TTC Service Changes Effective March 29, 2015 (Update 2)

Updated February 6, 2015 at 6:10 pm:

A change to service on 1 Yonge-University on weekday evenings was missed in the original version of my condensed version of the changes. This has been corrected.

Updated February 3, 2015 at 11:30 am:

In response to questions raised by the planned changes, I asked the TTC for more details on specific work.

  • At College & Spadina, the platforms used by 506 Carlton will be lengthened, but not widened. They are already wide enough for boarding via the ramps on the Flexities.
  • The 509 Harbourfront route will convert to PoP operation when the Flexities move there at the end of March.
  • Transit signal priority has been or will be restored at various locations on St. Clair:
    • On December 23, 2014, it was restored at Yonge and at Avenue Road.
    • Before March 29, 2015, it will be restored at Deer Park, west of Dunvegan, Russell Hill, Bathurst, Wychwood, Arlington and Caledonia
    • To be completed, but not necessarily by March 29: Ferndale (St. Clair Stn. Loop exit), Christie, Old Weston, Keele/Weston)

The original article from January 31 follows below.

Service changes for the March-April 2015 schedule period fall into two main groups:

  • Schedule adjustments on many routes to reflect actual operating conditions, and
  • Temporary route reorganization due to construction at College & Spadina.

College & Spadina

Between April 6 and 27 (approximately), the intersection at College & Spadina will be closed for track replacement. This is the last of Spadina’s intersections to be rebuilt to the upgraded TTC standards for special work. During this closure, special work at Spadina Station Loop will also be replaced.

Both of these projects were originally planned for 2014, but were pushed back into early 2015.

The shutdown has a cascading effect on services on many routes:

  • 510 Spadina streetcars will be replaced with buses between Spadina Station and Queens Quay. During most periods, half of the service will be scheduled to turn back from King Street using the Charlotte Street loop. The southbound diversion will be via Harbord, Bathurst and Dundas; northbound, buses will run via Dundas, Beverley/St. George and Harbord.
  • 506 Carlton streetcars will divert both ways via Ossington, Dundas and Bay.
  • There will be no transit service on Spadina between Harbord and Dundas, nor on College between Ossington and Bay during the construction period.
  • 509 Harbourfront will see increased service to replace the 510 Spadina cars that would normally operate to Union Station. The new LFLRVs will be assigned to this route.
  • Streetcars displaced from 510 Spadina will be redeployed to 504 King replacing many of the existing bus trippers whose vehicles will move to Spadina. There will only be five bus trippers on King in the AM peak, and none in the PM peak.
  • Buses from 17 Birchmount (1) and 95 York Mills (4) will be temporarily removed to supplement the 510 Spadina service.

Route Restructurings

Several routes will have additional running time so that their schedules more closely reflect real-world operating conditions, but a few routes will also be restructured to improve reliability.

  • 1 Yonge-University (renamed from Yonge-University-Spadina) will have its “gap trains” converted to regular runs so that running time on both the through Downsview-Finch and the short-turn service at St. Clair West can be extended. Service will also be improved weekday midday and evenings, and weekend afternoons.
  • 29 Dufferin will be rescheduled to match actual driving times, and operations at the southern terminal will be changed so that all vehicles go to only one location (either Princes’ Gates or Dufferin Gate). In theory, this should allow reliable dispatching from a single point. Service assist crews and service relief buses will be added during weekdays through into the early evening.
  • 512 St. Clair will see many schedule changes to reflect results of the TTC’s service reliability project.
    • Running times will be shortened to reflect the repair of 9 of 13 transit signal priority locations that were not working in fall 2014.
    • Service improvements at various times will reduce crowding.
    • The arrangements for standby cars will change slightly.
    • Cars entering service from Roncesvalles Carhouse will now do so via Roncesvalles, Howard Park, Dundas and Bathurst to reduce travel times. These trips will not serve Bathurst Station.

For full details of schedule changes, see the linked table below.


