Jul 31, 2008

Fallout from Human Rights ruling

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the TTC violated the rights of blind lawyer David Lepofsky by failing to call all stops on surface routes. Since that time transit systems across Ontario have been instructing their drivers to announce all stops.

This has become a complicated project for Mississauga Transit. Drivers were to announce stops in advance by shouting or using a microphone. The employee’s union rejected Mississauga Transit’s plan as being unsafe.

The union filed a complaint using the Health and Safety Act. After an investigation the Ontario Ministry of Labour agreed with the union’s position.

As result of the findings Mississauga Transit has spent $40,000 moving the microphones to position so that driver’s do not have to lean forward to make an announcement. Other changes in policy were also required. It is expected a computerized system of stop announcements will be up and running in two years.

People with vision impairments should be able to use public transit with confidence. We are living in a day and age when progress is being made with accessibility for all. My own personal experince with announcing stops has shown me it can be a challenge for transit drivers to call stops in today’s driving conditions. Over my years of driving I don’t ever recall having a vision impaired person missing thier stop. This was not because I had been announcing the stops but because I tried to take the extra effort to ensure they reach their destination. In fact many times at the TTC I have let blind people off between stops and escorted them to the building they wanted. I know that I was not the only driver making transit user friendly for blind commuters.

Complaints complicate Mississauga stop announcement plan

Jul 28, 2008

Microsoft personal rapid transit (PRT)

Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington, is a unique suburban job center in the U.S., with 30,000 workers from the same company within one square mile. The area is plagued with terrible traffic congestion, and MS has announced plans to add another 12,000 workers. Bettercampus.org has proposed a unique solution for Microsoft campus expansion, personal rapid transit (PRT). PRT is a packet switched people mover, faster than a car. It solves the transit "last mile" problem on campus, making transit and carpooling more effective; thus, reduces traffic congestion.

Jul 20, 2008

Streetcar deal - what is the truth?

Bombardier Transportation says it is baffled by the Toronto Transit Commission's dismissal as “non-compliant” of its bid for a $1.25-billion contract to replace the city's aging streetcar fleet. As a result, it is urgently seeking a meeting with the TTC to get a better understanding of what went wrong.

TTC chairman Adam Giambrone , who also is a Toronto city councillor, told reporters Thursday that Bombardier's proposed “Flexity” streetcar would simply would not run on the city's system, with its hilly streets and tight curves.

"Effectively, the car that they bid would have derailed on Toronto streets, and they should have known this," he said.

The TTC announcement has shock a considerable amount of people. There is something that does not seem right to me. I find it difficult to believe that Bombardier would bid on a contract with a streetcar design that is designed to failure. I don't think the all of the facts have been revealed to the public. It feels as though something is being withheld. It is almost as if they are trying to squeeze a better deal from Bombardier. Don't forget that the TTC is a transit commission (like most of them) that is politically motivated.

Bombardier baffled by derailed streetcar contract.

Jul 12, 2008

Go wrongfully takes passengers from DRT

The Whitby GO station will be squeezing in room for a new multi-storey parking garage to help ease congestion, officials say.
I first made a post about this on May 5, 2007 and it's still a sad day when Go Transit takes passengers away from local transit. This is exactly what will happening when 900 spaces are added to the 2,458 existing parking spaces.

The weekday ridership has increased 7.2 per cent across the GO system. This should result in better transit rather than more parking space. One good thing about the increse riders is that a $10 million budget shortfall caused by rising fuel prices won't affect the cost of riding GO Transit.

The cost of this additional parking is $30 million dollars. I think the Ontario Government and tax payers would have got a bigger bang for their buck if it had been invested towards local transit.

Steve Munro ha an interesting post about Go parking on his web page.

New parking garage at station set to GO.

Jul 11, 2008

DRT Ajax garage expansion

The DRT west transit garage, was constructed in 1988 for Ajax Transit. It is located adjacent to the Ajax Go Station and was originally designed to accommodate approximately 30 buses. Under DRT the bus parking area has been expanded with Go Transit also using the garage for parking of Go buses.

All that is about to change as Durham Region has now opened the bidding for architectural and transit operational consulting services. The region estimates the cost of the expansion to be more than $7 million, based on plans completed for the former Ajax Pickering Transit Authority. It will include a 26,000-square-foot addition to the facility, including six work bays with hoists and space for one portable hoist.

Construction schedules will be determine once the request for the proposals is awarded in the fall of 2008. This is part of the original DRT five year service strategy that also includes plans to:

  • replace the east garage on the same site;
  • construct a new facility for major maintenance, located in the north-central area; in the future.

Jul 9, 2008

Hy-Drive Technology flops transit test

Karem Allen on her blog Transit Nightmares, made a post on May 19, 2008 about Fuel cost increases. She was wonder about the results of test by Mississauga Transit using Hy-Drive to reduce fuel consumption and increase mileage.

Hy-Drive Technology, was the company that was going to test their product on Mississauga Transit buses. It had been claimed that hydrogen fuel-injection technology would reduce emissions and lower operating costs.

I also had made a posting about this test on June 9, 2007. I had forgotten all about this new technology until I read Karem's post. I decide to do a follow up. I sent out a request for information to the City of Mississauga’s Customer Service and received one reply about the Hy-Drive testing.

Oakville Transit had also started a test of the Hy Drive system. We decided to wait to see Oakville's results. They provided information that did not indicate positive results from their evaluation. Based on this information we decided not to proceed with any testing of this product.
Oakville-HyDrive- 003It turned out that Oakville had three 2005 New Flyer D40LF buses retrofitted with Hy-Drive Technologies, for Hydrogen Clean Air Testing.

That is about all I am able to find out about the Hy-Drive test. An anonymous comment appeared on my blog and said there was a scathing report from Oakville Transit, to the City council, that stated, unequivocally, that the Hy-Drive units provided absolutely no benefit.

If you are able to supply more info, please leave a comment below.

Jul 8, 2008


Here's a Phone number (1-800-GOOG-411) (1-800-466-4411) worth putting in your cell phone. Among other things you will be able to quickly locate the customer service of any public transit authority in North America.

This is an awesome service from Google and its free... great when you are on the road. Listen to the clip!!


You don't need a computer, an Internet connection, or even the keypad on your phone or mobile device. GOOG-411 is voice-activated, so you can access it from any phone (mobile or land line), in any location, at any time. For free.

Dial (1-800) GOOG-411. Say where. Say what you're looking for. GOOG-411 will connect you with the business you choose.

If you are calling from a mobile device, GOOG-411 can even send you a text message with more details and a map. Simply say "Text message" or "Map it."

Jul 6, 2008

Go Transit racks em' up

GO bus bike rack

  • Is the nearest bus stop too far to walk?
  • Do you want to ride only part of the way?
  • What if the weather changes before your return trip?
  • What if your equipment breaks down?
Go Transit has started it's program of installing bike racks on Go Buses. It has used $225,000 in provincial funding, to install bike racks on all busses that travel between Hamilton and Aldershot and Hamilton and Toronto. Starting on August 1, 2008 two QEW. express buses will be equiped with bicycle racks. It is hopeful, that the entire fleet of buses will fully equipped within a year.

Read more on Go Transit's web page.

Jul 1, 2008

Canada Day

Today is Canada Day!
Take the day off, eh.