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Toronto Transit Commission

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The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is a public transport authority that operates buses, streetcars, subways, and rapid transit lines in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Established in 1954, the TTC has grown to comprise three subway lines and an elevated rapid transit line with a total of 69 stations, as well as 149 connecting surface routes (buses and streetcars) of which 148 routes make 243 connections with a subway or rapid transit station during weekday rush hours.

The TTC operates the third most heavily-used urban mass transit system in North America (after the New York City Transit Authority and the Mexico City Metro).<ref name=TTCstats>{{#if: Toronto transit chief says searches unlikely

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 }}|Template error: argument title is required.}}</ref>  In 2008, the TTC carried 1.5 million passengers per day, and there were 466,700,000 passenger trips in total. The average daily ridership exceeds 2.54 million passengers: 1,296,300 through bus, 275,200 by streetcar, 38,400 by intermediate rail (RT), and 927,800 by subway.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> The TTC also provides door-to-door services for persons with physical disabilities known as Wheel-Trans; in 2008, 5,792 trips were made through this service daily.  The TTC employed 11,861 personnel in 2008.<ref name="personnel">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Colloquially, the subway cars were known as "red rockets", a nickname originally given to Gloucester subway cars, which were painted bright red and which have since been retired. Its legacy lives on as the TTC uses the phrase to advertise the service, such as "Ride the Rocket" in advertising material, "Rocket" in the names of some express buses, and the upcoming "Toronto Rocket" subway train, which is due to arrive in late August 2010 and begin revenue operation in late 2010. Another common slogan is "The Better Way".

History

Privately operated transit services in Toronto began in 1850. In later years, a few routes were operated by the city, but it was 1921 when the city took over all routes and formed the Toronto Transportation Commission to operate them. During this period service was mainly provided by streetcars. In 1954, the TTC adopted its present name, opened its first subway line, and greatly expanded its service area to cover the newly formed municipality of Metropolitan Toronto (which eventually became the enlarged city of Toronto). The system has evolved to feature a wide network of bus routes with the subway lines as the backbone. On February 17, 2008, the TTC made many service improvements, finally reversing more than a decade of service reductions and only minor improvements.<ref name="Sick Transit">{{#if: Sick transit: TTC dirty, leaky, decaying

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Finances

Historically, the TTC recovered its operating costs from the fare box. This was especially true during the Great Depression and The Second World War, when it accumulated the considerable wealth which allowed it to expand widely after the war. It was not until the late 1950s that the newly formed Metro government was forced to provide operational subsidies, required primarily due to the TTC being required to provide bus service to the low-density suburbs in Metro Toronto.

Until the mid-1990s, the TTC received operational subsidies from both the municipal level of government, and the provincial level. When the Harris Conservatives in Ontario ended those subsidies, the TTC was forced to cut-back service, with a significant curtailment put into effect on February 18, 1996 and an increased financial burden was placed on the Municipal government. Since then, the TTC has consistently been in financial difficulties. Service cuts were averted in 2007 though when Toronto City Council voted to introduce new taxes to help pay for city services, including the TTC. As a result, the TTC became the largest transit operator in Anglo-America not to receive provincial/state funding.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Past transit operators

Private

  • Williams Omnibus Bus Line - 1849-1861
  • Metropolitan Street Railway of Toronto - 1877-1897
  • Toronto Street Railways - 1861-1891
  • Toronto Railway Company - 1891-1921
  • Toronto Suburban Railway - 1894-1921
  • Toronto and York Radial Railway - 1904-1921

Public

  • Toronto Civic Railways - 1913-1921
  • Toronto Transportation Commission - 1921-1954
  • North Yonge Railways - radial railway operated by the TTC from 1927–1930

Transit modes

The TTC currently operates an extensive network of subways, streetcars, light rail vehicles, paratransit buses and standard transit buses in Toronto:

Subway/RT system

The Toronto subway/RT is a basic system consisting of the Yonge-University-Spadina Line, a U-shaped line started in 1954 and last extended in 1996; the Bloor-Danforth Line, an east-west line started in 1966 and last extended in 1980; the Scarborough RT, a partly elevated light metro line built in 1985 which continues from the Bloor-Danforth Line's eastern terminus; and the Sheppard line, opened in 2002. The three subway lines are serviced by 678 cars grouped in trains of 4 cars (Sheppard Line) or 6 cars (Yonge-University-Spadina, Bloor-Danforth Lines), with all three sharing non-revenue track connections and using the same technology. The Scarborough RT has a fleet of 28 cars grouped into trains of 4 cars each; it is not compatible with the subway system whatsoever, and therefore shares no track connections or equipment.

