Trial Split of 501 Queen Car (Updated)

Updated October 22 at 10:25 am:

Brad Ross, TTC’s Director of Corporate Communications, advises that effective 9:30 am today all Queen operators will carry passengers around the Shaw/Dufferin and Parliament/Broadview loops, and tell passengers of the layover that may occur.

Also, for those who like to know the internal trivia, the east and west ends of the route are known as “500” and “507” respectively so that they can be scheduled and managed independently.

Original post:

Today, the TTC begins a five-week test of operating the Queen car in two overlapping sections, weekdays only.

  • East end cars will operate between Neville and Shaw, looping via Shaw, King and Dufferin.
  • West end cars will operate between Long Branch or Humber (alternate cars) and Parliament, looping via Parliament, Dundas and Broadview.

Without rehashing many previous posts on this topic, here is a preliminary look at the issues:

  • The design of the overlapped routes may not be ideal, and I hope that it will work well enough that TTC staff don’t reject any alternative arrangements.  Part of the problem is a tradeoff between the number of cars and operators available and the amount of additional service on the route.  A long term arrangement may require a different route configuration and/or even more service.
  • Scheduled service to the outer ends of the line has been cut to provide for the overlap.  The premise is that with more reliable headways and fewer short turns, the actual service provided to Neville and Long Branch will be better than on the unified route.  However, the AM peak is not, for the most part, affected by congestion and short turns were comparatively rare.  Will the reduced service be able to handle demand outside of the overlapped section downtown?
  • Overlapped TTC services have a long history of badly managed integration.  This can be seen with the  behaviour of 502 Downtowner cars that often pull out from McCaul or Kingston Road right behind a 501 Queen and carry as few passengers as possible.  How many times will we see pairs of east and west end cars travel across the central part of Queen together?
  • Both turnbacks involve on-street loops.  Cars waiting for their scheduled departure times may be pushed out by other services, or may simply create congestion of their own while laying over in the middle of the street.
  • On the brighter side, both scheduled turnbacks are  far enough away from Yonge Street that even a short turn (say westbound at Bathurst or eastbound at Church) will maintain service in the heart of downtown.

With shorter routes, the need for recovery time should be reduced as operators won’t face a 90-minute more trip between termini.  For the east end service, recovery times are no more than 4 minutes (peak periods). 

In the west end, recovery times are longer, but these are mainly intended to make the schedule merge at Humber work properly — the difference between Humber and Long Branch trip times must always be a multiple of the headway.  For example, in the early evening, the Long Branch cars get 13 minutes “recovery” so that their round trips differ by one hour (four times the 15-minute headway) from the Humber cars.  Later in the evening, the difference in round trips is only 38 minutes (two times the 19-minute headway), and the Long Branch runs get only 4 minutes recovery.

This thread is intended as a repository for observations and comments about the split route operation, and I am particularly interested in hearing from regular users of the Queen car on their day-to-day experiences.

I have asked the TTC for their vehicle monitoring data for the months of October and November for the 501 and will publish an analyses of route behaviour comparing the unified and split operations.

59 thoughts on “Trial Split of 501 Queen Car (Updated)

  1. Did you see this letter in the Star?

    A lot of people seem to get the wrong impression when reading about the split — I recall some similar comments on the Spacing post about the split from a couple of months back (e.g. lamenting the end of a one-seat ride between Leslieville and downtown!). I guess the Star’s ambiguous headline doesn’t help (“Eastbound trip to end at Parliament”).

    Steve: The writer clearly felt they were going to get turfed out at Parliament when all they really need to do is to get on a “Neville” car in the first place. not much different than service today.


  2. This morning, there were quite a few riders wondering if the “501 PARLIAMENT” car went where they wanted it to go. People in the west end don’t necessarily know where Parliament St. is, just as people in the east end may not know where Shaw St. is. There were a few people, well west of the overlap, who passed up the streetcar. Hopefully they were waiting for a less-crowded car. I’m sure riders will figure out that all they’ll see are 501 PARLIAMENT cars from now on. (Yes, there are notices on all the stops, and Friday there were printed info sheets sitting on the dash of the streetcar–although they were not being handed out or much picked up.)

