And Now, the Flexities: Carrying More People, More Efficiently and Accessible to Everyone
Fast forward 30 years, and the TTC faced a couple of challenges. It's fleet of streetcars were aging once more, and the population of Toronto was rapidly expanding. Not only did they need to replace the aging CLRVs and ALRVs, they needed to add much longer streetcars to their fleet.
In 2014, the TTC showed off a brand new state-of-the-art streetcar: the Flexity Outlook. Known as Flexities, these even newer, sleeker streetcars are the same as those in service in many European cities. Flexities are the first modern low-floor and wheelchair accessible streetcar used in the city. They are over 30 metres long, the largest streetcars we've ever had, with 4 sliding doors, air conditioning, seats for 70 people and interior bike racks. Vending machines inside let you purchase a ticket while traveling. They are also "unidirectional" so they don't need to turn around!
The first Flexities appeared on the Spadina Route, but by the end of 2019, they are expected to serve all streetcar lines. Over 200 have been ordered, and as of this August, about 90 are in service.
The future of Toronto's streetcars and some amazing facts!
Streetcars in Toronto are here to stay, at least for a while. Streetcars in general have made a come-back in cities across the USA as transportation experts witness the value in moving large number of people through the downtown core of cities. Most today, however, are run on dedicated lines, as lightrail systems, rather than the shared right of way system.
Today, Toronto's streetcar system is a network of eleven streetcar routes; concentrated primarily downtown and near the city's waterfront. Most of these routes operate on street tracks shared with vehicular traffic, and streetcars stop on demand at frequent stops like buses. However, we do have some dedicated lines opened, such as the St. Clair line.
And for those interested in some additional facts about our streetcars, read on:
- Our streetcar network is the second busiest light-rail system in North America.
- Toronto's streetcars provide most of the downtown core's surface transit service
- Four of the TTC's five most heavily used surface routes (for all of its vehicles) are streetcar routes.
- In 2016, ridership on the streetcar system totalled more than 95 million.
- The 501 Queen streetcar is the longest surface transit route in North America, about 24.43 km