Thursday, September 28, 2006

162 Lawrence - Donway: Useless route, or tourist attraction?

After class let out, I hopped on a northbound Yonge train and headed up to York Mills to catch a GO Bus back to Brampton. Running about an hour-and-a-half early, I decided to try my luck to ride a new route. I got off at Lawrence, and as luck was on my side, I was just in time to catch the 162 Lawrence - Donway bus.

162 Lawrence - Donway runs from Lawrence Station, and goes east on Lawrence, north on Bayview, east on Post Rd, south-east on Park Lane Cir, south on Glenourcy Rd, east on Suncrest Dr, north on The Bridle Path, east on Lawrence, and finally looping around Donway and returning.

This route should not exist. York University (Glendon) is on Bayview at Lawrence, but more frequent service is offered on the 124 Sunnybrook route. The central section of the route has no ridership at all - a point I will return to. The only real ridership comes east of Leslie, but other routes are already in place to cover those stretches. 54 Lawrence East is already there, and if a new branch of the 25 Don Mills were created to run on Donway, that section would be covered more effectively. Adding to all that, the route runs hourly, which makes it pretty much useless to anyone using it in a daily routine. I'm a big supporter of more public transit, but even I cannot think of a reason to justify this route's existance. Having said that, I am very happy it exists.

It's a generally accepted fact that Toronto, like all cities, has areas where working class families and people with low incomes tend to cluster. However, we often forget that Toronto has some areas where people with extremely high incomes tend to cluster. Rosedale and Forest Hill tend to come to mind, while the Kingsway, Lawrence Park and Bedford Park get honorable mentions. However, the Bridle Path tops them all. This neighborhood is where the rich of the rich reside. Sometimes called "Millionair's Row", this is where the big names like Conrad Black, Moses Znaimer and Price have homes (yes, THAT Prince).

The reason why this area has so many large houses is because of its exclusiveness. There are only two entraces to the neighborhood, and it's surrounded on three sides by ravines. Traffic is non-existant, resulting in a quiet, peaceful area. If you want to call this area home, be prepared to shell out the big bucks. One house for sale at 83 The Bridle Path (visible from the bus), is an 18,000 square foot home built to modernist, minimalist, contemporary and extravagence style. It has 6 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, and has three destinct components: An entry "pavillion", a family "tower" and a public "wing" (I did not make that up - it's on the MLS website). Add an indoor basketball court and an indoor pool, and it can all be yours for $16 million. This is the most expensive house in the city.

While it is one of the most desirable areas of the city to live in, it's strictly residential. Save for a park and a school, there's no services nearby. With the bus running hourly, only between about 7 and 10, Monday to Friday, a car is necessary - a luxury car, to keep with the neighborhood status quo.

If you've got hundreds of millions burning a hole in your pocket, there are several houses in the area up for sale, many in the $10 million plus range. For the rest of us, the 162 will be our sneak peek on the lives of the rich and famous. It may not make any sense for this route to exist, but I'm sure glad it does.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gardiner Expressway Report

Those who know me well know that I am politically leftist. I'm very very leftist. However, those who know me well also know that I am not a fan of David Miller. He hasn't really done anything in his term, and he has skewed the issues. Today, the top secret Gardiner Expressway report was released to the public, and Miller was on TV claiming that the report was never kept secret. I don't know what to say anymore.

Anyway, the report outlines three plans to deal with the downtown expressway, which the mayor says is a barrier to revitalizing the waterfront.
  1. Do nothing, and spend between $10 and $12 million per year to keep the highway in a state of good repair.
  2. Keep the structure, re-route Lake Shore Blvd and remove some of the on ramps to allow for development under the Gardiner structure. This could cost $500 million.
  3. Partially dismantle the elevated section of the highway. Some versions of this plan call for it to be half buried in a tunnel, while others call for it to remain elevated. What remains consistent is that the section of between Jarvis and Spadina would be two one-way streets, running at grade. This would cost between $1.4 and $2 billion, depending on how much ends up in a tunnel.
I personally don't see the Gardiner Expressway as a barrier to the waterfront, so the do nothing scheme seems to be the most logical from my point of view. The second plan would result in pedestrian intimidation when crossing Lake Shore Blvd, and would make the area under the Gardiner more inviting, especially at night, but because cars would have fewer on ramps and off ramps to use, congestion would increase. The third plan is simply idiotic. How can you ask pedestrians to cross two five-lane roads and call that "removing a barrier"? And guess which plan city council is leaning toward....

