TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, August 31, 2014 (Update 3)

The August 31 schedules will see a return to fall service across the system as well as several other changes.  At long last (I have been distracted with other events, and there was a lot to do this month) here is the consolidated list of service changes. The list combines all types of change because there are overlapping seasonal, construction and service improvement effects.

The table linked here has been updated to correct errors missed in its creation. Thanks to Timor Urakov for catching these.

2014.08.31_Service_Changes (Revision 2)

Major changes include:

  • Return of streetcars to 510 Spadina
  • A major change of the 504 King schedule to provide added running time
  • Return of 504 King and 505 Dundas streetcars to Broadview Station
  • Route split of 501 Queen for Gardiner Expressway construction at Humber Loop
  • Route split of 116E Morningside Express to 198 UTSC Rocket

Something I have not included here, but will add in a future update, is a list of all of the Standby Buses (and a few streetcars) that are spotted around the city for various reasons. They don’t show up in the route-by-route info, but there is a substantial chunk of the fleet used to provide this service. Due to a bus shortage, the number of standby vehicles scheduled for fall 2014 is lower than originally planned.

510 Spadina

Streetcars will return to Spadina between Bloor and Queens Quay with all service running through to the south end of the line. The route will be scheduled based on CLRV capacity, and new Flexities will take over runs one by one as cars become available. Current plans are for through service to Union and a resumption of streetcar service on 509 Harbourfront in October.

At the end of the AM Peak, 508 Lake Shore trippers operate a westbound trip as 506 Carlton to provide extra capacity to the UofT St. George campus. These trips previously operated back to Roncesvalles Carhouse, but they will be changed so that the cars switch over to 510 Spadina which has more cars during the midday than the AM peak.

Previously, this interlining was done using 503 Kingston Road cars from Russell, but with the move of 510 Spadina to Roncesvalles, trippers from that division will be used.

504 King Running Time Changes

In an attempt to reduce the need to short turn much of the service to keep operators on time, the TTC is changing the round trip times during all periods of service on this route.

King Round Trip Time Changes September 2014

                    Weekdays     Saturday     Sunday
                    Aug   Sept   Aug   Sept   Aug   Sept
AM Peak             104+8 120+8
M-F Midday          100+8 122+5
PM Peak             115+8 135+7

S-S Early Morning                85+5  105+5  78+2  95+4
S-S Late Morning                 97+7  111+6  94+5  109+5
S-S Afternoon                    97+7  111+6  94+8  109+5

Early Evening        95+7 116+6  97+4  111+4  82+8  97+3
Late Evening         85+6  99+4  83+7  100+4  76+4  95+4

In the table above, the “before” times are shown under “Aug” and are taken from the schedules in effect until Aug. 30. The “after” times are shown under “Sept” and are taken from the schedules effective Aug. 31.

The time is given as running time plus recovery time. For example, the AM peak running time of “120+8″ means that cars will have 120 minutes of driving time to make a round trip plus 8 minutes of terminal recovery time. Some of the changes increase the total time by 20%, a very substantial increase.

Whether this will translate into a noticeable reduction in short turns remains to be seen. One potential problem will be the accumulation of “early” cars at terminals where it is already possible to find lineups of cars. From my own knowledge of the line, some of these changes appear to be excessive and will probably have to be rolled back.

501 Queen & 508 Lake Shore

From September through December, reconstruction of the Gardiner Expressway at Humber Loop will close off the underpass between the loop and Lake Shore Blvd. The outer end of the Queen route will once again switch to a shuttle bus connecting with the streetcar.

Subway Changes

Yonge subway operations will be changed to base more trains at Davisville Yard. This will give more time for maintenance work as the last service trains will be clear of the line sooner than on current schedules. An early morning non-revenue train that carries Station Collectors to work will be replaced with a shuttle bus.

On the Bloor subway, service will be improved weekday middays and evenings, and on Saturday afternoons to reduce crowding.

Roncesvalles Yard

In anticipation of the arrival of more Flexities, some runs will be shifted to other locations. Exhibition Loop will now be used to store some 511 Bathurst runs as well as 512 St. Clair runs already at that location.

