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Decreased Travel and Wait Times Key to Improving Public Transit

Coruscanti Cognoscente

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Transit demand rises with gas prices, survey finds

Sep 01, 2008 12:59 PM

Nick Kyonka
Staff Reporter

More Canadians are looking towards public transit and other alternatives to driving as rising gas prices cut into their personal spending, a national survey released today said.

But as transit use continues to climb across the country, many city-dwellers still cite long wait and travel times as the biggest deterrent from taking trains and buses, a problem that will likely only get worse with increased usage, said the report prepared on behalf of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Canadian Urban Transit Association.

"Our transit systems can't cope with the surge in demand that is coming as a result of higher gas prices," said FCM president, Jean Perrault. "What we need now is the political will to speed up the investments in public transit to get more buses on the road and improve existing rail service."

While 20 per cent of respondents said they had already switched to public transit to mitigate the higher gas prices, many others indicated that increased transit performance standards would likely convince them to make the shift.

Sixty-five per cent said they could be motivated to use public transit if travel times were quicker, while 64 per cent cited shorter waiting times as a potentially motivating factor, the survey said. Longer hours of operation, lower fares and more comfortable rides were also cited.

Transit use has set record levels in recent years, noted CUTA Chair, Steve New, during a teleconference call today.

"Right across Canada we're seeing all-time records in transit ridership already," he said, noting the strain this has put on transit systems, particularly during rush hour.

"There's also very strong expectations of transit ridership surging this month as Canadians rethink their transportation options as they return to work and school."

Altogether, New said, CUTA members are calling for a $40 billion federal investment over the next five years to help repair and expand systems nationwide.

http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/488640
Why the TTC should focus on travel times.
 

PukeGreen

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Exactly. I think people desperately want to use transit, but they're just scared to make themselves fully reliant on it, and for good reason. The perfect storm of high gas prices and environmental awareness is there... now is the time to capitalize on it and make transit truly usable for people with places to be.

The twenty minutes my wife and I spent waiting for an eastbound streetcar on Gerrard East on Saturday is a perfect example of the problems that still exist. With the crowds around us growing and no streetcar in sight, we gave up and hiked 15 minutes east to Gerrard Square. During that time several streetcars passed going west, but none to the east. That's 35 minutes with no transit. For all I know that poor old guy next to us with the cane is still standing there at the corner of Pape and Gerrard coughing and waiting... coughing and waiting...
 

afransen

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I think that as a crosstown line, Eglinton should have some sort of express service. 100 stops from one end to the other is ridiculous. Run the LRT on the surface and have express subway with stops every 3 - 4 km? You might then be able to get from STC to the airport in <30 minutes.
 

ITcomputer

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Exactly. I think people desperately want to use transit, but they're just scared to make themselves fully reliant on it, and for good reason. The perfect storm of high gas prices and environmental awareness is there... now is the time to capitalize on it and make transit truly usable for people with places to be.

The twenty minutes my wife and I spent waiting for an eastbound streetcar on Gerrard East on Saturday is a perfect example of the problems that still exist. With the crowds around us growing and no streetcar in sight, we gave up and hiked 15 minutes east to Gerrard Square. During that time several streetcars passed going west, but none to the east. That's 35 minutes with no transit. For all I know that poor old guy next to us with the cane is still standing there at the corner of Pape and Gerrard coughing and waiting... coughing and waiting...
the above is the reason why I will never give up my car in Toronto, too bad, because I have successfully relied on transit in other major cities, but not in Miller's Toronto....:mad:
 

xtremesniper

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I think people desperately want to use transit, but they're just scared to make themselves fully reliant on it.
That, right there, pretty much explains everything.

Just from my own polling of the people that I know, I get the same results that the original article cited. I can't imagine anyone who would be against taking transit if the travel times matched or bettered travel times by car, and if wait times were down to 5-10 minutes for all popular routes.

I can easily see the travel times problem being fixed with dedicated bus only lanes, and the LRT coming in soon. However, the wait times are an issue that we're probably way off from resolving on a network-wide basis any time soon.

We already see an increased use of buses on routes that actually provide rapid and comfortable service. The Viva Blue route on Yonge demonstrates this fairly well. At all hours of the day, most Viva stops have people waiting to hop on the bus, which comes on average between every 5 to 15 minutes depending on the time of day. I once saw a bus station with more than 6 people waiting for a bus at 11:30pm. For the 905, that is amazing.

Just wait and see what dedicated lanes on Highway 7 is going to do to transit in the 905.
 

PukeGreen

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To be a bit more fair to the TTC, the reliability varies heavily depending on the route. Subways are far more reliable than streetcars or buses, so if both ends of your commute are near subway stations I think it is more than feasible to rely on transit. However, this applies to only a small portion of the city; and the more transfers between lines that are required on your trip, the more the travel time varies.

Likewise, my experiences with the Viva blue bus have been very positive. I am impressed that York Region has taken the initiative to build this and I hope it continues to expand the system aggressively. However, again, only those few people fortunate enough to both live and work right near Viva stops could realistically use this service to commute.

GO trains, on the other hand, are an example of a non-reliable transit that continually places people in awkward positions with their bosses. In the winter in particular it is not unusual for GO trains to be drastically late several times a week. Even the most understanding boss begins to lose patience when you arrive late for work 4 days in a row, which happened to me. Talk about the definition of stress, especially when you're trapped on a stalled train within site of Union station, watching the minutes tick by on your watch... ah, memories.
 

xtremesniper

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Talk about the definition of stress, especially when you're trapped on a stalled train within site of Union station, watching the minutes tick by on your watch... ah, memories.
Haha yes my office was on Front street, and I could see those late GO trains from my window. It was a terrible sight, especially because I could only imagine how it must feel to be so close yet so far from your destination.

