Next stop display on streetcars

Miles Storey, a Spacing contributor (that’s his photo on the cover of the of our current issue) and one of the city’s best photobloggers, sent along this photo of the “next stop” display signs on the Spadina streetcar line. The editors at Spacing haven’t seen these in action on streetcars yet probably because the TTC has been taking too long to implement features to help those with disabilities.

The stop displays and announcements were first tried on the 11 Bayview bus in 2005. These display panels can be found installed on many of the TTC’s new buses, but not yet activated.

15 comments

  1. I have seen them installed on some buses but not switched on – I understand that all new buses are getting them but it may take a bit of time to retrofit existing ones.

  2. That display is way too narrow, much more so than the ones on Orion VII buses. It should be two lines long for that application. TTC will eventually figure this out and have to replace them at untold cost.

    (Ride the 7 and many vehicles have them installed already; many others have brackets in place ready for them.)

  3. I should point out that there was also a recorded message that announced each stop in a soothing female tone – not as much fun as some of the drivers’ own announcement styles, like the singing guy on the Queen car, which will probably stop now, but consistent I suppose.

    The display was bright and easily read. There will definitely be some stop names that will have to be truncated. Larger displays could also indicate cross streets and connection information, like a subway line, and give landmarks, as a lot of the drivers do now.

  4. I’m kind of wondering, since they’ll be replacing the old streetcars in 2 years, what’ll they do with the display boards? Or should they putting them in all of them to begin with?

  5. I hate being a curmudgeon, but I notice that this display is misfunctioning already, with the second line of pixels from the top dead.

    And would it have killed the budget to have made the displays deeper so that we could have proper letterforms for all characters? It might have been helpful for some with reading problems and those whose first language isn’t English.

    Cripes, this looks cheap and poorly thought out.

  6. Even though we may see new streetcars start to arrive by late 2011, the existing fleet will be around for years. The signs will have lots of time to wear out before the cars they are in disappear.

    I am constantly amazed by the number of vehicles I see on routes where the geocoding has already been done but the signs are switched off. I am sure that will lead to another two-year long legal battle.

    As for proper letterforms, now I am really going to say something that folks on this site don’t like — video screens. If you want nice big letterforms and a variety of info, then you need something better than a simple pixelboard. The biggest problem is to keep the TTC from running ads on them (including their own) so that you don’t miss your stop because they were too busy telling you to “Ride The Rocket” or flogging vodka.

    Stop announcements: Decades ago, there was an operator at Russell Division who called all of the stops, and I mean ALL of the stops. No simple “Greenwood” for him, it was “Hiltz, Knox, Greenwood and Vancouver”. Some stops managed to pack in five or six streets with especial mention to the tiny alleyways nobody notices.

    I will miss the operator on Bloor Danforth whose quite young daughter announces the stops, with his assistance, some weekends. It took a while for “George” to morph into “St. George” the last time I was on their train.

  7. all for state of the art video screens; and why not throw in surround sound; the blind and disabled certainly deserve more – heck so does every rider who pays for a pass. why can’t we have it? the city’s in debt and province won’t give back

  8. No, they could scroll, crawl, or use other methods, not just truncation.

    Funnily enough, I have the research on that topic right here. Does TTC?

  9. The Long Island bus division of the NYC MTA uses a single line pixelboard for displaying stops. It flashes the intersection, with the appropriate voice message, followed by a list of routes you can transfer to at that stop, which is also read by the voice. Something along the lines of “This is Main St., transfer to route X”.

    When I rode the Parliament bus for the first time I thought I would see the same feature here. Nope. Plus is it necessary that most of the stops are called out and displayed with EAST on them? It is Parliament St., you won’t be running into any WEST streets. Queen, Dundas and Gerrard will do.

    At least the TTC hasn’t been forced to have speakers installed on the bus outside of the front door that call out the route and direction the bus is headed for those who can’t read/see the destination sign at the front of the bus.

  10. I saw one in operation on the 34 Eglington bus a few months ago.

  11. Plus is it necessary that most of the stops are called out and displayed with EAST on them? It is Parliament St., you won’t be running into any WEST streets. Queen, Dundas and Gerrard will do.

    Yeah, but if you’re not from Toronto or are not familiar with the city, would you know that?

  12. “I hate being a curmudgeon, but I notice that this display is misfunctioning already, with the second line of pixels from the top dead.”

    David, this is actually my fault, the screen appears fine but the camera shutter was fast enough to catch it recycling, something the human eye doesn’t see (or compensates for).

  13. My best friend from Brampton who almost never uses transit used a bus with the announcements for the first time yesterday and loved it. “I actually knew where I was!” And I love that the announcer sounds real, unlike the Viva buses. I really can’t understand how they managed to make the stops sound robotic if they’re real recordings.

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