“Recovery Time”

Among the stranger practices that shows up with the rearrangement of schedules is the conversion of “terminal time” to “driving time”, in some cases eliminating terminal time completely.

These allowances sometimes appear and disappear as needed simply to round off the running times so that headways will come out to an even number, or in the case of branching routes, to a multiple of a common headway. The result can be that a route where once there was extra terminal time giving operators a break there now is much less or none at all. This can be counterproductive to the establishment of regular service.

Budgeted Hours

Although there has been much discussion of service improvements as part of the 2015 budget process at the City and TTC, these have not yet been approved. The published service budget remains the same as it has been since August 2014.

53 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective March 29, 2015 (Update 2)

  1. On 511 ALRVs: Officially ALRVs run on Bathurst only during the CNE. It used to be that on all sundays, virtually every one throughout the year, I would exclusively see ALRVs on 511, with CLRVs only as a tremendously rare exception, but ALRVs never ran in revenue service on other days of the week outside the CNE. Wouldn’t even call it a rare occurrence, I have no memory of ever seeing one in revenue service outside those specific circumstances.

    This changed about a month ago. I’ve been seeing a significant share of ALRVs. Can’t estimate a precise percentage but it’s extremely noticeable–giving a real ballpark I’d say it feels like 1/4 of them. No idea why, not a noticeable increase in demand (on the southern leg at least, thanks to the 509 reinstatement). Happens on all days of the week now, at all times of day, for the past month–as best as I can tell. Definitely in revenue service. An odd, sudden, inexplicable change…

    Steve: Sorry. In my original reply to Robert’s comment, I misread his reference to “ALRV” as one of the new cars, hence my question about revenue service. What with the amount of bus substitution for failing cars that is happening, I suspect that whatever works goes out on the street.


  2. Steve:

    “Was it in revenue service? ALRVs are often on Bathurst on training runs.”

    It was signed 511 Bathurst Station.

    Steve: As I previously mentioned, I got my wires crossed between ALRVs and LFLRVs here.


  3. How does transit signal priority on St Clair actually work? I ride it almost daily and haven’t been able to figure it out. I know in the downtown areas, TSP extends the green light to allow streetcars stopped at near-side intersections to pass the light, but most of St Clair has far-side stops.

    Steve: It’s supposed to be the same principle. Keep the transit signal green so that the streetcar gets across to its stop without wasting a cycle at the traffic lights.


  4. As per the massive announcement of the additional funding to the TTC on their website, do you have any clue yet on which the 4 new “express routes” and 12 new Blue Night routes will likely be? Speculation it may be, but it’s also an educated guess I am curious to hear the answer to.

    Steve: See the August 2014 report at page 14 for a map of the expanded Blue Night Network. There is no indication yet where the 4 express routes might be. I believe the number is simply a placeholder pending further study.


  5. Sjors said:

    ….do you have any clue yet on which the 4 new “express routes” and 12 new Blue Night routes will likely be?


    There is no indication yet where the 4 express routes might be. I believe the number is simply a placeholder pending further study.

    Moaz: The other thing I am curious about is if (and how) the TTC will address the 3 different express networks that they have. With the general shift from peak hour E-Branch buses to all day Rocket buses, and the plan to remove the double fare on downtown express buses … will they all become Rocket Buses (or perhaps Rocket and Downtown Rocket?

    As I’ve said before, having a distinct city wide express network and being able to promote it using maps like the one TTC was using … will give people confidence in the availability and reliability of transit.

    Of course the TTC will have to ensure that expanded express bus service (whatever they end up calling it) will be manageable and reliable and meet the expectations the nice service maps will create amongst public transit users.

    Cheers, Moaz

    PS. I’d be interested to see if TTC offers a Lawrence West Rocket connecting the north of Toronto and the subway to Pearson.


  6. I am not generally a rush-hour TTC user but my significant other uses it between Sherbourne and St Andrew every day and says that the 504 has been ‘the best in the last decade’ in the last month or so. Maybe the TTC’s efforts at improving service and headways is actually working (and interspersing buses probably helps too.)