All subway lines provide service seven days a week from approximately 6:00 a.m. until 1:30 a.m. (the following day) (last train runs at approximately 1:45 in each direction) except for Sundays in which the opening is delayed until approximately 9:00 a.m. During the overnight periods the subway and its stations are closed in order for maintenance at track level and in the stations themselves. Overnight service is provided by buses operating above ground. These special overnight routes are issued numbers in the 300 series and referred to as Blue Night routes, indicated by a typical TTC bus stop sign with a blue band added.

Plans were made for a streetcar subway along Queen Street, which were upgraded to a full subway in 1964, from the Humber loop to Greenwood, curving north to connect to the Bloor-Danforth Subway. All that ever materialized of this line was an incomplete east-west station structure under Queen station at Yonge, which remains in existence today, and structural provisions for an east-west station under Osgoode Station at Queen and University Avenue. The Queen Subway plan was cancelled in 1974 in favour of new lines in North York, however plans from Toronto and Ontario now necessitate its construction within the next 20 years to relieve pressure from the growing ridership on the Yonge subway line.

In the mid-1990s, work began on an Eglinton West subway line, but the project was cancelled before significant progress was made. Construction of this line is no longer a priority for the TTC, but in early 2007, this line was re-visited in the proposed expansion as part underground LRT running in the central part of the line (between Keele Street and Laird Drive) with the remainder a surface LRT route which would span almost the entire length of the city from the Airport to Scarborough.

A current focus for the TTC's rapid-transit expansion is a short extension bringing the western branch of the Yonge-University-Spadina Line north-west to York University, Steeles Avenue and Vaughan Corporate Centre in York Region. The Government of Ontario announced on March 23, 2006, that it will provide $670 million for this extension, about one-third of the expected cost. A northerly extension on the Yonge branch is being lobbied by York Region and the Province of Ontario, and is being investigated by the TTC. This project would bring the Yonge line north to the existing Richmond Hill Centre transit terminal in Richmond Hill at Highway 7, and would be possible when a new signal system allows headways on the Yonge line to decrease from the current 150 seconds to as little as 90. Another project long considered to be financially beneficial to the commission is the extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway line 1-2 kilometres westbound beside the CP rail line to The East Mall (major artery) near Cloverdale Mall (shopping centre), however this is unlikely to be built in the near future given the recent plans for a regional bus terminal at Kipling Station, the current terminus.<ref>http://www3.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Projects_and_initiatives/Station_modernization/Kipling_Station_Improvements_Project.jsp</ref><ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> <ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

In September 2006, Toronto City Council approved a contract for 234 new state-of-the-art cars from Bombardier Transportation, based upon the company's Movia trains. Much controversy surrounded this purchase, as Bombardier was awarded a non-bid contract. Competitor Siemens AG stated that it could fulfil the contract for up to $100,000,000 less by assembling the trains outside of Canada, whereas the Bombardier trains will be built in the plant that has assembled most of Toronto's subways in Thunder Bay.<ref>{{#if: A streetcar now for city of tomorrow

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Streetcars

Toronto's streetcar system is one of the few in North America still operating along classic lines and has been operating since the mid-19th century (horsecar service started in 1861 and 600V DC overhead electric service in 1892). Streetcar service dates back to the Toronto Street Railways horse-drawn cars and continues today with the current electric cars. New TTC routes since the 1940s have generally been operated by other modes, and the less-busy streetcar routes have also been converted. Streetcar routes are now focused on the downtown area, with none running farther north than St. Clair Avenue, about 5 km from Lake Ontario.

A great expansion of the streetcar network (as "Light Rapid Transit" on private rights-of-way) was proposed by the City of Toronto and the TTC on March 16, 2007, in the Transit City report. As of November 2007 streetcars are equipped with the Surface Vehicle Automatic Stop Announcement System (SVASAS) which is called out over the P.A. system which dictates the name of the next stop. In addition, an L.E.D. board on the streetcar displays the name of the street and changes each time it passes a stop which is mounted behind the operator's shield. Now, almost all TTC vehicles have the SVASAS. In October 2007 the Ontario Human Rights Commission introduced a new legislation that will require all transit operators in Ontario to call out all stops for the visually-impaired passengers.

