Updated: The Service Summary is now available online.
The June/July schedule board period will bring many seasonal cuts to transit service on the TTC. I will not list all of them, but the real issue will be to see whether they are reversed in the fall. A few cuts in this round are identified as a response to budget concerns (see my previous article about Metropass use and its effect on revenues). If this is just reasonable belt-tightening, that’s just good management. If this is a return to the bad days of stealth service cuts even while riding grows, the TTC is in for problems.
On the Yonge line, four of the six gap/standby trains will be removed in the AM peak, but headways will not be affected. In the PM peak, six trains will be removed, four from regular service, and the headway will widen from 2’31” to 2’46”.
On the Bloor-Danforth line, seven AM peak trains will be removed with headways widening from 2’24” to 2’53”. In the PM peak, five trains will be removed changing the headway from 2’34” to 2’57”.
On the SRT, running time will be increased at all times “to improve service reliability in hot weather”. We know that the SRT can’t stand ice and snow, but now obviously, it needs to cool off at the height of summer. Peak headways rise from 3’40′” to 3’50”, while offpeak headways rise from 5’30” to 5’45”. Step-back crewing will be dropped during the summer.
Construction Routing and Service Changes
The route split at St. Clair will be discontinued to save on budget, but the diversion around the underpass reconstruction at Dupont Street will remain.
Dundas 505 and Carlton 506
Watermain construction on Dundas from Bathurst to Dovercourt will require that the route be split for the summer. Normal service is expected to resume in September.
Dundas 505 cars will operate between Broadview Station and Bathurst Station. I suspect we will see short turning via east on College to Spadina.
Carlton 506 cars will operate to Dundas West Station rather than to High Park Loop.
Dundas 505 buses will operate from Keele Station to Wolseley Loop via Parkside Drive, Howard Park, Dundas and Bathurst.
Eglinton West 32
The short turn buses between Eglinton and Eglinton West Stations that were added for bridge construction near Chaplin Crescent will be removed as a budgetary measure.
A long reconstruction period on Roncesvalles Avenue begins in late June with watermain and other roadwork. This is expected to continue into late 2010 when the street will re-open with reconfigured streetcar track and sidewalks including direct loading from widened sidewalks at transit stops. A side effect of this project is that the plethora of Sunday Stops on Roncesvalles will be removed.
All King 504 service will turn back from Roncesvalles Carhouse. A replacement bus service will operate from Dundas West Station via Dundas, Lansdowne, Queen and Roncesvalles. No service is provided southbound because that side of the street will be closed for watermain work.
Bathurst Car 511
Service will be improved on weekday middays, PM peak and evenings and on weekend evenings to handle additional demand to events at Ontario Place and Exhibition Place.
Downtowner 502 and Kingston Road Tripper 503
Headways on each route will be widened from 12′ to 15′ during the peak period. Although this provides, in theory, a blended service on Kingston Road, actual operations, especially in the PM peak, tend to be chaotic. Moreover, the 503 will be diverted off of its usual downtown loop during the Church Street track construction project.
Service will be improved during most operating periods with substantially shorter headways during all off-peak periods.
Seven of the CLRV trippers will be removed from the AM peak service. This will leave two CLRV and seven ALRV trippers in the schedule.
Running times will be increased to deal with increased passenger traffic, and the King short turn will be extended to Queen’s Quay during midday and PM peak periods.
Many other seasonal changes are not listed here, but will be detailed on the TTC’s site when they publish the summer schedule updates.
Kipling South 44
Weekday evening service will be improved from a 30′ to 15′ headway to reduce crowding. The average load is now 48, well above the Service Standard of 38.
A trial step-back crew arrangement will be implemented between 2 and 7 pm on weekdays eastbound at Connaught (Russell Carhouse) with operators dropping back two cars. The step-forward arrangement between 10 am and 2 pm will remain. This trial will last until July 31.
St. Clair 512
As a budgetary cut, one car will be removed from service Monday through Saturday. Headways will widen from 3’00” to 3’30” on weekdays, and from 3’30” to 4’00” on Saturdays. Considering the amount of time St. Clair cars spend laying over at both ends of their short shuttle, a change in running time is long overdue, but we will have to await the line’s reopening in late 2010 to see just how badly the TTC pads schedules on this new “transit priority” route.
“Watermain construction on Dundas from Bathurst to Dovercourt will require that the route be split for the summer. Normal service is expected to resume in September.”
This section was reconstructed in 2007 along with the rest of Dundas. Why wasn’t this work done then?
Steve: Because the City has only just started to co-ordinate utility work like this to avoid duplications in 2008. Dumb, but that’s what happens, or used to. The Roncesvalles project has been co-ordinated so that the underground utilities go in first, this year, followed by the road and track work in 2010.