  7. DavidC | February 15, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    “I am not generally a rush-hour TTC user but my significant other uses it between Sherbourne and St Andrew every day and says that the 504 has been ‘the best in the last decade’ in the last month or so. Maybe the TTC’s efforts at improving service and headways is actually working (and interspersing buses probably helps too.)”

    I was at the Royal Alex last Wednesday for a matinee and I could not believe how smoothly the traffic was flowing on King St. The new parking enforcement seemed to be working that day. I had dinner in a restaurant on King after the show and noticed that the loads on the King car, and bus, eastbound were as heavy, or heavier, than westbound between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. All the buses were turning at Parliament eastbound. It will be interesting to see your analysis of the King service when the new parking enforcement has been in effect for a couple of months.


  8. Streetcars displaced from 510 Spadina will be redeployed to 504 King

    Including LFLRVs?

    Imagine the reaction among long-suffering riders at 8:15 in the morning when a new streetcar – in service, no less – inches into view at, say, Jameson.

    Steve: No, the Flexities will be on 509 Harbourfront.


  9. On Sunday, March 29,- which was yesterday – I was on my way to Exhibition Place to take in the One-of-a-Kind Spring Show and Sale. I’d step off the “511 Bathurst” streetcar which was a CLRV, and stop over at Bathurst and Fleet Streets to buy my lunch – a sub sandwich at Subway (20 Bathurst), a cup of coffee at Starbucks (600 Fleet) and a bag of Ruffles potato chips at a Esso gas station store. I’d get on another streetcar and ride it the rest of the way to Exhibition Place – and it happens to be a LFLRV, on the “509 Harbourfront” route. Heading home from Exhibition Place, I’d ride the same “511 Bathurst” streetcar.

    Today, I’d find out the reason for the LFLRVs moved to the “509 Harbourfront” route. On the way home from volunteering at a seniors’ residence in North York, I’d pass through Spadina subway station between trains, and notice that the TTC streetcar portal is closed and blocked off, and signs directing passengers to street level to board shuttle buses (replacing streetcars including the LFLRVs) on the “510 Spadina” route. Beginning next week, there will be TTC track work at the intersection of Spadina Avenue and College Street.

    Steve: Of course, as a regular reader here you would have already seen this info in an earlier article regarding service changes. 😉


  10. During this period of TTC track work on Spadina, I’d likely be using a combination the “511 Bathurst” and “509 Harbourfront” streetcars to get to and from Harbourfront Centre.

    This is so reminiscent of 2012, when there was TTC track work on Spadina for much of that year and buses ran on this route for the duration May/June to November). However, streetcars continued to run on the “509 Harbourfront” route until the last weekend of July, to be eventually replaced with buses July 29, 2012 (until October 11, 2014).


  11. Beginning on Sunday, March 29, streetcars on the “510 Spadina” route have been replaced with ‘shuttle’ buses, in time for TTC trackwork at Spadina Avenue and College Street, starting the first full week of this month. The main branch of the “510 Spadina” route to Union subway station via Queens Quay West won’t be in operation for that period. People heading to Harbourfront Centre may have to make alternate arrangements, which would mean transferring to the “509 Harbourfront” streetcar route; it also connects with that other north-south streetcar route – “511 Bathurst” – which the “509 Harbourfront” shares track from Bathurst and Fleet Streets to the Exhibition Loop.

    Many times in the past, I’ve taken a combination of the “511 Bathurst” and “509 Harbourfront” streetcar routes to get to and from Harbourfront Centre (the “509 Harbourfront” route used buses from July 29, 2012 through to October 11, 2014).


  12. Today, TTC streetcar track work is just about completed. The shuttle buses which have been running on the “510 Spadina” route are back to their regular routing, after they’ve been on diversion for most of this past month. The new LFLRV streetcars will continue to run on the “509 Harbourfront” route.

    Streetcars will be returning soon to the “510 Spadina” route on Sunday, May 10th, and all three branches of the route will be in operation. That includes the main branch to Union subway station via Queens Quay West.


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