Categorized | Food

From hostage training exercises to mobile grocery stores, retired TTC vehicles put to good use

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

 “It’s a win-win for everyone,” a TTC spokesperson said of the vehicle donations, which have gone everywhere from Sudan to Liberia to right here at home.

From mobile grocery stores to hostage rescue training, donated TTC vehicles are being used in new — and unexpected — ways.

“Donating vehicles allows us to help local charities, emergency services and other cities, and to preserve TTC history,” said TTC spokesperson Stuart Green. “It’s a win-win for everyone and, wherever possible, we try to fulfil these requests.”

Green said the TTC receives around three to five donation requests a year. Donating the vehicles serves as an alternative to selling or scrapping the vehicles after they’re decommissioned.

Requests are considered on an individual basis and require approval from the TTC’s CEO. The vehicles are stripped of logos, Presto equipment and the bus stop announcement system before they’re donated free of charge.

In December, the TTC donated a bus to Hygiene on Wheels to create a mobile shower and laundry facility to serve Toronto’s homeless.

Vehicles have even gone overseas, to the Republic of Liberia’s Ministry of Transport and South Sudan’s capital city, Juba.

The Belka Enrichment Center turned a bus into a mobile computer lab and the Toronto Transportation Society received a bus for preservation and historical purposes.

FoodShare Toronto, a non-profit centred around healthy food and food education, transformed two donated Wheel-Trans vehicles into Mobile Good Food Markets.

The mobile markets travel to 10 different locations across Toronto and sell low-cost and “beautiful, fresh produce,” executive director Paul Taylor said.

FoodShare delivered more than 72,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and fruit to nearly 7,000 people across Toronto in 2016.

“If you don’t have a lot of money for transit . . . and there’s a vehicle that shows up with beautiful, fresh produce through this travelling community market, it really saves you some money,” Taylor said.

Because of the mobile market’s “real roots” in the communities it serves, Taylor said the program can be responsive to its clients’ wants and needs.

“(If) someone jumps on the Mobile Good Food Market, and says, you know, I can’t find okra anywhere, or I can’t find my scotch bonnet peppers anywhere, then what we do is purchase some okra or scotch bonnet peppers,” he said. “And that’s on the vehicle the next time we’re around.”

The mobile markets look “completely different” from TTC Wheel-Trans vehicles that you’d spot on the street, Taylor said.

“It’s been completely redesigned,” he said. “Inside of it, we have shelving for the produce. I don’t think you’d recognize it as a former Wheel-Trans vehicle.”

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority received two full-size buses from the TTC in December.

Both buses will be used for training purposes, according to Phillip Bott, division chief in the GTAA’s fire training division.

The first bus will be used to simulate a high-occupancy vehicle that’s been involved in a motor vehicle crash for fire training students.

“The second bus is going to be coupled with a Boeing 737 aircraft that we have in the training area,” Bott said. “So it will be simulating that we have a passenger transport vehicle on the airfield and then we can have it simulated that it ran into the aircraft.”

The bus will also be used for mimicking police operations and fire rescues.

“It could be that there was a perpetrator on the bus and a hostage situation,” Bott said. “We could use it for an additional spot where firefights have to search and potentially provide rescue.”

The GTAA buses still resemble transit vehicles, Bott said.

“Basically the only thing that has been removed from it is the change box,” he said. “Other than that, the seats are there, the handles are there, everything is present.”

 

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