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TTC eliminating Sunday ‘church’ service

WATCH ABOVE:  The move is meant to make service more efficient and faster for the general public. Peter Kim reports on the new service change.

TORONTO — Since the 1920s church-goers could rely on the TTC to take them to their place of worship thanks to dedicated streetcar stops labelled in yellow.

Currently there are 42 positioned next to approximately 20 churches in Toronto – one for each direction of travel. As of June 7 they will be gone.

Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church on Queen West has two “church service” stops nearby
Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church on Queen West has two “church service” stops nearby
“It’s disappointing,” said Peter Schturyn, council member at Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church on Queen Street. “There are about 20 or 30 seniors who regularly use the TTC [and go to church here] on Sunday. There’s a liability issue I think for the city, if somebody slips and falls and hurts themselves on the sidewalk in the middle of the winter.” People will now have to walk a bit farther from the next regular streetcar stop to the church.
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The TTC said seniors with mobility issue may qualify for Wheel-Trans service. The recent changes, approved by the TTC board last May, are meant to make the system more efficient for the thousands of non-church-goers who take the Better Way on Sunday.

“Putting stops in at specific locations for one small group of people isn’t something that we as an organization in 2015 can justify,” said Ross.

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The distinctive yellow stop signs are usually within 100 metres from the next regular stop and force streetcars to unload passengers at shorter intervals, thereby increasing total travel time.

Designated Sunday “church service” stop
Designated Sunday “church service” stop

The TTC reviewed all of their 800 or so streetcar stops and plan to eliminate about 80 of them; 42 on the chopping block are the specially designated stops near churches.

“The seniors that we’re talking about are octogenarians, people in their eighties,” said Schturyn, who plans on appealing to the local city councillor.

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Mayor John Tory said he would like to see the TTC accommodate seniors on an ad hoc basis and favours more systemic changes to TTC service.

“The subway doesn’t open until 9 o’clock, and I’m not sure that’s a 2015 kind of thing to be doing. We should be probably opening up earlier,” said Tory.

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The TTC now plans on conducting the same review for its bus stops.