Prior to the introduction of the Canadian Light Rail Vehicle and the Articulated Light Rail Vehicle, the TTC operated a fleet of 765 PCC-type streetcars - 540 which they purchased new, the rest of which were purchased as other cities sold off their PCC streetcar fleets.

The TTC's current fleet of 248 streetcars is nearing the end of their useful life, and the TTC will be buying at least 204 new LRVs. The commission has stated that potential bidders for the new contract must propose a 100% low-floor vehicle. These new vehicles will likely be costly, as the TTC's network has unique challenges such as steep grades on hills (up to 8%), many extremely sharp curves (as little as 10 973 mm / 36.0 ft in radius), and a unique track gauge (1495 mm / 4 ft 10⅞ in). The commission intends to customize a model that meets approximately 75% of its criteria. Bombardier won the bidding with its Bombardier Flexity Outlook model. The new streetcars, customized Bombardier Flexity Outlooks, are set to be constructed and in service as soon as 2011.

Historic fleet

The TTC has retained two PCC streetcars - #4500 and #4549 - and one Peter Witt car - #2766 - primarily for charter service.

However, during the summer of 2009, the TTC ran one of its two PCC cars on the 509 Harbourfront line on Sundays between May and the Labour Day weekend of that year. In previous years, one of the PCC cars would run along the Harbourfront Line on holidays during the summer.

Buses and trolley coaches

Buses are a large part of TTC operations today, but before about 1960, they played a minor role compared to streetcars. Buses began to operate in the city in 1921 and became necessary for areas without streetcar service. After an earlier experiment in the 1920s, trolley buses were used on a number of routes starting in 1947, but all trolley bus routes were converted to bus operation between 1991 and 1993. The TTC always used the term trolley coach to refer to its trackless electric vehicles. Hundreds of old, aging buses were recently replaced with the new, low-floor Orion VII, and the TTC has recently acquired many hybrid electric buses. A new order will bring the total of hybrids to over 500, second only to New York City. Older (2001–2006) TTC Orion VIIs feature the standard, "bread-box" style, whereas newer (2007- ) buses feature Orion's new, more stylish body.<ref>http://www.orionbus.com/orion/0-867-1232394-1-1234917-1-0-0-0-0-1-10595-584008-0-0-0-0-0-0-0.html</ref> Although most of the bus fleet has already been replaced, a number of lift-equipped, high floor buses are reaching the end of their useful lifespan, and another order of buses may be needed around 2012. With a total of 2031 buses, the TTC is the third largest transit bus operator in North America, behind the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City (6263) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (2911).

Gray Coach

Gray Coach Lines was a suburban and regional inter-city bus operator founded in 1927 by the TTC. Gray Coach used inter-urban coaches to link Toronto to points throughout Southern Ontario. In addition, Gray Coach operated tour buses in association with Gray Line Tours. The main terminal was the Metropolitan Toronto Bus Terminal on Elizabeth Street, downtown. In 1954, Gray Coach expanded further when it acquired suburban routes from independent bus operators not merged with the TTC as it expanded to cover Metro Toronto. By the 1980s, Gray Coach faced fierce competition in the inter-urban service in the GTA. The TTC sold Gray Coach Lines in 1990.

Wheel-Trans service

The TTC also runs Wheel-Trans, a paratransit service for the physically disabled with special low-floor buses designed to accommodate wheelchairs and to make boarding easier for ambulatory customers with limited mobility.

Ferry service

The ferry service to the Toronto Islands was operated by the TTC from 1927 until 1962, when it was transferred to the Metro Parks and Culture department. Since 1998, the ferry service is run by Toronto Parks and Recreation.

The city is studying plans to re-introduce ferry service by the TTC. The plan would see ferry service from Etobicoke and Scarborough into the downtown. Terminals would be located near the current city ferry docks, at Scarborough's Bluffer's Park and at Humber Bay Park. Two ferries would be required on the routes. Of the two plans, the Humber service is most likely, because the geography of Toronto would allow a ferry to provide faster service while other modes jog around Humber Bay. From Scarborough, a ferry would need to jog around the expansive Portlands and Leslie Street Spit to reach downtown.<ref>{{#if: TTC looks at speedy ferries

