50 TTC bus and streetcar routes are overcrowded, but most Torontonians already know that
TTC chair says streetcars ordered from Bombardier are not arriving as quickly as anticipated
Fifty bus and streetcar routes exceed capacity standards at some point during the week, according to 2017 TTC data.
That is about a quarter of the 196 surface routes running in the city.
The overcrowding does not affect the vehicles all day over the entire route. The TTC says the numbers are clocked during peak periods.
TTC Chair Josh Colle said Tuesday the main issue is that streetcars, ordered from Bombardier, are not arriving as quickly as anticipated. This has forced the TTC to add busses to streetcar routes in order to pick up the slack.
"We are in the midst of a bus procurement, and bus ordering, that we've never seen in this city," said Colle. "We've purchased, or ordered, over 800 busses in Toronto over the course of this term, and … with those new busses we can alleviate some of that burden on some of those crowded routes."
The data shows the 504 King streetcar had the busiest period overall on Saturday evenings, with the peak overcrowding hitting 123 per cent. The same route sees over capacity at 115 to 117 per cent morning and midday weekdays respectively.
The 505 Dundas streetcar is the busiest route overall, with an average of 121 per cent capacity weekday afternoons and weekend mornings.
Another busy route was the 129 McCowan North bus, which sees overcrowding all day on Saturdays, peaking at 123 per cent first thing Saturday morning.
'I think I prefer a car'
If you regularly use public transit in this city, this isn't news to you.
TTC rider Justin Bailey described an overcrowded streetcar as a can of sardines.
"You have to fight for your stop — you ring the bell and you just hope that people are nice enough to let you through. Because otherwise, you're swallowed by the crowd," he told CBC Toronto.
Bailey said he stopped driving when he moved downtown, but he's considering getting a car because riding the rocket is "too rough."
"For your own personal space, and getting from point A to point B on your time, I think I prefer a car."
Katie Marr rides the 501 Queen streetcar twice a day, five days a week.
"More times than I can count my face has been in someone's armpit for the majority of the ride, [or I'm] hovering over top of the stairs so that the doors will close," she told CBC Toronto.
While that route was only overcrowded by one per cent on Saturday afternoons, Marr said her frustration isn't just with overcrowding, but construction and accidents diverting routes as well.
"[My commute] is less than five km long ... yesterday morning it took me an hour and 15 minutes and five different vehicles," Marr said. "It shouldn't take that long, it shouldn't be that hard."
Colle said the TTC will keep putting pressure on Bombardier. He also said some routes have been adjusted to take pressure off the busiest routes.
With files from Ali Chiasson