Oct 31, 2007

Jim Bradley Minister of Transportation

Ontario now has Jim Bradley as its new Minister of Transportation. He is a sixty two year old longtime St. Catharines MPP and was first elected in June 1977. Before that he was employed as a school teacher. You can read more about him here.

During the election campaign, Bradley said that GO Transit would be coming to Niagara soon. On Tuesday, he said that until he meets with ministry staff, he could not say exactly when that would be.


Send a message to the Honourable Jim Bradley.

Audited for Transit Credit

The follow has been reposted from a blog known as "Go Transit Safety". I am curious to know if anyone else has had a problem with their transit tax credit.

I have been asked by revenue Canada to send in all my receipts for transit. Not just the metro pass but the official receipts. I called TTC and it seems they were not always handing them out but will allow you to bring your passes to the Davisville station to get them. I am interested in how many are in the same boat or if they are simply picking on me. If I don't hear anything I will assume they are picking on me because I am writing this blog.


If you are in the same boat and are facing the task of faxing in every receipt then please email me at chrisw_88@hotmail.com as well email Mike Wallace at Wallace.M@parl.gc.ca so he will have ammunition for this issue.

Oct 30, 2007

Customer Surveys 2007

Beginning Oct. 29, DRT will be conducting their annual customer survey program. The survey will be available to passengers on all DRT buses and at ticket sale locations throughout the region . The survey is also available online.

You can also read the News Advertiser report online.


Unfortunately, I think the survey may not be asking all of the right questions. It is only meant for present users. It does not address the problem of none users. Understanding why people are not using local transit should be a factor in DRT surveys. There is nothing in the online survey that gives you chance to leave comments.

Oct 26, 2007

Weekend and holiday GO Bus service extended

Would this be a good time to inform Regional Chair, Roger Anderson about the improved service to Durham. In the past, he has neglected to understand that Go, is major people mover in Durham.

Weekend and holiday GO Bus service extended.

DRT Transit Map

Durham Region transit has released a system wide map of their routes. This is something that has been over due, but it was worth the wait. It is a large size map and printed on both sides. It is similar in size to a road map of Ontario. The size is a good choice by the planners. The large size places a lesser strain on people (like myself) that have a closeup vision that is fading. It is also the first map in print that includes the complete R-9 Rouge Hill route.

This is much more than a route map. You can find a explanatory list of the symbols on a map that contains information if route runs AM or PM rush, midday, evening, Saturday or Sunday. You can find a list of ticket sales locations. They are listed according to district. This map, is a job well done by the planners.


The image below is only a small portion of the map. You should be able to get the maps from your driver.


Oct 25, 2007

TTC takeover

Will the Ontario Government take over the TTC? Is it a rumor or fact? What ever the outcome, this is not the first time something like this has happened.

Not so long ago, the TTC used to have a subsidiary known as Gray Coach Lines (GCL). It was a bus company that used inter-urban coaches to link Toronto to outlying areas throughout Southern Ontario. It was run very successfully by the TTC.


On September 8, 1970 Go Transit took over Gray Coach Lines commuter routes. TTC and GCL under contract provided the drivers. During the 1980's GO transit assumed complete responsibility for suppling buses and it's own drivers. Gray Coach was eventually sold in 1989 to Stagecoach Holdings of Scotland. They in turn down sized operations and sold the remaining routes to Greyhound in 1992.

Oct 19, 2007

YRT hikes cash fare

York region has the most expensive ride in the GTA. Will Durham Region Transit be far behind? I am sure that the riders in Durham will see a fare increase in 2008. The last DRT fare increase occurred on July 1, 2007.


York Region - Riding public transit in York Region is about to become the most expensive bus ride in the Greater Toronto Area. Effective January 1st, 2008, the cash fare for York Region Transit and Viva will increase by 25 cents to an even $3.00. The only fares not affected are children's, seniors' and students' tickets and passes. York Regional Council approved a fare hike at its monthly meeting Thursday.

680News - YRT hikes cash fare but also announces service improvements.

Oct 17, 2007

Canadian Hybrid Passenger Train

A new Bombardier train has entered service in France. While not technically a hybrid its dual-mode (electrical and diesel) and dual-voltage (1500 and 25000 V) technology enables the train, known as a … more

Oct 14, 2007

Phileas BRT

This is a follow up to my recent post about the Hwy. 2 BRT. I made mention of the Phileas Bus Rapid Transit system in the Dutch city of Eindhoven. Below you will find three videos about the Phileas BRT. They are well worth taking the time to view them. The videos should be viewed in order, as they are continuous.










Oct 12, 2007

Retirement

It is official. I have retired from Durham Region Transit. You can read the entire report on my other blog. Life With Gramps - Retirement


PS: This is not the end of this blog.

Oct 11, 2007

Rider happy with DRT routes

The following appeared on newsdurhamregion.com.


To the editor:

Re: Terry Price letter, 'Durham transit needs to address routes'.

I must respectfully disagree with the assessment of Durham Region Transit, especially in Ajax.

I am a regular user and am happy with Ajax routes. The concept of public transit is 'serve the masses' and the majority of DRT users are GO Transit users and high school students. There are hundreds of daily Elm Route riders who might object to having their route eliminated. As well, there already are "real" bus routes on Kingston Road (partnering with GO), Taunton (from Oshawa to the Pickering GO station via Westney and Bayly), Rossland (from Oshawa to the Ajax GO station via Harwood) and Ajax/Pickering (Liverpool, Kingston, Westney, Bayly) throughout the day. They are on a steady schedule not aligned to GO Train departure/arrival times.

