TTC Service Changes Effective August 4, 2013 (Update 2)

Updated August 1, 2013 at 2:45pm:

The plans for the King/Spadina project originally would have seen streetcars replaced with buses from Spadina Station to Queen’s Quay for the entire month of August.  This has been changed so that streetcars will return between Spadina Station and King Street on August 20 (presuming that reconstruction of the intersection has progressed sufficiently for this).

Plans for a 522 Exhibition West streetcar service have been cancelled and the 193 Exhibition Rocket will operate as usual.  The 521 Exhibition East streetcar service will operate from King & Church to the CNE as previously announced.

Streetcar service on 511 Bathurst will be supplemented with buses during evenings and weekends.

Updated June 15, 2013 at 4:10pm:

With the long-term closing of the Dufferin Street bridge at the entrance to Exhibition Place on June 12, all Dufferin bus service (as well as interlined night service with Ossington) through the park has ended.  The new routing is described in the TTC’s Service Advisory.

Original post from June 5:

Service changes for August deal mainly with construction projects that require diversions and restructuring of routes.  A few services have running time changes to suit actual conditions on the road.

Notable changes include:

Leslie Barns Project

83 Jones will be rerouted around construction on Leslie associated with the new access route to Leslie Barns.  Buses will use Carlaw between Queen and Lake Shore.

York Street Reconstruction

The reconstruction of York Street will prevent 503 Kingston Road cars from using their normal loop via Church, Wellington and York.  The route will be extended via King to use the Spadina/Charlotte loop.

Lawrence West Station Bus Loop Reconstruction

During the reconstruction at Lawrence West, all regular services that normally terminate there will be extended east to Lawrence Station at Yonge Street.  Access to Lawrence West Station from these routes will require a paper transfer or pass.

The 400 Lawrence Manor bus will divert to a nearby shopping plaza.

King/Spadina Project

The intersection at King & Spadina, one of Toronto’s three grand unions, will be replaced during the month of August.  510 Spadina service will operate with buses and through service to Queen’s Quay will be provided.

Diversion plans for all affected services have not yet been announced.

504 King and 508 Lake Shore cars will divert via Shaw, Queen and Church until the intersection reopens for east-west traffic (planned for August 20).

Streetcar service on 510 Spadina will resume between Spadina Station and King Street at the same time.

The project to rebuild Dundas & Spadina, originally scheduled for 2013, has been postponed to a future year.

Night Services

One bus will be added to the Finch East/West night service (routes 308 and 309 are interlined) as the existing schedule cannot be operated reliably.

Running times on the 385 Sheppard East night bus will adjusted to provide more driving and less layover time.

The 353 Steeles East night bus will be extended to Markham Road, subject to formal Commission approval at its June 24, 2013 board meeting.

CNE Services

During the CNE period (mid August to Labour Day), normal services will be affected both by construction and by a shortage of buses as these are covering construction diversions elsewhere.

511 Bathurst service will be augmented with extra cars using both CLRVs and ALRVs.  Express buses may be used on busy days.

329 Dufferin and 316 Ossington night services are interlined and normally run through Exhibition Place.  This route will change during the CNE to run from Ossington and Queen via Queen, Shaw, King, Fraser and West Liberty to Dufferin both ways.

522 Exhibition West streetcar service will operate from Dundas West Station loop (using the 504 King loading platform) to Dufferin Loop.  This replaces the 193 Exhibition Rocket.

521 Exhibition East streetcar service will operate from a loop at Richmond, Victoria, Queen and Church via King, Bathurst and Fleet to Exhibition Loop (using the 509 Harbourfront loading platform).

509 Harbourfront buses from King & Yonge will also provide service to the CNE.

2013.08.04 Service Changes

33 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective August 4, 2013 (Update 2)

  1. Looks like I was right and they are running streetcars to Dufferin loop this year. What I don’t understand however is the messed up routing in the east end. Would it not have been possible to run the 521 to Broadview, Neville or Main?