If we are going to bring the Gardiner down to ground level, we might as well put it even lower. By building a tunnel from the mouth of the Don River to Strachan Avenue, we can build a long greenbelt through downtown Toronto, complete with parks, walking and bike trails, urban forests, grassy meadows and even a canal like they've done in Korea. Garrison Creek would feed the canal, bringing it back to the surface from the rusty pipe it flows in now.

There's no reason why the Gardiner Expressway has to come down, but if we are going to embark on this project, we need to make sure we're making the right decisions, and not choosing something we'll regret later.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Bombardier subway cars

Fresh off the wire:

Toronto city council has approved the contract to purchase 39 subway trains from Bombardier. The cars should start arriving in 2008, and will run on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. More information to follow as it becomes available.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Vomit Comet & other stories

Yesterday, a group of planning students including myself, Matt from Vaughan, Melissa from Thornhill, Jordan from Sarnia, and one other person who's name will be added once I remember it, sat in on the TTC general meeting yesterday. It was my first meeting, and I must say that it's something anyone interested in urban transportation, politics and the like should do. A good time was had by all.

Among the items discusses were a possible extension of the Dufferin bus through Exhibition Place to the streetcar loop. This would be done to serve the soccer stadium (now named BMO Field) opening this spring, and to connect with GO. After debate, it was agreed that the extension would only be considered if Exhibition place created a private right of way for the buses to use. It was interesting to see the different styles of politics come out over this issue, from the consensus builder (Giambrone) to the enforcer (guess who - I'm sure you won't be surprised). It's interesting to note that the GM commented that spreading people out by making them walk to the two loops would deal with crowds from games far more efficiently, which I tend to agree with.

The commission received the report outlining that there was no justification to expand the bike rack on bus project, but since vice-chair Giambrone is also the chair of the city cycling committee, they might take up the issue. It's likely that Toronto will go the way of Vancouver and have all buses outfitted with bike racks.

Finally, the commission directed staff to study the possibility operating the subway 24 hours a day, like New York City. This morning, CBC Radio's Metro Morning host, Andy Barrie spoke with the TTC's chief GM Garry Webster, who commented on the proposal. Essentially, we won't be able to run 24-hour subway service until 2016 at least. By that time, the signalling system will be upgraded to the point where trains will be able to operate safely on either track in either direction. Then, the critical nighttime maintenance can be done on one track while the trains use the other.

Also, Mr. Webster commented that nigh time service might run at much higher frequencies than we see today - possibly even every fifteen to twenty minutes. It's definitely something we should look at in the long term, but in the mean time, the 320 Yonge Night bus, affectionately known as "the vomit comet" is fast and reliable, and by my observation, relatively vomit free.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pedestrians & GO Trains

As anyone who came in from the northwest today knows, a pedestrian was hit by an inbound Milton train near the Strachan Ave crossing. Whenever someone is injured or killed in a collision, it is a tragedy without a doubt, and my sympathies go out to the family. However, I find it difficult to understand how someone can be struck by a train. They are big, loud and highly visible. There are education programs to teach kids the dangers of railroads, and a section on railway crossings is part of the driver education program. Clearly, the message isn't getting out, and we need to do something more. Here are a few ideas:
  • Greater right-of-way protection. We need to ensure that people cannot simply jump the fence to cut across the railway tracks. We definitely need to repair holes in fences sooner, and perhaps we should make fences higher - but beautify them to make them fit into the cityscape.
  • Upgrading or elimination of all public crossings. Where a railway track crosses a roadway, lights and gates should be the bare minimum. There should be no reason why a driver approaching a crossing is unaware that a train is coming.
  • Build pedestrian crossings. There are certain places where pedestrians regularly cross the tracks as a shortcut. There should be bridges or tunnels to carry people safely across the track as close to these locations as possible.
And perhaps my most controversial idea:
  • Change the law to ban lawsuits resulting from collisions with trains. Assuming the train is operating safely in accordance with the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR), anyone hit by a train is either trespassing on the right of way, or fouling the crossing - both of which are illegal. I don't believe that you should be able to file a claim when you yourself were breaking the law.
Something has to be done to reduce the injury and death resulting from these collisions - all of which are preventable, and I hope no one else has to die before action is taken.

Look, listen and live.


Friday, September 15, 2006

If you don't use it, you lose it

Next week, the TTC will receive a report on the bike racks on buses pilot program at Wilson garage. All of Wilson's accessible buses were equipped with bike racks, allowing cyclist to load their bicycles on the front of the bus, take transit, then use their bikes to complete the journey. While the racks were very well received by over 75% of people surveyed, less than 1% of total passengers used them. As a result, the report argues that there is no justification for the expansion of the program.

