Service Changes for January 2012 (Update 6)

Updated December 22, 2011 at 7:00 am:

The service changes originally planned for January 2012 have been deferred until at least mid-February.  The schedules operated in November 2011 will be used for January 2012 with one exception.

511 Bathurst

A service increase to accommodate demand was planned in the original January schedules, and this will be retained.  One car will be added during various periods with headways improving as below:

PM peak:  From 5’30” to 5’00”
Weekday late evening:  From 10′ to 8′
Saturday afternoon:  From 6’15” to 5’40”
Sunday afternoon:  From 8’20” to 7’00”

Many other planned improvements to reduce crowding will not be implemented at this time.

Updated November 17, 2011 at 11:40 pm:  A chart version of the old and new bus loading standards has been added.

Updated November 17, 2011 at 10:10 am:  The final version of the service changes for January has now been issued by the TTC.  The table linked below summarizes the information.

2012.01.08  Service Changes

A few items have changed since the draft version which is linked elsewhere in this article.

  • Proposed changes on the Cosburn, Cummer, Dufferin and Highway 27 Rocket buses were flagged for possible deferral to February.  These changes will occur in January.
  • The proposed improvements to the Bloor-Danforth night bus and to Saturday morning service on the York University bus have not been included in this round.
  • A proposed cut in AM peak service on the Thorncliffe Park bus has been replaced by a PM peak cut.

Updated October 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm:  A table has been added showing the before and after loads and capacities of the affected services, as well as the ratio between these values.

Updated October 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm:  The table of service changes has been reformatted so that it is spread over more pages with larger type for readability.

Updated October 19, 2011 at 11:30 am:  A discussion and table have been added showing the changes in the ratio of peak and off peak loading standards, and the degree to which the new off peak standards approach the old standards for peak service.

A draft of the proposed service changes for January 2012 has found its way to me, and in the interest of informed public debate, I am reporting this information although it is not yet the final version.  It should be noted that this is not a “secret” document, but it is posted at various locations around the TTC for staff’s information.

The changes are driven by the reduction in the City of Toronto subsidy to the TTC by about 10% for 2012 versus 2011.

Loading Standards

Among the changes approved by the Commission, the loading standards will be modified at most times of operation so that a vehicle is now considered “full” for planning purposes when it has more riders than before.

2012.01.08 DRAFT Loading Changes

2012.01.08 Loading Standards Chart

During peak periods, the standard for bus loadings has gone up by about 10%.  In other words, a bus service previously scheduled on the basis of an average load of 50 will now be scheduled for an average of 55.

Streetcar services are not affected during the peak periods because their loading standards were never changed as part of the Ridership Growth Strategy.

During off-peak periods, the standard for surface vehicle loads on routes (or periods of operation) with headways above 10 minutes will remain a seated load.  For routes (or periods of operation) with  headways at or below 10 minutes, the standard will be a seated load plus about 25%.

Rapid transit standards are unchanged at all times because, as with peak period streetcars, these were not modified by RGS.

Something particularly worth noting is that the off-peak standard for frequent bus services is fairly close to the peak standard.  Indeed the new off-peak standard is almost the same as the old peak standard.  (For example, a 38-seat Orion VII has an offpeak standard of 48, and the old peak standard was 50.)  The problem is less severe for the high-floor buses because they have more usable standee space.

Updated October 19:  The following table shows two sets of ratios:

  • The ratio between new Off Peak and Peak standards.  In effect, this shows the degree to which a vehicle’s peak capacity will be used by off-peak service, and by extension the degree of off-peak crowding riders will endure.
  • The ratio between new Off Peak and old Peak standards.  People are familiar with the crowding produced by existing peak standards, and this ratio shows the proportion of capacity (for service designed to the existing standard) that would be consumed by the new off peak standard.

2012.01.08 DRAFT Loading Ratios

For bus routes with headways wider than 10 minutes, the ratio of off peak to peak standards is “better” in the new scheme, but this is only because the peak value has been increased while the off-peak value is unchanged (seated load).

For bus routes with headways at 10 minutes or below, the ratio of off peak to peak standards is worse because the 10% increase in the peak standard is overwhelmed by the roughly 25% increase in the off-peak standard.

