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Friday, April 19, 2013

Questions Answered: Buses Idling Policy

There were a few questions and concerns posed on Twitter about HSR buses idling at their recovery points so here is the HSR policy concerning idling as provided by the Hamilton Street Railway Company.

"All bus are required to have their engines shut off during recovery from April through October. All Operators are to shut down buses at the ends of lines subsequent to a 5 minute cool down period. This means that the bus must sit on fast idle with the air conditioning turned off before shutting down the engine.

The fast idle direction is provided for days when it is above 27 degrees Celsius so that the engine can be cooled down before shutting off the bus. If the recovery is less than 5 minutes then no shut down is required.

When the ambient temperature is less than 5 degrees Celsius or is above 27 degrees Celsius we are at that point exempt from the requirement to shut down the engine.

During mild but not hot days they can shut down immediately and will do so if they will be idling more than 5 minutes."

So there you have it. If you have any questions about the HSR in general you can always contact the Hamilton Street Railway Company directly, or drop me a line and I'll find out for you.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Summer Detour of '33 Sanatorium' and '41A Mohawk'

As part of road reconstruction there will be various closures along Sanatorium Road over the course of the summer. As a result, routes '33 SANATORIUM' and '41A MOHAWK' will detoured in two separate phases during the course of the construction.

Effective Monday, April 29th until to Sunday, May 12th, 2013.

'33 SANATORIUM'

SOUTHBOUND (All Trips)
From Sanatorium and Upper Paradise
  • Right (north) on Upper Paradise
  • Left (west) on Scenic
  • Right (north) on Sanatorium and resume regular routing.

NORTHBOUND to MACNAB TRANSIT TERMINAL (All Trips)
From Sanatorium and Scenic
  • Left (east) on Scenic
  • Right (south) on Upper Paradise
  • Left (east) on Sanatorium and resume regular routing.

The following bus stops will be temporarily out of service during this detour:
  • Westbound on Sanatorium Road at West 33rd Street, Farside, Northwest Corner
  • Westbound on Sanatorium Road at Rice Avenue, Nearside, Northeast Corner
  • Westbound on Chedmac Drive at Holbrook Building, Midblock, North Side
  • Westbound on Chedoke Arena Road at Chedmac Drive, Nearside, Northeast Corner
  • Westbound on Chedmac Drive at Southridge Drive (Arena Road), Farside, Northwest Corner
  • Westbound on Chedmac Drive at Chedmac Drive, Nearside, Northeast Corner
  • Northbound on Chedmac Drive opposite Hepburn Crescent, Midblock, East Side
  • Eastbound on Redfern Avenue at St. Peter’s Hospital, Midblock, South Side
  • Northbound on Sanatorium Road opposite Wilcox Building, Midblock, East Side
  • Northbound on Sanatorium Road opposite Evel Pavilion, Midblock, East Side
  • Northbound on Sanatorium Road opposite Redfern Avenue, Midblock, East Side
  • Eastbound on Chedmac Drive at 90 Chedmac Drive, Midblock, South Side
  • Eastbound on Chedmac Drive at Rice Avenue, Nearside, Southwest Corner
  • Southbound on Sanatorium Road at Evel Pavilion, Midblock, West Side
  • Southbound on Sanatorium Road at Wilcox Building, Midblock, West Side
  • Eastbound on Sanatorium Road at Rice Avenue, Farside, Southeast Corner
  • Eastbound on Sanatorium Road opposite West 33rd Street, Midblock, South Side
In addition, the following bus stop will be temporarily relocated:

  • From: Eastbound on Sanatorium Road at Upper Paradise Road, Nearside, Southwest Corner
    • To: Eastbound on Sanatorium Road at Upper Paradise Road, Farside, Southeast Corner
'41A MOHAWK'