    Speaking of scheduling, my Queen car tailed a Lake Shore car all the way from Long Branch loop to King. And at Humber, it’s always interesting to see if the through car from Long Branch will proceed before the Humber cars sitting in the loop. This morning, we passed by two turning cars, at least one of which must have followed us out. As a through rider, I don’t want to lay over in Humber loop; on the other hand, a car from Long Branch may be up to standing room only by the time it hits Humber, so it’s nice to have an empty car ahead of it to take the load east of Humber.

    At Yonge St., a westbound car was signed 501 BATHURST, so the short turns have begun.

    Finally, the TTC was managing Neville-Humber service independently from Neville-Long Branch. Has this changed? The decoupling made it more likely that a westbound Long Branch car would make it at least as far as Kipling. If they lose this concept, then Long Branch cars may get turned at Roncesvalles like in the bad old days.

    Steve: The Long Branch and Humber runs were split apart on the schedule some time ago so that they didn’t have to do short-turns just to preserve the interlaced pattern inbound. The side effect can be, as with any overlapped service, that cars run in pairs even though on paper they are supposed to provide blended service. When the Long Branch is packed, it makes sense for an empty Humber to sneak out, preferably a bit ahead, but when the service is not overloaded, then the ideal is an even headway of one from each branch. Something for the Route Supervisor to Ronces to do.


  3. The true cause of congestion on the 501 Queen (and other bus and streetcar routes for that matter) are the single occupant automobiles. If we could make the entire street (not just the tracks) to allow HOV (high occupancy vehicles), and maybe truck and taxis, that could be a better remedy for those streets such as Queen. However, I don’t see that happening anytime soon, even on a limited basis.

    Steve: I was amused riding on the King car this morning to see all of the tow-away zone signs along King where the taxis usually block the curb lanes. There is no point in talking about transit priority if the city won’t enforce the bylaws that are already in place.


  4. I’m quite excited about this, and I hope it will work well. My wait at Queen & Lee this morning was perfectly acceptable. My main concern is whether they will be managing the service well — it’s as easy to leave Neville in a pack on a short route as a long one. It’s too early yet to say if we will be seeing fleets of streetcars heading east into the black hole at the end of the line while we freeze to death waiting for one to re-emerge!


  5. I had to go to the Lakeshore in Mississauga today so I went in along Lakeshore, Queensway, King, Dufferin, Queen and Shaw to observe the west end of the overlap. The service on Long Branch seemed to be consistent between 10:00 a.m. and noon. Some of the Humber cars were CLRV’s rather than ALRV’s.

    Steve: There is an ongoing problem with CLRVs running on ALRV headways. This is a recipe for uneven service as the CLRVs become overloaded and cannot keep up. I am often baffled to find an ALRV on King in the evening while there are CLRVs struggling to handle demand on Queen.

    I noticed a eastbound short turn at Church Street and it appeared that there was a missing westbound short turn at Shaw. Most of the west end short turns signed Shaw but one had to be different and put up Dufferin. I saw 15 people get off a Shaw short turn at Shaw and disappear. It appears that they can read or there is a high demand at the mental health centre.

    Steve: I believe that the “short turns” should advertise the fact that they go to Dufferin and to Broadview and actually carry people to those destinations. This would allow these cars to connect with major transfer points in the outbound direction. Regular riders handle all sorts of diversions and adjust their travel to exploit them.

    It was interesting to read some of the comments in the paper. One women from the east end complained that she would now have to make two extra transfers to get to her job at City Hall and how inconvenient it would be to “all” of the riders who wanted to go from the east end to the west end. “Routes should be longer so you don’t have to transfer.”

    The most interesting was the comment that several councillors wanted the 507 restored and sent to Dundas West Station as it would make a lot of convenient connections. Have you been spreading ideas, Steve?

    Steve: Who, me? Of course I have. I spoke to this issue at a workshop in the Lake Shore community, and many others out that way have been pushing for variations on my 507-to-Dundas-West scheme that has been around for many years.


  6. I hope that this split does work out well enough so that the TTC can use this to improve overall service on Queen, even if they end up having to finagle the details a little.

