the bare minimum number of people going between Don Mills and Shep/Yonge, who will either not use the Shep at all once the RL opens, or are travelling east-west anyways and are thus unaffected either way. I think it's fair to say the number uncertainty caused by people going short hops between Bayview and Leslie cancels out the small number of people going from North York Center to say, the Science Center. The other three stations combined total 18k people of traffic per day. How many are then going to Queen/downtown, as opposed to the rest of the city? The SSE study concluded 23% of Scarborough riders are going downtown, so let's assume it's just a little higher at 33% for Sheppard since there's more transit infrastructure. Besides, it makes for nice round numbers.... about 2k passengers from Leslie, 1k from Bessarion, and 3k from Bayview - some of whom will take the RL regardless for comfort, some of whom will take Yonge for direct routing no matter what, rather than walk a few blocks from Queen, or transfer back onto the YUS downtown. So again, it depends where the break-even point is. I can't see it being at or west of Bayview, so while there will be a bunch of folks heading to the RL from there, that's for comfort only, and the time-savings argument doesn't count. Bessarion, Leslie... it could be faster going either way. We won't know for a long time, until stations on the RL are decided. No matter where the break-even is though, your 30k number is mathematically impossible, I think it's more realistic to estimate 3-4k people, at thirty seconds' time savings each. Your resulting cost is a huge low-ball. You guessed $100M total. That's to add another half kilometer of curved track under residences and a park, that's more complicated than a straight shot with an interchange. That's if it's even possible with the highways. The STC subway extension is $3.3B for 6km of fairly straight track and a new station, so call it $250M just for the extra tunnel and track - probably more. As a result of doing so, they'd also have to rewrite the LRT plans, most probably by widening the Sheppard bridge and having the LRT terminate at ground level with a transfer; lengthening the transfer time for more passengers than would benefit from the interline. Regardless of if it's done middle-of-road, or on the side, some cars would have to cross LRT tracks to get on to the highway at some point with this plan, unless they converted Sheppard Ave from a partial cloverleaf to a full. Alternatives: making a second bridge entirely for the LRT, or tunneling double-deep below the highway and subway and probably below the waterline. (Can't be between the subway and the surface, there's not enough room.) Any way you slice it, it's a big chunk of extra money, definitely in the tens of millions, possibly over a hundred mil. Add productivity losses from Sheppard Ave and highway lane restrictions, probably an extended Don Mills station closure, new environmental assessments, an extra emergency exit somewhere along the curve, and probably extra noise baffles to satisfy justifiably angry local residents. It'd more likely be somewhere from $500M-$1B, rather than $100M capital investment after all's said and done. On top of the capital, there's the ongoing costs. Wasted capacity and overservicing alone would eat up more money than even the maximum possible time savings are worth. People consider the Shep a ghost town today, and after the Eglinton Crosstown opens, plus the relief line - interlined or not - a goodly half of the current Shep passengers will change their route. The majority of the remaining passengers would use it as a 1-2 stop hop. Heck, they could probably shorten the Shep down to two-car sets, though keeping it at 4 would be better to maintain transfer capacity in case of a subway emergency. They might shut it down on weekends, or kill it completely and convert it to LRT right through (and yes, I know that'd require seriously painful design work, but it just might be less of a fiscal loss at that point.) Meanwhile, a Sheppard-to-Downtown RL will likely have numbers comparable with the University-Spadina arm, running twice as often as the Shep runs right now, and they're building it to be expandable to six-car trains. Even with short turning most trains and the resultant headaches that would create, that's four cars worth of waste per train on the Shep at all times. Not to mention that future expansion northbound would be permanently impossible without major work, pretty much guaranteeing there would never be a subway link to Seneca, nor to Markham/Unionville, at least not in the current century. ~~~~~ In short... hundreds of millions of dollars up front, a net loss just in passenger minutes, plus greater day-to-day operating expenses for the TTC, and no future-proofing. It's simply not a sound idea.
  10. General Subway/RT Discussion

    That's what's been tying up city council for decades now. Studying and exploring idea after idea, and putting the current best suggestions of the experts on hold. At some point, someone has to say "no, we're proceeding with the best advice we have now, there is currently no evidence that this other plan will be a significant improvement, while it would delay any improvements to take time studying its feasability and planning its implementation."
  11. Waterloo Region Rapid Transit

  12. Grand River Transit

    They're about 3/4 of the way through, actually, they started with them in earnest about 3 weeks ago.
  13. Grand River Transit

    The rate at which the new fareboxes glitch out is still pretty high. I'd guess that on any given day, half of the fareboxes experience some sort of problem. Including a heck of a lot of cases of one bug that prevents rebooting the farebox. Unfortunately, the size of the backup battery or capacitor in the new fareboxes means that the bus has to be off for about half an hour before the farebox shuts down on its own, so if that glitch strikes, that bus has it for the rest of the day.
  14. Grand River Transit

    Huh... myself, I think my all-time rush-hour record is about 25 people aboard the 31, as long as you exclude the two minutes approaching the university. Perhaps I've just gotten lucky. I don't know what their plans are for the 29 schedule, and I haven't been on it often enough to judge crowding. Given that right now the 12 only departs Conn Mall twice an hour except for a couple AM peak buses, and northbound PM peak buses either short turn or change routes, it seems logical to guess that the whole route will be 30 minutes all day. Perhaps they'll add a couple short turn buses from CM to Uni/King or to the new UW station at peak.
  15. Grand River Transit

    My guess is that that's because the route is almost completely empty off-peak, and for almost all of it there's another bus parallel, or within a small distance. Off peak, I'd guess it averages 1-2 people west of F-H, 1 through the Eastbridge neighborhood, 1 to Frobisher, plus the handful through the university area. Even AT peak it's pretty quiet outside of the King to Fischer-Hallman corridor - but that corridor fills up fast with short-haul trips. That's why the 7D and 7E are going away, the 92 is replacing them fully. Also bear in mind the number of people that are going to start taking buses between Laurier and the UW Ion station once the train starts running. Yes, it's a 1km walk to the WP station, but the number of people that take buses one or two blocks through the University corridor is staggering, and I don't predict that will change. (Still think they should have just put the WP station right at the south side of University Ave, for this reason. I'm betting WP station will be a ghost town off-peak. Not to mention future planning... I'm betting on an east-west LRT line on University in ~15 years.) I'm actually a bit concerned about capacity constraints on Columbia from F-H to UW, myself, if they clip the 92 off to just go from the Ring Road to Weber. At peak, I've seen as many as 50 people backlogged at Beechlawn, just a few getting on each bus, and that's with the 92's current routing. The only people this will affect is the people going from Lincoln/Bridge directly to Westmount; probably a very small number. Anyone going from Lincoln or Bridge to the universities will still have a one-bus trip, just on the 29 instead of the 12. Anyone used to going from the west side of the route to Bridgeport Plaza will still generally be able to stay on the same bus since the 12 will interline with the new Weber route at Uni/King. If anything, there will probably be less short turning at Uni/King than there is now, because the number of people going to Lincoln is actually staggeringly low, so a lot of 12s turn back there at present.