    Steve: Messed up? That was the standard routing for the 521 King Exhibition cars. The whole point is go give capacity from downtown to the CNE, not from the east end of the system. The shortest extension you propose would add at least 40 minutes to the round trip.


  2. I guess the price of diesel, surplus of streetcars due to construction, and fresh track on Dufferin all make the (temporary?) restoration of the 522 appealing. Steve, once we have some of our new fleet in place, do you think it’s possible they may retain this routing for future years, or is this going to be an isolated, circumstance driven event?

    Steve: The TTC loves express buses, and I suspect that when the TTC sorts out its fleet and workforce planning (not to mention having a quieter construction season), the 193 Rocket will return. The 521 is doing the work that the 509 Harbourfront car would normally take on, and so it won’t be back either.


  3. Nice to see the return of the 522 Exhibition West streetcar. However, it is too bad that streetcar tracks were not placed on Dufferin Street between Queen St. W. and Dundas St. W..

    Dufferin Street is still in rough shape itself north of Queen Street. Wondering if in the plans to fix it, they will lay a foundation for future streetcar tracks.

    Steve: I don’t know when Dufferin Street is planned for reconstruction, but it certainly needs it. As for streetcar tracks (or even a foundation), don’t hold your breath. We have a hard enough time getting lines like Waterfront East built, let a lone a brand new streetcar line in mixed traffic. Articulated trolleybuses would be nice, though.

    Wonder also if the TTC would be running the new low-floor streetcar in “express” mode on the 522 Exhibition West?

    Steve: They are not running the two new cars they have received anywhere. How they would run them “express” other than simply closing doors at all intermediate stops and catching up to the next King car?


  4. The re-introduction of the 521 makes sense as its successor, the 509 Harbourfront, is shut down for the Queen’s Quay rebuild. But the replacement of the 193 with the 522 is most interesting. The 193 at least provided accessible service to the Ex from a station with elevators, something that the 29 and 63 (well, at least from the Bloor Subway) can not provide. (This is assuming that the maintenance strike and its backlog don’t last to late August, of course.)

    Are the current-issue CLRV/ALRV rollsigns still equipped with 521 and 522 exposures?

    Steve: According to Transit Toronto, they have been removed.

    The “521” cars will be signed “504 Exhibition” and “504 Church”. The “522” cars will be signed “504 Exhibition” and “504 Dundas West Station via King”. Cars will also have a window card identifying them as Exhibition cars.


  5. Too bad they got rid of the 522 and 521 from the roll signs during the last replacement in 2000.

    The other day I noticed a new stop at Humber Loop next to the loop back to Long Branch loop. It has a sticker they says, “Westbound to Long Branch Loop at 6:49PM, 7:06PM and 7:26PM, Monday to Friday only.” The loop looked less overgrown the usual.

    Maybe it is a recognition that Lake Shore has local demand.

    Steve: I think that the TTC took advantage of the fact that the Lake Shore trippers had unused time in the minimum value they have to pay the operators for a piece of work, and added those trips to the end of the peak. This also provides some supplementary service when the 501s are more likely not to get to the end of the line.


  6. I’ve always been rather annoyed at the looping for the 503. As this is Toronto’s only “peak period exclusive” streetcar, I think it would become more USEFUL to extend it to Charlotte Loop permanently.

    510 Spadina diversions notwithstanding, how many streetcars per hour are regularly short-turned at King? I would think that a few extra 503s wouldn’t hurt (and would provide service through St. Andrew Stn.

    Steve: Depending on the time of day, 1/2 or 2/3 of the Spadina streetcar service short turned at King while the rest ran through to Queens Quay and Union Station. There is pressure from local residents and the Councillor, Adam Vaughan, to have this increased, but Service Planning claims that the demand south of King does not justify it. Obviously they have not tried to use the 510 Union Station service in the morning rush hour when it fills southbound at Bremner.