Note that the high-floor buses fare better in the new standards because they have more standee space, and the increase in off-peak standees does not affect them as severely as it does the low-floor vehicles.  Indeed, the TTC’s assumption that “seated + 25%” is an acceptable load factor for low-floor buses may prove impractical.

Streetcars have a lower ratio of off-peak to peak standards generally because they have more standee space.  In the new standard, part of this is consumed by the provision for standees in the standard, although the proportion of total capacity consumed is still well below the level on buses.

The second part of the table compares the existing Ridership Growth Strategy peak standards with the new era of off-peak standards.  Bus routes with 10 minute headways or better will see off-peak loads, on average, that are close to what is now experienced during the peak period.  So much for making off-peak service attractive for the fastest growing segment of the ridership.

Updated October 22

To simplify comparison of services before and after the planned changes, I have created a table showing the service levels, ridership and design capacities, as well as the ratio between these for the existing and planned services.  This is a busy table, but it is intended for the number crunchers who want lots of detail, and to save everyone the trouble of doing these calculations for each route.

2012.01.08 DRAFT Service Capacities

Where there is no change in the service for January, the row is blank as on the service comparison table linked above.

Five values are shown for each period:

  • The average peak hour load as reported by the TTC on existing services
  • The implied peak hour ridership calculated by multiplying the average load by the number of vehicles per hour (conversion of headways to vehicles per hour occurs in hidden columns to avoid clutter)
  • The loading standard.  For the January 2012 service, this is the value shown by the TTC in their service plans.  The Fall 2011 value is the corresponding value for the vehicle type.
  • The service’s design capacity calculated by multiplying the loading standard by the number of vehicles per hour.
  • The proportion of capacity used by the implied ridership.

Finally, the ratio between Fall and Jan-2012 values is given to allow easy identification of places where there are changes.

New headways are generally larger than the old ones, although the ratios vary.  For example, the 7 Bathurst bus had a PM Peak reported ridership well below the design capacity of the service.  This odd situation is perpetuated in the new schedules, and the design capacity has remained almost the same.  By contrast, the 6 Bay bus peak services are reduced by the combined effect of the higher design load (a 10% increase) and a move to more closely match the service capacity with demand.

The new design capacities are all at or above the projected demand, but this is averaged over the peak hour and presumes a higher degree of vehicle loading, especially for off-peak service.  The result will be many buses and streetcars that are crowded beyond reasonable capacity.  All this “fun with figures” is very nice, but it’s a one-time trick to provide a small saving in the operating budget while returning to a “standard” that was once considered acceptable.

There was a reason Toronto Council and the TTC decided to change it — it wasn’t working, and people were not attracted to the system.  Fortunately, and I say this with a wry grin, the new services will kick in before Council has concluded its budget decisions, and Councillors will feel the full wrath of their constituents in the dead of winter.  I hope those constituents remember how they have been screwed on TTC service the next time they visit the polls.

[End of October 22 Update]

Accessible Bus Service

Effective January 2012, all bus routes will operate with accessible vehicles.

Service Changes

Many routes will have service cuts because of the new loading standards.  This affects peak period bus routes, and all surface routes during off-peak periods when their headways are 10 minutes or less.  Routes with wider headways are not affected because their loading standard is unchanged.

A small number of routes will see service improvements because their ridership is at a level that justifies more service under the new standards.

In the spreadsheet linked below, I have included recent service changes on affected routes so that readers can see the progression from Spring 2011 through the Summer cutbacks and the Fall service adds.  The sequence ends with the January 2012 service changes.

Where no values are shown under “Spring” and “Summer”, there was no summer service cut for the route and time period, and the “Fall” values were in place throughout.

2012.01.08 DRAFT Service Changes

Some of the loading information in this table does not match up with the service standards, and there are cases where the average load per bus is vary much below the new standard.  At this point, I am simply reporting TTC data and do not know whether the TTC may suspect the numbers too.

As a budgetary exercise, this is a one-time trick.  We cannot reap the same savings with another change in loading standards for 2013 because there is only so much room on the vehicles.  What remains to be seen is the actual quality of service on the street both in headway reliability and the effects of added crowding.  Only a few more riders per trip doesn’t look like much, but this can make a big difference.  A bus may be comfortably full, or passengers might not move easily between seats and exits, or cannot force their way on because the aisle is blocked.