Why are the Sunday stops being removed from Roncesvalles? Of all the service delays on the entire system surely the least are caused by sunday stops.
Steve: Because the sidewalk will be widened at all stops to provide direct loading into the streetcars. It’s hard to widen them on Sundays only, although I am sure Metrolinx has a technology they would love to try out for this.
I am sure the TTC could have saved the bus or two freed by returning the Bathurst bus to its old routing by simply adjusting the frequency on the south portion. Ridership is substantially higher north of St. Clair, and I don’t believe that the south leg can justify a 6 00 headway. Also, this probably means that the route will once again be subject to even worse delays and bunching. I am not happy about this.
In the PM peak, six trains will be removed, four from regular service, and the headway will widen from 2′31″ to 2′46″.
Bah. When the King Station NB platform is heaving with commuters and there’s a humidex of OhMyGod degrees is not a time to be cutting Yonge line service to people opting against non-AC streetcars – if I was a College or Wellesley commuter I would be unhappier still at the prospect of soaring platform temps AND one full train after another. At least run the extra sets short turned somewhere north of Bloor…
The Sunday stops on Roncesvalles are being removed because of the length of the new low-floor streetcars. They will be about twice the length of a current CLRV. And since all doors could be used for boarding, the rearmost door would have been very close to the frontmost door of a low-floor streetcar at a Sunday stop.
Steve: Yes, those old stops are very close together!
Good ol’ SRT, can’t run in the winter, can’t run in the summer. Come on… when can it run?
For the St. Clair car you mentioned a reopening date of late 2010, surely you mean early 2010 or late 2009, no?
Steve: Yes. I am so used to thinking of that route as being closed for the indefinite future. Late 2009 may be a stretch, but certainly not late 2010.
It was planned to operate perfectly in an absence of climate conditions. If there are no climate conditions, it operates like a dream.
My Wychwood heart is breaking. CERTAINLY, the number of vehicles serving the route between St. Clair West and St. Clair stations is absurdly high, certainly the layover time is legendary (true to TTC standards, from such an exhausting, and stressful trip — poor drivers) … but late-2010?
Steve: I have already corrected that in a previous comment in this thread. All the same, I don’t think based on experience they have an hope of making the end of 2009 and the winter season will overtake completion of construction to Gunn’s Loop.
I was (led to believe) that Oakwood loop (which I live one block North of, so-chosen because of the St. Clair West right-of-way project) would be opened for Streetcar service by the end of May (okay June, okay July, okay December)!
I certainly! hope you are talking about the opening date for the full line.
… further it’s sad to see the state of affairs in Roncesvalles. I hope the TTC takes some note of demographics. I’ve always felt that the 506 should run to Parkside and then NORTH to Keele Station, this bus will use (the bulk) of that routing. To lose all of your streetcars at once is quite disconcerting (no low-rumble to set the mood.)
Regarding St. Clair, you note that “a change in running time is long overdue”; I infer that you mean that the June changes address this. However, if the headway is being widened to 3’30” the running time is not being adjusted. (It is currently scheduled at 21 minutes including 3 minutes layover time. Seven cars can achieve a 3’00” headway while six can achieve a 3’30” headway.)
How much padding can be cut from the round trip time? If three minutes can be shaved (hacked?) off of the running time, you could maintain 3’00” headways with six cars.
Steve: The running time on St. Clair is not changing, and will still be 18 minutes plus three minutes recovery time. The scheduled speed for this route is a paltry 11.3 km/h, and the streetcar is actually scheduled to be slower than the bus which has to run through the construction zone. The cars take huge layovers at both ends of the line. If this is an example of what the TTC does when it gets a totally dedicated right-of-way, it sets an appalling example for all those “savings” we were supposed to attain.
Are you saying that the streetcars on St. Clair isn’t going to change one iota? I don’t know about you but this is so then the TTC and the city are causing alot of disruption and expense for absolutely no good reason whatsoever, not to mention all the controversy. This being the case then there should be some serious hell being raised about this and some very intense lobbying to get that damn speed raised. It might not hurt if someone could lobby for increased speeds on other TTC ROWs. I’ve been on some cases on the Queensway that I thought were awfully slow for not being in mixed traffic.
Steve: The TTC has ridiculously long layovers built into the existing streetcar schedule at both ends of the line. I am looking forward to these disappearing when service is restored to Lansdowne, although they really should disappear sooner.
As for The Queensway, yes, that’s a wonderful example of the combined effect of “transit priority” and TTC “safety”. Streetcars used to fly along the Queensway, but then the TTC got nervous about cars turning left in front of streetcars and implemented speed limits at the crossings. There are now left turn only phases that further confound green time for streetcars because they come before the “priority vehicle” gets its chance.