    Extending the 503 to Spadina would be a mixed blessing because of severe traffic congestion in that area. The TTC would probably respond by short turning cars further east either at York or even Church (a favourite trick for the 502 service), or eastbound at Woodbine Loop.

    And, by the way, 508 Lake Shore is a peak period service that uses track not scheduled for any other route.


  7. Maybe a silly question. How will 503s loop at Charlotte while the King/Spadina grand union is out of commission?

    Steve: To be announced. I asked that question too.


  8. Darwin says,

    “The other day I noticed a new stop at Humber Loop next to the loop back to Long Branch loop. It has a sticker they says, “Westbound to Long Branch Loop at 6:49PM, 7:06PM and 7:26PM, Monday to Friday only.” The loop looked less overgrown the usual.”

    From firsthand experience waiting (unsuccessfully) at the loop, and from a 508 operator, that schedule is much more aspirational than real. I suspect that at most one or two cars per day will travel through there, and when they will do so is anyone’s guess.


  9. When I read this I see a couple of problems. In August you close the intersection of King and Spadina for replacement, no problem. But how do you run the 503 streetcar to Spadina? Also does the 521 get to the CNE via King during August? Or will intersection be done in time for the CNE?

    Steve: The diversions have not been announced yet. The 503 is anyone’s guess. As for the 521, I suspect that the rush will be on to finish the east-west direction first (as they did at Queen last year) because the Spadina car won’t be running. There are two full weeks to get to that state, and based on past experience, it should be possible.


  10. Also the Lakeshore GO train line will be running every 30 minutes most of the day during the CNE for the first time. This ought to help a bit with the overcrowding on the streetcars.

    The 522 streetcar ought to be made permanent during the CNE. The existing buses and streetcars really have severe capacity problems during the CNE period. Proposed improvements to the Lakeshore line (if the transit tax is passed) ought to make a big difference in the long term.


  11. Though not directly related to ‘service changes’ I note that the rebuild of the Richmond Street track from York to Church has now been removed from the City’s Toronto IN-View 2013 website so I presume this means it has been postponed to 2014 and local rumour says that the planned reconstruction of Wellington from Church to York will not be happening in 2014. As there is the rather odd total Pan-Am moratorium in 2015 I presume this puts it off to 2016.

    Steve: I am not surprised about Richmond. Possibly someone has noticed that Front Street is closed and this condition will continue for some time. Closing another westbound path through downtown wouldn’t be very popular. The Pan-Am moratorium is really stupid because it applies to the entire year even though the games will come and go in the summer. The TTC will be doing work in yards that year.


  12. A problem I’ve noticed with the Exhibition streetcars going down Bathurst during the CNE and other events in the area, is that Bathurst south of Front tends to get very congested, slowing down streetcar service. It’d be nice if they used pylons to create a temporary streetcar ROW in that section.

    On that note, Steve, do you know when that span is supposed to be replaced? I remember hearing somewhere that it was supposed to be soon (in order to connect Fort York Blvd and Bremner), and that there may be allowances for a streetcar ROW on it.

    Steve: That project seems to be on hold because of disagreements about the design of the bridge and the new Bremner/Fort York/Bathurst intersection.


  13. Why didn’t the CLRV’s have two separate rollsigns, one for the route name (or number), the other for the destination (as the PCC’s did)? Even if the CLRV’s have only one sign cavity, two rolls can still be fitted in there, no?

    Steve: You would need two separate drives to set each sign. If the TTC were going to spend the money on that sort of a retrofit (for cars that are within a decade of retirement), they would use electronic signs. Mylar signs are much thinner than the old linen ones, and so having duplicate destinations for each route doesn’t yield a sign that won’t fit the car, and puts all of the exposures a route would need close to each other.

    In any event, you can thank the CLRV designers for the single roll sign decision, including the loss of the route name on streetcars and three decades of confusion about just where a “Dundas West Station” car was going.


  14. It will be interesting to see the routing that evolves once the Cherry Street loop opens. I could picture some regularly short turned cars bouncing back and forth between Cherry street and Dufferin to address the issue of downtown demand of already crush loaded streetcars making their way in from the suburbs.

