Effective April 1, several changes will occur on TTC routes. I’m not going to detail them all here (they will show up on the TTC’s website soon enough), but here are the major points. They are all on the streetcar system.
506 Carlton: Additional running time and vehicles to compensate for traffic congestion caused by the Dundas Street trackwork from April 1 to September 2 (end date subject to change). It’s good to see cars added rather than just stretching the headways. In addition, one car will be added at midday to bring the route back within loading standards.
505 Dundas: The Dundas car is spending a lot of time on the Carlton route this year while the line is rebuilt. Time has been added to the schedule, but no extra cars. Although the track construction will work its way through various parts of the line, the portion east of Parliament to Broadview will remain closed until November to allow for bridge repairs at the Don River.
501 Queen: Service will be improved on weekend and holiday afternoons. The change in headway is not huge, but every bit helps. What is particularly troubling about this route is the huge layovers provided to synchronize the service. On Saturday afternoons, cars get 19 minutes’ recovery time on the Long Branch service, while this generous arrangement applies to the Humber cars on Sundays. This is a hidden cost of running one long, integrated operation.
512 St. Clair: Service will be improved at several off-peak periods to reduce crowding. This is a very fast response to the return of streetcar service even though the line still runs in mixed traffic west of Vaughan Road.
510 Spadina: Service will be improved on Sunday and holiday daytimes with the addition of two cars and the rebalancing of service between the King short turn and the Union branch of the line. This astounding route has service rivalling the rush hours at off peak times. Combined service from Bloor to King:
- Weekdays: Am Peak — 2’30” Midday — 1’53” Pm Peak and Early Evening — 2’00”
- Saturdays: Morning — 2’50” Afternoon — 2’00” Early Evening — 2’50”
- Sundays: Morning and Afternoon — 2’10” Early Evening — 3’00”
The saddest part of the monthly announcements remains the long list of service improvements that are justified by loading standards, but for which there is no budget, vehicles or operators. The list is now over two pages long.
In the fall of 2007, we can hope to see a lot of this fixed, but it will be at the cost of Ridership Growth Strategy vehicles and operators that originally were intended for net improvements in service relative to demand.
This will be a big issue for the 2008 budget cycle, especially if ridership growth outstrips TTC estimates.