David Aldinger says:
“I’ve been on some cases on the Queensway that I thought were awfully slow for not being in mixed traffic.”
Some operators blame the schedule and the running time for crawling. On the other hand, I’ve been on quite a few ALRVs running 70km/h westbound past High Park (making up for delays on Queen West?). The really slow operation is often eastbound. This is annoying if it follows a five-minute stopover at Humber loop, after crawling along Lake Shore.
“Streetcars used to fly along the Queensway, but then the TTC got nervous about cars turning left in front of streetcars and implemented speed limits at the crossings.”
Almost no streetcars operate through at 7km/h as the signs mandate. Some operators don’t even slow down. (Shhhh!)
Steve: I have noticed that operators tend to be taking rather more liberty with those “speed restrictions” than they used to. Now if only we could get the TTC to have reliable electronics for the electric switches so that cars didn’t have to tiptoe through every junction.
Kendrew Leung said, “Good ol’ SRT, can’t run in the winter, can’t run in the summer. Come on… when can it run?”
Simple: only on those days when weather reports give temperatures without either a wind chill or humidex factor! 😉
The Queen car often has “terminal time” that’s greater than the headway, for example 16 minute terminal time on M-F midday Neville-Long Branch runs, compared to an advertised 11’45” headway.
On the other hand, M-F late evening cars get 0 minutes terminal time. I guess that explains why late evening cars often are running westbound like maniacs, trying for the elusive +2 so as to get a bathroom break at Long Branch loop.
Steve: Let’s just say that there is a lot of creative writing by the TTC about why, when and how long those terminal times are.
Steve says : Steve: I have noticed that operators tend to be taking rather more liberty with those “speed restrictions” than they used to.
May I ask why on King and Roncesvalles streetcars have started to crawl on certain sections?
Some go turtle slow … others … not so bad … so many traffic jams already westbound approaching queensway
Steve: I have not been there for a week or more, but do remember both that there is ongoing construction (gas mains) on King. Also, this is the last un-rebuilt section of King Street (due to be rebuilt next year as part of the Roncesvalles project) and there may be slow orders on track that is in bad shape. The TTC frankly has too many of these. (They are easy to identify by the red warning signs hanging from the overhead.)
One of particular note is at King and Ontario where the curve section was not welded to the tangent (straight) track sections east and west of the intersection when this part was rebuilt. Now it’s falling apart. I am baffled that nothing has been done here yet.
Since there are some TTC management that read this site, you may see all streetcars slowing on The Queensway now. As they may put a supervisor out there with a radar gun to check the speed on the right away and at the 7kph intersection.
You may have noticed streetcars slowing at Restricted speed zone lately. That’s because management has has supervisors doing radar of late at restricted speed zones.
Wait and see what happens.
Steve: Maybe if the TTC:
(a) fixed the track
(b) read the riot act to City Transportation Services about “transit priotity” and stopped being afraid of cars
(c) dedicated its supervisory staff to good service management
things might be a tad better. But, no, in best TTC tradition, make up a bad rule and then waste time hassling operators about obeying it.
I checked the service changes on the TTC’s website, and I found this, which I find just mind-boggling:
“35 JANE Accessible logo
Effective June 22, 2009
Seasonal service change
The 35E JANE (Jane Station-York University Express) branch will be discontinued for the summer, because of reduced summer ridership. Combined frequent service will continue to be provided between Jane & Steeles and Jane Station by the 35A and 35C branches.
96 WILSON Accessible logo
Effective June 22, 2009
Seasonal service change
The 96E WILSON (Wilson Station-Humber College Express) branch will be discontinued for the summer, because of reduced summer ridership. Frequent service will continue to be operated on the 96A WILSON and 96B WILSON local branches.”
I find this both confusing and disturbing. These branches, as much as they do serve post-secondary institutions along their route, why would the TTC scrap them for the summer? These are neither runs exclusively used by Humber and York students, nor are they seasonal runs: people going to and coming from work use these as well (year-round), at times waiting 15 just for the Express to come. Is the TTC really that desperate for funding?
Steve: There are a few things going on here that I am going to have to do some digging into. First, the service change memo (not available online) which details all of the route-by-route changes states:
This is something of a contrast to the Chief General Manager’s report that suggested the budgetary problem was due more to the unexpectedly high level of Metropass sales. According to the CGM’s report, the TTC is on budget on the expense side of the ledger. I really wish they would pick one story and stick to it. This is a discrepancy I had not noticed before.
Also, the level of service on the routes last summer and this is worth looking at.