    One question, since I don’t have the information next to me: what were the original headways for Queen at, say, Roncesvalles? Because if they aren’t significantly wider now than they were, one benefit of this Shaw/Parliament arrangement is that eastbound frequencies from Dufferin to Parliament and westbound frequencies from Broadview to Shaw are now significantly improved, so that residents in Parkdale and Corktown now have far more service, and are far likelier to encounter emptier cars. This may increase ridership between Dufferin and Broadview. Or, at least, I hope it does. That should go a long way to assuage the TTC’s concerns over the supposed overcapacity of the overlap.

    I still think it’s silly for the night car to be so split. We weren’t encountering problems here, were we? And Queen night cars operated from Neville to Long Branch long before the Long Branch/Queen split at Humber went away.

    I also still think that your idea for the split (Long Branch to Dundas West outside of rush hours, remainder Queen service to Humber, with 502/503 combined to McCaul) is better. But if this arrangement works out, how can we set about improving it? When can we build that Queen/Broadview loop? And how about routing the Queen East cars into Dufferin Loop?

    PS: Although it should be noted that if they continue the Shaw-King-Dufferin loop, they are providing additional service across the top of Liberty Village, providing an alternative to the King car, and that’s a good thing.

    A final P.S.: I’ll be in Toronto on Wednesday, and I hope to try out this service arrangement for myself.

    Steve: Please see my original post on this operation for headway info.


  7. “I believe that the “short turns” should advertise the fact that they go to Dufferin and to Broadview and actually carry people to those destinations” Makes sense for Dufferin, but reading the 501 route description on the TTC website (which has been updated) makes it sound like the eastbound cars are turning at Parliament, and then ending there; presumably they are potentially stopping on Parliament for a break because they don’t want to park on Dundas or Broadview because of the 504 and 505 cars. So I think there’s no guarantee of not having to sit and wait to get to Broadview.

    Steve: The alternative would have been to loop the other way around so that the layover came southbound on Parliament where they would be unlikely to have a short-turning 504 push them out of the way.


  8. I wonder if the success of the split would give the TTC a good enough reason to finally rebuild Parliament loop; assuming that they haven’t sold off the property.

    Steve: I believe that the property has already been sold.


  9. Historically the Long Branch streetcar has been the link that tied together the villages of Mimico, New Toronto, and Long Branch. However the increasingly erratic 501 streetcar line service is adversely affecting this link, driving many existing and potential customers to take a bus to the subway or to buy a car.

    The Lakeshore Planning Council (LPC) unanimously recommended in our September 2009 meeting that the TTC reinstate and extend the 507 Lakeshore streetcar route between Long Branch loop and Dundas West Station. This would extend the eastern terminus along The Queensway and north on Roncesvalles Drive, to the Bloor-Danforth subway.

    This will improve service reliability along Lakeshore Blvd and the Queensway, so that the Lakeshore community streetcar riders will no longer be dependent solely on the unreliable 501 streetcar.

    In addition, passengers would no longer have to wait to transfer at the isolated and unsafe feeling Humber Loop.

    This extended 507 route would also provide connections to the 504 King car and other streetcar routes, greatly reducing the 507 route’s traditional dependence on the erratic 501 streetcar.

    The old 507 route’s eastern terminus at Humber Loop is problematic as when the 501 Queen service is backed up in town, Lakeshore passengers are left stranded there.

    We understand that the TTC announced that it will trial a split of the 501 Queen route in the October 19 2009 board period to try to improve the 501 line’s reliability. The 501 route split will split the route intown, not along Lakeshore, with the overlap between Dufferin/Lansdowne.

    As the split 501 route to Long Branch will still consist of the downtown portion of the route from Parliament Street, there is still very much opportunity for streetcar delays, bunching, and accidents.


    Current 501 riders along the Queensway would still retain their one seat ride into town, as the 501 would still serve Humber Loop. However the 507 route will also give such riders a direct one seat ride to the subway at Dundas West station. Thus the extended 507 route will give an effective and reliable option for such riders to travel east into town and back, and no longer captive to the unreliable 501 Queen car.

    Also, as many 504 King streetcars are short turned downtown and never make it to Roncesvalles, 507 streetcars will provide much needed service along this street.

    The restored and extended 507 Lakeshore line would provide much more reliable and regular service along the Queensway, and provide a second all day and evening streetcar line along the Queensway and Lakeshore Blvd.

    The current 501 line is the only all day and evening link between Humber Loop and Roncesvalles Avenue. When the 501 line is delayed east of Roncesvalles, riders on the Queensway and Lakeshore Blvd are greatly impacted.

