Thursday, June 26, 2008

East-West on TTC North of Bloor

I've come to realize that east-west travel north of Bloor in Toronto sucks. Hard.

I've had to work out of our Don Mills and York Mills office a few times recently. When I leave from the office, I get a taxi chit, so getting there is relatively painless. But on days when I head straight there, I rely on the TTC. I life at Dufferen and Eglinton, so I figured getting there was a matter of taking a bus along Eglinton to Don Mills, then another bus up Don Mills. Something like this:

Or possibly a bus up to York Mills, and another one along York Mills. Two transfers, not a big deal. Boy was I wrong.

The problem with my idea is that there is no bus that travels completely along Eglinton, or York Mills, or even Lawrence. The problem is that any route you take forces you to cross the two forks of the subway:

Every bus not only stops at the subway, but usually stops, and then turns around. So in practice, I need to take four separate buses to get to my location:

I've studied the TTC route map extensively, and there's really no other way around this. At best, I can go to York Mills, and hopefully catch the 96 bus, which would take me to Yonge. But that's still three buses when it should be two, and that's if the 96 comes often enough to make it worth the wait.

If I lived on or south of Bloor, this wouldn't be a huge problem. There's the Bloor-Danforth subway line, or the streetcars and buses that go unstopped along the major streets. Yeah, there's the short-turning streetcars and such, but for the most part, you should be able to take a fairly uninterrupted journey.

I don't understand why it's not more like this north of Bloor. I understand feeding the subway line; the line takes people downtown, which is probably the most common destination for the largest number of people. But why do the east-west buses have routes that take them to a subway station, then turn around? Why can't they just stop briefly in the station, then turn keep going? And why can streetcar drivers take a fairly long shift across Queen or College, but any time a bus stops at a subway the station, the driver has to change shifts or use the can, forcing people on the bus to wait?

I'm not a transit planner, so I'm sure there's an explanation for this. If there is, I would seriously love to hear it. But I suspect that this problem is only going to get bigger as the city grows and more office spaces are forced to move to the inner-burbs like Don Mills.