The 510 Spadina route will operate from Roncesvalles where the Flexities will be based, and to make room, all runs on 505 Dundas will operate from Russell.

Broadview Avenue

Streetcar service will return to Broadview Station after a temporary absence in July-August.

Since the re-opening of the Broadview & Queen intersection, carhouse trips from Russell westbound have resumed using the west-to-north curve that was taken out of service for safety concerns in October 2012.

Six Points Project

The reconstruction of the Kipling-Dundas-Bloor interchange begins in September and this will trigger diversions of various routes around Kipling Station.

Posted in Bathurst Car, Dundas Car, King Car, Queen Car, Service Cost and Quality, Spadina Car, Subways, Transit, Waterfront | 58 Comments

Queens Quay Reconstruction 2014 (Updated August 21, 2014)

This post has been added to track the reconstruction of the streetcar right-of-way on Queens Quay leading to the resumption of 509/510 Harbourfront and Spadina services on August 31, 2014.

Because the construction work on Queens Quay is being done out of geographical sequence as various stretches of the road become available, this post is organized by block from Bay to west of Spadina.

Current construction details are available from Waterfront Toronto.

Updated August 21, 2014: A photo of car 4400 testing at Queens Quay Loop has been added.

Updated August 20, 2014: Work west of Spadina is now well underway with the track in place and the concrete pour scheduled for this week. This will complete the track construction. Meanwhile, testing of the track and overhead at Queens Quay Loop has begun. Continue reading

Posted in Transit | 60 Comments

TTC Management Proposes Widespread Service Improvements, Two Hour Fare and More (Updated)

Updated August 19, 2014 at 10:50 pm: The TTC board unanimously adopted the proposals in this report with amendments.  Some of these were intended to ensure clear understanding that approval was only in principle and subject to the review process in the 2015 budget.

In what proved quite a surprise to me, Chair Maria Augimeri moved a request for a set of reports related to service and fleet plans. The text of this came directly from a deputation on the CEO’s report which, at that point in the meeting, I had not actually presented because the Board took the agenda items out of sequence.

Here are my deputation texts, one on the “Opportunities” report itself, and one on the CEO’s report. The motion I proposed and which the Board adopted is in the second item below.

Although there were questions about details and about the manner in such a far-reaching set of proposals appeared on the Supplementary Agenda of the last Board Meeting before the election, there was broad support for the content.

Of the Mayoral candidates, even Mayor Ford has spoken favourably about many of the proposals with the exception of the widespread rollout of PoP (self service) fare collection and the move to time-based transfers/fare receipts.

Only John Tory has been strongly opposed choosing to take a hard-line tax-fighter stance that is hard to swallow in light of his own multi-billion dollar transit plans. Tory also does not understand that a staff report at the TTC only makes proposals for what should or might be done — it is up to Council to decide on priorities and funding mechanisms. Tory continues to disappoint as a candidate who has more bluster than substance, a trait he shares with the current Mayor.

Updated August 15, 2014 at 8:00 pm: Detailed comments about the proposal have been added.

The Supplementary Agenda for the TTC Board Meeting of August 19, 2014, contains a report that is breathtaking in its scope:

Opportunities to Increase Transit Service in Toronto

The report recommends a program to include the following initiatives:

a) implement all door boarding and proof-of-payment on all streetcar routes;
b) reduce wait times and crowding on bus and streetcar routes;
c) establish a city-wide network of Ten-Minute-or-Better bus and streetcar services;
d) expand the Express Route Network with new and improved express bus routes;
e) implement more transit priority measures;
f) add resources to improve service reliability and route performance;
g) operate all routes all day, every day across the city;
h) change the one-trip-per-fare to a two-hour-travel-privilege-per-fare;
i) expand the overnight bus and streetcar network.

[The agenda will also include presentations on the new streetcar implementation, and on "Customer Journey Times", a new way to measure the usefulness of transit service to riders. These presentations are not yet online.]