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Riding the TTC

Fares

The TTC fare system accepts cash, tickets (for Students and Seniors), tokens, and transit passes. As of January 3, 2010 adult cash fares are $3.00 for a single trip, or $2.50 each for trips using tokens (customer must purchase in increments of four from token vending machines and increments of five from collector booths). Adult passes are available by the day $10, week $36, or month $121, with a 12-month subscription option for $111/month. Student or senior cash fares are $2.00 for a single trip, or $1.65 each using tickets which are sold in groups of 5. Student/senior weekly passes are sold for $28 and monthly passes for $99. Child cash fare is $.75 or 10 tickets for $5.50. The $10 day pass is valid for one adult and 5 youths or 2 adults and up to 4 youths on the weekends or holidays. Transfers are free (for trips in one direction), and are encouraged by the grid system of routes and by transfer terminals at many subway stations. Transfers must be picked up at the point of entry, as outgoing buses and streetcars will not accept transfers from the closest subway station.

There are more than 1,200 vendors licensed to sell TTC fares in Toronto.

The provincial Minister of Transportation has announced plans to introduce the Presto card, a unified smartcard-based payment system for the entire Greater Toronto Area. Union railway station will be first Toronto location to use the card in 2007 and four other stations (Don Mills, Downsview, Finch, and Islington) by 2010. There are no plans for the TTC to actually adopt the Presto card yet, rather the surrounding transit systems. This is why only stations connecting to other systems will be equipped- Don Mills (YRT), Finch (YRT, GO), Downsview (YRT), Union (GO Trains, buses) and Islington (Mississauga Transit). The TTC has indicated that it is not yet willing to invest the required capital to convert to the Presto card. According to the director of corporate communications for the TTC the presto system is at least 5 years away from full implementation.<ref>http://twitter.com/bradTTC/status/8338160076</ref>

The TTC hopes to install a new fare box designed to catch counterfeit tokens and passes on all city buses, streetcars and subway stops by the end of 2011. The system is being introduced to combat $1 million per year of fare fraud. With the new system costing about $5.3 million by current estimates it would take at least 5 years to pay for itself. The new system is incompatible with the Presto card and is only a stopgap measure which would require an upgrade or replacement to make it compatible. It is currently being trialled on limited bus lines.<ref>http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/01/28/ttc-counterfeit-fare641.html</ref>

Schedules and route information

Route information can be accessed through the TTC Info number 416-393-INFO. Individual route schedules are available online at TTC.ca. Google Maps does not support the TTC. Schedules for particular route are also usually posted at TTC transfer points, and trip planning services are available by phone.

Additional TTC information is circulated by "What's On" and "Rocket Rider/TTC Customer News" pamphlets located on some vehicles. Information can be accessed in person at the TTC head office (Davisville Station 1900 Yonge St.), but the TTC Info Centre at the Bloor-Yonge Station has been closed.

On December 15, 2008, the TTC launched a new Next Vehicle Information System. The system uses the dead reckoning system that has served behind the scenes as a tracking tool for surface vehicles for the past 25 years. The TTC has indicated that it will in time replace this old system with new GPS technology. Information screens at two subway stations show current locations of streetcars in real-time on its 510 Spadina route. The TTC is still in the process to expand the system to all routes, and will be in place in all 69 subway stations by 2010.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> The system will eventually include an SMS-based information system.<ref>[1]</ref>

Online trip planner

On February 3, 2010, the TTC launched an online trip planner, which allows commuters to plan their routes and transfers by typing in an address, main intersection or landmark as a starting point or destination from TTC's official website. However, since its launch, the trip planner has remained in beta mode. There are still a few bugs to be fixed.<ref>The new TTC Trip Planner</ref>

Connections

The TTC makes connections with other transit agencies at terminals in Toronto:

  • York Region Transit, including Viva (bus rapid transit)
  • Mississauga Transit
  • Brampton Transit
  • Durham Region Transit
  • GO Transit
  • VIA Rail, including Amtrak
  • Greyhound Canada

Accessibility

Although the Wheel-Trans door-to-door service has been available since the mid-1970s, since the 1990s, the TTC has focused in providing accessible services on conventional bus routes, the RT and subway. While only 29 of the 68 stations on the Scarborough RT and the Yonge-University-Spadina and Bloor-Danforth subway lines are currently wheel-chair accessible, all stations on the 2002 Sheppard line are fully accessible. As of August 1, 2009, 149 of the TTC's 167 bus routes (including community and night bus routes) are accessible. Currently, the TTC's streetcar network is not accessible; however, the fleet is planned to be gradually replaced with modern, low-floor vehicles, specifically Bombardier's Flexity Outlook, by 2020.

