Saturday, April 15, 2006

More TTC pipe dreams

The TTC is (again?) studying running its money-slurping streetcars as trains:

Kevin McGran - Toronto Star - April 15 2006

As with most everything to do with the TTC and especially the streetcars operations, it's just a dream. The cars don't have couplers.

Perhaps couplers could be added if the TTC goes ahead with the major bebuild of the CLRV fleet - the CLRVs are the smaller streetcars that operate on the King St route. However, will simply coupling the cars together work? Will there be an operator in each car? How will the motive power be synchronized between the different units? What will reliability be like? What will the passenger experience be like?

I'll answer the last two questions - just as crappy as today. These vehicle are not designed to run as trains. They aren't reliable enough - and don't have the passenger exit/egress capacity to provide effective transit.

The problem today is bunching.

During rush hour they're supposed to be two minutes apart, but before you know it, a bunch of them end up travelling together. Up ahead, impatient passengers push to get into the first car that shows up, even if it's already packed, putting the "first" one further behind schedule and slowing down the rest.

Although the article blames the ever scapegoated factor of other vehicular traffic, the real problem is the vehicles and the entire service design. The Spadina LRT (sic) has much the same problem despite having dedicated lanes. Montreal doesn't have the same problem - because its buses can pass each other - alleviating bunching.

One thing is becoming clearer by the day - the TTC is being run by amateurs.

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