Weston Residents Demand Improved Transit Vehicles, Route Change

Crossposted with Transit Toronto.

A community group based out of Weston, called ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) are holding a public meeting at the Weston Public Library (2 King Street in Weston) at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow to organize a campaign to improve public transit along Weston Road.

The group’s main complaint seems to be the use of old TTC buses, especially rebuilt fishbowls, along the 89 Weston route. They are demanding that newer buses be used instead, and the route made fully accessible.

With the Weston population including a high proportion of young families, disabled and elderly, the 89 bus route falls far short of necessary service levels. Currently the buses used are not air-conditioned, uncomfortable to ride and most importantly not disabled friendly, making it difficult for young mothers and physically challenged residents to access the service.

The group also wants 89 Weston service extended north from Albion Road to Steeles Avenue, replacing the 165 Weston Road North service that currently runs south from Steeles and east along Wilson to Wilson and York Mills stations.

Personally, I do not understand the sudden emergence of this issue, or why this group is so vocal and angry all of a sudden. The entire TTC fleet is in an ongoing process of replacement, and it is only a matter of time before newer, accessible buses are added to Weston Road. As for the demand for through service to Steeles, the TTC will have to examine the proposal, but while the current set-up is a hold-over of the time when trolley buses went up to Wilson and no further, requiring buses on a Wilson branch to serve the area further north, I recall that previous examination of this proposal suggests that passengers on Weston Road north of Wilson are more likely to want to head to the subway at Wilson than take the long way down to the subway at Keele.

But it is also possible that Weston, which exploded when it looked like the Blue 22 airport connector was going to plough through their neighbourhood and close rail crossings without so much as a by-your-leave, may have reached the limits of what they can take, and are now flexing their newfound muscles as a rising, activist community. Time will tell, and anybody interested in hearing the points raised by this group, and perhaps helping out in this campaign are invited to attend this public meeting tomorrow.

For further information, contact:

Toronto ACORN Field Organizer Terence Rattray – 613-882-2477/416-461-9233

ACORN member Nancy Demoors – 416 461 9233

photo by Rob Hutch, from Transit Toronto bus gallery

8 comments

  1. “Only a matter of time” is another way of saying “Weston could come last.” They want it moved up the priority list. And why not?

  2. When is the latest set of buses due to arrive, and how many old buses will still be left when they come?

  3. Why are they getting so pissy about transit now? they think they have problems? The entire TTC has problems, but the entire city isn’t up in arms… yet.

  4. i think a lot of communities where there are large low-income and minority populations and high transit ridership feel like they’re getting the shaft from the TTC, just like they’re usually getting it from the city. every time i see an empty, accessible, air conditioned 97 yonge bus whirl into york mills station while 150 people have been waiting half and hour for a crappy old-model 95 to scarborough, i vow to get that route shut down or die trying. like, i’m sure there are good reasons why the system puts buses where it does (hospitals on route, capacity issues, etc), but there is nobody communicating these things to riders. so, good on weston for demanding some accountability, but i think once they get those accessible buses and find out they have a capacity of like zero they’ll be kicking themselves.

  5. This sudden protest surprises me as well.

    The new buses may have AC and accessibility but they lack the capacity. The TTC would have to boost service levels to meet the demand that the older buses are better suited to – I hope they realize that, and the TTC is already behind on service improvements just to meet existing demand, especially as Orion low floors replace GM New Looks and Classics.

    And the TTC would then have to do something with 96 – the 96/165 combine to provide frequent service on Wilson, which Wilson needs. I’m also not sure how many people north of Wilson/Albion on Weston Road would want a all-Weston Road route, feeding into a farther subway station on a busier line.

  6. It would go against TTC policy to bring in a set of new buses and not increase service levels to reflect their lower capacity. Others will correct me if I’m wrong, but the newer buses aren’t replacing the older buses on a 1:1 basis.

    Frankly, more frequent service would be a boon for the new buses, even though they end up taking up more subsidy, as more drivers are required (not to mention fuel and capital costs) to provide the same number of seats. But it’s still an improvement to have a shorter waiting time for a vehicle.

  7. I’m just happy to see a community organizing, especially one that’s not upper-middle-class. And it’s great to see a whole community organizing to demand accessibility – that’s pretty rare, it’s usually only those who need it who take action. And it shows how central transit service is to the lives of so many Torontonians whose voice isn’t heard very much.

    So whether or not this particular demand makes sense, this community action seems like a good thing. And if they can keep up the community action, they will probably make a real difference in improving the area, through other campaigns too. Toronto needs more of this kind of activism outside the downtown core.

  8. It may be a possibility, but on the TTC routes I am now using, they are all designated “High Floor” on the service plans, but on weekends, are served exclusively by the new Orion VIIs on a 1:1 basis, leading to problems with sometimes severe overcrowding on off-peak periods, especially weekends. Since these routes are officially “HF”, and not accessible, the service levels were not bumped up, but changes are coming in this September’s service summary.

    So Weston 89 would likely have to wait until it is designated before capacity is resolved if they get the low floors, but if they do score the accessible route designation, then the higher frequencies and the newer buses will be a boon to the riders.

Comments are closed.