The TTC is cash strapped, and we cannot expect them to throw money at a program that clearly is not working, but I believe that cycling is such a big issue in the city these days, this is something that City Council may want to get involved in. The promotion of cycling is, after all, consistent with the city's official plan.

I think there are two main reasons why this project failed.
  1. The project had bike racks installed on Wilson division's accessible routes, which operate mainly west of Yonge Street. Of those routes, only four serve the downtown core. They are 7 Bathurst, 29 Dufferin, 47 Lansdowne and 161 Rogers Road. I believe that these routes do not provide enough downtown coverage for the cycling-transit mix to work well enough. Simply put, these routes do not generate enough data. The TTC should rerun the pilot project, but add more downtown routes to the project. 6 Bay, 65, Parliament, 75 Sherbourne and 94 Wellesley should be included, to give more coverage to the project area.
  2. They installed bike racks on Wilson accessible buses at the worst possible time. Wilson has three types of accessible buses. Orion V, VI and VII models. At the time of the test, the Orion Vs were in the middle of their mid-life rebuild program, the Orion VI fleet was being withdrawn from service and retired, and the Orion VIIs were just arriving from the factory. As a result of all this, Wilson had to substitute fishbowls on its accessible routes for many of the runs - buses which did not have bike racks. An eager cyclist who waits at the stop and sees five fishbowls in a row is not going to say "I'll try again tomorrow." I'm certain that Wilson being unable to meet it's accessibility requirements contributed to the low ridership. Now that the fleet is stable, the project can actually produce realistic results.
With the city wanting to promote cycling, and the fact that the project was flawed from the start, I don't think we've seen the last of the bike rack issue.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A 10-point transit blueprint

While browsing the Star, I came across a 10-point plan for improving public transit in the GTA.
  1. Transit Over Cars - I believe that if given a level playing field (where pollution, cost and convenience are equal), people will always choose cars over transit. In order to get people out of their cars, we need to give them an incentive. Currently, this is done mainly by using the cost. However, we need to do more. Not only do we need to design and build transit-friendly cities, but we need to build cities which are deliberately unfriendly to private automobiles. Removing parking lots from the downtown core is one way of accomplishing this end, as it causes a huge inconvenience to people who wish to drive downtown. These drivers then look to transit, as it's the only other way.
  2. Take transit away from city council and create regional transit authorities - City governments are elected to serve their residents, and nothing more. There is no political incentive for the TTC to, by itself, build a transit line to Vaughan. While I believe the local bus routes should remain in the control of each municipality, we need a regional body to coordinate rapid transit expansion, set minimum service standards, and develop a transit plan that will help reduce congestion across the golden horseshoe. That body is the GTTA, if allowed to live up to it's full potential.
  3. Emphasizing the long term - If left to their own devices, politicians would only enact policies which see short term results. They want something that they can use to help their re-election campaign four years later. We the people, through the creation of our political system, have caused this pandering. But, we the people can change this by selecting candidates with long term vision, and rejecting the ones who propose quick fixes. Transit problems are never a quick fix.
  4. Make funding long term - We want to live within our means, but we cannot do so unless we understand what our means are. Upper levels of government need to come to the table with long term funding agreements, so we can see how much money we can afford to spend on any given project. If it's unclear, I can almost guarantee nothing will get done.
  5. Earmark funding - by putting aside money for a specific purpose, we prevent it from being used for something else. This goes hand in hand with point 4.
  6. Forget about subways - I believe that in most cases, existing subway lines should be extended. But, once that is finished, there are no places left in the GTA with the density to support subways. Light Rail Transit and Bus Rapid Transit should be considered. While subways do inspire grand images, VIVA proved that bus rapid transit can attract many more riders to the system.
  7. Give buses and streetcars their own right-of-way. This goes back to point 1, about making cities as car-unfriendly as possible. Taking up a lane for transit squeezes traffic into fewer lanes, causing more gridlock. As those drivers sit in traffic, they will watch how the bus or tram speeds by them, unaffected by the jam. Eventually, they will realize that there is a better way.
  8. Encourage cycling - When a bus cannot drop people at the front door of their destination, cycling is a great way to complete the journey. Buses should have bike racks, and rail stations should have places to tie up bikes for the day. The city should construct bike lanes and routes to ensure the safety of cyclists. Every bike on the road is another automobile trip eliminated.
  9. Smart cards - On ticket, one fare system, one set of transfer rules. Knowing exactly what you will pay, how you will pay it, and making it fast and easy for people to do all of the above will turn around those who find transit confusing. It also gives the opportunity to reward people for using transit, offering a further incentive.
  10. Exploiting the brand - The TTC gift shop at Union Station was a start, but we need to think bigger. We need to find a way to make transit cool. London does it by licensing the tube logo, but Toronto is militant about the use of the TTC logo even by transit fans. The Toronto International Film Festival should give all the celebrities transit passes, and anything that can be done should be done to make public transit in Toronto, whatever we decide to call it, a household name. To quote the article:
"Imagine the day, in other words, when you're sitting on a streetcar reading one of those Hollywood tabloids and there it will be: a picture of some movie star wearing a baseball cap that says "Ride the Rocket." And you will smile."


