New City Page Added: San Francisco

May 23rd, 2022

The latest city to come to this site was photographed at the end of March. It is San Francisco’s Muni Metro LRT system.

Site author visiting the Muni Central Subway
Something new to this site is that there are some photos taken on a new extension that is not yet open for service. The Central Subway takes Route T north on Fourth Street from where it currently turns at King Street. With one street-level station, it then enters the tunnel and serves three new underground stations.

As a trainer for the company contracted to provide the CBTC (Communications-Based Train Control) signalling system, I had the opportunity to visit the three stations on the Central Subway during the training sessions to provide the maintainers attending the training to get some hands-on experience with the equipment before it goes into revenue service. The photo has me at the signal on the west track at the north end of the Chinatown-Rose Pak station.

GRT ION LRT Opens June 21!

June 21st, 2019

The first LRT system to open in Ontario starts carrying passengers on Friday June 21 after an opening ceremony at 10:30 am at Fairway station.

All GRT services, including ION, are free of fare Friday, June 21 until Canada Day, Monday, July 1.

Only The TTC Can Confuse People By Trying To Not Confuse Them

May 7th, 2017

So the Downsview subway station has been renamed Sheppard West. We don’t want people to become hopelessly lost an unsure of where they are by having two consecutive stations on the same line with similar names, now do we?

London Underground 'Acton' StationsOnly people in “world class” cities can handle that, though we keep saying we are “world class”. The good folks in London UK have to contend with not two, but THREE consecutive stations on the Central Line: West Acton, North Acton, and East Acton (the Central Line is the red line in the image to the right). I won’t mention that there are another three stations on other lines with “Acton” in the name that are nearby the Central Line three, nor will I mention that people on a westbound Central Line train at North Acton might be going next to West Acton or they might be going next to Hanger Lane. This is just one of many examples of this in London.

That said, the idea of renaming Downsview to Sheppard West is not new. This was decided several years ago. At the time, I was in favour of the idea, but thought it should be done then so that people could be used to the change well before the new Downsview Park station opens.

The TTC avoids reusing bus route numbers for this very reason.

So, under the premise of not wanting to confuse people, what has the TTC gone and done? They are renaming an existing subway station a mere six to eight months ahead of opening an extension that has a Downsview Park station. Many average users of the TTC (read: not transit enthusiasts) will still be flustered over the “Sheppard West, formerly Downsview” change right when Downsview Park starts appearing around them.

For what ever reason, the TTC could not make the change at a time when it would be a distant memory in today’s minds. Instead, they wait until the new extension will come right when people are still trying to get used to the change intended to save them confusion.

Presto Piss?

January 22nd, 2017

Could there be a new revenue stream (pardon the pun) for Presto in pay toilets?

In Istanbul Turkey, the washrooms on the public transit system cost 1 Turkish Lira (about 33 cents Canadian) to use. As a matter of convenience, the turnstiles at the entry to the washrooms allows one to tap their Istanbulkart - their Presto-like stored value fare card, to pay the fare to use the washroom…

Washroom at Soğanlık Metro Station on M4 line

Even on the London Underground (see below), where it costs 20p to use the washroom (also about 33 cents Canadian), the turnstiles only accept 10p and 20p coins. No Oyster Card tap to use the loo!

Washroom at Wimbledon station on District Line

YRT Policy Encourages Unsafe Rider Activity

June 24th, 2016

Updated June 24: YRT’s response to this has been added.

YRT has a policy that their operators are not to wait at a stop if there is someone not quite at the stop. They claim it is so people won’t make unsafe road crossings, but in practice, it encourages that very activity.

This policy is perfectly fine for routes operated at 10-minute frequency, like their VIVA service at during rush hours, but for the rest of their system, it creates a very dangerous situation. When faced with crossing against traffic, or having to wait a half hour or more, for the next bus, especially in hot, cold, or inclement weather, most will attempt to make the crossing if at all possible knowing that the bus will not wait.

I observed a bus leave four passengers behind today, and what makes it worse, they were getting off of a connecting route. It is not like the driver of bus 328 on Route 4A on Major MacKenzie Drive this afternoon didn’t see the northbound Route 90 on Leslie and couldn’t clearly see the four passengers who left that bus and were waiting to cross the street in 33C temperature with a weather warning in effect.

The bus operator was only following the rules. Shame on YRT!

Here is YRT’s official response to this:

Thank you for your email regarding the policy of customers running and waving towards a bus. We do regret any negative experience that was caused. 

YRT/Viva drivers are expected to provide good customer service and accommodate passengers as much as possible; however, they are also responsible for the operation of the bus in mixed traffic conditions in addition to watching for customers at designated stops. This can make it difficult for drivers to continuously watch for possible customers that are not at bus stops.

As per YRT/Viva on-time performance (OTP) criteria, buses that are equal or less than five minutes - after its scheduled time - are considered to be on-time. With this in mind, YRT/Viva recommends customers leave themselves a 5 minutes (or more) transfer window between connections. Any connections that fall below the 5 minute transfer window, industry standard wise, are not reliable.

Danielle A.  Communications Assistant - Student, York Region Transit/Viva, Transportation Services

This canned response ignores the reality of this particular situation:

 This can make it difficult for drivers to continuously watch for possible customers that are not at bus stops.

The bus in question was stopped and out of the live traffic lane. There was no need for the driver to play “Where’s Waldo” to look for “possible customers that are not at a bus stop”. Another YRT bus on Leslie had made a stop at the same time and it was clear that a group of customers were needing to make the connection.

With this in mind, YRT/Viva recommends customers leave themselves a 5 minutes (or more) transfer window between connections. Any connections that fall below the 5 minute transfer window, industry standard wise, are not reliable.

This is a perfectly acceptable recommendation for people planning on using traffic. Whether the people involved normally experience a good connection at this location at this time of the day, or whether they are cutting it too close, is not the point. The point is, they were there when the connecting bus was there and they were not invisible or difficult to see, but the operator while following YRT policy drove away leaving the people to have to wait 20-25 minutes for the next bus heading west of Yonge Street, or about 15 minutes for the next bus going as far as Yonge Street.