Starting on October 19, 2009, the TTC will experiment with splitting the 501 Queen route into two segments on weekdays only. The intention is to decouple the outer ends of the line from events that occur on the opposite side of the city, and to provide sufficient flexibility that short turns should not interfere with riders’ ability to use the service.
This will be a trial operation lasting only for the October schedule period (roughly six weeks). Seven cars will be added to the route during peak periods, with between five and eight additional at other times. Weekend service is not affected, nor is the operation of the 502/503 routes on Kingston Road.
Two separate services will operate:
- Neville Loop to Dufferin, looping in the west via Shaw, King and Dufferin.
- Long Branch Loop and Humber Loop to Broadview, looping in the east via Parliament, Dundas and Broadview.
The eastern route will operate from Russell Division, and the western one from Roncesvalles. This will eliminate crewing complexities with cars and operators switching between divisions.
Overnight service on the 301 Queen car will be split in the same manner, but cars will be scheduled to connect. This arrangement will result in scheduled pairs of cars on the common section, a rather odd configuration.
The Neville-Dufferin branch will operate with the following headways:
- AM Peak: 7’15”
- Midday: 7’30”
- PM Peak: 7’15”
- Early Evening: 8’00”
- Late Evening: 9’30”
The Humber-Broadview branch will operate with the following headways (service to Long Branch in parentheses):
- AM Peak: 5’30” (11′)
- Midday: 6’15” (12’30”)
- PM Peak: 6’30” (13′)
- Early Evening: 7’30” (15′)
- Late Evening: 9’30” (19′)
By comparison, scheduled service for September 2009 is:
- AM Peak: 5’10” (10’20”)
- Midday: 5’53” (11’45”)
- PM Peak: 5’40” (11’20”)
- Early Evening: 6’45” (13’30”)
- Late Evening: 10′ (20′)
If the new service is closer to schedule than the old one, then service should be improved even though scheduled headways on the outer ends of the route are slightly wider.
Headways on the two halves of the route are, except for the overnight operation, different and there is no attempt to produce a blended operation in the central part of the route. It will be interesting to see how many cars run in pairs by coming out of Dufferin or Broadview immediately behind a through car. This is a challenge for TTC line management, and could defeat the benefit of the overlapped service between Broadview and Dufferin.
The considerable overlap of the two routes provides continuity even if either of them needs to be short turned. Westbound cars from Neville could short turn at Bathurst or at McCaul while still serving downtown and connecting with the through service to the west end. Eastbound cars from Humber could short turn at Church. A shorter overlap would have almost guaranteed that many cars would never serve the major downtown stops or connect with their counterparts for through service.
Although all cars will pass through the congested section between University and Bathurst, short turns will be possible without eliminating connections, and the need for short turns at the outer ends of the line should be reduced. This will bear watching.