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Talking Buses to Hit Bayview Gps System Announces Bus Stops Program Will Expand to Subway

Editor's Note: The following article is reprinted from the Toronto Star, May 25, 2005, courtesy of Torstar Syndication Services.

The TTC's Talking Bus project is about to become chattier.

The global positioning (GPS) technology that announces each stop will be expanded from one bus to all 15 plying the Bayview Ave. route in September for a two-month test.

If all goes well, the project will expand to cover all the TTC's 1,500 buses and 250 streetcars at an estimated cost of $3.5 million to $4 million, operations manager Gary Webster said yesterday.

Councillors Howard Moscoe and Joe Mihevc, TTC chair and vice-chair, were impressed during a demonstration run yesterday from Davisville subway station up Bayview Ave. to Sunnybrook hospital and back.

"From the perspective of persons with different abilities, it's very good," said Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul's). "It's helpful to people who are blind or visually impaired and people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

"The voice is pleasant," Mihevc added. "It's a female voice. It gives you the exact street you're about to hit. From a service perspective, this is something we can be proud of."

Webster said TTC policy is for bus and streetcar operators to call out major intersections, intersecting routes, subway stations and customer stop requests, but it doesn't always happen.

An automatic station stop announcement system will also be installed on the subway starting with the Sheppard line late this year, the Yonge-University Spadina line next year and the Bloor-Danforth line in 2007, Webster said.

"It's beautiful, a wonderful system," said Moscoe (Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence), who noted the system includes a ceiling screen that broadcasts each stop as the bus draws near.

The commissioners will have to decide whether to approve the system, and whether the TTC installs the technology or purchases an off-the-shelf system, Webster said.

He added that the TTC plans to canvas what suppliers can offer.

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