I take exception to his assertion that if you have a job in Toronto, you're rich enough to drive to the train station. Many families have one vehicle where one person must take a bus to the station since the other person drives. Not every job in Toronto is high paying, but there is not always a job in Durham, so people must go into Toronto to work. As well, most students can only afford a bus to the station. The writer is obviously not thinking about the environment or gridlock, since driving to the station would pollute the air and cause traffic jams across Ajax. Traditionally, transit funding from federal and provincial levels has been ridiculously low for the 905 area, especially Durham Region.

If he has some constructive ideas about how to improve DRT across Durham given its limited funding, he should contact DRT through its website, www.durhamregiontransit.com.

Caryn Antram

Ajax

PS: You can expect to see changes to the routes in 2008.


 

Oct 8, 2007

New boss on Mississauga Transit

According to the The Toronto Star, Geoff Marinoff has been hired as Director of Mississauga Transit. He left his former job of Deputy General Manager, Subway Operations TTC. In the article he appears to have an excellent awareness of how urban transit should operate. I like his comment that a subway gives riders a spine of frequent service. Personally I have always preferred a subway over light rail or BRT.

Oct 7, 2007

Hwy. 2 BRT?

Last week two consultants showed up at the DRT Ajax garage. They said they were doing a feasibility study for Go Transit of a Bus Rapid Transit along the Hwy. 2 corridor. At this point in time they were questioning drivers about areas on Hwy. 2 that were delaying buses. They spent a number of hours listening to the driver's concerns.



Nothing bugs me more than having an employer that deliberately throws up roadblocks to one of their departments. In this case Durham Region the owner of Durham Region Transit is spending millions of $$$ on transit. They also own the majority of traffic lights in the Region and they are making very little effort to make the system transit friendly. Myself along with other drivers pointed out areas that require a very simple fix to this problem. I really don't believe that Durham Region will opt for the simple way to set things right.


Anyway back to the BRT. After I questioning the consultants, it became very clear that the BRT is still in the very early stages of planning.


Below I have included some photos and information about a BRT that is already operating in Europe.



The Phileas BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) vehicle, developed by the Dutch company Advanced Public Transport Systems (APTS) can drive itself automatically on a dedicated track as well as being manually driven on normal roads. The Phileas system is already in use since 2004. A hybrid-electric drive makes the vehicle up to 30 per cent more fuel efficient than other buses of comparable size.



In semi-automatic mode the driver accelerates and brakes manually, while the vehicle steers itself. In automatic mode all three functions are performed by the vehicle with speeds up to 70 kilometres per hour (44 mph). An electronic guidance system is following the magnetic markers mounted every 4 to 5 metres in the road surface for reference. If deviations of more than half a metre (1.6 ft) occur, either in automatic or semi-automatic mode, the vehicle is automatically stopped.


Oct 6, 2007

Tell me WHY?

I’m sorry to hear that the so called "pedestrian accident" of October 3, on the Via tracks near the Exhibition has turned out to be suicide. It’s sad when people run out of hope that they become so desperate that they have to end their gift of life.


This in turn sent Go transit into a tail spin. I really don’t understand how or why Go handles problems that delay trains. This incident occurred west of Union Station. This prevented or slowed trains from moving east or west through that area.


It would seem to me that the trains that were east of Union could still operate. Surely they could have operated west into Union. Once there, they could have off loaded anyone that wish to travel further west. Then using a track cross over the Go trains could have headed back east. This would have kept service operating in the east.


I know I don’t have the big picture… but was there really a need to shutdown or delay the entire Go Train system?

Report revives road tolls

It's nice to see we have someone in charge at GO Transit and the GTTA that is making sense. GO Chair and GTTA vice-chair Peter Smith has the awareness and understanding of the problems that road tolls will will cause without a more than adequate transit system in place.


The bigger problem may be how to meet the sudden increase in demand tolling would produce.

Already, TTC ridership is breaking records, and GO Transit just passed a major milestone in the 12 months from July 2006 – 50 million annual riders. Officials at both admit they aren't supplying enough service to meet the demand.

So if more people are taxed onto transit, where are they going to go, wonders GO board chair and GTTA vice-chair Peter Smith.

"We already have people standing from Hamilton to Union Station," he said, adding he's not opposed in principle, but, "the last thing we need to do is impose congestion taxes in the absence of expanding the transit system."

TheStar.com | News | Report revives road tolls.

Oct 5, 2007

Pedestrian scrambles

I have just finished reading an article in the Globe and Mail that the City of Toronto among other things, is now proposing “pedestrian scrambles”. This is a pedestrian crossing system that stops all traffic and allows pedestrians to cross intersections in every direction at the same time.

It sounds like a great system for the pedestrian. If you go to Toronto and watch any busy intersection you will soon realize that the colour of the traffic light makes no difference as to when someone will attempt to cross the road.


One of the numskull reasons that is given for the scramble, by committee chairman Glenn De Baeremaeker, is that the proposal would also help drivers, by getting more cars off the roads. He doesn't explain why, but I assume if you bog traffic down more that it is now people will abandon their cars.


Has someone not noticed that public transit also has to use the road ways? What every happen to traffic light priority for transit? Wake up Toronto. You are in this mess because of your hatred of the automobile and your failure to build mass transit systems across the city. When you increase the dwell time of a bus or streetcar you only increase the cost of transit. Don't fix it unless it is broken. The only thing wrong with the present system is the lack of enforcement by the police against people that cross on red lights.