One of the things city watchers were worried about upon Ford’s ascension was the existing contract with Bombardier to provide 204 new low floor light rail vehicles to replace the aging fleet of streetcars that operate on Dundas, Queen, King, Spadina and several other routes. So far, the contract seems safe. It hasn’t really been mentioned since Ford took office, though while campaigning he expressed a desire to cancel the contract and remove streetcars, but said he wouldn’t do it if it cost an “arm and a leg.”
Hopefully this order stays under the radar and happens as scheduled. If you need convincing of the importance of these new vehicles, Steve Munro has published some information regarding the planned roll-out. While Munro has some well-founded concerns about the specifics of the TTC plan, the numbers are particularly striking. The new LRVs will increase capacity on Spadina by 49%. Dundas and Bathurst will see an increase of a crazy 91% and 62%. The beleaguered 501 Queen will increase by 34%. Couple these percentages with all-door boarding and a proof-of-payment system (no more paying the driver while boarding) and the impact on service will be even stronger.
These are significant improvements and will have real impact on the day-to-day lives of thousands of Toronto transit riders. It’s vitally important that they are delivered on schedule.