Friday, August 29, 2014

A key day in Toronto's TTC history

TORONTO - A new era in the history of Toronto will begin Sunday and driving and commuting in Toronto will never be the same.

The TTC will roll out its new street-trains Sunday.

You can call them new streetcars but these are 30-metres long compared to the traditional 15-metre cars or the 23-metre versions with the accordion in the middle.

The current streetcars have two doors, the articulated versions have three. The new ones have four.

They will first be used on the 510 Spadina route and expand to other routes from there.

Some are calling this a new age streetcar but they are trains.

I leaned on TTC spokesman Brad Ross to help me out with the stats and, as usual, he was dynamite in providing them. That guy is a gem and on the good days or bad days always does his job with such professionalism. He tells me the new streetcars will be able to seat 180 people and handle 250 seated and standing at rush hour, if necessary. The current streetcars can take on 140 both standing and seated and we all know how much fun that is.

The jury is out on these things. People must keep an open mind and see how the integrate into current Toronto life.

The big test starts Sunday.

It is going to be interesting to watch how these new trains work out. It’s going to be especially interesting when it comes to trying to get past one on the road or when they come through intersections.

We will have to get used to them since Brad tells me the $1.2 billion order for the new street trains “will replace the existing fleet (of 247 of the current cars) in totality.”

If that works itself out OK, they may be embraced by everybody — particularly those who are tired of being jammed into the old ones.

But if they clog up the roads and run into problems with people being in danger from passing traffic with those extra doors this could turn out to be a hot election issue for sure.

Stay tuned. Times are changing at the TTC and on the streets of Toronto, too.
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