Comment 20835

By MarkState (registered) - website | Posted April 06, 2008 at 07:37:18

I grew up in Hamilton when we had streetcars as part of the system. HSR stands for Hamilton Stree Railroad. The entire city guffawed when we were able to sell our streetcar fleet to Toronto, and applauded as the tracks were torn up or buried under the streets. I was too young at the time to appreciate the celebration.

In 64, I moved to Toronto, where I have lived since. Now I know why Hamiltonians laughed at Toronto for picking up the cars, and cheered to see them go.

LRT carries 3X the number of people per vehicle as buses. But now, GO is experimenting with enclosed double decker buses, so this last of the sane reasons for wanting to keep the streetcars is on the way out as well.

I can't even know where to start with the streetcar situation. So let me begin by pointing out to you that your aversion to buses seems to stem from rolling home half cut on the very last bus back to the city you had to get away from to get drunk for your own reasons. You now have an aversion to buses, and think that this is a good argument for prefering light rail to them. Maybe there's some sense in what you say, but if there is, I haven't seen it. Be careful you don't twist your ankle in the rails, or fall down by tripping on them like many senior citizens do here every day, or catch the front wheel of your bicycle in them and go tumbling ass over teakettle if the people in Hamilton are ever stupid enough to take your comments seriously.

Contrary to what you say, streetcars on most lines are completely unreliable. It's not altogether their fault, though. Often, and I underscore the word 'often', you will see several streetcars lined up on the tracks behind one another because the lead one has broken down, been involved in a situation with a vandal or miscreant, been involved in an accident with another motor vehicle, been stuck behind an accident with two or more motor vehicles obstructing the track, or been involved in an accident where somebody stepped off the streetcar (only 3 lines in the city of Toronto have pedestrian island stops in the middle of the street where the cars run: Spadina, St. Clair, and Lakeshore) and was hit by a passing vehicle. While the streetcars are lined up (and if buses were employed on the same route, they could have gone 'round), the potential passengers down the line line up in mobs at the stops... waiting. The first car through stops at all the transit pickup points, and the passengers crowd on and perform personal plowing moves to get off.

Your kids have never enjoyed these crowds, I take it. Bring them to Toronto for another ride. Don't wait for a streetcar traffic jam...did I mention that when the streetcars come along the street, they are usually followd by a dozen or two automobiles who are not allowed to pass them when the doors are open, but can't possilby pass them most of the time anyway because the streets are parked in the curb lanes...just come during rush hour when the people who want to take the TTC have their daily dose of second thoughts.

In Toronto, the acronym TTC stands for Toronto Transit System. Torontonians will tell you it also stands for "take the car!"

When you begin to tally up the cost of replacing track and overhead line, constant scouting of line track and in-service repairs to powerline pucks, daily yard repairs on vehicles that were new in the 80's, and electricity used to power them (the motors are 3 phase, and the initial impetus on the streetcars is energy consuming), two or three buses are only slightly more expensive to run, safer (both as a traffic vehicle with manoeverability and because they pick up and drop off at the curb), and at least as clean (we use electric, bio diesel, and crossover buses in Toronto,and are gradually replacing the fleet of diesels with them).

We might have to replace them with two buses each or even with one double decker, and so the expense of drivers will be increased for a while.

Meantime, your view of LRT as an alternative to buses is completely unrealistic and seen through the blurred rosy coloured glasses of your past.


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