The Toronto Transit Commission (T.T.C.) has announced that it intends to end the practise of naming its subway lines. It claims that this is an attempt to make the system easier to understand.
As such, the Yonge-University-Spadina (Y-U-S) line will become the ‘1’ line, the Bloor-Danforth Line (B-D) line will become the ‘2’ line, the Scarborough Rapid Transit (S.R.T.) will become the ‘3’ line, and the Sheppard line will be the ‘4’ line. Other routes, such as the Eglinton Crosstown line will be numbered as there are completed (the Eglinton line becoming the ‘5’ line.)
The problem with all this is not only has the current system been in place as long as Toronto has had subways, but the names all make sense. The lines generally operate on a straight line over their named route, the only exception being the ‘U’ shape of the Y-U-S line, which still runs on the streets in its name.
The name of the line obviously indicates the route the subway travels on. If you want to go east on Bloor Street, you take an eastbound subway on the Bloor-Danforth Line. You want to go North on Yonge Street, you take a northbound subway on Yonge Street.
Every subway station that I have been to has maps showing the T.T.C. routes, plus one for the subway. Also, the platforms have signs that indicating the next stop. And did I mention that there are staffed stations where people can ask for assistance.
Every subway car has a map of the subway system on it. Plus there are automated announcements as to the next stop. This allow helps people to get to their destination.
All major subway lines also have information on-line, including on Wikipedia (for example, you can find the map for the New York City subway system there.) This means that people can look into the system, including our system, very easily. For example, there is a route map for the subway at T.T.C.’s website, or on Wikipedia. So it is very easy to find the information you need.
If changes have to be made, do something such as the TTC did with the streetcar lines. Give them a number, but retain the name. So, we would have ‘1 Yonge-University-Spadina’, ‘2 Bloor-Danforth’, ‘3 Scarborough Rapid Transit’, and ‘4 Sheppard.’
Also, what happens if the S.R.T. becomes part of the Bloor-Danforth line? The number would not be used. It would be better to either give it a higher designation (temporarily) or it means that the S.R.T. would always have to be a separate route.
Personally, I believe the T.T.C. should do nothing with the names, or at least do a combination as suggested above. Especially for Torontonians who will always know the lines by their name.