Public Transit

5 ways transit agencies are working to speed up buses

It’s no secret that transit ridership has dropped significantly in most cities within the last couple decades, sparking alarm for transit agencies and city leaders. That doesn’t mean transit agencies aren’t able to increase their ridership — Seattle and Vancouver are good examples of increasing ridership through proper investment and planning. A big trend is redesigning transit networks in their entirety, but that’s not necessary in a lot of cases — there are many smaller steps that agencies can take to improve their systems and build ridership back up.

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More low-income fare programs for transit could reduce or reverse ridership decline

More low-income fare programs for transit could reduce or reverse ridership decline

It’s news to nobody that transit ridership is down across the majority of transit systems in the United States — with cities looking at network redesigns, as is the case with New York and Seattle. But another way cities are able to bring on new riders is to introduce, or expand, their affordable fare programs to include more low-income people.

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This is what is happening when the TTC is experiencing "signal delays"

This is what is happening when the TTC is experiencing "signal delays"

It's an occurrence that happens regularly on the Toronto Transit Commission, happening at any time — the dreaded “Line 1 is delayed due to signal issues” message over the PA system. The TTC runs mainly on an outdated backend system and because it cost so much to replace it, it could be decades before the whole system has it installed. In a nutshell, the important thing to remember is delays generally happen because of all the moving parts that make up the traditional signalling systems — once ATC is implemented systemwide and computers are controlling the signals, this should cease to be an issue.

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Don't be so quick to blame the TTC for delays on the subway

Don't be so quick to blame the TTC for delays on the subway

In 2018 Toronto’s subway system had 153 delays caused by door issues, 532 because of speed control equipment and a staggering 3,216 caused by ill passengers. The city dealt with more than 47,682 minutes of delays in total — which equates to approximately 33.11 days — due to 182 different reasons. It’s important to note that many of these delays aren’t the actual fault of the TTC, but are caused by customers who are unruly and disruptive, ill, or those who pull the passenger assistance alarm for no reason. These precise numbers come from Toronto’s Open Data catalogue, which is a regularly updated online resource to track things like TTC delays, bikeshare usage and more.

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The GTHA still doesn't have harmonized fare payments and it's hurting commuters

The GTHA still doesn't have harmonized fare payments and it's hurting commuters

The rollout of PRESTO has inarguably been a bumpy ride — with consistently unreliable machines leading to an estimated million free rides to calls from the transit union and mayor for the issues to be fixed, a website dedicated to hating it and even a 1.5 star review on Yelp — things certainly haven’t gone to plan. But with one payment device working in each vehicle 99.5 percent of the time, things are certainly getting better for the technology, which is laying the groundwork for an improved system that could allow for a regionally integrated fare system.

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San Francisco just removed parking requirements on new developments and other cities should take note

San Francisco just removed parking requirements on new developments and other cities should take note

Throughout the United States, cities are built with parking and automobiles in mind — but with public transportation being better for the environment and for cities, they’re slowly correcting this mistake. On January 20, a new bylaw will go into effect in San Francisco eliminating the minimum parking requirements citywide, which was unanimously recommended after a review of the city’s transit, walking and cycling corridors. It will become the first city to remove minimum parking requirements for new housing and will greatly help with the new “transit first” policy.

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A few questions that Toronto's SmartTrack project brings up

A few questions that Toronto's SmartTrack project brings up

The City of Toronto, Metrolinx and the TTC have been working on their GO Regional Express Rail and SmartTrack projects since 2015, with them blending with each other to offer not much differentiation between the two. Even though the latter has been pared down significantly since it was proposed by John Tory as part of his campaign for mayorship in 2014, it’s still going strong and remains a centrepiece of his second term.

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The United Kingdom's deregulated bus system and why it's a big flop, explained

The United Kingdom's deregulated bus system and why it's a big flop, explained

Buses in the UK are the most commonly used mode of public transportation, with 4.44 billion trips being made in England in the 2016/2017 reporting period ending in March, with journeys inside London accounting for half the country’s total. Local bus services across the Great Britain — made up of England, Wales and Scotland — accounted for 59.2 percent of all public transportation trips, compared to only 20.7 percent for the National Rail network.

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Uber is lobbying for a congestion charge in NYC — but whether it will work is uncertain

Uber is lobbying for a congestion charge in NYC — but whether it will work is uncertain

Two months ago New York City approved a limit on the number of Uber, Lyft and other on-demand ride services and voted to halt issuing for-hire licenses for 12 months while it studies the industry in more detail. During the cap, both companies will still be granted licenses for wheelchair-accessible vehicles and by 2021, 25 percent of vehicles in their fleet will be required to be wheelchair accessible, which Uber isn’t happy about. Now Uber is putting its money and resources into helping fix New York City’s traffic congestion problem, by investing $10 million over three years on a “campaign for sustainable mobility” — with the centrepiece being congestion pricing in high-density parts of the city. This is surprising, coming from a company that accounts for 65,000 of the 103,000 for-hire vehicles in NYC.

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Boston is embracing public transportation with a 25-year investment plan

Boston is embracing public transportation with a 25-year investment plan

Massachusetts state officials are looking to the future of public transit, with the DoT and MBTA publishing a draft 25-year investment plan positioning the region to meet the needs of the population by 2040 titled Focus40. The report "reflects what the region will need to be sustainable, livable, equitable, and economically competitive," and is meant to be a framework for changes that will help the agency adapt to a more technological era and withstand the worsening New England winters.

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When it comes to public transit, frequency is freedom

When it comes to public transit, frequency is freedom

There's specific reasoning behind why some public transportation routes and systems as a whole are successful while others aren't, and a 2016 study by TransitCentre seeks to find out why that is — though the study is slightly outdated, the principles of it still apply today. For example, Seattle's light rail extension from the downtown core to the University of Washington has boosted ridership from 35,000 to nearly 57,000 riders per day, but the ridership of the Atlanta streetcar is only 1,200 riders per day. This survey aims to find out why there's such a disparity between different transit systems and their ridership, and what makes them more successful in the eyes of riders.

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The TTC has launched discounted fares, but only for some people

The TTC has launched discounted fares, but only for some people

Toronto is already one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, but for thousands of vulnerable residents, help is on the way in the form of discounted transit passes. The first phase of the city's Fair Fare Pass program is now in effect, offering discounted transit to recipients of Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works payments.

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