Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by shivers

  1. I fully agree that they needed to keep service to that area, but I understand the logic. Almost everyone hops off at the corner of Pioneer and Green Valley; a 200-ish meter / 3 minute walk from the closest proposed stop. A tiny number - maybe 50 people all day - are going to Pinnacle or Doon Valley; 400-600m / 6-8 mins this time. Everything in between is honestly unused - heck, Mill Park doesn't even have any stops on it. I would have been genuinely surprised had they clipped that off but I can see why it would look good on paper. Woulda actually saved 6-10 mins per round trip. If anything, I think they ought to have taken the opportunity to start serving the Museum area. I like that they're running the A branch for the current Bechtel-Pioneer area, then switching to Old Carriage and quick scoot down H-W as planned, that's good. But I would have investigated running the B branch as: Manitou, left on H-W, left on Huron (in front of the Museum), becomes Mill Park, right on Green Valley, then do the remainder of the Mill area. Still close enough to Pioneer Park plaza. Still goes to the college. Shorter travel time to Green Valley's highrises and townhouse complexes, especially to the north end which is only accessible by walking right now. New service to a place of public interest. Seems reasonable enough to me, especially if it's south as one branch, north as the other. No one asked me, mind you.
  2. Temp = Temporarily full time. Say a FT driver goes for surgery for a couple months. Rather than fill it day-to-day with different people, someone takes their work as a temp, then reverts back to PT if/when that driver comes back, or keeps doing it until the end of that service period.
  3. If you're at the testing stage, they likely wouldn't start you for several months yet anyways. PT hours depend on two things: what seniority number you draw in your class, and what month you start. I think most people start getting shifts almost at once, but school-year based reductions in service for the Spring and Summer work periods + building up extra part timers to prepare for September expansion = fewer hours if you start in summer compared to starting the rest of the year. And honestly, that might not even be the case this year since the route 205 starts in April, with a bunch of new FT positions to shorten the queue. Once you *do* start getting shifts, you get your full PT hours pretty much every week. It's just not *guaranteed*. No benefits til you're FT though.
  4. They're explicitly putting it on random Cambridge routes as a PR / Ion boosting initiative.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:
  7. 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.
  8. 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?
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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."
  14. http://www.570news.com/2017/10/19/lrt-vehicle-testing-delayed-notice/
  15. They're about 3/4 of the way through, actually, they started with them in earnest about 3 weeks ago.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. I saw it parked in an odd spot behind the Chandler side building a few weeks ago. Whether it's still there or not I don't know, but it was as of then.
  20. Curious. I guess I've been lucky then, because I've driven diesels of that same age without ever experiencing that problem, and I'm pretty sure the only park-n-tow breakdowns I've had in any O7s were all in nice weather. Haven't kept notes or anything, but all the ones I can recall off the top of my head were. Well, excepting one flat tire, but that can't be blamed on the rain. I don't doubt you, I've just had different experiences.
  21. I am sure you will all be just as surprised as I am to learn that there's been another delay for LRT delivery. https://www.therecord.com/news-story/7533939-software-the-latest-lrt-snafu/ http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/another-lrt-setback-region-s-first-train-to-be-sent-back-to-bombardier-1.3573383 I thought I had made my prediction somewhere on this board before, but perhaps not. Even back in the spring I was saying that an April 2018 launch was almost impossible because of just how many trains Bom is claiming that they're going to be able to push out this fall (8 TTC streetcars a month, 2-3 Ions, plus whatever work they and Metrolinx hammer out. I believe their all time record right now is 4 in one month? Suddenly tripling that seems implausible, and it's better for them both financially and for PR to prioritise Toronto's order above us.) My guess back then was that trains would start next September, and that they might still run buses on the 200 for rush hour service in KW so they could launch with say, 10 trains instead of 14. Looks like both of those options are now being publicly admitted as being under consideration. Of course at that point I was figuring that their promised July train would come in September, and it looks like that's not happening anymore. Now I'm wondering if they'll even have enough trains to pull split-vehicle service off next September, and whether it might be delayed until January 2019.
  22. Huh. I've never experienced that... driven diesel and hybrids, first gen and NG (but not third gen). Is it any specific type of bus that you've seen that? O7s definitely weren't perfect, but until such day as I'm given a bus that's better than them from a driver's perspective, they'll remain my favourites - especially the NGs - because of the thought that clearly went into the driver's compartment, the quick operation of the doors, most buses' ramps, etc. Couple mechanics have said they're not overly fond of them, so maybe if Nova just redesigned their front end to be a bit closer to the O7, they'd have a long-term winner. But I've gotten off-topic. Sorry.