WESTBOUND (All Trips)
From Rice and Chedmac
  • Left (west) on Chedmac
  • Right (north) on Southridge (Chedoke Arena Road) to temporary recovery point on the east side of road south of entrance to Chedoke Arena.
EASTBOUND
From temporary recovery point
  • Left (west) into Twin Pad Arena entrance
  • Continue counter-clockwise (north and west) at Arena
  • Left (south and east) on Chedmac
  • Right (south) on Rice and resume regular routing.
The following bus stops will be temporarily out of service:
  • Northbound on Rice Avenue at Sanatorium Road, Nearside, Southeast Corner
  • Northbound on Sanatorium Road opposite Wilcox Building, Midblock, East Side
  • Northbound on Sanatorium Road opposite Evel Pavilion, Midblock, East Side
  • Northbound on Sanatorium Road opposite Redfern Avenue, Midblock, East Side
  • Northbound on Sanatorium Road at 820 Sanatorium Road, Midblock, East Side
  • Westbound on Sanatorium Road opposite Brow Building, Midblock, North Side
  • Sanatorium Brow Building, Midblock, South Side (End of Line)
  • Eastbound on Sanatorium Road at Brow Building, Midblock, South Side
  • Southbound on Sanatorium Road opposite 820 Sanatorium Road, Midblock, West Side
  • Southbound on Sanatorium Road at Scenic Drive, Nearside, Northwest Corner
  • Southbound on Sanatorium Road at Evel Pavilion, Midblock, West Side
  • Southbound on Sanatorium Road at Wilcox Building, Midblock, West Side
In addition, the following bus stop will be temporarily relocated:
  • From: Southbound on Rice Avenue at Chedmac Drive, Nearside, Northwest Corner
    • To: Eastbound on Chedmac Drive at Rice Avenue, Nearside, Southwest Corner
Image courtesy Hamilton Street Railway Company.


Effective Monday, May 13 to Saturday, August 31, 2013

'33 SANATORIUM'

SOUTHBOUND (Trips via Chedoke Arena)
From Chedmac Drive at Southridge Drive (Arena Road)
  • Continue west on Chedmac
  • Right (north) on Chedmac
  • Right (east) on Redfern
  • Left (north) on Sanatorium and resume regular routing.
NORTHBOUND (All Trips)
From Sanatorium and Redfern
  • Right (west) on Redfern
  • Left (south) on Chedmac
  • Left (east) on Chedmac
  • Left (north) on Rice
  • Right (east) on Sanatorium and resume regular routing.
The following bus stops will be temporarily out of service during this detour:
  • Westbound on Chedoke Arena Road at Chedmac Drive, Nearside, Northeast Corner
  • Northbound on Sanatorium Road opposite Wilcox Building, Midblock, East Side
  • Northbound on Sanatorium Road opposite Evel Pavilion, Midblock, East Side
  • Southbound on Sanatorium Road at Evel Pavilion, Midblock, West Side
  • Southbound on Sanatorium Road at Wilcox Building, Midblock, West Side
In addition, the following bus stop will be temporarily relocated:
  • Westbound on Redfern Avenue at Chedmac Drive, Nearside, Northeast Corner


'41A MOHAWK'

WESTBOUND (All Trips)
From Rice and Chedmac
  • Left (west) on Chedmac
  • Right (north) on Chedmac
  • Right (east) on Redfern
  • Left (north) on Sanatorium and resume regular routing.
EASTBOUND
From Sanatorium and Redfern
  • Right (west) on Redfern
  • Left (south) on Chedmac
  • Left (east) on Chedmac
  • Right (south) on Rice and resume regular routing.
The following bus stops will be temporarily out of service:
  • Northbound on Sanatorium Road opposite Wilcox Building, Midblock, East Side
  • Northbound on Sanatorium Road opposite Evel Pavilion, Midblock, East Side
  • Southbound on Sanatorium Road at Evel Pavilion, Midblock, West Side
  • Southbound on Sanatorium Road at Wilcox Building, Midblock, West Side
In addition, the following bus stop will be temporarily relocated:
  • From: Northbound on Rice Avenue at Sanatorium Road, Nearside, Southeast Corner
    • To: Westbound on Chedmac Drive at Holbrook Building, Midblock, North Side
  • From: Southbound on Rice Avenue at Chedmac Drive, Nearside, Northwest Corner
    • To: Eastbound on Chedmac Drive at Rice Avenue, Nearside, Southwest Corner
Image courtesy Hamilton Street Railway Company.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My 'not-so-fun' TTC Experience

I love the HSR, and in comparison to the TTC I love it even more.

I took the GO train to Toronto today and used the TTC to get to my final destination. Where I was going wasn't too far out of downtown so I only had to take one bus (72 Pape). The experience with the bus itself was fine, but things about the TTC itself left me a little bit annoyed.

