The TTC spent today showing off their preferred model for the future of public transit in Toronto in the middle of Dundas Square: a light rail vehicle or, more accurately, half of a full light rail vehicle that Bombardier is showing off around North America—most recently in Milwaukee, where the paint scheme seen here is used for public transit. (Apparently, in Milwaukee, they like their transit to be ugly yellow.)
Both inquisitive citizens curious about the future of transit and passersby looking for a bit of free entertainment while they finished their hot dogs toured the entire inside of the car, offering the rare chance for people over the age of six to have an excuse to sit in the train driver’s seat, and rest assured everybody, this writer included, did not pass up the opportunity. (However, the lack of a bell going “clang clang” was an unforgivable oversight. Adam Giambrone should be ashamed.)
Inside, TTC officials chatted pleasantly about the lovely ergonomic seats (which were indeed horribly comfortable), and the future extended rail network—the long-awaited transit link to Pearson Airport, the waterfront light railway, the extension of the Sheppard line. It would not be inaccurate to say that the eyes of these enthusiastic public servants positively glowed as they described the glory of environmentally friendly public transit—their spirits no doubt raised by Dalton McGuinty’s recent fourteen-billion-dollar-promise of investment in Toronto’s transit systems.
In comparison to the T35AO8 subway cars that the TTC demoed last year (and which Torontoist reviewed), these cars feel rather quaint. Not bad, but they do not have the supersonic laser-riffic future-feel that the subway prototypes did. Those subway cars seemed to be designed with specific needs such as wheelchair access in mind, whereas these light rail vehicles seem horribly generic—some seats, some handrails, and no obvious improvements over the existing streetcars beyond removing the need to walk up stairs. Torontoist is sure they will be a pleasant enough ride, but if we’re spending a few billion smackers on these, get it right the first time, eh?
Outside, they had set up many horribly educational informational placards, free “Transit City” buttons (now available for resale through Torontoist at the bargain price of fifty dollars apiece) and gave everyone the opportunity to voice their own concerns about public transit, from “not enough seats” to “don’t like the colour.” If you missed this public seminar and desperately feel the need to voice your opinion about which seat cushions the TTC should use in its light rail trains, you can voice your opinion online at MyNewStreetcar.ca.