Ever wondered why TTC streetcars and buses short turn (other than to ruin your commute, that is)?
In a YouTube video released today, the commission's CEO Andy Byford explains the phenomenon that is an all-too-familiar annoyance for regular riders.
Assisted by TTC spokesperson Brad Ross (not pictured: his new badass spokesperson tattoo), Byford talks viewers through the reasons why streetcars are sometimes pulled off their scheduled routes. The short answer is that if bad traffic, construction or other snafus cause unacceptably long gaps between TTC vehicles, a streetcar or bus headed in the other direction is emptied of passengers and reverses course to fill in the gap.
"Effectively by doing that, we inconvenience a small number of people to benefit a majority going the other way," Byford says. "Because there may be that there's way more customers waiting for a car in the other direction."
Understanding why short turns happen may be cold comfort to frazzled TTC riders tossed onto the street, but Byford says he's aware "that this really frustrates our customers" and promises the TTC is doing everything it can to minimize short turn incidents. The commission is now keeping track of delays on a daily basis to better understand their causes, and is training drivers to communicate better with passengers.
The CEO also notes that the new larger, supposedly more efficient streetcars will hit the rails in 2014, and will hopefully cut down on delays and reduce the need to short turn.
It's worth pointing out however that the new cars will be deployed first on routes like the 510 Spadina and 511 Bathurst. They won't start hitting the 501 Queen and 504 King lines - commuter routes that battle heavy car traffic - until 2015 and 2016, respectively.