Continue reading

Posted in A Grand Plan, Fares & Fare Collection, Finance, Service Cost and Quality, Transit | 120 Comments

Reconstruction of Dundas & Spadina (Updated August 8, 2014)

August 8, 2014

Regular streetcar service on McCaul Street is rare both because of how this trackage fits into the network and because the narrow street invites autos and trucks to park foul of the tracks. Below, a few shots of McCaul Street while the 505 Dundas route is still there.

Regular service through Dundas & Spadina resumes on Tuesday, August 12.

Continue reading

Posted in Dundas Car, King Car, Spadina Car, Transit | 40 Comments

The Crisis in TTC Service Capacity (Update 3)

Updated August 8, 2014 at 6:40 am: According to an article in today’s Toronto Star, TTC CEO Andy Byford is advocating a move to Proof-of-Payment (POP) fare collection on all streetcar routes effective January 1, 2015. He will also seek funding for service improvements including a return to the 2012 crowding standards, although this will only be applicable for off-peak service thanks to the shortage of vehicles.

Updated August 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm: The City’s Planning & Growth Management Committee has voted to defer the McNicoll Garage issue until 2015. More political point scoring by the Ford/Stintz faction in their waning hours.

Updated August 7, 2014 at 7:50 am: Information has been added about the bus and streetcar fleet sizes in 1990 before the recession that led to widespread service cuts. Service in 1990 was better on the streetcar network than it is today, and the bus fleet is barely back to 1990 levels in terms of scheduled capacity across the system.

Comments about system capacity that were originally in the post about service changes for August 31, 2014 will be moved to this thread.

Transit is “The Better Way”, or so we have been told by the politicians responsible for managing our transportation system. Road building simply won’t work — there is no room for more cars in many locations even if we could build more expressways — and transit is the answer.

Sounds great! Transit advocates like me should be cheering. With the election of those champions of infrastructure spending, Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, to Queen’s Park and the imminent demise of the Escalade-loving Brothers Ford at City Hall, transit’s future should be assured.

If only it were that simple.

Continue reading

Posted in A Grand Plan, Bus Technology, New Streetcars, New Subway Cars, Service Cost and Quality, Subways, Transit, Vehicles | 96 Comments

TTC Board Meeting: July 23, 2014 (Updated)

The TTC board met on July 23 with some items of modest interest on the agenda. This is the second last meeting of the current board before the October municipal election sweeps away at least some of the current crew. Nothing of real substance will happen until the new Council takes office, and a new Mayor attempts to forge an agenda for transit that is more than a simplistic, pandering slogan.

Included in the agenda are:

  • The monthly CEO’s report;
  • A purchase amendment regarding the new TR trainsets to retrofit additional handholds and to provide speakers outside of cars so that riders can hear door closing announcements;
  • The Transit Project Assessment (TPA) for McNicoll Garage (a proposal already contested by the neighbourhood where it will be built);
  • The proposed sale of the Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) used for the Spadina Subway Extension;
  • A proposal from Commissioner Heisey that the City of Toronto seek a change in TTC and Metrolinx governance so that one member would be cross-appointed between each board; and
  • A request from newly minted Commissioner Pasternak for a report on his pet project, the Sheppard Subway extension west to Downsview.

Update: An additional item came in via correspondence: a request for an express bus route from Liberty Village to downtown.

Continue reading

Posted in Fantasy, Finance, Sheppard Subway, Spadina Subway, Subways, Transit | 96 Comments

An Interview With a New Minister / GO Isn’t a DRL Replacement

Two recent articles on other sites:

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca: It’s Time for Building, Not Planning

Torontoist’s Editor-in-Chief, Hamutal Dotan, and I sat down for an interview with Steven Del Duca, Ontario’s new Minister of Transportation, and found his one-note message wanting.

Toronto transit experts: ‘Surface subways’ only part of the solution

Why GO improvements don’t eliminate the need for a new subway into the core area.

Posted in Transit | Comments Off

July 19, 1974: The End of the Line on Rogers Road

July 19, 1974 was the last day for streetcar service on Rogers Road, and in honour of the anniversary, this post is a gallery of before and after pictures.

