Monday, February 04, 2008

Dutoit gets an A - TTC streetcar a big fat F

Saturday evening I attended the Toronto Symphony Orchestra will guest conductor Charles Dutoit deliver Brahms Double Concerto (for cello and violin) and Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique.

Mr. Dutoit was the long time music director for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO). He put his stamp on the MSO, and put the MSO on the world's musical map. A couple of years back, the MSO musicians union got stupid (ok more stupid than the usual union c++p) and Dutoit bid the morons adieu.

It was a pleasure watching Dutoit conduct the TSO. The Symphonie Fantastique is one of the most exciting pieces to see and hear delivered live - and Dutoit is obviously one of its masters.

I also enjoyed the Brahms concerto - which by remarkable coincidence is a key part of the score of the movie "There Will be Blood" that I attended Sunday night!

Anyway, Dutoit and the TSO get a grade of A from me - even if the tuba sounded a bit off. (I'll blame the acoustics on RTH - which must have been playing tricks.)

My GF was away, so I TTCed it to the RTH (she WILL NOT take the TTC period, full stop). The journey downtown was great - 37 minutes by bus and subway from my front door to being seated in the mezzanine - 29 of these minutes being from me getting to the stop to getting off the subway at St. Andrews.)

On the way home, I decided to give the TTC streetcar a try. Per reports I've been reading while lurking on http://www.stevemunro.ca/, the TTC has been taking measures to try and make the service work. "Why not give it a try?" I thought.

All went well for the 1st 15 minutes. Within three minutes, I was boarding the 504 King in front of RTH. There were no people getting on - i.e. other than me. Twenty people were waiting for taxis. As I walked towards the streetcar, someone said "that's mine". She thought I was taking her cab. It didn't occur to her that someone would get on the streetcar.

I got off the 504 when it got onto Queen and took my spot (alone) in the shelter to await the 501. 20 minutes passed - nothing.

After 25 minutes, a 501 came along. Wait though, it's not slowing down! It was a CLRV towing a disabled ALRV.

"Great" I thought. That explains it - there should be three or four 501s in 'hot pursuit'. (Ok the 501 and TTC streetcars in general are never in hot pursuit - but you know what I mean.)

Another 25 minutes later - after 50 minutes of waiting - a 3/4 full ALRV pulls up. I board, glaring at the conductor.

I can understand that a breakdown will cause service to be disrupted - and this happens very frequently. However, five or so Kings cars had gone by Eastbound and at least four Queen cars had gone by Westbound. Surely the TTC could have rerouted one of these to pick up the shivering people waiting on Queen for the Neville Park-bound service????

A big fat F for the TTC streetcars. It will be a cold day below before I try that again. Obviously all those waiting for taxis were the smart ones.

1 comment:

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