1) Why does the TTC not accept Presto!?

I'm an early adopter. Actually, I'm what you would call a pre-adopter. I bought my Presto card before the HSR even had the readers installed in our buses. When the cards were available for purchase at the Burlington GO Centre (from the GO Transit counter) I got one. I use my Presto card on board HSR buses and use it when I take the GO bus/train to Toronto. As long as I have a decent balance on my card I don't have to worry about it.

But the TTC doesn't have Presto on their buses. So instead of tapping the same card I used on the '2 Barton' HSR bus, the '18 Aldershot' GO bus and the '01 Lakeshore West' GO train, I had to use other means. Since I don't take the TTC much at all I first had to figure out how much the bus cost via my smartphone and the TTC website ($3.00 cash), then find a bank machine to withdraw money and then somewhere to buy something small to break the $20 into change.

Talk about inconvenient.

2) The TTC transfer system isn't as flexible as HSR.

In Hamilton when you board a bus and request a transfer (or tap on with your Presto card) you have a two hour window to complete your trip before having to pay another fare. You can ride any bus on any route an unlimited number of times for a full two hours.

The TTC uses a much more restricted transfer system, one that the HSR abandoned a decade ago. The Toronto Transit transfer "must be used at the first available transfer point (cannot walk to next stop) and must be used within reasonable time allowance to the transfer point. Not valid for stopover." This basically means that, while in Hamilton you can use your transfer on your return trip, in Toronto you have to pay another fare to travel back in the other direction.

Therefore what would have cost me $2.00 in Hamilton (traveled for 10 minutes in one direction, layover for 45 minutes and returned the 10 minute trip back to Union Station) cost me $6.00 in Toronto.

3) Short-turns help the system but not the passengers.

What is a short-turn? It's when the bus on a route, instead of travelling to the end of the line, stops short, turns around and heads in the opposite direction. As a passenger you have to get off the bus and walk the rest of the way (or take the next bus that comes).

It typically happens when a bus is behind schedule. You see buses in Hamilton when they start to bunch up on routes like '1 King' or '2 Barton' and start to leap-frog one another. It makes sense for the TTC to short-turn the bus because they can take a bus that is really behind schedule and help it get back on track, but is a major inconvenience to passengers.

Imagine being on the '1 King' bus travelling westbound for the Hamilton GO Centre in downtown but instead the bus turns left on Wellington Street and then starts heading back eastbound on Main Street. This is exactly what happened to me while taking the '72 Pape' bus. The driver announced that he was short-turning on Church and would be heading in the other direction, which meant that I had to get off the bus and walk the rest of the way to Union Station.

The HSR doesn't do this. Occasionally the bus will go out of service at the end of the line and "deadhead" until it gets to the point that it would be back on schedule. This isn't very common.

So today isn't what you would call a great experience with the TTC. Nice new buses, great frequency; high fare, no Presto smartcard, strict transfer policy.

Friday, March 22, 2013

March 24th - 2013 Around the Bay - East End Detours

There will be significant detours in the east end due to the Around the Bay Road Race. As in past years, this event consists of both a 30 km run (approximately 8,000 runners entered) and a 5 km run (approximately 2,000 runners entered).

THIRTY KILOMETRE RACE – EAST END
Sunday, March 24th, 2013
The race starts on York Blvd. at Caroline Street at 9:30 AM. The following road and lane closures will result: York Blvd., all eastbound lanes between Hess and James. Wilson Street, all eastbound lanes between James and Sherman. Sherman Avenue, all northbound lanes between Wilson and Cannon. Cannon Street/Britannia Avenue, eastbound lanes only, between Sherman and Parkdale. Parkdale Avenue, northbound lanes only, will be closed between Queenston and Melvin. Melvin Avenue, only one westbound lane will be kept open, between Parkdale and Woodward. Woodward Avenue, only one southbound lane will be kept open, between Melvin and Beach Blvd. No vehicle access will be allowed westbound on Barton beyond Red Hill Valley Parkway, due to problems that have arisen in the past at the intersection of Barton and Woodward. Beach Blvd., Burlington bound lanes only, will be closed between Woodward and Eastport Drive.