    A second all day and evening streetcar route is therefore needed to provide reliable and regular transit service for the 11 km of the streetcar route from Roncesvalles to Long Branch loop.

    A second such streetcar route would also maximize effectiveness of the Queensway rapid transit right of way.


    Loss of a one seat ride is a drawback, however if the 501 streetcar is late, or very very late, that one seat ride turns into a NO seat ride.

    A two seat ride beats a no seat ride, all the time.


  10. I drove a Queen east car (Neville) last night. There were a million cars downtown all night and I have to say I have never done so little work in one evening, good and bad. unfortunately we ended up travelling in pairs a lot of the time, east and west cars but to me it’s almost a good thing as customers ended up with little or no waits at the transfer points. I’m willing to not pass any judgments yet.


  11. I’ve encountered a few problems with the 501 SHAW service the TTC could quickly fix, but after speaking with Customer Service, I won’t hold my breath.

    >> Steve: I believe that the “short turns” should advertise the fact that they go to Dufferin and to Broadview and actually carry people to those destinations. This would allow these cars to connect with major transfer points in the outbound direction. <<

    Excellent suggestion. But the 501 SHAW cars don't necessarily carry passengers to Dufferin. Some operators have been forcing passengers to disembark at Queen/Shaw — that explains the crowds at CAMH. I've been told "the car is out of service at Shaw & resumes service at Dufferin & Queen." Will these cars serve stops along King?

    Other operators won't serve the stop at Shaw & Adelaide – pick up or drop off. One operator told me he can't stop as the icon on the stop is a bus, not a streetcar. Due to construction at CAMH, this is a great alternate entrance.

    For passengers traveling from the east destined for East Liberty, the 501 SHAW service is ideal — except there is no stop at Shaw & King W.

    And I really wish this service would serve the Dufferin Loop.


  12. Nobody is really explaining that, if you get on east of Shaw, you can go all the way to Neville, and if you get on west of Parliament, you can go all the way to Etobicoke.


  13. I had some time to kill in Toronto today so I checked out the Queen route and some of the other downtown lines.

    1. An oversized truck blocked Charlotte loop for over two hours this morning. All Spadina cars had to go to the Quay. The truck later went east on King to Simcoe and they had to hold the traffic east of Simcoe while it went along King. It took about 15 minutes to make each corner because of its width and length.

    2. Queen was a total disaster from just west of Sherbourne to just west of Dufferin in both directions because of road work. I passed four Neville cars, three Parliament cars, two Victoria Park cars and a Church car between Jarvis and York. Did I mention the partridge in the pear tree? There were also two CLRV’s on the Long Branch service and one or two on the Humber. I asked one operator and he said they had to change off his ALRV and there weren’t anymore available. There were Queen cars going both ways on Parliament and Dundas as well as King cars going both ways, The street car service on Parliament was better than when there was street car service on Parliament. There was also a car signed 506 Bathurst west bound on King near Portland. I saw Humber cars turning at Sunnyside and Long Branch cars turning at Kipling. The east end seemed to be keeping their cars on time by turning them at McCaul and Bathurst instead of Woodbine. I don’t think that anything would have worked on Queen today but when I saw the service there did not appear to be any major gaps at the ends of the line. I also saw a King car go down Dufferin to the Ex and come back without derailing. There were a lot of spark flying though.

    3. To round out a perfect transit day I had to go out to Port Credit and the 16:30 GO train from Oakville hit something on the tracks at Lorne Park and it took out the air tank on the first coach behind the locomotive. When I left they were trying to isolate the air system on that car and get the train moving again. There is not a lot of extra space on that right of way. I don’t know were they are going to get room for a fourth and fifth track that one of the studies seemed to indicate was necessary.


  14. I was on a 501 Parliament car earlier. The car went out of service at Parliament before turning onto it. I assumed by reading the map at QUEEN AND PARLIAMENT that the cars remained in service along Parliament and Broadview when looping. Do you know if the stops along Parliament and Broadview are being serviced by the 501? Anyway getting back to what I was saying. While waiting at Parliament I saw 5 501 SHAW cars, 3 502 DOWNTOWNER cars heading to McCaul and yet NO 501 Long branch or 501 Humber cars. This split service would work better if the TTC actually had properly spaced service along the eastern portion of the route. If majority of the service goes to Shaw then that does nobody any good.


