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Toronto - May 2006
   

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Toronto — Streetcar Study

Rail Transit Online, May 2006

The Toronto Transit Commission is studying various techniques to increase capacity on its most overburdened streetcar lines, including running two-car sets to reduce bunching.  The coupled units would run at four-minute headways during peak hours, half the current interval, but would theoretically load more evenly.  Now, when a single streetcar is delayed by traffic, it tends to be rushed by a buildup of waiting passengers at each stop.  The car following closely behind remains relatively empty.  The King Street line, which carries 50,000 passengers on an average weekday, crosses 102 intersections where left-turning motorists often delay streetcars.  “The demand is increasing, and we've been putting more and more streetcars on King St., but we're not carrying any more people,” TTC Manager of Service Planning Mitch Stambler told the Toronto Star.  “It's because…the streetcars are getting bunched up, and stuck in traffic.”  A study by IntelliCAN Transportation Systems Inc. using a complex computer model found that running coupled sets would reduce bunching, improve schedule adherence, leave fewer riders at stops because of overcrowding but still reduce on-board cramming.  However, since TTC streetcars are not equipped with couplers, the idea is moot until a planned rebuilding program gets underway.  A decision has not yet been made whether to add couplers — TTC might wait for a planned replacement fleet before adopting the idea.  In any event, officials said only a portion of the fleet would have couplers, enough to operate just the busiest routes such as King Street and Spadina. 

 

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