Monday, September 11, 2006

Google Earth

If you visit my website - - and look at the route maps for the new routes I am proposing, you might notice that the images have been created using Google Earth. While the software is probably the best free GIS software available, it's not perfect.

Google Earth uses satellite photos to generate an electronic map of the world, allowing you to see your community with excellent resolution. You won't be counting the ants in the ant hill, but you can clearly see things as (relatively) small as the lines painted on the roads. But, like I said, it's not perfect.
  • Some of the photos are old - for at least two years after the engineering building at Ryerson was built, the site still appeared as a parking lot.
  • Some of the photos have discolouration - apparently, the waters near Woodbine Racetrack run red like blood.
  • Some areas are not yet in high resolution - Long Branch is one area, which is odd, as most of rural Caledon is in high resolution.
  • A phenomenon called map shear - Some satellite photos are not perfectly aligned with the photos next to them - even as much as several hundred meters in some cases.
The good news is that Google is continually updating the software, and as they do, I will be updating my route maps to make sure that the lines I've drawn are actually on roads, and not through buildings (currently, I have VIVA Purple running through the bedroom section of Ikea). It will be a slow process, but in the end, it will result in a much more detailed explanation of where my proposed transit routes will run. I also hope to make them available for download, so that anyone who wishes can take a closer look, and even do some armchair transit planning.

You can download Google Earth at (surprise surprise) Google Earth's website.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

GO Train Crews: Past, Present & Future

On friday, many news agencies covered a rather interesting story about GO Transit's crews and on time performance. Today, a follow up article appeared in the Star.

When GO Transit first began operating commuter rail service, the only rails it owned were at it's Willowbrook Yard in Mimico. Because it ran on rails owned by CN Rail - and in the case of the Milton line, CP Rail - it was cheaper to get CN and CP crews to operate the trains, rather than train their own crews. This setup lasted for years.

Currently, GO has built some of it's own lines to bypass heavy freight areas, and has purchased rail lines which the freight companies have abandonned due to insuffecient freight traffic. However, they still use CN and CP crews because for the most part, the trains operate on CN and CP tracks.

The story on friday stated that the CN and CP crews have been calling in sick (or too tired to legally operate a train) on Fridays in an abnormally high levels. This has affected on time performance, and has even resulted in cancelled trains. This problem is further compounded by CN crew assignment procedure, which states that crews can only operate trains on subdivisions which they are trained for. If a particular crew is only trained on the Lakeshore line, they cannot sub in for a Georgetown crew. As a result, GO will open the operating crew contract to bids.

One of the interested companies is Bombardier, who builds GO's coaches and hold their maintenance contract. According to the article, they are looking to add growth to the operations side of their business. Another company is Veolia Transportation, formally known as Connex, who you might recognize as the operators of VIVA. When you consider that VIVA went from and idea to the streets in record time, its clear that Veolia's has a good reputation in the GTA.

It will take 18 months for GO to negotiate an end to the contract and get Transport Canada's permission to get a third party operator, but according to GO officials, CN and CP will be invited to bid. With massive service increases planned for 2007, this is strictly to ensure good performance for a fare price, GO chair Peter Smith says. The article quotes:
"No. 1 for us is customer service, and achieving that at an affordable rate," said Smith. "This has been in discussions for some time. It is part of our plan to ... get a cost-effective service and to get a reliable service so the public is hopefully guaranteed that we serve them well."
In the end, we will definitly end up with better on time performance, as most contracts like this have penalty clauses in place if service does not live up to expectations. However, if CN and CP do not win the contract, it may make buying more track time from them in the future difficult. We'll just have to wait and see, but I think that when the status quo isn't working, there comes a time when we need to shake things up.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mo Money

As we speak, the Toronto Transit Commission management is negotiating with the Amalgamated Transit Union over the wildcat strike back in May. According to the TTC, there was a $3 million loss in revenue for that day, and they want it back.