  23. My two cents (possibly even 3 or 4 cents): When I first drove Nova LFSes after nothing but Orions, I absolutely hated them because of how terribly that the driver's compartment was designed in terms of ergonomics. Then I drove a Flyer XD40. The ergonomics are a little more forgiving, but given a choice between the two, I'd rather drive the Novas. And then push the Flyers off of a cliff into a pit of lava and nuclear-mutated metal-eating hyenas. I can not convey to you just how awful they are for the drivers; of all the drivers at my agency, I think it's about a 60% hate, 30% indifferent, 10% like ratio for them. Bad sign, in my opinion. ~~~~~ Regarding the LFSes, basically copy Leland on everything, with emphasis and expansion on 5 (legroom) and 9 (door behind the driver) since I'm tall and sit up and forwards. Given how I sit, when I'm driving a Nova, the front dash is millimeters from my knees, and the wheel is either touching my stomach or upper thighs. If I'm ever in a front-end crash, I'll be injured in some severe way... but I can't sit comfortably any other way. And yeah, with that up-and-forward style, I bonk my knees on fareboxes all the time getting in and out of the seat, I've bonked my head on the front control panel once or twice, and even on the ceiling once, to say nothing of the neck strain from having to turn my head about 100-110 degrees to see customers getting on. The XD40s though... well, a few of my concerns, safety-related complaints first: 1: If you have the parking brake on, after a minute or so the transmission will flick itself into neutral with no cue to the driver. So, let's say you pop the brake on to let someone put a bike on the rack, and it takes them a little longer than expected. Suddenly you're in neutral; you go to drive off and you roll backwards. Major safety flaw in my opinion, HUGE. How no one has been injured by this so far is beyond me. 2: The controls are in bad spots. While this is mostly a convenience and ergonomics thing, there's a safety risk because the wiper control is next to the steering wheel stem at the bottom, so given how I sit that's basically lower and further than my left knee, and thus inaccessible to me while the bus is in motion. If it started raining while I was on the highway, I might have to pull over to turn them on since I'd not be comfortable reaching between the steering wheel spokes at speed. Dangerous either way. 3: The doors are poorly designed. My safety complaint about this is for the back doors: There is no delay before they close when you flick the door handle closed. You can catch a passenger in them if you're not paying attention. However, the front doors are problematic too, they tend to stutter their way closed, first one door sliding a couple inches, then the other, back and forth. I think it's because they're asymmetrical. That makes them much slower than they could be if they closed smoother. 4: I know this problem is at least partly related to the transmission, and it also varies between individual buses, but it's true on more than half of them. The retarder will turn even the smoothest driver's efforts into a rough ride. There is NO give on the accelerator, no sweet spot to coast without braking. You are at half-throttle or above, or the retarder is active. If you're coasting down from higher speeds the break-even point is about 50, with any further speed loss from there taking forever. Within a half-second of taking your foot off of the accelerator, the retarder kicks the engine into a series of harsh downshifts, jolting people and braking overall with the level of force as I'd use in a not-quite-emergency-but-almost braking situation were it up to me. On the worst of the buses it's almost bad enough to give whiplash, and twice now passengers have chastised me for "braking too hard", when in both cases I had yet to even touch the brake at the time they spoke up, it's just that the retarder is too aggressive. I can envision the retarder knocking a standee off their feet quite easily. 5: The high beam headlights are a joke. The main headlights are LEDs, the high beams are dim little halogens that do not even throw light as far as the mains, they just turn the closest part of the road from white to light yellow. That's the last of my safety related complaints, but 5 safety complaints is to me an unacceptable design, and I haven't even gotten to the comfort/convenience complaints yet. 6: The HVAC unit - above the driver's head - is noisy all year round with motors grumbling and air flowing. The heating in particular is terribly ineffective for the drivers; I presume the heaters are facing the other way or something because the vents in the driver's compartment blow cold air regardless of the heat setting, so all winter long all the drivers just close all of the vents, and then the air whistles between the cracks, adding to the noise. 7: Related to the previous point, there is no other heat for the driver. The windshield defogger (also noisy, by the way) theoretically has a foot heat port, but I've opened that right up to maximum and it's just a breeze. There's no driver-controlled heat at all for the driver's torso. Obviously these two points combined mean you freeze all winter. 8: You really can't see when you have a stop request. There's one little bit of red in one corner of the dash that says "STOP REQUEST" in small font, but the big thing to show that is that it turns the multi display from blue to yellow and lights up a little exclamation mark. Sounds good, doesn't it? Only those same changes light up if the retarder is on... if the bike rack is down... if there's an engine fault... you get the idea. So you can't rely on that. 9: The door interlock pulls the brake pedal all the way down to the floor; like.. ALL the way. You have to put a good amount of your body weight onto the brake pedal to release it, and your leg gets tired after a couple hours of that. As an addendum, the suspension and the mirrors are also a little rough, but they're no worse than Novas; just different. IE, Nova suspension jolts up and down, Flyer from side to side. So that's not exactly a fair comparison. To be fair, there are number of things I can say positively about the Flyers; for instance the blind spots are way better in a Flyer, the driver compartment lights are better, etc. But overall, the design needs to be scrapped and re-written from scratch with a driver's input into the matter. I've also heard from our fleet guys that they're much more maintenance-intensive than the Novas, with a number of parts in terrible spots that make repairs take longer as well. They're cheaper up front, and they look spiffy from the passenger compartment, but they cost more in the long run and are hard on everyone who has to actually work with them.
  24. Looks like someone clued in to the fact that with no bathroom at Block Line station, some of the routes would have no amenities for the drivers.
  • Create New...