On 35 Jane, the combined service in the AM peak in 2008 was 3’23” with 30 buses. Of these, only 4 were expresses providing a 22′ headway. The combined service on the local runs was 4’00”. In 2009, 32 buses will provide a combined headway of 3’20”.
On 96 Wilson, the combined service in the AM peak in 2008 ran every 4’49” with 21 buses. Of these, 4 were Humber College expresses on a 21′ headway. This year, the combined service is every 5’00” with 22 buses. As on Jane, the express service was not actually integrated with the four local services each of which ran every 25′ for a combined local headway of 6’15”.
I hate to say this, but there’s not much point in having an “express” branch if it runs so infrequently that any time saving on the trip will be offset by the time waiting for it to show up. Meanwhile, the local service this year on both routes is improved over 2008.
Steve, your mention of the TTC not being afraid of cars…..
Brought back a memory of being in Amsterdam…
Where I watched with amazement as trams/streetcars that ran on pedestrian only roads without any form of exclusive ROW…..
just rang their bell….and ran through the pedestrian areas at speeds greater than 40km/ph…
The tram drivers and people all seemed acutely aware that it was everyone else who had to get out of the way of the streetcar which was not slowing down for anything but a scheduled stop!
Well said Steve.
It’s funny but just today it was suggested that the TTC fix the track instead of hanging red signs. Like in the good old days.
In Amsterdam there is at least one section of streetcar track on a rather narrow street which has streetcars running in both directions on a single track. (No, not at the same time!). I doubt the TTC could cope with this but as James says, above, they seem able to cope with this kind of thing. Here the TTC seems only able to deal with streetcars in their own ROW – which is neither necessary nor possible everywhere.
“Meanwhile, the local service this year on both routes [Jane and Wilson] is improved over 2008.”
At January’s ‘Service Suggestions’ meeting, Jane came in for a *lot* of criticism. More than the Queen car did, probably. I hope that the TTC is trying to respond to the criticism with these increases.
The 7 split was a disaster for the first month (that’s how long it takes dumbass Torontonians to figure things out – oh, wait, maybe it was TTC signage at fault), then settled down to a near-ideal system. The short run from Bathurst to St. Clair West is lightly used, while the full run steams uninterrupted up Bathurst St. Everybody knows they just go to St. Clair West to head north of St. Clair.
Reuniting the routes will cause yet another month of complete chaos. Then real problem, the jog around the construction, will manifest itself. The delay to drive around it is manageable and predictable on the current short branch, but will completely screw up timing for the full branch, which never runs on schedule on a good day.
It just isn’t true that, since the jog is the same from one day to the next, the delay involved must be predictable. That’s true only for the short branch. We’ve tried it both ways and only this way works. So of course we’re going back to the other way.
Maybe if the TTC:
(a) fixed the track
(b) read the riot act to City Transportation Services about “transit priotity” and stopped being afraid of cars
(c) dedicated its supervisory staff to good service management.
What novel ideas! As people have noted, in Amsterdam, streetcars do not slow down for anything. There are very few accidents, as everyone is terrified to get in their way. Toronto drivers act like spoiled children because we treat them like spoiled children.
“One of particular note is at King and Ontario where the curve section was not welded to the tangent (straight) track sections east and west of the intersection when this part was rebuilt. Now it’s falling apart. I am baffled that nothing has been done here yet.”
Very prescient. The problem was fixed on the same day as the comment was posted. If you have magical powers to make the TTC do smart things, keep it up!
Steve: Yes, I was there today and noticed that the King car took the curve at a brisk pace. I must go back on foot to see what sort of repair has been made.
Looking at the service summary, it looks like the 509 Harbourfront route is going to get better service for the morning peak period. As of June 22nd, there will be six cars with a 6:30 minute headway. Previously, it was five cars with a 8 minute headway. Two years ago, there were only four cars during the AM peak (8-10 minute headway).
With the development of new condos on Fleet St., west of Bathurst, it makes sense for the TTC to increase service on the 509. Even with five cars, eastbound 509 cars during the AM peak are still packed before reaching Spadina, especially between 7:30 am and 9 am. Let’s hope this improvement is permanent, especially considering the streetcar fleet shortage problem.
As a frequent 96E user, I can tell you that it was very surprising to see these changes take effect on Thursday instead of Monday. I always forget how timely the TTC is… 😉
Seriously though, the express route on Wilson was fairly useful. Without fail, fifteen people would show up in the morning in time to catch the express bus to Wilson (from Islington/Elmhurst), and would wait specifically for the 96E, ignoring the (pretty frequent) local buses. The only real issue was timing – everyone would arrive at 8:10 for an 8:20 bus, just to be safe and make sure it didn’t arrive early. I’m sure there’s enough stories out there about bus timing though.