All surface vehicles are equipped with the Surface Vehicle Automatic Stop Announcement System (SVASAS) as of February 2008 which is operated over the loudspeakers dictating the name of the next stop (e.g. "Next Stop: Wade Avenue, Lansdowne Subway Station.") along with an LED board on the bus displays the name of the street and changes each time when a bus passes a stop. As of October 25, 2007, the Ontario Human Rights Commission urges all public transit operations in Ontario including GO Transit to call out all stops for the visually-impaired passengers. Transit operations who do not announce all stops could be violating rider's rights according to the OHRC.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Commuter parking lots

The TTC operates 30 commuter parking lots, all at subway stations, with a total of 13,981 parking spaces. Effective April 1, 2009 free parking for metropass holders was eliminated. All passengers using parking facilities during peak hours must now pay for the service. The rates vary from lot to lot by are in the range of $2.00 - $6.00.<ref>http://www3.ttc.ca/Riding_the_TTC/Parking/index.jsp</ref> Certain lots can only be used by commuters with a valid metropass.

Washrooms

There are 10 sets of public washrooms located on the TTC system, all at subway stations and most at stations that are major transfer points or at the end of rapid transit lines.<ref>http://www.toronto.ca/ttc/pdf/rideguide.pdf</ref>

Transit infrastructure

Terminals

Most TTC surface routes terminate at loops, side streets or subway station complexes. The TTC system is one of the few mass transit systems in Canada where many surface routes can be accessed inside a paid-fare zone common to other routes or subway lines. This feature allows boarding via the back doors at terminals, reduces the usage of paper transfers, and the need of operators to check for proof-of-payment. However, if an authorized TTC employee, TTC Special Constable Services or Toronto Police officers is/are able to catch offenders, they are liable to face a $500 fine for fare evasion.

There are some larger loops at terminal buildings other than subway stations:

  • Bingham Loop
  • Humber Loop
  • Long Branch Loop (adjacent to Long Branch GO Station)
  • York University, in front of the York Lanes shopping centre (This terminal will be served by the planned Spadina subway extension)

Other loops include:

  • Neville Park Loop
  • High Park Loop
  • McCaul Loop
  • Exhibition Loop

Shelters

The shelters used by the systems are split between CBS Outdoor (formerly Viacom Media) (with ads) and Toronto Transportation. A total of 4,100 shelters are managed by Toronto Transportation and most from the former transportation departments of the municipalities that make up the City of Toronto.

The Otter Loop Shelter on Avenue Road south of Lawrence Avenue West is the only remaining bus shelter from the 1940s and 1950s. The loop and shelter are not in regular revenue service and not owned by the TTC.

The transit system is introducing shelters with solar panels and ones with next stop broadcast. The latter will appear along streetcar lines.

Surface fleet support infrastructure

TTC buses and streetcars are operated out of a number of garages and carhouses located around the city and are serviced at several other facilities.

The surface routes are divided into several divisions. Individual divisions have a superintendent, an on-duty mobile supervisor, a CIS communications centre, and a garage facility tasked with managing the division's vehicle fleet and routes.

Head Office

TTC Head Office is located at 1900 Yonge Street at Davisville Avenue. Known as the William C. McBrien Building, it was opened in 1957. Previous TTC HQ was at Yonge Street and Front Street.

There are plans to moved HQ to a yet to be built site at 4050 Yonge Street near York Mills Road. The site is currently a commuter parking lot with a TTC entrance to York Mills Subway Station. Build Toronto is charged with helping the commission relocated, but it is facing political opposition from many mayoral candidates.<ref>Proposal for new TTC Headquarters draws flak</ref>

Safety and communications

Safety systems

Safety features provided by the TTC include:

