Sunday’s incident in which a TTC bus smashed into a Queen St. building was not that unusual. About 3,000 transit vehicle collisions occur annually on Toronto roads.
But unlike Sunday’s accident, which slightly injured three, no one is hurt in the vast majority of TTC crashes. And the number of collisions has been dropping, slightly but steadily, since 2007, say transit officials.
There were 3,015 TTC bus and streetcar collisions between April 30, 2011 and May 1, 2012, resulting in 230 injuries — 29 fewer than the same period in the previous year. There were 339 more crashes in the 2010-2011 period.
The TTC cut back service in 2012, which may account for some of the recent decrease in collisions, said TTC spokesman Brad Ross.
The 2010-2011 statistics show TTC surface vehicles crash about eight times a day on average. But that number has to be placed in the context of the mileage the TTC puts in, he said.
Last year, the TTC’s fleet of 1,800 buses and 247 streetcars logged 130 million kilometres. Most of those vehicles, operated by the country’s largest transit system, are in service every day during Toronto’s increasingly congested rush hours.
“Where you’re going to have more buses and more kilometres travelled, common sense would tell you the incident rate would be higher there,” Ross said.
“Our operators are professionally trained, operating in mixed traffic, seven days a week,” he said.
Collisions and injuries may have decreased over the past two years, but the number of TTC vehicles that hit fixed objects — such as the building in Sunday’s crash — has actually risen.
Between April 30, 2010, and May 1, 2011, streetcars and buses hit 400 fixed objects — mostly streetlights and hydro poles, according to Ross. They hit 460 fixed objects during the same period in 2011 and 2012.
Police investigate all TTC collisions.
“We review every collision to determine if it was preventable on our part and take steps to understand the what and why, and take steps to prevent future occurrences,” Ross said.
TTC collisions and truck crashes were among 216,315 collisions on Ontario roads in 2009, according to the most recent available provincial statistics. The province has 11.4 million licensed vehicles and 9.3 million drivers.
Update: Thursday, August 2, 2012 – TTC driver was charged with careless driving and running a red light, as a result of the accident that occurred on July 22, 2012