Service Changes Effective September 2, 2012 (Updated)

September 2012 will bring the restoration of “winter” service levels on routes across the system as well as many service improvements.  Most of these occur in the off-peak period thanks to constraints on the size of the fleet and of the operator workforce.

The bus fleet is constrained in the peak period by the many construction projects now underway.  These require either bus/streetcar substitutions, or additional vehicles on bus routes to deal with congestion.  Some of these will end as the fall progresses.

Updated August 26, 2012:

A fare policy experiment will begin on the 38 Highland Creek bus on September 1 and will run through until April 27, 2013.  Riders with GO fare media will be allowed to ride free between Rouge Hill GO Station and University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.

Summer Services

Seasonal services will end after Labour Day on the following routes:

  • 101 Downsview Park weekday service
  • 29 Dufferin to Princes Gates (the limited service that would remain will not operate to the CNE due to a construction diversion)
  • 30 Lambton service to High Park
  • 72B Pape service to Cherry Beach weekday daytimes and weekend evenings
  • 86 Scarborough to the Zoo (extended hours weekday evenings, weekend route extension)
  • 85 Sheppard East to the Zoo (extended hours weekends)

Rapid Transit Changes

The Yonge-University-Spadina subway will see improved midday service, and the transition between the AM peak and midday will be smoothed.

Running times on the Scarborough RT will be extended and headways will be widened.  This change is intended “to better reflect actual operation”.  How it will affect the SRT’s ability to actually operate all of its scheduled service (the target now is to operate at least 80% of planned trips) is a matter for conjecture.

Waterfront Changes

Service on 511 Bathurst will be cut from the summer levels, but will remain above the normal winter schedules to compensate for the construction on Queen’s Quay and on Spadina.

Service on the 509 Harbourfront bus will be cut slightly from summer levels.  However, all 509 buses will now operate to Exhibition and this will recover the time now wasted by many of them laying over in Spadina Loop.  Service west of Spadina will be greatly improved.

The 6 Bay bus will be restructured to provide somewhat improved service to the eastern waterfront and the new George Brown College campus.  In August, the Dundas branch of the route was extended south to Queen’s Quay.  Beginning in September, a new 6C Union to Queen’s Quay service will be added.

The combined service south of Front will see considerable improvement:

  • AM peak from 6’30” to 2’27”
  • Weekday midday from 12’00” to 6’40”
  • PM peak from 10’20” to 3’20”
  • Weekend afternoons from 15’00” to 7’30”

The 75 Sherbourne bus will also see improved service for the George Brown campus:

  • AM peak from 9’00” to 7’30”
  • Weekday midday from 12’00” to 9’00”
  • PM Peak from 10’00” to 8’30”
  • Saturday afternoon from 20’00” to 11’00”

Construction Route Changes

Dufferin street trackage will be rebuilt north from Dufferin Loop to Queen (skipping over the intersection at King) beginning in September.  The 29D Princes Gates service will divert to operate southbound via the “old” Dufferin routing of Peel and Gladstone to Queen, then east to Shaw, south to King, west to Mowat, south to Liberty, east to Fraser and north to King.  The northbound buses will follow the route via Shaw and Gladstone back to the regular route.

The temporary service arrangements for the routes operating on Queen Street will remain in effect with streetcars diverting between Broadview and Coxwell via Gerrard.

2012.09.02 Service Changes

13 thoughts on “Service Changes Effective September 2, 2012 (Updated)

  1. 75, not 85 Sherbourne, right?

    Steve: Fixed, thanks.

    Also, how are both the hiring drive and the bus tenders going? Have either the 40 or 60 foot contracts been tendered, and if so, when will the buses arrive? As for the operators, are how many of these are meant to replace retirees, and how many are for service increases?

    Steve: My understanding is that the tenders have been on the street and we are probably now in the evaluation phase. There has not been a contract award. A good chunk of the new operators are to replace staff lost to attrition, but some are new. We really won’t have a sense of how much the workforce is growing until we see provisions for the 2013 budget and learn whether the budget hawks will be beaten back so that the TTC can actually have enough staff to run better service.