    Steve: Considering that Cherry Loop won’t open until mid-2016, I would hope that the TTC will address capacity problems on King before then. As new cars come into service, this should allow reassignment of existing cars to other routes to beef up service.


  15. It would be nice if the TTC decided to retain some of the old fleet for that very purpose, but can they justify holding onto them once the new fleet is entirely delivered? Would it be considered ‘acceptable’ for a route to be considered ‘accessible’ if only a portion of the vehicles were accessible, or is it more likely, will they just get retired, with only short term capacity enhancements in the transition period? One would think that having an additional streetcar (accessible or not) is better than not having it at all, and that if it was able to soak up the additional (fully mobile passenger) demand, there would be more space on the accessible vehicles to accommodate those who need it.

    Steve: The new fleet is equivalent in capacity to over 400 CLRVs, and so once there is a substantial number of LFLRVs here, the TTC can start to retire the old fleet without compromising capacity growth. They have room for over 100 LFLRVs at Leslie Barns and so things won’t even start to get crowded at Russell and Ronces until half of the new fleet is here. My concern is in the first few transitional years where the TTC should show some real improvement in streetcar line capacity after grousing for years that they would make things better if only they had enough cars.


  16. So I guess they could extend the 503s to Spadina and then announce due to construction the 503s will turn back at Church via Church, Richmond, Victoria and Adelaide. Makes sense to extend and then put on turn back.


  17. The 508 running time isn’t close to being achievable, and change overs don’t work. There are 6 cars, and on their second trip they either go straight to Dundas West Station or via Queen/Shaw/King to DWS from Long Branch Loop. In both cases it is to help the 504 service. Leaving Long Branch Loop in between 501 cars helps reduce short turns in the east (catch up). This is done by CIS.

    The ALRV’s are the first to be retired, so it’ll be interesting to see how this affects service, especially Queen.


  18. Did I hear you say “articulated trolley buses”? Has somebody even been thinking trolley buses out loud at the TTC? Be still my beating heart!

    Steve: No, I think that if the question of electric buses ever came up, we would hear endlessly about new wireless technologies, but would not actually build anything.


  19. David Cavlovic:

    Did I hear you say “articulated trolley buses”? Has somebody even been thinking trolley buses out loud at the TTC? Be still my beating heart!


    No, I think that if the question of electric buses ever came up, we would hear endlessly about new wireless technologies, but would not actually build anything.

    The Transit gods forbid we end up with trolleybuses … especially ones that look like the new Van Hool Exqui.City 18 or 24 (your choice … and yes, it comes in red and white).

    A bus that looks, acts and thinks like a streetcar … the (Transit) gods must be crazy.

    Cheers, Moaz


  20. Hey, Folks! I’ve said this at least 2 or 3 times before and I’m going to day it again. There is ZERO CHANCE of Toronto EVER having trolley buses again. I’d give anything to be wrong about this but mark my words, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell of it EVER happening.


  21. Hi Steve,

    According to the most recent service memo that came out, there will be a few changes during the August board period not announced before:

    1) Spadina will NOT be converted to buses for the whole board period. Streetcars will return as soon as construction finishes at King & Spadina with shuttle buses only between King and Queens Quay. The June schedules will be used until the September board.

    2) During the CNE, the 193 Exhibition Rocket will operate at the divisional level, as it does every year. Service provided by Wilson garage. The 522 Exhibition streetcar service is cancelled. There will be a special 521 Exhibition streetcar service from King & Church provided at the divisional level, with a maximum of 18 cars scheduled during busy periods. 511 Bathurst will also be supplemented by buses on weekday evenings and weekends.

    Steve: Thanks for this update. Normally I am on the mailing list for the service memos, but Service Planning may not have used the same list for these changes. The Spadina change I knew about from the diversion announcement that has already come out, but not the 193/522 change. I will update the main article as well.


