TTC trains too hot to handle

Picture of old TTC subway trains

(Courtesy of ViaAmtrakGuy via Wikimedia Commons)

During this summer’s ridiculous heat wave, you probably rode on a stuffy, non-air-conditioned TTC subway train at least once.

For any Bloor-Danforth line commuter, there’s nothing worse than walking through a muggy, packed station, only to board a subway train with air so thick you can barely breathe. It’s the moment in your day when your mood takes an instant nose dive because you realize that you’ve missed the air-conditioned train.

The Line 2 cars are undoubtedly the worst part of my commute. Even though I only need to travel on that line for three stops, it’s still unbearable. Imagine the suffering of those who have no other choice but to ride the entirety of the green line every day? Those people are real troupers.

Based on a study by the Toronto Star, the temperature of trains can rise up to 32.5 C. According to CP24, one in four subway cars is a “hot car.” That’s a safety hazard.

Mayor John Tory got a taste of that when he was challenged to ride one of these Bloor-Danforth “hot cars” for the full stretch of the line. He found it insufferable, of course.

Yet, he only promised to make improvements in time for next year.

Who can wait one more year for a change? Why does it take the mayor sitting in a hot car for one day to reignite this discussion?

That said, the TTC has already made some improvements. It has removed all of the old cars from the Yonge-University line. It’s been introducing newer cars to Line 4 (Sheppard line) since May. Surely, if they can make those improvements to Line 1 and 4, then they can find a way to make some changes to Line 2, the second longest and most used line.

The new Toronto Rocket trains from Bombardier were introduced five years ago. That’s quite a long time for commuters to endure these old, hot cars.

Yes, the TTC is not entirely at fault. Bombardier missed its deadline to complete the rest of the promised trains, but do passengers really have to suffer until 2025 for well air-conditioned cars on Line 2? That’s how long it will take for Line 2 to be fully running with newer cars, according to TTC spokesperson, Susan Sperling.

In the meantime, according to comments Sperling gave to CBC News, she advises riders to “get in and get out” of hot cars and into other cars on the same train as a way to deal with the heat. Or, she recommended, riders can wait for the next train.

Who has the time for that?

As commuters, we can’t spend time playing hot potato when there are already so many transit delays preventing us from getting to work or class on time.

And yet, Toronto’s transit system is praised for its forward thinking: The New York Times recently suggested that Toronto’s new spacious trains would be great for New York’s metro system.

Even though we may have these new and innovative cars, we’re not using them wisely. Now, with Tory’s requested 2.6 per cent budget cut to the TTC, it doesn’t sound like he’s sorting out our hot car situation.

Toronto shouldn’t be wasting anymore time making excuses or cutting workers from their jobs. The city needs to fix these old cars or switch in new ones as soon as possible.

I hope that with the recent $500 million of funding from Ottawa, the TTC will spend the money wisely and put a portion of it into getting rid of these cars before 2025.  

We might have the perfect subway cars, but when it’s a coin flip between getting to ride a hot car versus a new car, our system is anything but perfect.

Commuters cannot afford any more delays.


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