Toronto's New Subway Trains Are A Different Kind of Ride

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

The new Bombardier subway cars have been running for a few months in Toronto, and they are quite a surprise when you get on them for the first time. The train is open from front to back, with wide gangways between cars so that passengers can move through the entire train. It is a bit disconcerting, you feel like you are in a moving tunnel. But it holds more people, (and more pigeons) and lets people spread out instead of clustering in the middle cars.

There are 24 cameras in each car for security, and no central poles, which make it feel a lot more open (although us short folks feel like we are hanging from the ceiling when we reach up for the spring loaded hand grips). The doors are also much wider, so that you can get in and out even when there are jerks clogging the sides.

Bombardier/Promo image

The car interiors are built with an Antimicrobial Surface Treatment that "creates an invisible, eco-friendly shield that reduces microbes that come in contact with it!"

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

When I was a kid I loved riding in the front car; there was a seat and a window where you could look forward and see the tracks. Unfortunately that is gone, and the driver gets a cabin that runs right across the front of the train. But the middle of that end of the train is a fold-down ramp that acts as an emergency exit, which is really clever.

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Unfortunately, the other side of the Toronto Transit story is the increasing cost of tickets; after cutting the $60 tax on vehicle registration, the Mayor had to find money somewhere, so they increased fares and a pass costs, guess what, $60 per year more. They are trying to convince riders that hey, it is still a bargain, but they are not buying it.

New TTC car Leaves Bloor and heads to Rosedale from Tom Ryaboi on Vimeo.

There was a media tour of the train in the spring when the first one arrived, and Tom Ryaboi of Blog TO made a very strangely compelling video of an empty train; you can see joint between the cars bouncing around; I was standing on it this morning and it takes some getting used to.

Tags: Toronto | Trains | Transportation

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