On routes with articulated streetcars, the new off-peak standards will make it even more important that ALRVs actually operate on their scheduled runs.  Too often on 501 Queen, a CLRV whose peak loading standard is 74 attempts to carry the offpeak design load of an ALRV, now 76.  This makes for rotten service.

Headway regularity will be even more important, but will probably be ignored as is common TTC practice.  Keeping things on time, a meaningless effort when headways are under about 10 minutes, will pre-occupy the TTC to the detriment of service everywhere.

When the official service designs for January 2012 are published, I will update the tables here to show the changes from draft to final versions.

27 thoughts on “Service Changes for January 2012 (Update 6)

  1. Why didn’t the TTC commissioners raise the fares to avoid service cuts? Because Rob Ford wants to save money not service.

    Now for 2012, the powers-that-be want to freeze fares again, but at the cost of reduced TTC service. Dumb!

    Steve: Actually, the cuts listed here presume that there is a 10-cent increase in the token fare. If there is to be a fare freeze, even more cuts will be needed to pay for it.


  2. I await the “blame the union” rhetoric when the media finally catches up to this story.

    Two questions:
    What happens to all those buses no longer in daily use?

    And, is there deferred capital spending in buses because of this?

    Steve: In the short term, the GM New Looks finally are retired from service. On the capital side, this defers the need to buy replacement buses, and staves off the point at which more garage capacity is required.


  3. “Steve: In the short term, the GM New Looks finally are retired from service.”

    One would think it might be an idea to hang onto the GMs for streetcar shuttles which are non-accessible routes anyway, at least until each bus is due a major check.


  4. I assume that the reductions in the frequency of the Airport Rocket bus and, more importantly, its loading standards take no account of the fact that many passengers on this route travel with luggage. I question whether the general loading standards ought to apply to this route.
    Ideally the TTC would use special buses on the 192 and 158 routes (with proper space for cases) but I can understand this is complex and not going to occur. (No doubt we will be told that the new airport train will make this route less useful but …)


  5. David C:

    That was exactly my thoughts regarding the 192 Airport Rocket. The cuts proposed for the AM peak is certainly a major difference in route capacity. I’d rather see the capacity maintained than install luggage racks (the STM has a dedicated sub-fleet for the 747 express bus to Dorval (Trudeau) Airport so-equipped), though it is a good idea.

    The airport and immediate area is a huge employment centre, so the significant reduction in route capacity left me puzzled, even within the senseless of these cuts in a time of ridership growth.

    While there’s lots of examples where these rather arbitrary cuts will hurt, I can speak directly about the 84 Sheppard West which gets hit with midday and Saturday cuts.

    I have family living near Sheppard and Bathurst, so I occasionally find my way on this bus. The 84 already is terrible for crowding between Downsview and Sheppard-Yonge and poor reliability. On the whole, perhaps the “standards” are met because west of Downsview, service is augmented with the 106 and 108 routes, so the “average” ride likely isn’t that “crowded”. Residential density is increasing here as old CHMC-type post war houses are replaced by midrise slabs and townhouse complexes. Yes, the 196A offers weekday express service, stopping at Bathurst, but has limited use to anyone living on that section of Sheppard.

    Maybe a subway will fix that problem.


  6. Service to Long Branch loop by both the 501 and 123 takes another whack. During rush hours, only every other 123 makes it anyway, while for 501s that’s true all the time.

    501 will have headways of 15 minutes (nominally) to Long Branch early Saturday evenings, and pretty much 20 minutes Sunday morning. The M-F early evening cars will arrive supposedly every 14 minutes, but don’t set your watch by that.

    AM Peak Shorncliffe buses will make it down Brown’s Line to Long Branch loop every 19 minutes. As a rush hour route, it becomes useless.

    As a general comment, I’m starting to think that majorly split routes are a problem in this era of cuts. The combined service may appear acceptable on paper, but that’s only because the branches where the service is less frequent aren’t broken out.


  7. Just wondering, is there any sort of provincial or federal fire code or safety laws which limit just how crowded a transit vehicle can be? I suppose even if there is, it just means that people will just have to wait a few extra buses till they can squeeze on to one.