For an historical overview of the line, please see Sean Marshall’s article on

The Rogers Road car, the last remnant of the York Township Railways, was not saved with the rest of the streetcar system in 1972 because York (then a separate municipality) did not want to spend the extra money required to repave their street with streetcar tracks in it. Although service on Rogers once ran every 3 minutes at peak, by 1974 this had fallen to every 5 minutes as demand was siphoned off by north-south service on 29 Dufferin and 41 Keele feeding south to the Bloor subway.

During off-peak hours, the line was a 15-minute long shuttle from Oakwood Loop at St. Clair to Bicknell Loop just east of Weston Road, but during the peak, cars ran east via St. Clair to the Yonge Subway. The combined service of Rogers, Earlscourt and St. Clair cars between Oakwood and Yonge was considerably more frequent in 1974 than it is today.

After a period as a branch of 63 Ossington, the line was eventually converted to diesel operation and now operates as a separate route, 161 Rogers Rd.

Continue reading

Posted in Looking Back, Transit | 26 Comments

How Unreliable Is My Service? (Updated July 18, 2014)

July 18, 2014: Results for second quarter of 2014 have now been posted on the TTC’s website, and they are consolidated into a new table below.


Second Quarter 2014 Update:

There is little change in the route performance statistics for the second quarter despite our having emerged from a bitter winter. The change from Q1 to Q2 is less than 10% for most routes with some improving and others falling behind. Those that are beyond the 10% mark can, in some cases, be explained by route-specific issues such as construction, but not all of them.

Two new routes appear for the first time, 172 Cherry and 195 Jane Rocket. It is mildly amusing that the Cherry bus, which must fight its way through construction downtown, manages a 69% reliability score while the Jane express service manages only 58%.

In this quarter, the 58 Malton and 52 Lawrence routes were combined. Their former scores in the mid-50% range have astoundingly improved to 81% on the consolidated route. I will follow this up with the TTC to see what magic they have wrought here.

Continue reading

Posted in Service Analysis, Service Cost and Quality, Transit | 56 Comments

The Mythology of “New” Federal Gas Tax Subsidies

Recently, Canada’s new Finance Minister rolled into town and visited TTC’s Hillcrest Yard for a celebration of the “new” gas tax revenue Toronto will see from Ottawa. Even Rob Ford was there, although he studiously avoided being photographed with the much-hated new streetcars his buddies, the feds, are helping to pay for.

TTC CEO Andy Byford gushed about all this new money and what a difference it would make to Toronto.

In a reply to a comment in another thread, I looked under the covers of the announcement and found it wanting. The issue is important enough that it merits a post of its own.

The Announcement

Ottawa has concluded a national agreement to which Ontario, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and the City of Toronto are partners. This will extend the gas tax regime a further 10 years to 2024, with annual indexation by 2%.

The program is not just a transit subsidy scheme, but an infrastructure support program for a wide variety of projects.

The total pool of federal gas tax dollars is divided by population, and within Ontario there are three blocks of funding: one goes to the AMO for allocation to all municipalities, one goes to Queen’s Park for projects in areas that are not incorporated towns, etc., and one part goes to the City of Toronto.

At the beginning of 2014, Ontario’s population was 13.6-million, while Toronto’s was 2.8m. On a per capita basis (the allocation scheme for the funding) this will bring Toronto just under $800m over the next five years, less than $10m more per year that we have received in recent years.

We often hear about the deficit in funding TTC’s capital plans which stands at $2.7-billion as of the 2014 capital budget report. Turn to the second last page of that document, and you will see that the TTC already provides for $154m/year in federal subsidies out to 2023. In other words, the deficit is only $2.7b because this “new” subsidy was already counted back in November 2013. The hole is only slightly less daunting if we actually get $160m/year, but the extra won’t go very far.

Yes, it’s nice to have continued funding confirmed by Ottawa, but this is not a new spend for them, merely the continuation of an existing program. The TTC’s budget woes are just as bad this week as they were before July 11.

Posted in Finance, Transit | 14 Comments