  2. So the one-way routing of the 509 along Queens Quay will not take effect with this board period? Or will they make that determination later depending on how fast work can be completed through August? The overhead wiring has already been removed, though strangely the transit signals are still functioning. Are these triggered by the buses plying the route or are they part of the regular traffic light cycle?

    Steve: The degree to which the detectors for “transit priority” have not worked on Harbourfront for some time has been something of an embarrassment to anyone who notices these things. The line has been dug up so many times, not to mention failures of the detectors, that the signals have been running is if there is always a streetcar there for some time. No, it’s not the buses which trigger this.


  3. Does this mean the track south of King will be put in … a track bed?

    The first time I was on a diverted King car, I noticed immediately the asphalt, and was a little alarmed, it felt like the trucks/wheel wells were bottoming out.

    Steve: The track on Spadina south of King is built on concrete, but the foundation isn’t as good as the “new” track, and there are many, many unwelded joins. The track is badly corrugated and hence noisy. It’s also now over 20 years old. In places, the concrete around and under the track has broken up, and the track sinks into the pavement. The temporary fix for this is to grind down the concrete.

    Yes, the new track will be built to the new standard as will Queen’s Quay from Spadina eastward.


  4. Steve, along with the changes, are there any routes reassigned next period? I know the 21 Brimley is heading to Birchmount and Van Horne, Glencairn, Huntingwood, Symington, and Maple Leaf are reassigned to newer divisions. Can you clarify where are these routes are going Steve? You may want add more routes if needed.

    Steve: Here is the list of garage changes from the September memo:

    Route moves from Eglinton Division to Wilson Division:
    10 VAN HORNE

    Route moves from Malvern Division to Birchmount Division:
    21 BRIMLEY

    Route moves from Mount Dennis Division to Arrow Road Division:

    Route moves from Mount Dennis Division to Queensway Division:

    Route moves from Wilson Division to Mount Dennis Division:


  5. Sorry I didn’t specify, I was referring to the track on Dufferin south of King.

    Steve: Yes, that will be rebuilt to the new standard. The existing track has been a mess for years.


  6. Good to hear about the Bay and Sherbourne frequency upgrades — though service will likely be affected by the Union station work as well as the bike lane construction in the short term.

    My anecdotal experience with the Sherbourne bus has left a lingering impression of extreme unreliability. Due to the shorter downtown distances it was often not an alternative to walking. Since the advent of NextBus I have not caught the 75 badly out of kilter — it’s holding a 10 to 14 minute headway both north and southbound right now.

    Steve, has this route ever been flagged as one worth closer monitoring for bad spacing?

    Steve: I don’t know which, if any, routes are getting closer monitoring but suspect the focus is on the longer routes in the suburbs and busy routes like Dufferin.


  7. I’ve been using the 75 Sherbourne from time-to-time. Normally I use the 504 from the King-Sherbourne area, to connect to the 506. However the 75 is a good fallback when the 504 isn’t coming – particularly to get to the Bloor-Danforth subway. And doesn’t seem quite as slow as the 65 Parliament, which seems to have this trick of hitting every light as it’s turning yellow to red from King up to Gerrard.

    I’ve found it very regular. I keep the schedule posted by my desk, and frequently when I’m leaving I look at it to see when it’s coming next, see it’s due in a minute, look out the window and see it in the distance .. and I’ve no chance of getting it.

    The only time I’ve noticed it really out-of-kilter was one of those days Union station was flooded, and there were hundreds of extra buses diverted to cover the subway. Ironically crippling the Sherbourne and Parliament routes doesn’t do much to keep people away from the subway. I’ve also noticed it very crowded around 10 pm, just after it drops to every 30-minute service (hopefully there’s no night classes at George Brown!).

    I can’t imagine it needs extra monitoring, compared to many routes. And the extra buses will make it even more usable!

    Steve: The Parliament streetcar had exactly the same problem of hitting red lights northbound, and it has not operated since 1966. Some things just never, ever change.

