Last season one snowstorm dumped 15.75" of snow on Toronto creating transit mayhem:
"The extra snow is forcing people to park closer to the middle of the road, sometimes unknowingly impeding the progress of the electric trolleys, which are tethered to wires overhead and can't swerve around them.The year before that Toronto streetcars had similar problems sharing the road with cars:
And now they're getting tough on anyone who gets in their way, promising to tow you if you don't keep the route clear. The TTC admits there has to be a better way for the Better Way, but they haven't found one.
"So far on McCaul alone, we had about 13 vehicles in a matter of an hour and a half," complains TTC spokesman Mario Jurinic. They're asking you to park at least a foot and a half away from the rail or be on the hook for a tow and a ticket.
And it's not just the TTC that's dealing with the tight squeeze. A driver named Dave found himself boxed in by a stuck streetcar, leaving him no way to get his parked car out of the space he'd found."
"Snow shovellers used to shaking their fists as plows leave a mountainous windrow at the bottom of their driveways may now sympathize with the TTC, which saw St. Clair streetcar service paralyzed on Sunday because of piles of snow left by city plows.Snowstorms create gridlock on streetcar routes. Buses can get around stalled cars, stuck cars, parked cars, and other track blockers, while streetcars simply stack up and go nowhere. Buses get creative and adapt to these messes, but streetcars just sit around and wait for a tow-truck for themselves or the offending vehicles.
Snow removal machines clearing Avenue Road left a hefty barrier of snow across the new and controversial dedicated streetcar lanes on St. Clair Avenue West, blocking service for at least two hours and forcing at least six streetcars to sit idle. A similar problem caused delays to streetcars on Queens Quay."
Even in the North American Mecca of public transit, Portland (bow when you say that), TriMet advises riders to not only prepare for delays, but if things get really bad, expect a bus to show up to replace your failed rail option:
"During a major disruption, we use shuttle busesTriMet notes that bus service will be curtailed on some routes with very steep hills, but these are the same routes that are too steep for a streetcar under normal conditions.
If we expect MAX, WES or Streetcar service will be interrupted for a significant period of time, we'll send out shuttle buses to carry riders between stations. That means you'll go to the station like you normally would, but you'll board a shuttle bus instead. (It will pull up near the station, with a sign that says "Shuttle.") Unless otherwise indicated, the buses will stop at all stations your train would serve during its normal hours of operation."
If we're going to wind up using buses for our steepest hills, and sending buses out to bail out stuck streetcars, why should we bother with trolleys in the first place?
Riders made a choice a half century ago. They abandoned old money-losing streetcars in favor of new inexpensive buses. The old-timers who gave us this city were smart folks. They made the right choice; let's honor it.
Photo courtesy of here.