  • Request Stop Program on surface routes (9 p.m.-5 a.m.) (excluding streetcar routes); youth and female passengers travelling alone can request the driver to stop at points between bus stops (no such service is currently offered for male passengers although some drivers do take requests from men). The program was started in 1991, due in part to the activities of serial rapist and killer Paul Bernardo.
  • Designated Waiting Areas (DWA) on subway and RT platforms; these are well lit, have intercoms, monitored by security cameras, and are at the location where the guard car stops
  • Toronto EMS Paramedics stationed at key locations within the subway system during the morning and evening rush to assist with medical emergencies, and provide a faster response. This also reduces delays on the rapid transit system.<ref>http://www3.ttc.ca/News/2009/March/TTC_and_Toronto_EMS_place_more_paramedics_in_Toronto_subwa.jsp</ref>
  • Emergency Power Cut stations - indicated by a blue beacon - and located on both ends of all Subway/RT platforms with a telephone to call Transit Control's emergency number (3555)
  • Yellow Passenger Assistance Alarm strips on subway and RT cars since 1977
  • Emergency stopping mechanisms (PGEV - Passenger/Guard Emergency Valve) on all subway and RT trains (for use in severe emergencies i.e. doors open while train in motion, person stuck in doors as train leaves station, derailment etc.)
  • Approximately 12,000 cameras monitoring activities on the subway system and on the entire fleet of buses and streetcars.<ref>http://www.gazette.uwo.ca/article.cfm?section=FrontPage&articleID=1055</ref>
  • TTC Special Constable Services
  • Underground Alert messages displayed on the subway platform video screens to notify passengers about criminals.

TTC By-law No. 1

The TTC's By-law No. 1 is a by-law governing the actions of passengers and employees while on Commission property. It can be enforced by a "proper authority" which is defined in the by-law as: "an employee or agent of the TTC wearing a TTC uniform; an employee or agent of the TTC carrying an identification card issued by the TTC; a TTC Special Constable; or a municipal police officer."<ref>http://www3.ttc.ca/Riding_the_TTC/TTC_Bylaws.jsp</ref> The by-law covers rules regarding, fare payment and conduct while in the system. Effective 12 October 2009, a revised version of the by-law has been issued. Revisions include the restriction of placing feet or "any object that may soil" on seats, and the provision that one must give up their seat to a person with a disability in priority seating areas. The maximum fine for most TTC By-law No. 1 violations is $500,000.

An online version of the by-law is available here

OneStop media system

The TTC, in partnership with OneStop Media Group, have rolled out large LCD Television Screens in major stations throughout the system. By the end of 2010, all stations are expected to have these signs. The new media system will replace the old "Subway Online" system, which has been decommissioned.

The signs feature advertising, news headlines and weather information from CP24, as well as TTC-specific information regarding service changes, service delays and information pertaining to using the system.

On June 12, 2007, the TTC, in partnership with the Toronto Crime Stoppers and OneStop, launched the Underground Alert system at the Toronto Police Headquarters. The new Underground Alert system allows authorities to post pictures and details of wanted suspects on the screens throughout the subway system. Subway passengers will be encouraged to call police if they have any information.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref>{{#if: Wanted Criminals To Show Up On Subway Monitors

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The system can also be used when an Amber Alert is issued which also may include announcements via the P.A. system. In addition, the "Amber Alert" signs may also appear on many TTC buses.

In September 2008, Dundas Station was the first to feature a “Next Train” announcement integrated into the signage. The system has been expanded to numerous other stations since its initial roll out.<ref>TTC TTC begins rollout of next train arrival signsTemplate:Dead link</ref> As of mid-July 2009, the majority of stations have been equipped with this service.

Communications

The TTC utilizes several types of voice and data communications. There are three main systems. The first is the system used by Operations, Security and Maintenance. This system operates on five UHF conventional frequencies. Channels 1, 3, 4 and 5 are used for day to day operations, while Channel 2 is reserved for the Wheel-Trans service.

Buses and streetcars use the CIS (Communications and Information System) system. This system is spread out city wide with transmit facilities throughout the city. Each bus and streetcar has a Transit Radio Unified Microprocessor (TRUMP) set onboard. This is attached to a transponder receiver which allows CIS operators to track the location of the vehicle using an older computational system know as dead reckoning. The TRUMP also allows the operators and CIS operators to send and receive text messages for such things as short turns and route adjustments. There is also the option of voice communications between the operator and the CIS operator. The CIS system was conceived in the late 1970s and was fully implemented in 1991.

The third system is used by the subway system. This is called the Wayside system. Replacing the old devices which communicated by the third rail are new UHF MPT-1327 Trunking radio sets. The Subway system is divided into 3 separate systems, each representing its respective subway line. This new trunking system allows Transit Control to communicate directly with a single train, a zone encompassing several trains, or the entire line. The Scarborough RT is not included in this system. They continue to use a single channel UHF system, much the same as the system used by operations staff.