    Even then, I wonder if someone will try and sue the city if they are stuck waiting in the cold for 2 hours as 6 buses (3 per hour) go by that they cannot get on, on a route which used to see 8 buses per hour get crowded, and begins to suffer hypothermia or something.

    Steve: No, there are no laws or regulations governing the crowding on transit vehicles. As for people unable to board buses due to crowding, what are you talking about? This never happens because the TTC carefully monitors demand and adjusts service to accommodate it. And in the event you can’t get on, just look on this as a temporary sacrifice you have made for the greater good of Toronto.


  8. “In January 2012 all bus routes will operate with accessible bus.”

    This sounds great but if the buses are so crowded that a person with a wheel chair or walker will be unable to get on most vehicles. In my recent tour of the U.S. a large percentage of the riders where in wheel chairs or powered scooters. But since most vehicles had under 15 passengers this did not present a problem. How will someone get on a TTC bus that has a fully seated load plus 10 standees, especially with the narrow spot between the front wheels?

    Most of the HSR buses loaded wheel chairs and scooters using a ramp at the centre doors. This made it much easier to load and unload but I can’t see the driver of a TTC bus fighting his way to the centre door to do this. As long as the TTC carries such large loads on most of its routes it may be accessible in name but not, I am afraid, in reality for most people who use wheel chairs or scooters.


  9. Victoria Park buses are already jammed for part of the morning rush hour (at least northbound), filled with students bound for a couple of high schools between Lawrence and Ellesmere. I’m guessing that this is lost in the vehicle loading stats, and that the loading stats are averages over a longer period (say, over an hour, while the severe congestion only lasts half an hour).

    The AM peak changes would bring headways to the levels from last summer (when students were not traveling). I would expect this to cause problems over that half hour or so when students are traveling. I wonder if this could be addressed by putting out a couple of school extras to run, say, between York Mills and Eglinton Square.

    Steve: There are school runs here and there around the system, but with the regular service more tightly scheduled to the demand, more school trippers may be required. This presumes, of course, that the TTC has the money, operators and buses available.


  10. Its nice to see that through all these service cuts they are finally increasing late evening service on 54 and 86. I ride 54, 86 and 116 during late evening service often and they are always packed with standing loads. This is the second increase to late evening service on 54 in about a year or so. 54 is packed usually because they are often late, creating wide gaps in service. I think that they need to increase early evening service as well to something between 15 and the current 20 minutes each branch currently operate at, or at least on 54A.


  11. How does the TTC calculate load? Just by counting the total fares on a route? Or do they actually take head counts at the most congested point on the route? It’s the latter which is how passengers would perceive the load, although it requires more work to determine it.

    Steve: Allegedly, they look at the peak point load, but there are several problems here. First off, they don’t do it very often. Second, the stats they cite are averaged over the peak hour. Third, it is likely that cars that are short turned and may be underused as a result are counted in the total. Fourth, from the point of view of riders, most riders are on the crowded cars and so the “average” load perceived by a rider is generally higher than the average reported in the counts. We never see the details, nor do we see any info about the headways or line management where pairs of cars may alternate full-empty-full-empty thanks to bad spacing.


  12. Steve, in your response to Ben’s post, are you referring only to buses or to all surface vehicles? I ask because I ride the 512 streetcar to and from work each day and my fellow passengers and I routinely have to let cars go by in both directions because they are full. I very much agree with the “greater good” argument, but it takes its toll when it happens multiple times a week (and sometimes more than once a day).

    Steve: I presume you know that my response was deeply satirical, and the “greater good” line is a gloss on Karen Stintz’ admonition to those who complained about the cuts early in 2011. The Ford-dominated Commission is busy pretending that there is no alternative to service cuts, and they won’t talk about any alternatives or even put forward costings on alternatives so that there could be an informed debate. After all, if cuts are “gravy”, then we don’t want to be wasting money on people in Scarborough who expect better service. By implying that none of the cuts really hurts, or that those who are affected were getting more than their fair share, Ford & Stintz hope to divert the attention from the real problem — running a transit system and providing service costs money.

    If you are being passed up now more than once a day, you are making a valiant contribution to our city [that is a joke]. For what it’s worth, you are getting one more car on St. Clair in the AM and PM peak periods.