  15. I have not tried to ride the “loop” portion of the on street short turning cars yet. However, as I sit at my kitchen table I see that all the cars are 100% empty as they ride down Shaw. If the TTC is kicking all the passengers off at Shaw and Parliament this is a shame. I saw one commentary ( where a passenger that wanted to go to Dufferin took a cab rather than waiting for a connecting Queen Car. This trip could have been easily completed by transit by riding the Queen Westbound car around the loop with the addition of only 2 or 3 minutes extra travel.

    I am going to try my luck going eastbound from the corner of Shaw and King, but based on my experience with various diversions – especially the King Track Rebuilds a few years ago – I don’t expect much from the TTC.


  16. Got to Queen and Lee at 9 a.m. today, several other passengers were already waiting. A westbound car finally showed up at 9:15 with nearly all the seats filled. So that’s a bit irritating — no real difference from before the split. There’s always been a bit of a black hole just after 9.

    As I said upthread, it will really help if they take care to space the cars properly leaving Neville Park.


  17. Though I seldom use the Queen car, I was walking down Parliament this morning and saw a woman trying to flag one down as it passed the stop at Parliament and Dundas – it was marked Long Branch and was turning east , I presume to get back to Queen via Broadview. It did not stop to let the woman on so I asked her where she was going – she wanted to go to somewhere west of Dufferin and though it would be faster to take this streetcar rather than going to Queen on the bus and then transferring to a 501 there.

    I realise streetcars sometimes sit around on Parliament but can’t see why they cannot simply let passengers on, particularly if the operator explains that it may take a while to get back to Queen.

    This is actually a general problem when streetcars are not on their ‘public’ route. I hope the TTC works out a way for streetcars to pick up passengers from ANY TTC stop if that’s what the passenger wants. (One problem I can see is that transfers could be a problem but if (when!) the TTC moves to timed ones that should stop.)


  18. Hmmm. I think the TTC has some work to do on this page: Route 501 description.

    I don’t see how anyone who doesn’t already understand what’s going on can possibly figure out anything useful from it! By my count there are:

    – 3 Eastbound 501 NEVILLE PARK paragraphs
    – 2 Westbound 501 LONG BRANCH paragraphs
    – 2 Westbound 501 HUMBER paragraphs
    – 2 Eastbound 501 PARLIAMENT paragraphs

    At least this schedule page gives the different routes letters to distinguish them.

    Steve: Meanwhile, the route map clearly shows where the cars go in their loops at Parliament and at Shaw, and there is no indication that riders cannot stay on board. The TTC needs to fix this now, not simply observe, after the fact, that it was something they should have done.


  19. This split will only work properly if the Shaw-Neville service alternates properly with the Long Branch/Humber-Parliament service. Right now, it seems that service is irregular (often 3 or 4 Shaw/Parliament cars will go by before a car that goes all the way to the end of the line), so this will not work, as service will remain irregular at the outer ends of the line. Are the supervisors not making sure that the two services blend together properly at the short turn points?

    I think that it’s time to restore the old 501-507 arrangement like the good old days, possibly with an extension of the 507 to Dundas West. This will work better than a half-assed poorly managed service like this.


  20. They don’t blend properly, simply because the headways are very close, but not the same. Therefore, even without the normal blundering management and operation, services would be irregularly spaced, and often bunched. I think that if this operation persists, the TTC should post maps at all marked stops, so that people can see the new route map and figure out where they are going. Now, it is a given, and a fact that a lot of people simply don’t read the notices right in front of them (case and point the new 41E express buses…) but then at least we can provide the information to them.


  21. I don’t think anyone expected the first week to be the deal breaker. I remember the diversion to Museum though Lower Bay. I was sick and tired of hearing about it from so many different news sources. I went in the afternoon of the first day, and was sickened by the nearly endless stream of people who had no clue what was going on. People are dumb, like it or not, and it does not matter if Adam Giambrone knocked on the front door of each of these people a week in advance to tell them, they’ll still be taken my surprise. It is the coming weeks that will determine weather or not this works.

