Service Changes Effective Sunday, March 31, 2013

The TTC budget provides for a spring and a fall round of service improvements in 2013.  In the “March” schedule period (which actually starts at the end of the month), service hours will increase by about 1%.  After a dip for the seasonal reductions over the summer, the September budget includes another 1% increase with a few smaller increments in October and November.

Almost all of the current round of improvements are in off-peak periods because of the limited number of spare vehicles for better peak service.

2013.03.31 Service Changes

24 thoughts on “Service Changes Effective Sunday, March 31, 2013

  1. Will the 1 Yonge-University-Spadina still have the short-turn at St. Clair West station? When will it be either move up to Glencairn or Downsview? Or is that still considered gravy?

    Steve: A Glencairn short turn has been in the fleet plan for a few years, but it never seems to actually get implemented.


  2. I thought the Long Branch side of Humber Loop was no longer active.

    Steve: Obviously the folks in Service Planning think it is.


  3. While the Long Branch loop at Humber isn’t often used, there is nothing preventing its use as far as I can see. It seems that it still gets used a couple of times a year for purposes that elude me.

    I suppose the additional service by 508 cars means that they make their run from downtown to Long Branch loop, then instead of running in to Roncesvalles they turn around at Humber for a second run to Long Branch. This would actually make it worthwhile to catch a Humber car from downtown, instead of waiting for a Long Branch car.


  4. Oh, I missed the 508 section which explains what they’re doing, sorry.

    This is an interesting change. In my experience, 508 cars carry very few passengers through from King to The Queensway and Lake Shore. Queen cars have a lot more through passengers. This means that the average Lake Shore car is pretty much empty west of Roncesvalles. For all the good that they do, they could turn back at Roncesvalles carhouse or Sunnyside loop and be done with it.


  5. I note that they are not addressing the 504 capacity problems at the morning rush hour (presumably due to a shortage of streetcars). They seem to try to deal with it by increasing short-turns with eastbound cars returning west at Church Street. From the schedule these appear to be ‘unofficial” short-turns and really screw up service east of Church. Let’s hope that when the new cars finally get into service (early 2014?) they don’t immediately start retiring old ones – if they have a shortage of streetcars when there is no streetcar service on Queen’s Quay they clearly do not have enough. (Are there too many cars in the repair shop or have some actually been ‘mothballed’ due to maintenance issues?)

    Steve: I believe that some rarely if ever get into service, especially in winter weather. These should be the first to be retired as they won’t reduce the actual number of cars available for service. But definitely, working cars should be kept in service until (a) we know the replacements are reliable and (b) we are sure of actual capacity needed to handle the backlog of unmet demand.


  6. Wow … the infamous 20-minute mid-day frequency on the 502 on Kingston Road is being increased to 16-minutes – based on it exceeding loading standards! That’s positive.

    I’ve always felt that route would be better used off-peak, if it was more frequent … otherwise many just walk down to Queen or up to Gerrard. Hopefully that improvement doesn’t evaporate once the new high-capacity streetcars are introduced.

    I wonder where they found 5 more streetcars for AM peak on 501. I guess there’s a few available because of the Queens Quay work … but isn’t that pushing the limit once all the lines are back in service? Or are we going to see more buses running.

    Steve: We won’t know until the fall at best given that Spadina will be shut down for various construction activities through the summer.


  7. The old Humber Loop for Long Branch service is still used. The night of the fire at Queen and Peter, 4 cars operated all night between Humber and Long Branch on 15 minute headways. The Loop also has just had all new poles installed ready for new overhead.


  8. The [Long Branch-Humber] Loop also has just had all new poles installed ready for new overhead.

    Hmmm… that’s interesting. Makes me wonder what the status is for the Park Lawn Loop. Officially, I thought that is still supposed to happen, although I think a reevaluation is warranted as so much development west of Park Lawn has taken off in very recent years (esp. Legion). Wasn’t Humber supposed to be retired/sold once Park Lawn was active?

    Steve: I believe that is correct. The Park Lawn project fell “below the line” in the capital budget some time ago and shows no sign of reappearing. There was concern from some, notably Commissioner Milczyn, that the project seemed rather pricy for what it yielded.


  9. One of the problems with King is the stations and what they can handle in the way of streetcars. If you have King cars backed up onto the street, then the Dundas line is blocked. So some turns would be to deal with this issue. When track on Cherry Street is finally built having some cars running between Dufferin and Cherry would help.


