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TTC responds to complaints about overcrowding on King streetcar

Last Updated Nov 23, 2017 at 1:39 pm EST

A police constable directs traffic at Jarvis and King streets during the second day of the King Street Transit Pilot on Nov. 13, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

The TTC is responding to concerns about overcrowded streetcars from riders about the King Street pilot project.

People have been posting on Twitter saying the vehicles don’t have room to pick them up.

The pilot project gives streetcars the priority on King Street and forces drivers to turn right off the street at every block.

TTC CEO Andy Byford said they’re aware of the capacity issue and it is something they’re working on.

“Right now we have all of our streetcars deployed but we are going to look at options to see if we can squeeze a little bit more capacity onto king but so far so good,” he explained.

As part of the project, the TTC added seven streetcars along King, and will add more, once more vehicles are available.

The city has been waiting for a streetcar delivery from Bombardier, but has faced numerous delays. In October, the company said it would miss another target, falling short of the number of vehicles it was supposed to deliver this year.

Despite the capacity issues, Byford feels the real test of the project’s success is how the riders feel overall.

“I’ve just ridden the streetcar eastbound and westbound and I’ve talked to passengers and they love it so far,” he explained.

“Most people are saying it’s definitely quicker, it’s more reliable. There is an issue around capacity, and we clearly still need to do some work on that because it is super busy.”

However, not everyone feels the same. Mayoral candidate Doug Ford calls the project a “disaster” and a “ban on cars.”

“Make no mistake, it’s a ban. You get to go one block and then you gotta hang a right. People were getting ticketed all morning when I was on King Street this morning and it’s a shame,” Ford said.

“It’s hurting businesses, it’s hurting the middle class of this city. People are going to be losing their jobs in a lot of these restaurants because these restaurants are dying.”

 

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