    Secondly, if the 507 is brought back and sent to Dundas West, just where would they turn it around? Would they double it up with the Dundas Streetcar’s loop/bay at the station? And would this not bring us back to the same problems we had that forced the TTC to build a second loop there in the first place?

    Steve: It would use the 504 King platform as both routes would serve Roncesvalles Avenue.


  22. I had to get to an appointment at the Chapters at Runnymede and Bloor and I had some time to kill, so I decided to check out the Queen arrangement. I arrived at Queen and Bay around 9:15 and saw several westbound cars in sight. The first one was signed HUMBER and I boarded at 9:16.

    We moved very well, with a minimum of delays. I suspect that people might find it a bit easier to get to work if they can stagger their hours a bit, working, say, 10 to 6 instead of 9 to 5. Service was frequent, and traffic moved quickly. Indeed, we were moving a lot faster than the Gardiner, which was backed up.

    I got to Windermere Drive at 9:48, and waited 15 minutes for a Swansea bus. That moved quickly, and I arrived at Bloor and Runnymede at 10:10. Incidentally, the 77 Swansea run was quite popular, with a couple of standees and few empty seats.

    Overall, I was pleased. If I had had a better connection with the Swansea bus at Windermere, I could have reached my destination in 40 minutes. I estimate that’s only ten minutes slower than it would have been if I’d boarded the subway at Queen.

    There seemed to be little confusion about the split arrangement. There were people talking about it on the car — so much so, that a group of people almost missed their stop until another passenger mentioned that they were at Peter Street (that’s where they said they wanted to get off), even though the automated stop announcements only referred to Soho.

    The service wasn’t blended completely. I saw an arrangement rather like Parliament-Parliament-Neville Park-Parliament, but service was frequent enough that I don’t think most passengers noticed. Traveling within five minutes between Spadina and Techumseth, I noticed five eastbound Queen streetcars.


  23. IF this experiment works, are there any signs in their planning of building shorter loops, either off-street, or à la Charlotte Loop?

    Steve: I wouldn’t hold my breath. Land is scarce and expensive. Also, today’s arrangement may not be the final configuration (see previous discussion about 507/508 services and Dundas West Station). You don’t go to the expense of building loops unless you are sure you will need them.


  24. “the east and west ends of the route are known as “500″ and “507″ respectively so that they can be scheduled and managed independently”

    I guess should they actually or eventually get names, the 500 will be 500 BEACH and the 507 will be 507 LONG BRANCH.


  25. Thanks Steve for posting the news that all Queen operators will carry passengers around the Shaw/Dufferin and Parliament/Broadview loops, and tell passengers of the layover that may occur.

    Also to all posters on this thread who’ve hilighted this issue.

    And to the TTC for rectifying this issue so quickly!


  26. I really wonder if five weeks is enough time to figure out the glitches and make improvements to keep it all running smoothly.

    I’m more and more coming to the belief that the biggest improvement for service on Lake Shore is to decrease the headways. You can do that with either the 501 or a new 507; in either case you need more streetcars west of Humber.


  27. hmmm…. Judging by tonight’s performance, it seems not all operators got the message they were supposed to take passengers around the loops. My operator tonight was adamant that Shaw was the “last stop.”


  28. I’m not surprised that not all operators got the message. A number of years ago, I had a conversation with someone in the TTC’s planning department and the idea of having daily operating bulletins (DOBs) for operators the way that railways have was discussed. Their version was a kin to just a bulletin board that an operator may or may not have seen.

    I can’t find anything on the TTC’s website mentioning what Brad Ross said as I would suggest carrying a printed copy of it. In the meantime, one might have some luck with a printed copy of the first paragraph of this posting – at least as far as needing to stay on board around a loop, as it won’t be much help if you’re trying to flag down a streetcar on the loop for boarding.

    I had a similar issue with YRT a couple of years back when they dropped their policy of not allowing afternoon GO Shuttle routes to pick up passengers after leaving a GO station. When I first noticed that the policy was no longer mentioned on their web site, I made an inquiry about it and received an email from the operations department confirming that these buses could pick up passengers for regular fare, though they would not publicize it because their operation was subject to GO Train operation and could be delayed or cancelled. I had a situation in my commute where occasionally it was convenient to use one of these buses if it was coming along, so I carried a copy of the email with me. I only needed it once.


