When will Scarborough be ‘Next’?

The TTC's Next Vehicle Arrival system pilot project has yet to be implemented on surface stops and routes other than the 510 Spadina and a few downtown subway stations. (Matthew Alleyne/Toronto Observer)
The TTC's Next Vehicle Arrival system pilot project has yet to be implemented on surface stops and routes other than the 510 Spadina and a few downtown subway stations. (Matthew Alleyne/Toronto Observer) (ttc_next_041009)

A new TTC project will answer the question on every user’s mind: When will my ride get here? But some Scarborough riders are also wondering when that system will actually get here.

“It isn’t people downtown who have access to subways and street cars who need this service,” resident Michael Thorpe said.

“It’s us in the suburbs trying to get to work and school who need to know how long we are going to be left stranded on the side of the road waiting for a bus.”

On Dec. 15 the TTC launched Next Vehicle Arrivals (NVA) services downtown on the 510 Spadina streetcar line, with digital displays at both Union and Spadina stations. It gives riders real-time information on when the next street car is due to arrive.

NVA uses global positioning satellite technology inside the vehicles to relay to digital displays en route its current position. It then approximates the vehicle’s arrival at a particular stop.

The $5.2-million system was to roll out in early 2009 with the 510 Spadina, expanding to downtown streetcars and subway stations, and then to suburban areas like Scarborough toward the end of the year, according to the TTC press release.

It will then be installed with new street furniture and bus shelters.
But to date the only route with this service remains the 510 Spadina. “The project is still ongoing,” says Danny Nicholson, TTC media relations.

“There is still no date yet for the system to be implemented in Scarborough.”

“The TTC has always lagged behind,” says Kevin Branigan, co-creator of myttc.ca.

“It has not been the most progressive when it comes to technology.”

Branigan’s site is independent of the TTC but was designed to help riders plan trips using transit with data released bi-annually on routes and stop times. The long-awaited official TTC version of myttc’s trip planner is due to be released this summer.

“Trip planning and GPS aren’t new innovations,” Branigan says.

“VIVA in York Region has used them for years. Riders just want to know if they are able to grab a double-double and come back out in time for their bus.”