The Better Way…To a Heart Attack!

Scenario A – I wake up in the morning (later than I should), and make my way through the morning rituals. I leave the house, and walk down the street to the corner, where my fellow commuters are waiting for me. The bus arrives, and we get on, and I get to work at a reasonable time.

Scenario B – I wake up in the morning (later than I should), and make my way through the morning rituals. I leave the house, and as I walk down the street to the corner, I see a bus go by. And I think to myself, I should be ok to make the next bus. And just as the thought is compelted, three more buses fly by, making their way towards the subway station. I shake my fist in the air because I know that the next bus will take longer to arrive than if I were to just walk to the station.

Scenario B happens a lot more than Scenario A, I assure you.

Now please, before fans or employees of the TTC become annoyed, I’d like to state a few things. I take public transit pretty much every day. I really admire a lot of the folks that work there. I am quite certain that most of the problem is because of scheduling and organization more than anything.

Why do buses seem to travel in herds? Why are most of my homeward-bound subway rides these days plagued by tons of delays and several declarations of my train being out of service?

A friend of mine commented that it takes her the same amount of time to bike to the airport as it does to take public transit. A direct ride would be quite fast, but add a bunch of transfers at connection points, and you are looking at significant delays.

How to solve the problem?

I am not really sure. I think that something has to be done to reduce the “herded bus” syndrome. It seems that there is a delay between the arrival of a bus to the station and the departure of it. If it is the matter of reducing driver fatigue, perhaps they could have a rotation. Have one spare driver waiting at the station who would replace the next driver. That driver could take a short break while waiting for the next bus, while the rested driver could immediately depart the station in the waiting bus.

I also think that it would be good to extend the subway up to the airport under Highway 427, and across Sheppard to the airport area as well. I think that this would reduce the number of cars on the road by a good number, and a lot of people would be able to go downtown a lot easier. However, his would require some funding, I would think.

There is always a struggle to fund our public transit system. I think that if we wanted to secure funding, we should force the members of Parliament to attend a series of important meetings in Toronto, and make them take public Transit to get there. They would be late, and grumpy. I am certain that this tactic would secure the funding we need.

Keep in mind that my ideas could be totally wrong. Most of them are based on playing a PC game called Transport Tycoon Deluxe. Perhaps not the best research tool for the job…

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6 Responses

  1. You know how the TTC is always crying poor? I’ve yet to understand why they don’t open up a tender to have one of the big coffee chains open up a stand at every single station. It’s a cash cow for the coffee chains (espcially if they can get Timmie Ho’s in there), and the TTC in addition to requesting a significant lease amount per station, could also ask for a percentage of sales.

    As for the drivers waiting at stations, it actually *is* to do with scheduling. They have a very specific schedule, and if they end up getting to a stop earlier than scheduled, they have to wait. The TTC actually employs inspectors to stand at certain intersections and time the buses.

  2. 1st – i absolutely LOVE ttc, and if you’d ever tried to *move* anywhere in sao paulo u’d know why
    2nd- i was going to ask why the hell i have to log on to
    my .net to leave a comment, but i kindda figured it out by reading the adress bar

    see you mestre =)

  3. I’m not sure if they’re working in my area. If they really had inspectors, I doubt that the buses would all be converging on the station at the same time.

    And I do love the TTC. I just don’t like some of the things that they do.

  4. Jorge, having spent the best part of 2004 living (and commuting) around Toronto (and being from London, UK) i feel i should defend your city’s wonderful TTC. Although, it needs to run earlier on a Sunday morning! I very much appreciated the TTC with its regular and importanlty clean service. Yes, clean, in London there is an awful amount of graffiti, and abit of a stench. The TTC runs until 01:30 on weekends, perfect if you dont want a VERY late night while out negotiating the mean streets of clubland! I found the service quite good value for money, all for $2.25 one can ride the subway and then streetcar! However most importantly i think that the TTC has a superb schedule, i never had to wait more than a couple of minutes for the subway. Anyway, thats enough! Byee

  5. I’m not arguing with the subway schedule (although lately the delays have been REALLY annoying). I’m talking about the buses!
    I do agree with you about the subway running earlier on Sundays, though.

  6. Speaking as a daily commuter of a bus that only runs from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm and not on weekends our system does need improvement. Comparison of the world’s subway system’s aside we need to invest in areas not accessible by the subway. In Germany for instance, the system is supplemented by the rail service. We could do that here, if the GO train service made it cost effective and oepned more stations in toronto.
    As for scheduling. Yes the TTC has inspectors but in the last round of strikes the TTC removed the strict rule of enforcement of scheduling that saw reprimends for repeat offenders.

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