  10. “The Park Lawn project fell “below the line” in the capital budget some time ago and shows no sign of reappearing. There was concern from some, notably Commissioner Milczyn, that the project seemed rather pricy for what it yielded.”

    This is probably a mistake. Grimes is certainly not a transit user, and seems pretty clueless about it (the Humber Bay express is his pet project).

    Right now there are big projects going on both at the northwest corner (where SNC-Lavalin’s offices used to be) as well as string of condos east of Park Lawn on the south side, including at least one forty-plus storey tower. And of course Christie’s on the NE corner is in play.

    (There must be a subway coming somewhere close by, right? Subways drive this kind of development, right??)

    I have seen a distinct increase in passengers for the Queen car from the condo row between Louisa and the underpass. This is going to increase once all these further projects are done.

    Currently, Queen cars are fairly full, and anyone getting on east of Mimico in the morning on the runs I frequent (going through there 7:30-7:45 AM) is going to be standing. If ridership continues to increase, cars coming through the underpass to Humber loop will be crush-loaded.

    The split-route arrangement can work sort of well, if an empty Humber car pulls out shortly ahead of an already-full Long Branch car. Often, though, the Long Branch car is carrying a gap (where did the previous Humber car go? who knows), and falls further and further behind. It also can’t possibly hold any more people, yet they try to levitate in the stairwells, leading to long dwells at stops just to get the doors closed. (This morning, to add to the fun, it was a CLRV and not an ALRV on my run.)

    Putting a loop out at Park Lawn would help spread the load out a bit, since the condo dwellers could catch an empty streetcar instead of one that’s already picked up fifty people from Long Branch through Mimico. (The 145 express probably barely carries fifty people over all its morning runs.)


  11. Hopefully service planning will deal with the run time issues on St.Clair in the next round of service improvements. For example during the late evening and Sat/Sun mornings the route has less then 54 minutes to do a round trip.


  12. “(There must be a subway coming somewhere close by, right? Subways drive this kind of development, right??)”

    Lax zoning and the OMB drives this kind of development.

    “(where did the previous Humber car go? who knows)”

    There may be ways to coax this information out of the NextBus data.

    The 145 Humber Bay seem to be getting busier. Last time I took it I didn’t get a seat.


  13. One of the interesting uses I made with TransSee was to see how the 501 compared to the 145 in travel time. The 7:14AM out of Long Branch typically runs alongside a 145 right through Mimico. I then get the prediction for the 145 at Yonge and Adelaide, and update as the 501 makes its eastward trek.

    Typically the 145 gets to Yonge about the time when the 501 is around Bathurst, which gives a 10-12 minute edge to the express bus. I have no idea how this matches up on later runs, or in the evenings heading west.

    I know there are people who I saw waiting for the bus, who now take the streetcar. Even though getting a seat on the bus is a lot easier than getting a seat on the streetcar.

    Steve: A related point would be where downtown the 501 riders are going, and how close this is to a stop served by the 145 as compared with the 501. There is also the strategy of taking whatever shows up first, or of using NextBus to see if a streetcar is nearby before opting for a bus.


  14. Here is an ARLV in the first part of the Long Branch side of Humber loop today, Feb 13 around 6:00PM.

    I don’t know if it was in there to get it out of the way because it was broken or if it tried to go around the loop because of a gaps caused by a diversion and got stuck because the loop is sealed in snow and ice.

    I’ve seen that before. A few years ago I was there when a streetcar derailed (slightly) because it was sent through the unplowed by-pass track in the other loop.


  15. No increases or adjustments for the Bathurst bus once again! I cannot figure out why this route is always over looked or possibly purposely ignored. I guess it’s just lucky they didn’t cut the service again.


  16. The Yonge subway needs 3 more trains added on Saturdays!!! Also why is the 29 bus being increased on Sun afternoons and not Sat afternoons?? The 29 is crushload on Sat afternoons.. Also the BD line needs an increase on Saturdays!!


  17. The 29 Dufferin Bus needs to have better service on Sunday nights because the time on the route is too little and too few buses. Also I’m a bit shocked why no buses are being added to Bathurst that route needs about 10 extra buses and more time.


  18. Btw why didn’t the Yonge subway increase show on the TTC service changes?

    Steve: I don’t know. The Scheduled Service Summary for March 31 shows the changes also. In fact, it shows an extra train on YUS on Saturday mornings that was not listed in the original service memo that I used to build the table of changes.