As is generally the case, there are two moral sides to this issue.
  • The union did what they did in the name of their members, and it was the right thing to do. They are elected to represent the best interests of the workers, and in their opinion, they did what they had to do to upheld their duty and their moral obligations, regardless of the law. In away, they are a modern robin hood.
  • Regardless of what happened, the Union broke the law, and the law is the law is the law. We cannot ignore the laws we don't approve of, and as a result, the Union should be held accountable for their actions.
While I'm known to be fairly leftist (I would need a computer to figure out how many times I've been called a communist), I'm definitely torn on the issue. While unions have done great things in advancing workers rights, working conditions and salary, I have no sympathy for people who knowingly break the law. So, setting morals aside, lets consider the facts of the case.
  • Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work, and management must provide personal protective equipment to the workers. A mass strike where drivers refused to work, citing the threat of being assaulted could be justified under those provisions. However....
  • The union admits that the strike was caused when daytime workers, having recently been unhappily switched to nights, showed up for their old shifts, and were turned away. The union considered this a lockout, and bus drivers respected the picket lines.
  • The courts ruled that this strike was illegal, both at the tribunal level and at appeal.
  • In our society, illegal activity is punishable by law.
So, should the union refund the money? Probably, it's the right thing to do. Will they? Not bloody likely. First of all, it's an election year for the union. Any sign of weakness will jeopardize Bob Kinnear's chances if he's running for re-election. Second of all, it's unlikely that the city will force the issue in court, as it will make labour relations worse. We're in a good labour spot right now, so I wouldn't be surprised if this issue drops off the public radar without a solution.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Feel's Good To Be Back

The first day of school for the downtown university students always ends in transit confusion, especially for first year students riding GO Transit. Here's a sample of what I saw today, which made me laugh, but only inside, for it would have been rude to actually laugh.

For those who are unfamilliar, students who want to use student fares must have a GO Transit student card. To get one, you need to go to your school, get them to sign a form, and then take it to GO Transit to get it validated and laminated (this is done at Union for downtown schools, and on campus for York students). When I arrived at Brampton station this morning, someone tried to get their card validated, only to beg and plead and still get denied.

A little later on in the day, I went to Union and got my card validated at around 10. There was no line. Two friends of mine, however, went at 4:15. There was a line, and I'm sure it was at least an hour, if not two. I wonder if they even made the train.

Aside from someone trying to feed a monthly pass into the ticket cancelling machine and a woman who stepped out onto the street and was nearly runover by a streetcar, I suppose it was a normal day in the city.


VIVA: One Year Later

It was on this day (the day after labour day) when VIVA buses first hit the streets, and an article in the Toronto Star was published yesterday to mark the occasion. When the final extension into Cornell in far east Markham is finished, expected by the end of the winter, the first phase will be complete. Even without the benefit of transit only lanes, VIVA has caused ridership in York Region to increase 38% in a single year. It's had it's share of problems initially, as the article notes, but overall, it has been a success and may very well start a new transit renaissance in Toronto.

Happy birthday, and viva VIVA!

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Monday, September 04, 2006

September Service Roundup - TTC

The TTC has released their September service changes, and I find it confusing that they would release them on the day the changes took place. Either way, here's a summary of the many changes:
  • Seasonal service ends on 6 Bay, 172 Cherry Street, 509 Harbourfront, 30 Lambton, 86 Scarborough, 85 Sheppard East and 92 Woodbine South.
  • Schedule changes to improve reliability will come to 11 Bayview and 28 Davisville
  • General service adjustments come to 49 Bloor West and 20 Cliffside.
  • Service increases come to 22 Coxwell, 113 Danforth, 23 Dawes, 25 Don Mills, 108 Downsview, 29 Dufferin, 111 East Mall, 34 Eglinton East, 39 Finch East, 308 Finch East Night, 36 Finch West, 309 Finch West Night, 100 Flemingdon Park, 38 Highland Creek, 191 Highway 27 Rocket, 37 Islington, 35 Jane, 41 Keele, 43 Kennedy, 12 Kingston Rd, 44 Kipling South, 54 Lawrence East, 52 Lawrence West, 58 Malton, 59 Maple Leaf, 16 McCowan, 129 McCowan North, 116 Morningside, 70 O'Connor, 86 Scarborough, 53 Steeles East, 24 Victoria Park, 68 Warden, 112 West Mall, 165 Weston Road North, 96 Wilson, 106 York University & 196 York University Rocket.
  • New accessible service will come to 22 Coxwell, 135 Gerrard and 12 Kingston Rd.
Also, service to Canada's Wonderland will continue on the 165 until the park closes for the year. The last day of service will be Sunday October 8th. On the 95 York Mills, buses will need extra time due to a city construction project on Ellesmere between Birchmount and Kennedy until December. Other routes affected by planned construction and closures can be found on the TTC website. Check the TTC for all the information.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