  13. It may make Sacha ‘happier’ to learn that it is certainly not only the 512 that is overcrowded. The westbound 504 gets extremely crowded between Parliament and Church in the morning peak because eastbound 504s are short-turned at Parliament or Broadview and return to westbound service on King only at Church. (Another reason to mourn the loss of the loop at King and Parliament.)

    If the Cherry Street stub-line ever gets built this will make a far better short-turn destination as cars returning westbound will still cover most of the King Street route east of the Don and there is a great deal of new development and thus new customers in that stretch.

    Steve: Those short turns just get more and more frustrating. Inbound through the developing King Street East area is a busy part of the route, and bringing a car into service westbound at Church is just plain stupid. There are also inconsistencies in whether cars do a Broadview short turn counterclockwise (Broadview, Dundas, Parliament) or clockwise (Parliament, Dundas). It makes more sense to go up Parliament in the morning when more service is needed westbound from Broadview, but to use the reverse path in the afternoon when outbound loading is heavier.


  14. Were Toronto’s citizens not stuck hard and fast between Mayor Ford and HIS city council on the one hand and Queen’s Park officialdom on the other, I believe that they would prefer that ALL TTC expansion projects currently underway or proposed, including the tattered remnants of Transit City (Eglinton Line) and all subway expansion works currently underway, be immediately terminated.

    All the unspent funding for these projects should be used instead to repair the currently widespread and worsening service levels outlined here in such great detail.

    Steve, you are correct, the TTC is basically being asked to commit suicide by dramatically reducing service levels systemwide.

    For God’s sake, get the existing system running properly – focus on service unreliability, bus bunching, overcrowding, poor public relations, untimely or missing information – make correcting all these deficiencies the TTC’s top priority.

    Good service must be the TTC’s sole mission, and until that is accomplished and the TTC given a permanent and sound financial footing, ANY and ALL expansion plans – every single last one of them – should be tossed into the dust bin. This is the message which comes through here loud and clear, page after page.

    I, too, believe the transit-riding public will agree to modestly higher fares in exchange for getting frequent, clean, reliable and user-friendly service across the entire Toronto metro region. Fixing fares in exchange for subjecting riders to far less-frequent and overcrowded buses, streetcars and subways is a destructive and totally self-defeating proposition, and must not be allowed to happen.

    It’s a shame mayor Ford and top officials in Ontario government cannot understand this.


  15. Steve said: Inbound through the developing King Street East area is a busy part of the route, and bringing a car into service westbound at Church is just plain stupid.

    But Steve, service is oriented around operators, not riders, remember? Toronto has to save the TTC’s budget by minimizing overtime for the greater good!



  16. As for the Lawrence East lost 6 buses in rush hours. They can reattempt restoring runs at the old Malvern division. IMO, I believe they will revert the routes shared with 2 divisions in the daytime system back to it’s 2007-08 levels.

    “Steve: In the short term, the GM New Looks finally are retired from service. On the capital side, this defers the need to buy replacement buses, and staves off the point at which more garage capacity is required.”

    For replacement / expansion buses, they can buy used ex-OC Transpo New Flyer D60LFs to stave line capacities especially the Finch East and Eglinton West lines (as well as the Eglinton LRT shuttle). Rumour has it, the 1996-1997 Orion Vs can either be rebuilt or being replaced by newer vehicles beginning 2013. I’d say the Vs can be rebuilt again then the RTSes since the cutbacks are through hurting the city’s reputation. We’ll see if the Lift Orion Vs and Nova RTSes can last long as the New Looks.

    The bid can wait for 2012 and beyond orders when they buy buses from NovaBUS or New Flyer since Orion is not a good choice after their 10 VII orders were a little problematic for service. I believe the their D40LF, D60LF, D40LFR, D60LFR, XD40, or LFS can be better for service IMO.

    Steve: The way that Orion (and its predecessors) managed to hold on to TTC orders even when the Ontario government took its business elsewhere has been quite amazing. This goes all the way back to the demise of the Trolley Buses when Ontario Bus Industries got into bed with the TTC to produce CNG buses, the supposedly “green” alternative. Somehow, they have locked up the market ever since.

