Sep 23, 2006

Drivers demand protection

The first homicide on an OC Transpo bus has given the public a "wake-up call" on the perceived safety of public transit in Ottawa, says the head of the bus drivers' union.

"A lot of people don't go out at night because they're afraid to go out in this city. The politicians need to take their head out of the sand," said Andre Cornellier, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279.

The stabbing death of 23-year-old Michael Oatway on the Route 118 bus along Baseline Rd. Thursday night highlights the dangers for both passengers and drivers from attackers, said Cornellier. Read more…


Sep 22, 2006

Too much riding on the line

It wasn't that long ago commuters were hailing the new Durham Region Transit (DRT) as a boon for the region.

The fledgling transit system was created to unite Durham Region by amalgamating the previous transit systems under one banner and allowing commuters easy access from one end of the region to the other. While amalgamating the transit systems helped create DRT, it seems the new system is experiencing its first growing pains as it attempts to hammer out its inaugural collective bargaining agreement. Read more…

Sep 16, 2006

TTC improvements waiting on funding promises

The TTC is a one step closer to getting new buses, trains and improved driver security, if the money comes through from Ottawa.

"We all have concerns, but I trust the commitment made by Stephen Harper will be honoured," said TTC chair Howard Moscoe.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in June that $16.5 billion would become available for municipalities across Canada over the next four years. The money will assist funding for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure.

If the money appears, the TTC will acquire 220 buses by fall 2007 and 140 hybrid buses in early 2008.

The city budget advisory committee met Friday morning and also gave preliminary approval for the controversial order of 39 new subway trains from Bombardier. Critics of the deal say that exclusively negotiating with the company was wrong and that a bidding process should have been employed.

A $2.7 million project will see protective barriers installed on buses and street cars to shield drivers. TTC fare-collectors were discouraged by their union from arguing with riders over fare disputes due to an increase in assaults. The increased violence toward TTC staff was one issue behind a wild-cat strike in May 2006.

The dividers will be made to latch open or closed so operators could use their own discretion whether to use them or not.

But the plan to add security cameras to TTC vehicles met with some changes on Friday.

Originally, the added security measure had an estimated cost of $2.8 million, but a study of the system found it to be sub-par. The commission decided it wants an updated system instead, with a cost of $17 million.

The committee approved the original funding request, and is waiting for a decision on the extra expense.

Installation of $2.8 million-worth of the updated surveillance can go ahead early in 2007. The remainder will have to wait for further budget approvals.

Moscoe said the protective measures come from recommendations made by an operator safety committee. He said they will aim to meet all of the recommendations because "our drivers are feeling unsafe."

City council meets at the end of September. All of Friday's decisions by the TTC will have to be approved during the up-coming council meeting.

Sep 15, 2006

Transit ridership on the rise in Scugog

While it's taken a number of months, it appears Scugog residents are slowly warming to the idea of a regional transit system.

Slow to embrace the Durham Region Transit system when it was introduced last December, Township residents have now begun to utilize the bus system that runs twice a week through the municipality, according to regional figures shared by Scugog Mayor Marilyn Pearce on Monday. Read more...

Sep 12, 2006

Solve the transit dispute

To the editor:
I would like all persons involved on the Region side of the dispute between the 300 workers represented by CAW 222 and Durham Region Transit to work aggressively towards resolving the issue. My family of five (two adults, and three school-aged children) made an environmental choice to rely on public transportation for city travel to work, school, shopping, medical appointments and entertainment. Read more…

CAW gives transit bargaining team strike mandate

The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union representing Durham Region Transit (DRT) workers have voted in favour of a strike mandate.

After a summer-long stalemate, DRT workers and management are back at the bargaining table. But, according to John Johnson, CAW's DRT unit chairman, workers are ready to take action if required.

On Sept. 10, the CAW Local 222 members voted 92 per cent in favour of giving their bargaining committee a strike mandate. Read more…


Sep 11, 2006

The rail industry's dirty little secret

So the rail industry has a secret. This article is a good bit of investigative reporting. It explains further of why Go Transit is experiencing train cancellations.

GO Transit -- which this summer struggled through its worst on-time performance in years -- has more trouble getting crews to show up for shifts on Fridays than any other day, according to the agency's internal performance reports.

"Friday's always tough," says GO Transit managing director Gary McNeil. "What's typically happening on Friday is you get a train crew calling in to say: 'I'm too tired to operate the train.' The railways can't say you have to operate the train. They have to take that as a legit book-off."