  22. Steve are you sure about the 522 being cancelled? I got word from the TTC via twitter that it was going ahead as planned this year.

    Steve: See the comment in this thread. I will double-check this, but the person who wrote that comment is inside the TTC.


  23. “the 193 Exhibition Rocket will operate at the divisional level”

    What does it mean that it will “operate at the divisional level”? I’m unfamiliar with this terminology.

    Steve: It means that it will be crewed by operators on the spare board and volunteers working overtime, rather than being a scheduled service with crew signed up in advance.


  24. Steve, @TTChelps said the following on twitter when I asked if the the 522 service was canceled:

    “@iricsi Just got confirmation that as of right now it is still on.”

    I guess this means it is not canceled. They took the time to confirm the status of the 522 before replying so obviously they asked somebody there. Perhaps that answers your question. I @’d you in the tweet when I replied so the chain of tweets should show up for you.

    Steve: I am awaiting a reply from Service Planning. If you read the other comment in this thread, you will see that it refers to an updated service memo that may only quite recently have been issued.


  25. With regard to the King/Spadina work I wonder if communications with the client will be treated seriously this time.

    That means large informative signs at every stop on King between Shaw and Church, both ways, large signage in King, Queen, St. Andrew and Osgoode subway stations, announcements on trains approaching King from south and Queen from North, and included in service alerts. No need for staff at subway stops if signage is done properly.

    Let’s treat the client well, he/she is the most important person in the system.


  26. Well some attempt at communication has started. Diversion notices were being handed out a King and Yonge this morning. The notice I got was a black and white photocopy of one that must have been in colour. Some of the details were on the map were difficult to see as the photocopier made them a very light gray.


  27. None of the special exhibition routes show up in the GTFS schedule data for August 4th to 31st.

    I don’t know if it will be updated later or they are not going to bother with things like NextBus predictions and schedules.


  28. It took me a couple of months to notice. But your service change PDF shows the 83 Jones going from a 24′ minute headway on evenings and weekends to a 30-minute headway.

    I think that’s backwards. It was a 30-minute frequency, and now they’ve added the extra bus for the diversion it’s a 24-minute frequency.

    Steve: Thanks for catching this. I have updated the list of changes.


  29. Hi Steve,

    I have an off topic about the TTC Service Changes. I was looking on the web page as you all scroll down the page and look at the 2 streetcars. Am I looking in a mirror on this web page?

    Steve: I am not sure what you refer to here.


  30. I think Gord is referring to the current version of the TTC homepage.

    If you scroll down to the (currently) 6 highlighted topics, each with a small photo, you’ll notice that both the Kingston Road work and the King/Spadina work are represented by the same picture – but one is reversed.


  31. Sorry Steve, let clarify. On the TTC homepage, scrolling down the page, look at the pictures of the 2 streetcars. The doors of the streetcar on the left side of the web page is on the traditional (right side). The look at the picture of the streetcar on the right side, the doors are flipped around making passengers exit onto the center of the street. The route number and destination point have been flipped around. Kinda ironic when I noticed this.

    Steve: It’s always amusing when someone’s idea of a pleasing layout takes precedence over common sense.


  32. Because of the closure of King & Spadina, would there be any 521 service prior to August 20? The TTC site doesn’t seem to have any info on a 521 diversion. I believe there are no west-to-south or north-to-east curves at Bathurst & Queen for a diversion, although theoretically, the Wolseley Loop could be used. The TTC site says 521 service would be every 12 minutes.

    The grand union at King & Spadina is a pedestrian mall today roped off so that pedestrians are routed through the middle of the intersection. There was a small team of workers doing some work on a piece of track.

    Steve: The TTC’s announcement of CNE services states that there will not be a 521 service until August 20. This, together with the “pedestrian mall” nature of the intersection, has already been reported here.

    As for a 12-minute service, why anyone would bother waiting for it I don’t know, presuming they even know it exists. Such are the problems when CNE services are crewed as “extras” rather than being built into the schedule for a special board period.


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