  29. For all of you who want the Lakeshore/Queensway streetcars to go up Roncesvalles to the Dundas West station (and I like that idea too), the tracks on Roncesvalles north of the streetcar yard won’t reappear until at least October 2010; I have heard that the rebuilding of the road and sidewalk could actually take two years.

    Steve: The absence of tracks today does not invalidate the scheme of going to Dundas West. After all, Parliament Street will be rebuilt in 2010, and that will make the Queen loop unworkable for the period that street is torn up.


  30. Dave says:
    “For all of you who want the Lakeshore/Queensway streetcars to go up Roncesvalles to the Dundas West station (and I like that idea too), the tracks on Roncesvalles north of the streetcar yard won’t reappear until at least October 2010; I have heard that the rebuilding of the road and sidewalk could actually take two years.”

    Unfortunately the a study of the 507 to Dundas West Station idea will likely take that long. Don’t hold your breathe. The TTC is wedded to the 501 one seat ride from Long Branch to Neville Park, but this is garbage as service is so unreliable. It’s really a “Sometimes One Seat Ride”.

    A 507 reinstatement & extension to Dundas West Station will provide many more options to connect to the 504, 505, 506 streetcars and the subway. This will liberate Lakeshore and Queensway streetcar passengers from the mess of the 501 route.

    Thus a Two Seat Ride Beats No Ride, Every Time.


  31. I am in the process of setting up a FaceBook group to support reinstating the 507 for the general public. Details to follow.


  32. >> Thanks Steve for posting the news that all Queen operators will carry passengers around the Shaw/Dufferin and Parliament/Broadview loops, and tell passengers of the layover that may occur. <<

    Late last night and again this morning on the 501 SHAW, operators were announcing "last stop for this car" at Queen/Shaw. Last night in the pouring rain several young girls who wished to transfer to the Dufferin bus were required to get off at Shaw and wait – in the rain – for the following Long Branch car to take them to Dufferin. Of course, the 501 SHAW car they were forced to leave could have taken them to King/Dufferin or Queen/Dufferin.

    An operator whom I know to be one of the 'good guys' tells me the line supervisor hates the route split as it requires too much effort to manage it.

    (God forbid a line supervisor would actually supervise the line.)

    Operators are upset as passengers aren't familiar with the routing and are mad when cars loop. He feels that collectively they are determined to make the experiment fail.


  33. DiCK said:

    “An operator whom I know to be one of the ‘good guys’ tells me the line supervisor hates the route split as it requires too much effort to manage it.

    (God forbid a line supervisor would actually supervise the line.)

    Operators are upset as passengers aren’t familiar with the routing and are mad when cars loop. He feels that collectively they are determined to make the experiment fail.”

    This sounds quite possible and it is interesting to note that the wrath of Admiral Adam and Gary Webster appears to have had no effect on operational staff who decided to change the routing of the 192 Airport “Rocket” and doubled its running time. Sigh!


  34. I totally agree with the restoration of the 507 Long Branch car for the long term success of the the route along Lake Shore Blvd. W. and the Queensway. The current split should hopefully help to lead to this conclusion.

    As I see it, the restored 507 Long Branch car will allow for:

    – better service along the Lake Shore, Queensway, and Roncesvalles.
    – more cars dedicated to the 508 Lake Shore car will also assist, while providing people with a direct streetcar downtown during the rush hour (according to the TTC’s number from May, rush hour appears to be the only time day that a vast majority of Lake Shore Blvd. W. passengers actually take the streetcar downtown.)
    – the occasional car (perhaps every third one outside of rush hour, every fifth in rush hour) can be short turned at Humber.
    – integrated service along the Queensway and Roncesvalles Ave.
    – The occasional King car can be short turned at Sunnyside (located just west of the King/Queen/Roncesvalles/Queensway intersection.) This will increase reliabilty along King.
    – 501 Queen cars can be turned at Humber, with every second one at Sunnyside or Shaw.


  35. A note on the airport rocket, that the night bus still takes the highway…

    Steve: Presumably there are no standees contributing to “unsafe” operating conditions.


  36. Hopefully the TTC will get its act together and see that operators carry passengers over the entire route including the looping. I know that’s a lot to hope for! Otherwise, a passenger wanting to ride westbound beyond Shaw to say Dufferin Street will have to take a stand and insist on being provided with service they are entitled to. First, by bringing the matter to the operator’s attention, politely. Then, if need be by insisting the operator call it in and then if necessary by refusing to leave the car.