All of these systems can be monitored by a scanner capable of the UHF Low band (406–430 MHz).<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Numeric codes - often referring to people or positions (299 Bloor - Subway Line mechanic at Bloor) are also announced through the radio and/or the overhead paging system. The TTC also has Several "Plans" ('Plan A' through 'Plan G')<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> that are used in emergencies but are not announced on the P.A. system and only referred to on the radio.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Personnel

The TTC has a team of over 10,000 employees. Most are operators, however the Commission also employs supervisors, custodians and a wide range of skilled trades people who work on vehicles and critical subway and surface infrastructure.

In October 2008, TTC was named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc., which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Labour disputes

Unionized workers of the TTC workers have performed strike actions nine times since 1952:

  • 1952 - On strike for 19 days.
  • 1970 - On strike for 12 days.
  • 1974 - On strike for 23 days in August; service resumed when back-to-work legislation was passed by the province, which marked the first time the province was involved in a TTC strike.
  • 1978 - On strike for 8 days; service resumed by order of back-to-work legislation.
  • 1984 - On strike during Pope John Paul II's visit to Toronto.
  • 1991 - On strike for 8 days in September.
  • 1999 - On strike for 2 days in April; service resumed by order of back-to-work legislation.
  • 2006 - On strike for 1 day on May 29.
  • 2008 - On strike for 2 days on April 26 at 12:01 a.m.

Incidents

Although it is a generally safe system, the TTC has experienced several major accidents and incidents since 1954:

  • On 27 March 1963, a six-car subway train was completely destroyed by fire. This occurred on a spare track near Union station, after the few remaining passengers were evacuated.<ref>http://transit.toronto.on.ca/subway/5501.shtml</ref>
  • On 15 October 1976, there was an arson in Christie station, which caused significant damage. There is evidence today with the odd-coloured trim tiles on the station walls.<ref>http://transit.toronto.on.ca/subway/5503.shtml</ref><ref>http://transit.toronto.on.ca/subway/5009.shtml</ref>
  • On 11 August 1995, the 1995 Russell Hill subway incident resulted in the deaths of 3 passengers and injuries to 30 others. There were an additional 100 passengers who filed injury-related claims from the accident.
  • In late 1995, TTC employee Jimmy Trasewski was killed during a robbery at Victoria Park station. Adrian Kinkead was arrested 4 months later for the crime and was found to be responsible for 2 other murders. He was convicted of both crimes and is now serving a life sentence.<ref>{{#if: GTA | Police will soon patrol TTC stations
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  • On 27 September 1997, 23-year old Charlene Minkowski was killed when she was pushed in front of a southbound train at Dundas Station. Herbert Cheong, a diagnosed schizophrenic, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>
  • Between 2 and 4 January 1999, a large snowstorm paralyzed parts of the Central Ontario and the Eastern United States. As a result, the city and the transit system ground to a halt. In the following days, major interruptions and delays were incurred and policies to handle snow at the commission were changed.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>
  • On 8 December 2000, a garbage train caught fire while en route through Old Mill Station. The train was completely destroyed, and service was replaced by shuttle buses for the morning rush. Service resumed for the evening rush hour, however Old Mill station remained closed for two days. Since the incident, the TTC has stopped the practice of using garbage trains and maintains a fleet of surface garbage trucks to collect refuse.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>
  • On 14 August 2003, at around 4:15 p.m. EST, the Northeast Blackout of 2003 affected parts of Canada and the North Eastern United States. The city of Toronto like many other cities involved in the blackout effectively ground to a halt. Subway service was suspended and 18 trains sat stuck in tunnels between stations with no power unable to move (all other trains were able to coast with no power to the nearest station to be evacuated),<ref>http://www.ttc.ca/postings/gso-comrpt/documents/report/f1908/_conv.htm</ref> streetcars remained stationary where they were and buses fought to get through gridlocked traffic hampered by the lack of traffic signals. The subway remained shut down for the remainder of the week and only reopened the following Monday the 18th. As a result of the incident an extensive review of TTC emergency procedures was undertaken by the Commission.
  • On 15 October 2005, a bus operator, Jamie Pereira lost sight in one eye after being shot. The shot was fired from outside the bus and the driver was determined not to be the target of the attack.<ref>{{#if: Police make arrest in 2005 shooting of TTC driver
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  • On 23 April 2007, a TTC asbestos removal crew employee, Tony Almeida, was killed and several others were injured when the work car they were operating snagged on some cabling and dislodged a work platform at the end of a night shift. As a result, there was no subway service from Eglinton Station to York Mills Station that day. The TTC was fined $250,000 for violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> It was later found that Almeida was high on marijuana.<ref>{{#if: National
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  • On 10 August 2008, during the evacuation from the Sunrise Propane explosion in North York, subway service on Yonge-University-Spadina line between Downsview station and Lawrence West Station was shut down from early morning until approximately 3:00 p.m. and several TTC surface routes operating in the evacuated areas were on diversion.<ref>List of closures as a result of the explosions</ref>
  • On 15 January 2009, at around 10:00 p.m. EST, the 2009 Toronto blackout affected a huge swath of the city's southwest end. While DC traction power for the subway's third rail was not interrupted, AC power at several passenger stations was affected creating safety concerns due to limited battery powered emergency lighting and lack of fire ventilation fans and communication systems.<ref>http://www3.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Commission_reports_and_information/Commission_meetings/2009/Apr_3_2009/Reports/Power_Outage_Lessons.pdf</ref> As a result, subway service on the Bloor-Danforth subway line was halted between St. George and Keele stations and remained shut down for the rest of the night and most of the following morning on 16 January 2009 affecting over hundreds of thousands of commuters primarily during the morning rush hour. Full subway service resumed at about 2:30 p.m that day.
  • On 13 February 2009, at 4:45 p.m. two youths were pushed to track level in front of an oncoming eastbound train at Dufferin Station. Both youths survived, one uninjured and the other with non-life-threatening injuries. A station collector and a bystander were able to hold a 47-year-old man until police arrived. Since his arrest, the suspect is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>
  • On 18 November 2009, at approximately 2:30 p.m. subway service on the Yonge–University–Spadina line between Bloor-Yonge and Eglinton stations was suspended due to a mishap on Jackes Avenue just south of St. Clair Station. A third-party contractor doing repair work for Enbridge Gas Distribution dug a trench along the roadway breaching the tunnel structure. Hundreds of thousands of commuters were affected during the six-hour shut down until temporary repairs could be effected.<ref>Subway service restored after Yonge line closure www.cp24.com, published November 18, 2009.</ref>