    As for service to GBC, I have a suspicion the TTC is going to discover a need to revise its schedules on both Bay and Sherbourne fairly quickly.


  8. Thanks for the report, nfitz. I’ll see about re-evaluating my view of Sherbourne and take some rides down to GBC this fall.

    I’ll even consider the Bay bus again, though my current impression from occasional use is that it’s rarely a reliable option compared to subway, Bixi or walk.

    I note on Nextbus, this Saturday-long-weekend afternoon, that both the 6 and 75 seem fairly regular; running within 14 to 20 minute windows…


  9. Riders with GO fare media will be allowed to ride free between Rouge Hill GO Station and University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.

    So if a GO rider is a Presto user, they only have to show their Presto card to ride on this bus for free.

    To think like the TTC for a moment (the same TTC that sees Metropass users as ‘stealing’ rides once they break even in the month)…

    I am wondering, if a UofT student living a couple of blocks from the Rouge Hill station were to get a Presto card, which initially costs $25 ($6 admin charge plus an initial $19 balance), or gets on at a promotional event for $19, then they could be saving themselves $28 per week to get to and from campus.

    I suppose in the big picture, there wouldn’t be more than a few people who could take advantage of this, and of them, some would likely need to pay regular transit fares if their journey back home involved a stop somewhere else, like a part time job or shopping.


  10. Are they reintroducing more services along 6oC Steeles west, since they destroyed it in May (or was it June?). I had to leave home 20 minutes early during summer semester, compared to the winter semester, just to make sure I was able to get to York (Seneca@York) 10 minutes earlier. (They removed, if I recall, 2 or 3 buses from the mid-day west bound runs.)

    Steve: The service in March was 19 buses on a 4’20” combined service as compared to 13 buses on a 6’30” in late June. The September schedule returns to the winter level of service. I have not listed all of these explicitly as they are simply a reversal of the summer cuts. Where there are differences, they are from service increases listed in the table.


  11. Just to clarify: the 509 Harbourfront buses all go to The Ex and do not have a scheduled short turn at Queens Quay & Spadina during the current board period, according to the service summary. So service will be reduced on the entire length of the route next week. In any event, based on my personal observations, due to traffic congestion, the advertised schedule on the alternate bus service seems to be pure fiction on any day of the week, at least in the afternoons. As an example, on Saturday evening I waited over 20 minutes at Dan Leckie Way for an eastbound bus, and when it finally did show up, it was so packed with people leaving The Ex that I couldn’t board.

    On a related note, if the Waterfront East “BRT” (as per Waterfront Toronto) bears fruit, it will be amusing to watch the reliability of the “BRT” as the buses will have to fight their way through heavy rush hour traffic from Queens Quay to Bay & Front.

    Steve: The effect of the schedule change is that, assuming buses run vaguely on time, the service is improved west of Spadina. In fact on the old schedule, buses operating only to Queen’s Quay Loop tended to have long layovers there which wastes vehicles that could be providing service.

    As for the WF east BRT, yes, that is going to be a disaster. There are proposals for various forms of transit priority on Bay, but they all require taking road space which is simply not available.


  12. @Steve

    OK, so I’ll be back to regular running of the 60C, at around every 7 minutes (from the 13 now) … which means I don’t have to leave earlier than “the right time”.

    I’ve decided to skip the summer semester next year … which will mean I won’t have to worry much about the changes next year. *L*


  13. Further to my previous comment (in case I was misunderstood), I just wanted to point out that the claim you make in your blog post about improved service west of Spadina on the 509 Harbourfront come September is incorrect. In fact, by comparing the July and September service summaries it is apparent that service will actually worsen, although not by much (at least on paper). All 509 buses have been operating all the way to The Ex ever since the replacement service started in late July, except maybe for the occasional short turn. The only time period the 509’s use the loop at Queen’s Quay & Spadina on a scheduled basis is on Sunday mornings before 9.

    Steve: Sorry, you are correct. I was comparing to the pre-bus schedules where the service frequency west of Spadina with streetcars was considerably worse on either the summer (with Spadina short turns) or winter (without) schedules.


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