    “Steve: There are school runs here and there around the system, but with the regular service more tightly scheduled to the demand, more school trippers may be required. This presumes, of course, that the TTC has the money, operators and buses available.”

    Kennedy Station is frequently packed by nearby students at Jean Vanier C.S.S. on Midland (which I was attended 4 years there) as well as Cardinal Newman C.H.S., and other TCDSB/TDSB students. There are a lot of frequent massive breakdowns of Eglinton Division VIIs that failed service recently. In 2003, the station itself was seemingly frequented by Vs, New Looks, D40LFs, Classics, and newly-delivered VIIs

    As Brent said, he expect this to cause problems over that half hour or so when students are traveling. He’d wonder if this could be addressed by putting out a couple of school extras to run, say, between York Mills and Eglinton Square. As a result, there’s a nearby Senator O’Connor College School on Rowena which is frequented by the Victoria Park bus. I’d say Kipling is frequented by students at Percy Johnson, Henry Carr, Mike Power-St. Joes, Father Redmond, Don Bosco, Bishop Allen, and many others in the west end with the school specials frequented by reliable buses such as the 1999 D40LFs and 2006-07 Orion VIIs unlike in the eastern end.


  17. Reality, from the CHIEF GENERAL MANAGER’S REPORT, shows “Ridership to the end of Period 9 (October 1) was 8,675,000 (2.4%) above budget and 17,971,000 (+5.1%) above the comparable period in 2010.” Yet the Ford’s henchmen and henchwomen at the commission want to reduce service. In the real world, if there is an increase in ridership, one adds vehicles, however in the bizarro city of Toronto, they want to subtract vehicles.


  18. Hi Steve
    I notice in your Service Changes table under the 17 Birchmount it says every 3rd vehicle goes to Warden & 14th. As of now the north of Steeles bus travels just past Birchmount & 14th and loops back. Is this a typo or is the TTC planning to re-route the 17A bus to Warden?

    Steve: This looks like a mistake in the TTC’s service plan as the map of the route clearly shows that the 17A does not go all the way to Warden and 14th.


  19. Before we blame our government, does TTC even has any ideas to reduce their own spending? Or just crying out loud? I’m just asking.


  20. To J Lee:

    What do you use as a measurement for the TTC?

    Is it ridership? The TTC has the third largest ridership in North America, after Mexico City and New York (both cities with populations greater than eight million people).

    Is it subsidies? The TTC is the 2nd least per-rider subsidized system in North America (75% farebox recovery; only GO Transit does better at 81%; even New York City gets more subsidy from its governments to operate, at 62%).

    Even attempts at reducing service is backfiring, according to the Chief General Manager’s report. Do some research before criticizing.


  21. @J Lee

    Three possible options to reduce operating costs:

    -Use larger vehicles to increase capacity per driver, or
    -Implement private Right-of-Ways to reduce delays

    Both options would require extra spending in the short-term, however.

    A third option: Close the Sheppard Subway, or charge a premium fare on it.


  22. @W. K. Lis,
    I was just asking. not criticizing. Also I did my research before and wondered what others think, so No-Thank-You.

    @Jacob Louy
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and yes, I have also thought about closing down the Sheppard subway except for the peak hours, or at least run only between 7AM to 10PM with one train set per 8-9 minutes during the weekdays (that’s 2 sets running the line, currently 5). It has been quite a mystery for me why the TTC hasn’t closed down the Sheppard subway with the early closure of Finch-Eglinton portion of YUS line. There’s literally no one after 12AM. However, charging a premium fare on the 5.5KM stubway doesn’t seem realistic though.

    Steve: The Sheppard subway runs with 4 trains, not 5, on a 5’30” headway all day. Cutting back to two trains would save a bit, but the biggest expense is having the line open at all. Crews on the trains are only the tip of the iceberg on staff needed to operate a subway line.

    I was also thinking about little things that TTC can do, such as turning off the engine/motor/lights of parked vehicles at any stations, terminals and yards. Also, TTC should consider having ticket/token seller machines just like the way MTA does, or bring PRESTO quickly!

    Steve: It is already TTC policy that buses shut down their engines at terminals if they will be there for any significant period of time. This is observed to varying degrees depending on the operator and the season. In yards they are generally shut down except when prepping for service so that they won’t be freezing cold, and so that the yard staff know they will actually start.

