A new study on the efficiency of the King streetcar line in Toronto suggests the majority of delays along the heavily travelled downtown route are because passengers take so long getting on and off.

The study, which came out Wednesday, said the service delays on the 504 line can end up lasting anywhere from four to 15 minutes.

“It's not the cars' fault, like we originally thought. It's the loading and unloading of passengers,” said CounDenzil Minnan-Wong.

“There's a lot of people who want to get on and off and we've got to move them faster and quicker,” said Minnan-Wong, who is chair of the city’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

More than 60,000 passengers travel on the 504 line on a typical weekday. 

New streetcars 

TTC spokesman Brad Ross said the current streetcar design contributes to the delays.

"With the new streetcars you can board all four doors,” Ross said, referring to new additions to the transit fleet that will roll out at the end of this month. 

The new streetcars are also built lower to the ground, removing the stairs that some passengers struggle with on the current model. 

But the new cars won't be running on King Street until 2017. And transit advocate Steve Munro says even they won't be enough to solve the problems on King Street. He says the line needs better management, to prevent the "bunching" of streetcars that currently impedes service, and more capacity.

Passengers take a long time to get on and off the cars, Munro said, because the streetcars are overcrowded. 

"The important thing is we don't fall into saying there's going to be a solution coming in three years," Munro said on CBC's Metro Morning. "Some of the problems that beset the King streetcar … have been around for decades. The TTC and the city have to address this."

The city hopes to study the issue further.