  19. Were there any planned changes to the morning 508 service? I was wondering what this ghost streetcar I saw running in service in front of me, west at about 9:30 AM on King East was this morning (didn’t catch the rollsign, and the 506 on the back was clearly not correct) and from what I can tell from the live NextBus data, is that the 3 morning 508s ran all the way up to Broadview station (not sure how – and I only know the third one got all the way there), and then headed down Broadview and west on King back to Roncesvalles, providing additional 504 service, instead of the 506 service that’s traditional – or the Parliament/Dundas/Broadview loop they do when U of T is not in session.

    Steve: I’m not sure about this, although the Service Summary lists the AM cars as “Long Branch — Parliament”. For some reason the TTC does not include details of the hookups between, for example, the 508 and other routes in their service change notices. There are also 504 King cars that become 510 Spadina cars after the AM peak because there is better service there midday (16 cars) than in the morning rush (12 cars).

    I asked the TTC about this, and they confirmed that the three AM peak cars are supposed to become 506s for westbound trips. On the schedule, these leave Parliament and Gerrard at 8:35, 8:46 and 9:00.

    In the afternoon, things are a bit more complex. Six cars leave Ronces inbound on a 15′ headway between 3:50 and 5:05pm. They leave outbound from Church & King starting at 4:28pm. The first three of these come back in from Long Branch to Church, and then make trips as 504 cars to Dundas West Station at 6:52, 7:03 and 7:13. The other three cars return only as far as Humber, and make outbound trips from there to Long Branch at 6:49, 7:00 and 7:26.

    This arrangement also has the benefit of making the pieces of work longer (3-4 hours) which makes better use of the vehicles and operators than if cars simply made a round trip Ronces-Church-Long Branch-Ronces.


  20. The 508 route description at is really unclear, and basically says all evening cars head for Roncesvalles after getting out to Long Branch. I think real-time updates do show “to Humber” for some, but you have to be looking.

    I saw an eastbound CLRV on Lake Shore signed up as 501 HUMBER on Tuesday. The turnback loop at Humber still looks very rusty, and I haven’t disembarked to have a better look.

    Steve: My contact at the TTC rode a car on the 501 Humber service, and so the loop must be working, if somewhat disused.


  21. I’ve been watching the Nextbus data (most via where the 508s have been going during the last few days. I wondered if the AM 508s getting up to Broadview station was related to the Ronvesvalles closure … but apparently not. Every morning I’ve checked, at least one AM 508 has gotten up to Broadview (the last car got there this morning), and then returning down King to Roncesvalles. The others have headed down Carlton.

    The PM pattern is interesting too … generally the first 3 cars are heading all the way back downtown, with the second 3 looping at Humber loop (2 out of 3 usually seem to do this – clearly using that seldom used track). However each day, it’s been a mix of cars turning at Church vs. going up to Broadview and turning. And each day, I’ve only ever seen 1 of 3 cars, actually get up to Dundas West station (often one that has gone to Broadview).

    It’s very stunning how late these cars can be compared to schedule. It’s no wonder we here reports of how dreadful service is west of Humber. I’m not sure how anyone working downtown would be relying on these cars, compared to just taking a 501 and changing to a 504. It makes the 503 service that I use occasionally look stellar (at least in the AM … PM is pretty hit and miss … though usually a 504/502 works if there are no 503s in sight). I can certainly see why the locals would like 507 restored, as it would give them a much more reliable service, particularly for those who are just travelling in the neighbourhood.

    Steve: But the TTC steadfastly refuses to examine a separate 507 route, and there’s no joy from the local councillor either. He is easily bamboozled by TTC explanations. This is part of a larger problem of running the least expensive service rather than one that provides better, more reliable service. Service quality does not show up as a budget line.

    As for where the 508s go, I suspect they are being treated as extras on the 504 and operated to wherever they are needed at the time.


  22. Steve:

    “As for where the 508s go, I suspect they are being treated as extras on the 504 and operated to wherever they are needed at the time.” I think your correct. And very sensible of them! Though I’m surprised I never see it go down Queen … or up Roncesvalle to provide relief on 505/506. Though they have been mostly ALRVs some days, so perhaps that explains it (hmm, doesn’t explain not seeing them on Queen …).

    Do the route supervisors not talk to each other? I’ve got an image in my head of kids, each with their own bag or marbles, that won’t play with each other.

    Steve: It’s more a case that any car that doesn’t have to take a specific place after the rush hour is fair game for being used where it’s needed.

    As for route supervisors talking to each other, I could observe that on King both of them can be often found outside of the Tim Horton’s or the Second Cup at John Street. This does not strike me as the most effective deployment of staff.


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