An artist rendition: TTC makeover ideasCraig Cal of Spacing has some pretty good ideas on how we can improve the TTC. While the vast majority of these suggestions are excellent, some run counter-productive to the objective of getting more people to use transit. I can clearly see a downtown bias in his writings, which is fine, but we need to think of a regional transit solution. Not everyone lives downtown and works downtown, so we need effective transit solutions in the suburbs as well. Here's my refined version of his list.
1) Service, Service, Service
- Purchase more modern buses and streetcars which are environmentally friendly, accessible, and right for the job. This means that smaller buses should be used on routes which travel deep into neighborhoods (we need more of these), and larger buses used on routes with high ridership. Streetcars should be used downtown, while trolley coaches should be used on midtown routes. Alternative fuels should be used whenever possible.
- Create an LRT and BRT network throughout the city and the suburbs.
- Improve and amalgamate the para-transit services across the GTA. A rider with disabilities should be able to get to where they need to go, even if it means crossing borders.
- Extend existing subways wherever practical, because building stub lines (like building the York U subway as LRT instead) is a waste of money. Build rights-of-way for downtown streetcars, and consider radical solutions such as the Queen Street Promenade.
- Re-design the interior of the subway stations to give each one a distinct personality. You should be able to identify a station simply by looking at the colour scheme and the platform artwork. Of course, there will be throwbacks to the historical designs of the stations.
- Art should be in every station, and it should not be an afterthought. Each subway station should be a design in itself.
- Bus terminals and stops should get the same treatment subways stations will get. Buses are less attractive than rail cars, but the facilities don't have to be.
- Make schedules easier to access, be it by online trip planner, printable spreadsheets, phone-based service, or other means. Also, service updates should be delivered by text message and by email.
- Fastrack the implementation of the fare card, and install top up machines at stations. This will do wonders to get rid of the lineups.
- Continue working towards making every station, bus route and facility accessible. In the end, the wheelchair logo should be un-necessary, as the whole system will be accessible.
- Add more washrooms, and clean them (and the system) frequently.
- All stations should have plenty of garbage cans, seats and passenger information displays.
- All vehicles should have GPS receivers to interface with the passenger information displays.
- Give the TTC operators a retro, 1930s type uniform. It evokes feelings of a time when the trains ran on time, and can serve as a tourist attraction.
- Get better marketing. Hopefully Giambrone will be less lame than Moscoe.
- Install street banners like York Region has done.
- Everyone loves souvenirs.
- Fare card, fare card, fare card.