September Service Roundup - Burlington Transit

Burlington Transit's September service changes are part of their new long-term transit plans, so there's a lot to cover. Here's what to expect, both on and off the bus.
  • Route 1 Plains/Fairview has two new weekday afternoon trips to Hamilton, one new morning round trip on Saturday, and two new Sunday round trips. In addition, route 1 and 10 will no longer be interlined.
  • Route 4 Pinedale will now go through the Central Park area, serving the Senior's Centre, Central Arena, Music Centre and Central Library. Also, service to Appleby GO station will run all day on weekdays, instead of only during peak hours.
  • Route 6 Headon Forest will now serve the 407 carpool lot at Dundas. Also, service gets extended to 10:44 pm on weekdays and Saturdays at 60-minute frequency. New Sunday service will operate at 60 minute frequency from 10 am to 6 pm.
  • Route 8 Harvester/North Service Road will be rerouted on Mainway and Sutton between Mainway and North Service road to better serve business in the area.
  • Route 10 New/Maple will no longer be integrated with route 1.
  • Route 11 Appleby has three new evening trips that meet the evening trains at Appleby GO Station.
  • Route 12 Upper Middle has increased morning service, midday headways halved to 30 minutes, and new hourly evening service and Sunday service to replace dial-a-bus service.
  • Route 13 New/Rebecca has a service adjustment to 30-minute frequency.
  • Route 15 Walkers is extended to the Dundas and 407 carpool lot, then along Dundas to the First Pro Plaza. Also, there will be two new northbound and three new southbound trips after 8:00 pm.
  • Route 61 Orchard will follow the 12 routing north of Upper Middle Road, then use the 11 routing beyond Pathfinder, with the reverse in the am.
  • Dial-a-ride routes 8A Burloak, 9 Lakeshore, 11 Appleby, 12A Upper Middle, and 15 Walkers Dial-a-Ride will have changes to the time they operate.
Outside of schedule changes, fares have increased. But, a 90 minute time-based transfer, identical to the ones used by the other systems, has been introduced to offer more value (which is a lot more value when you consider that Burlington Transit's ComboCard smart card doesn't deduct money after more than 3 rides in a day or 11 rides in a week. Also, a new Student Activity Pass will give high school students unlimited transit rides on the weekends and on weekdays after 5:00 pm. This is just a trial pass, and I hope it proves popular. Burlington has always been a step ahead of the other systems in the GTA in terms of fare collection innovation. The GTA Fare card which is coming into effect within the next few years is essentially the BT ComboCard on a large scale, so I would be surprised if any idea from Burlington doesn't go unnoticed.

In the long term, Burlington plans to install signal priority at key locations, buy replacement buses sooner, and finish installing bike racks on the Burlington Transit fleet.

Check with Burlington Transit for the new schedules.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

September Service Roundup - Oakville Transit

For the Oakville Transit riders, you're getting some service upgrades this September which will make transit in the Town easier to understand and access. Here's what to expect:
  • Zone Express (dial-a-bus) service will be complimented by fixed routes on all days of the week, including holidays. The zone service will be complimented by routes 14, 19 and 24.
  • Route 26 will no longer enter Oakville Place. This might make the route faster overall, and hopefully will not result in too much longer of a walk.
  • Route 19 will now run until 12:25 am, replacing Zone Express in the area with a fixed route.
  • Routes 19 and 20 will no longer be interlined at the Uptown Core for the 7:25 pm and 8:25 pm trips.
In other news, Oakville Transit is holding a public meeting on September 13 at 7:30 pm at town hall. Aparently residents who live along Route 11 are unhappy about Oakville Transit buses operating on residential streets. Considering that buses always stick to the speed limit, are highly visible to anyone attempting to cross, and that the drivers are highly trained professionals (unlike some car drivers on the road), I submit that one bus on the street is much safer than twenty cars.

Check Oakville Transit for more info.

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