Thank Goodness It's Friday. It's the rail industry's dirty little secret, one GO Transit officials are nearly powerless to address. Over the summer crew shortages caused cancellations or delays on June 23, July 7, Aug. 4 and Aug. 18, all Fridays. Read more…

Sep 10, 2006

Strike Vote

Today the Durham Region Transit members of CAW Local 222 held a strike vote. They gave their bargaining committee a 92% authorization to call a strike if necessary.

Yes to strike 163
No to strike 19
Spoiled 2
92% in favour

New Flyer

Durham Region Transit in Durham, Ontario has ordered 30 40-foot diesel buses, making this order their first order of New Flyer vehicles.

Name Of BidderAmount of Bid
New Flyer Industries Ltd.$6,933,100No Bid
Nova Bus$7,557,649 $1,509,264
Orion Bus Industries$7,563,919No Bid
City View Bus & Truck$7,564,337No Bid

Firms line up to run GO rail

My Comments: Do you remember those announcements on the public address system at the Go Train station? You know, the ones that inform the public about cancelled trains. It appears that CN and CPR do not have enough backup crews to fill in when employees book sick.

Potential suitors are already lining up as GO Transit moves to sever contracts with CN and CPR -— the traditional operators of GO's commuter rail service -— in an effort to reduce costs and produce more reliable service.

Veolia Transportation, based in London, England, and Quebec's Bombardier are among those interested in running trains for GO, which suffered its worst summer on-time performance due in part to CN crews booking off sick on Fridays.

Read more

Sep 9, 2006

2006 Transportation Tomorrow Survey

The following has been copied from the Ontario Government web page…

The 2006 Transportation Tomorrow Survey (TTS) is a telephone interview of a random sampling of 5% of the households in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and surrounding area of Central Ontario (approximately 150,000 households). It involves asking the survey participants about trip information for each household member. The results are used to form a comprehensive picture of travel in the survey area.

The survey will be conducted in the areas outside the GTA, starting in September and end in late November of 2005. The GTA will be surveyed during the same period in 2006. All survey work will be completed by late 2006.

Expansion of survey records and data validation will be carried out using 2006 Census household numbers starting in 2007. Final data results from the TTS should be available by December 2007.

The TTS survey has been carried out on a 5-year cycle since 1986. It has been conducted as an ongoing partnership arrangement between the Province and 18 municipalities and agencies, and the University of Toronto. Since its inception, the Data Management Group (DMG) of the University of Toronto has undertaken management responsibility for all TTS surveying and data management. DMG then maintains the data on an ongoing basis for access by all partners.
Value to MTO

The TTS provides basic information essential for transportation planning in Central Ontario. Various parts of the Ministry use this valuable data for:

* Planning studies
* Policy development
* Official Plans and Transportation Master Plans
* Environmental Assessments
* Development and calibration transportation forecast models
* Transportation Impact Studies
* Transit service and route planning
* Identification of inter-regional transportation issues
* Travel behaviour analysis
* Transportation systems operations and design

The TTS provides us with the ability to track and compare changes in travel behaviour from one survey period to another using information collected using consistent statistical methods. Having time series analysis on a regular basis allows for a better understanding of how travel behaviour is changing and the challenges in meeting future demand.

Read more…

Sep 4, 2006

Commuters, don't despair

As fall arrives The Toronto Star is predicting a increase ridership on the GTA transit systems. With people returning from vacations and the startup of schools I know that things will busy at Durham Region transit. Read More...

Viva buses battle growing pains

One of the brightest things that has happened to transit in the GTA is the Viva Bus system of York Region. Today September 4, 2006 it is one year old.

Viva is run differently than any other bus transit system in the GTA. For one thing Viva's buses are connected with dispatch by a satellite in order to keep them running on time.

Viva operates on a prepaid, proof-of-payment system. There are no fare boxes on Viva. Customers must purchase tickets or passes prior to boarding, and hold onto them in case a Fare Inspector asks for proof of payment. To transfer to a YRT bus, customers show their validated tickets or passes to the bus driver when boarding.

Viva has had a number of behind the scenes mishaps. Read more…

Sep 3, 2006

Wives blast tunnel safety

After working at the TTC for 32 years I know how difficult it is to convince the TTC mangers of an on the job hazard. I personally have experience of fumes from an test bus. I was very sick from the fumes and the management team did not take the matter serious. I was sent to the TTC doctor for a examination. Fortunately the doctor understood what was happening. Read more to find out that this is still going on...

Sep 2, 2006

Return to Bargaining Table?

Labour problems are brewing at Durham Region Transit. There are no serious negations going on at this time. CAW members are heading towards a strike vote. Will Durham Region Transit experience it's first labour disruption? This is not good for management or employees of a company that is still in it’s first year of existence. You can read more here...