Many service changes are coming in September 2011 including additional service on routes that are now overcrowded. However, the TTC will be considering lower standards for crowding (the “there’s still room on the roof” school of service planning), and many of these changes could be short lived. (I will turn to budgetary issues in my next article.)
The service improvements are the upshot of the bargain trading little used periods of service on some routes effective May 2011 for better service where it is needed. The budgetary headroom from the May cuts is not enough to pay for all the needed additions, and many improvements that would other be justified by current standards will not be implemented. That justification may vanish if the standards are lowered.
Work on the Gerrard Street bridge will continue through the early fall (normal service is scheduled to resume along Gerrard in October). The Dundas Street reconstruction project will move to the section west of Lansdowne, and this will require all streetcars to turn back at College Loop (the triangle formed by College, Dundas and Lansdowne). Shuttle buses will run from there to Keele Station. Night service will be provided by a shuttle bus to Dundas West Station.
The Dundas construction project will require all streetcars to turn back at College Loop, and shuttle buses will run to Dundas West Station.
502 Downtowner and 503 Kingston Road Tripper
The watermain construction on Kingston Road originally planned for 2011 has been deferred to 2012. Streetcar service will resume in September.
501 Queen and 508 Lake Shore
Reconstruction of Long Branch Loop will require all streetcars to turn back from Kipling. A shuttle bus will operate from Islington to Long Branch. The eastern loop will be via Eighth, Birmingham and Islington.
504 King and 508 Lake Shore
Track and overhead construction will complete on King Street east of Roncesvalles, and these routes will resume their normal route through Parkdale.
512 St. Clair
Overhead construction will complete and full service will return to St. Clair from Yonge to St. Clair West Station.
63 Ossington and 316 Ossington Night
Track construction on Shaw between King and Queen will force a diversion of the Ossington bus via Strachan Avenue.
Many routes will see additional service during various periods based on current loading standards.
If the TTC decides to return to the pre-Ridership Growth Strategy standards as part of the 2012 budget cuts, the loading standards will change as below. Note that streetcar standards were not changed by RGS because there were no vehicles available to improve peak service. Off peak standards are shown for reference, and these are based on seated loads. It is possible that the budget may include changes to this area that would affect off-peak service levels.
Vehicle Type RGS Peak Pre-RGS Peak Offpeak Std Buses Low Floor 47 to 50 52 to 55 35 to 38 High Floor 51 57 36 to 39 Streetcars CLRV 74 74 46 ALRV 108 108 61
Almost all of the seasonal changes implemented in May and June 2011 are reversed in the September 2011 schedules. Again, some of these may be vulnerable to rollback if the fall peak demand triggers the RGS standard, but does not trigger the pre-RGS one.
The roughly 10% difference in the standard may appear small, but this value is averaged over all vehicles in the peak period. Routes with irregular headways will see even more crowding on buses that are already full, and there be reduced leeway for service management.
Although demand continues to rise on the TTC, the budget does not have enough headroom to implement all of the service justified by current standards to accommodate actual demand levels. This is a situation that existed for some time before the Ridership Growth Strategy brought additional vehicles and budget room to provide better service, and Toronto may be heading back into an era where the standards are more for show than substance regardless of which “standard” is officially in place.