    There are already token and Metropass vending machines in stations, although not enough to replace the volumes handled by Collectors. As for Presto, the capital cost of implementation is quite high, while the saving in operating costs is not.


  23. @Steve
    Oh, I counted number of the trains wrong! There were several times when I had to wait in the station for more than an hour and in the meanwhile, I counted the trains to kill some time.

    Steve: You can always get the details of service levels on the TTC’s Planning site. Scroll down to “Service Summary”.

    If TTC choose to close down Sheppard subway, #190 and all of #85 would need to be extended to Sheppard-Yonge along with unavoidable massive traffic jam during the peak hours, especially between Victoria Park Ave to Yonge St. There’s also grade-separation construction going on at Agincourt GO as well.

    I think there should be some staff observing if the drivers follow that policy, since there are still some drivers don’t follow — I’ve witnessed parked buses several times at Wilson, Kennedy and Sheppard-Yonge with engine on for more than 20 minutes. And that’s what bugged me.

    Yes, there are not enough number of vending machines and TTC would still need to have a few (or one) collectors or an info/help booth at some of the busiest stations. The token vending machines need an upgrade for accepting more coins and $5 bills. Also, there should be transfer reader machines as well. There are many good stations to begin this with — Sheppard and SRT stations.


  24. About token vending machines. We were there the previous week on a quick trip, and in at least three stations (Coxwell, St George and Museum) could find not token machines. (In Coxwell we couldn’t find a ticket booth attendant on a Saturday morning, but that’s another story – off for a pee break I expect). We’ve bought them at Coxwell in previous years, so I know they used to be there. We took a bus through Kennedy and had a quick look and didn’t find them, but I didn’t expect to find them in the fare paid area anyway.

    How many stations do still have them?

    Steve: I’m not sure of the count, but they are generally at busy stations. Kennedy doesn’t have much walk-in traffic, and is mainly a bus/RT/subway interchange.


  25. Steve,

    Have there been any changes to subway service recently? I have noticed that early evening trains (say 6 to 7PM) seem to be almost as full as rush hour trains, and frequency seems to drop off very rapidly following the main rush.

    What about car maintenance? Anecdotally there seem to be more delays due to mechanical problems than in the past. Any chance that there are enough cars out of service to affect actual headways?

    When riding the subway you can really feel the decline over the last few years. Things are getting to the point where the whole system breaks down multiple times a day due to overcrowding, crowding-related passenger assistance alarm activations, and trains breaking down, and there is no slack (never mind a second way to get south of Bloor!) so almost any delay leads to cascading failures.

    Steve: Actually, there was a service increase on YUS implemented in September. Midday and early evening service was improved with 1 and 3 additional trains, respectively, in these periods. Two trains have been added on Sunday.

    What is happening is that riding continues to grow, and there is no slack on the subway at all. The peak slops over into the off-peak because people shift their riding times to avoid the worst of the congestion.

    As for train reliability, I don’t think things have changed that much. Many of the delays are caused by other factors such as signals, smoke, and as you note passenger illness triggered by the crowding.

    One source of delay that is rarely reported is operator crew changes. These do not always occur in the most optimal manner, and trains may be delayed a few minutes. This can cascade into a gap with the usual problems of crowding and backed up trains.


  26. Bill Kinkaid asked:

    About token vending machines. We were there the previous week on a quick trip, and in at least three stations (Coxwell, St George and Museum) could find not token machines. […] We’ve bought them at Coxwell in previous years, so I know they used to be there. We took a bus through Kennedy and had a quick look and didn’t find them, but I didn’t expect to find them in the fare paid area anyway.

    How many stations do still have them?

    I can’t guarantee the accuracy, but according to the TTC site 42 of the 69 stations have Token Vending Machines, and 27 do not.
    According to the site St. George does have a machine.

    According to the TTC Site, the following stations do not have Token Vending Machines:

    Eglinton West

    Old Mill
    Dundas West
    Castle Frank
    Main Street

    Lawrence East
    Scarborough Centre



  27. A small footnote to David’s comment above (albeit, a late one): Unless I’m mistaken, none of the stations which lack a token vending machine have automated entrances. If you’re going to a collector anyway, you buy your tokens from them.


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