When a winter storm left bus drivers in Canada's biggest city literally spinning their wheels, residents asked public officials whether or not transit vehicles are fitted with winter tires.
The answer? No. Though Toronto makes it mandatory for taxi operators to equip their cabs with snow tires, both the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) and the city's police get by with all-seasons. And they've no plans on changing that policy.
"Snow tires are useful perhaps at high speeds, say on highways for example, but we are going so slowly, stopping and starting that snow tires have no impact," TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said.
"There is also the whole cost element with snow tires and storage for snow tires [the TTC operates some 1,851 buses] all for those few days when you might need them when the fact of the matter is you probably don't."
A massive snowfall overnight on February 1 – the city got 22 centimetres, almost nine inches, in just a few hours – left more than a dozen TTC buses stranded on one particular stretch of Yonge Street, reports news network CP24. But TTC CEO Andy Byford's opinion is that the solution is to simply clear the roads better.
The city's police also use all-season tires on the majority of their vehicles, despite the fact almost every police force in the surrounding area – including the Durham, York and Peel police – switches to winters when necessary.
"Simply put, our city does not get hit with many serious winter storms. When we are, the streets are usually cleared within about 24 to 48 hours," Constable Dave Hopkinson of Toronto Police Services told CP24.com.
The City of Toronto requires taxis outfit their vehicles with winter tires between December and March, and the Ontario Provincial Police also use snow tires during those months. However, other transit agencies in neighbouring regions also use all-seasons year-round like the TTC.