There are many reasons why, as a 905er, I chose to take the TTC over GO. Reliability (or the lack thereof) is one of those reasons.
 

W. K. Lis

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The 502 Downtowner and 503 Kingston Road combined headways are as follows:

M-F morning rush: 6' 00"

M-F midday: 20' 00"

M-F afternoon rush: 7' 30"




The 22 Coxwell headways are as follows:

Coxwell Stn. - Queen

M-F morning rush: 8' 00"

M-F midday: 8' 00"

M-F afternoon rush: 8' 00"

M-F early evening: 10' 00"


Coxwell Stn. - Victoria Park replaces streetcar service on Kingston Road
M-F late evening: 12' 00"

Sat. early morning: 12' 00"

Sat. morning: 11' 00"

Sat. afternoon: 11' 00"

Sat. evening: 15' 00"

Sun. daytime: 10' 00"

Sun. evening: 15' 00"



322 Coxwell: 30' 00​

While I understand that the streetcars can carry more people than the buses, most people are concerned about the frequency or headways. If you live on Kingston Road, I would be upset that the streetcar comes every 20 minutes on a weekday at noon, but a bus comes every 11 minutes on a Saturday at noon or 10 minutes on a Sunday noontime.

The streetcar should not have worse headways than the bus on the weekend.
 

scarberiankhatru

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I think that as a crosstown line, Eglinton should have some sort of express service. 100 stops from one end to the other is ridiculous. Run the LRT on the surface and have express subway with stops every 3 - 4 km? You might then be able to get from STC to the airport in <30 minutes.
35km at highway speeds in less than 30 minutes by subway? It's just not going to happen. Thar's GO for them thar trips.
 

doady

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the above is the reason why I will never give up my car in Toronto, too bad, because I have successfully relied on transit in other major cities, but not in Miller's Toronto....:mad:
Considering that the TTC has the highest ridership of any system in Canada, I think David Miller must be doing something right.

I am just glad that I live in Canada and not the US, where most systems are seeing decreased ridership and increased service cuts.
 

Dichotomy

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Considering that the TTC has the highest ridership of any system in Canada, I think David Miller must be doing something right.

I am just glad that I live in Canada and not the US, where most systems are seeing decreased ridership and increased service cuts.
:confused: Considering the GTA is nearly DOUBLE the next biggest metro area in this country, that is hardly an accomplishment. In fact, the TTC has not yet regained its peak ridership that it had in the '80s.
 

doady

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:confused: Considering the GTA is nearly DOUBLE the next biggest metro area in this country, that is hardly an accomplishment. In fact, the TTC has not yet regained its peak ridership that it had in the '80s.
US and Canadian metropolitan areas by % of people using transit to get to work - 2000 and 2001

New York - 24.9%
Toronto - 22.4
Montreal - 21.7
Ottawa-Gatineau - 18.5
Winnipeg - 14.2
Calgary - 13.1
Chicago - 11.5
Vancouver - 11.5
Halifax - 9.9
Quebec - 9.8
Victoria - 9.7
San Francisco - 9.5
Washington-Baltimore - 9.4
Boston - 9.0
Philadelphia - 8.7
Edmonton - 8.6
Hamilton - 7.9
Oshawa - 7.1
Seattle - 6.8
Pittsburgh - 6.2
London - 6.0
Portland - 5.7
Los Angeles - 4.7
Minneapolis-St. Paul - 4.6
Regina - 4.4
Denver - 4.3
Las Vegas - 4.1
Saskatoon - 4.1
Milwalkee - 4.0
Kitchener - 3.9
Miami - 3.9
Atlanta - 3.7
Buffalo - 3.5
Cleveland - 3.4
San Diego - 3.4
Houston - 3.3
Cincinatti - 3.1
Windsor - 3.1
Salt Lake City - 3.0
Sacramento - 2.7
Austin - 2.6
Providence 2.5
St. Louis - 2.4
Louisville - 2.2
St. Catharines-Niagara - 2.0
Phoenix - 2.0
Rochester - 1.9
Detroit - 1.8
Dallas-Fort Worth - 1.8
Orlando - 1.7
Raleigh-Durham - 1.7
Indianapolis - 1.3
Kansas City - 1.3
Nashville - 1.0

Anyone else? Bring it.
 

Glen

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doady,

What point are you trying to make? What is Miller doing right? In our own past, with a smaller population we had higher transit ridership than we do today. For a lot less money to boot.
 

Dichotomy

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When did Miller come to power? The stats posted are 8 years old.

Besides: does this prove that the TTC is fantastic, or our roads are the worst in North America?
 

W. K. Lis

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doady,

What point are you trying to make? What is Miller doing right? In our own past, with a smaller population we had higher transit ridership than we do today. For a lot less money to boot.
Except that we now have more people who live in the 905 than before and they live for the automobile. They use the car to get milk or a lottery ticket, while those in the 416 walk.

Because the 905ers use the car for just about everything in the 905, they will continue to drive when they go into the 416, and therefore add to the traffic congestion in the 416. Putting more of the 416 transit on any kind of right-of-way, will segregate the 416 transit users from the 905 motorist. This will result in faster transit, while leaving the 905 alone in their cars.
 
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