    Steve: It will be amusing if this produces a huge gap while the operator refuses to drive the passenger to their requested destination. How far up the supervisory chain will the message have to travel before they find someone who knows what should happen? This could all have been avoided with some common sense, but that seems to be in short supply.


  37. It is unfortunate that a very small number of TTC Operators suffer from small (minded) person disease. This disease is familiar to those who have lived in a rental apartment with a bad superintendent who uses his or her limited power to the maximum discomfort of all tenants – or at least the ones he or she does not like. (You get home from IKEA on a Sunday proudly lugging your new chair and the Super won’t let you take it on the elevator because “There is no moving on a Sunday”.)

    When an Operator uses the no passengers on the loop or no stopping on a diversion rule, without common sense or consideration for the passengers, it can be very irritating. Now that the TTC has changed the rules regarding the Queen Car, some Operators appear to be uninformed or are perhaps wilfully blind.

    Once I was on an Ossington Bus that was on an extensive diversion from Queen and Shaw to College and Ossington. The bus was stopped at a Red Light at Grace and College – adjacent to a streetcar stop in the curb lane – when I tried to get off. The Operator insisted that there is “no stopping on a diversion” and refused to let me off. I had to ride to Ossington and then make my way back to Grace. This was stupid and made me really angry, though out of basic respect plus the knowledge that losing my temper can get me in trouble, I simply shut up and sat down.

    I wish to re-empahasise a point that I have made elsewhere. Most TTC Operators are courteous and friendly. A large number “go the extra mile” on many occasions to ensure customer service is maximised. It is a shame that a small minority spoil the image and appear in posts such as this.


  38. TorontoStreetcars says: more cars dedicated to the 508 Lake Shore car will also assist, while providing people with a direct streetcar downtown during the rush hour (according to the TTC’s number from May, rush hour appears to be the only time day that a vast majority of Lake Shore Blvd. W. passengers actually take the streetcar downtown.)

    I think that the rush-hour 508 service would be best provided by more frequent, regular fare express buses (unless the Waterfront West LRT is built, which seems increasingly unlikely). It would bypass the milk run along Queen or King west of downtown, and it would free up streetcars for higher-demand routes.

    The regular 507 service, of course, would be provided by streetcars from Long Branch to Dundas West. It would have much better headways that the existing service because it would use CLRVs instead of ALRVs.


  39. I confirm that Ray Kennedy’s suggested approach does work. I took the 501 car to Long Branch, then the GO Train to the Ex, then attempted to transfer to the 511 Bathurst car using the TTC Times Two rule (TTC transfers are accepted at the other end of a GO route).

    Admittedly this is not well known, but it was stated in the Ride Guide (don’t think it is any longer, but I think it’s still in effect as I’ve done a similar transfer at Union from the GO train to the subway).

    Anyways the 511 streetcar driver refused the transfer. I politely pointed out the Ride Guide section explaining this option. He still refused. I had time to kill so I just sat there with my wife. Then I suggested he call Transit Control. He didn’t, so we sat somemore. After 2 minutes he got fed up & started driving & left us alone.

    Operators can’t force you off. Then have to call Transit Control if there’s a problem.

    I’ve found it often useful to take part of an on street loop or short-turn as it brings my closer to my destination. Furthermore, even streetcars heading into or out of service must pick up passengers, so why should on street loops be any different?

    Steve: The TTC Times Two webpage explicitly states that transfers to the 511 Bathurst car at Exhibition Loop/Station are valid, as are a long list of other connections. I suggest that you print out this page and carry it with you.


  40. TTC Express Routes, as Steve has pointed out many times on this blog, detract from regular transit service, and are often not well utilized.

    The 145 Downtown/Humber Bay Express bus route from Kipling & Lakeshore to downtown is only minutes quicker than 501 Queen streetcar. The 145 is scheduled to take 45 minutes from Kipling, which is the same time that the 501 takes to Yonge Street.

    AND… you have to pay TWICE the fare for the 145. Just to get stuck in highway traffic jam.

    Just say NO to the Humber Bay Express!

    Reinstate the 507 and fix the 501!


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