'2 BARTON'
Approximately 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

EASTBOUND
From Melvin and Parkdale
• Left (north) on Parkdale Avenue
• Right (east) on Burlington Street
• Follow signs to Red Hill Valley Parkway Southbound
• Continue on RHVP Southbound
• Exit at Barton Street
• Left (east) on Barton Street and resume regular routing on Barton, east of the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

WESTBOUND
From Barton and Nash
• Continue on Barton Street to RHVP
• Follow signs to R.H.V.P. Northbound
• Follow signs to Q.E.W. Toronto Bound
• Exit at Burlington Street Westbound
• Left (south) on Parkdale Avenue
• Right (west) on Barton Street and resume regular routing on Barton, west of Parkdale.

'3 CANNON'
Approximately 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM

EASTBOUND
From John and Main (Downtown)
• Right (east) on Main Street
• Continue east on Main until the QueenstonTraffic Circle
• Follow the circle to exit north on Strathearne Avenue
• Right (east) on Roxborough Avenue and resume regular eastbound routing.

WESTBOUND
From Roxborough and Strathearne
• Left (south) on Strathearne Avenue
• Right (west) on Main Street at the Traffic Circle
• Continue west on Main Street
• Continue west on King Street
• Left (south) on James Street and resume regular westbound routing on James Street, south of King Street.

4 BAYFRONT'
EASTBOUND
Follow regular route to Glow and Dunn
• Right (south) on Dunn Avenue
• Right (west) on Brampton Street
• Right (north) on Parkdale Avenue
• Right (east) on Burlington Street
• Follow signs to Red Hill Valley Parkway Southbound
• Continue on RHVP Southbound
• Exit at Barton Street
• Left (east) on Barton Street and resume regular routing on Barton, east of the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

Temporary Bus Stops will be installed at the following locations:
• On the west side of Dunn Avenue, north of Brampton Street (nearside bus stop)
• On the east side of Dunn Avenue, north of Brampton Street (farside bus stop)

WESTBOUND
From Nash and Barton
• Left (west) on Barton Street
• Follow signs to R.H.V.P. Northbound
• Follow signs to Q.E.W. Toronto Bound
• Exit at Burlington Street Westbound
• Continue west on Burlington Street
• Left (south) on Parkdale Avenue
• Left (east) on Brampton Street
• Left (north) on Dunn Avenue
• Left (west) on Glow Avenue and resume regular routing on Glow, west of Dunn.

'11 PARKDALE'
Approximately 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

NORTHBOUND
From Parkdale and Roxborough
• Left (west) on Roxborough Avenue
• Right (north) on Walter Avenue
• Right (east) on Melvin Street
• Left (north) on Parkdale Avenue
• Right (east) on Glow Avenue
• Right (south) on Dunn Avenue
• Right (west) on Brampton Street
• Right (north) on Parkdale Avenue
• Right (east) on Burlington Street
• Continue to QEW Eastbound (Towards Toronto)
• Exit at Eastport Drive
• Right (northwest) on Eastport Drive
• Right (southeast) on Beach Blvd. (Towards Hamilton)
• Right (northwest) at QEW Toronto ramp (after servicing Beach)
• Continue on QEW Eastbound (Towards Toronto)
• Exit at Fairview Street
• Right (east) on Fairview Street
• Right (south) on Maple Avenue
• Left (east) on Lakeshore Road and resume regular routing.

Temporary Bus Stops will be installed at the following locations:
• On the west side of Dunn Avenue, north of Brampton Street (nearside bus stop)
• On the east side of Dunn Avenue, north of Brampton Street (farside bus stop)

SOUTHBOUND (To Hamilton)
From Lakeshore and Maple
• Right (north) on Maple Avenue
• Left (west) on Fairview Street
• Continue to QEW Westbound (Towards Niagara)
• Exit at Burlington Street
• Continue west on Burlington Street
• Left (south) on Parkdale Avenue
• Left (east) on Brampton Street
• Left (north) on Dunn Avenue
• Left (west) on Glow Avenue
• Left (south) on Parkdale Avenue
• Right (west) on Melvin Avenue
• Left (south) on Walter Street
• Left (east) on Roxborough Avenue
• Right (south) on Parkdale Avenue and resume regular routing.

Delays can be expected to cross Britannia Avenue in both directions on Walter Street.