Suicide

The TTC has long maintained a policy of not releasing suicide information and statistics to the public or the media for fear of the possibility of "copycat suicides". In 2008, the Toronto Sun launched a year-long appeal before Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner to have the TTC release information relating to the number of suicides and attempts between 1998 and 2007. The Information and Privacy Commissioner subsequently ordered the statistics be made available and they were released to the public on 26 November 2009.<ref name="www3.ttc.ca">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

From 1998 to 2007, 150 people died by committing suicide by coming into contact with a TTC subway train. Since 1954, when the Yonge St. subway line first opened, there have been more than 1,200 suicide incidents on the TTC including both fatalities and attempts, according to the TTC.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

After being forced to make the information public the TTC ensured that they also released information demonstrating efforts being undertaken to intervene and prevent such incidents in the future.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> The TTC's "Gatekeeper Program" is an internal course available for front line staff to learn and identify the warning signs of someone who may be suicidal and help them, or at least try and prevent them from doing so on the transit system. The TTC also has partnerships with St. Michael's Hospital and other institutions to assist with both prevention programs and counseling programs for staff who have witnessed such incidents.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> The TTC maintains that it will continue its policy of not reporting suicides and suicide related statistics in years to come,<ref name="www3.ttc.ca"/> however in February 2010 statistics from 2008 and 2009 were released in a public report to the Commission regarding suicide and suicide prevention.<ref name="Feb2010Report">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Below, are the subway suicide incidents and attempts from 1998 to 2009.

Year Suicides Attempts Total Incidents
1998 12 13 25
1999 22 4 26
2000 21 12 33
2001 12 17 29
2002 16 11 27
2003 17 9 26
2004 15 8 23
2005 14 6 20
2006 8 11 19
2007 13 9 22
2008 N/A ♦ N/A ♦ 19 <ref name="Feb2010Report" />
2009 N/A ♦ N/A ♦ 18 <ref name="Feb2010Report" />

♦ Data obtained from Toronto Transit Commission Report that does not specify attempts from suicides.

References

External links