Toronto’s Budget Committee has asked staff for many briefing notes on details behind various programs. Among these requests was for TTC to detail the level of service that would be operated on all streetcar routes after the 204 new Flexitys have been delivered, and how this would be improved with the addition of a proposed 60 car order.
The TTC has responded with a report that details how the cars would be used.
Long–Term Peak Headway Projections for Streetcar Routes
With the initial 204 car order:
- Peak headways would widen by varying degrees on all routes except 501 Queen where existing AM peak frequency would be maintained using the larger cars. The biggest change would be on the 502/503 services changing from 12′ to 14’30” on each of the routes which, in theory, provide a blended service.
- Capacity increases in the AM peak would be greater than in the PM peak.
With the additional 60 cars:
- Peak headways would return roughly to current levels. Capacity, relative to today’s service, would be considerably higher than today, except anomalously, on 501 Queen.
The report notes that additional cars will be needed for routes to serve the waterfront, but gives no indication of the service levels or fleet requirements for these routes. Because the report shows only headways for existing routes, not vehicle allocations, it is unclear how many of the 60 cars go for service improvement and how many for new routes.
The percentage improvements on existing routes are high enough that it is possible that cars have been double-counted for this purpose. I will follow up on that issue with the TTC.
Updated at 12:22 pm: At Budget Committee, Andy Byford confirmed that the only “expansion” covered by the 60 cars is the Cherry Street spur south from King Street.
Updated at 3:00 pm: The TTC has confirmed that all of the 60 additional cars would be allocated to “legacy” routes with none reserved for expansion. As to the spare ratio they would design for:
“Spare ratio of 18%. We expect that that we will be able to reduce that when the fleet is settled in and we have confidence in the performance and reliability but, until then, this is our going-in assumption.” [Email from Mitch Stambler, TTC]
The ratio for the streetcar fleet today is about 25% (not including cars out of service due to cold weather) with roughly 200 of the 247 in the fleet scheduled for the AM peak.
By the way Steve, I have seen little in the news in terms of additional deliveries, and the only thing I have seen recently was the picture Moaz linked to for 4405.
Steve: Still no word even on whether 4405 is actually in Toronto, or snowbound in a CPR yard somewhere.
Between NextBus and efforts to reduce short turns problems with reliability in Long Branch, Mimico and the Beach are reduced. From what I’ve seen the biggest problem with Queen these days is a lack of capacity on the inner section of the line, especially with all the ALRVs out of commission from the cold.
This morning I was on the third streetcar in a flotilla and was virtually empty when I boarded on The Queensway, but was full around Dufferin.
Steve: Hmmm … a “flotilla” of streetcars … on the Queensway … are you sure you didn’t trade them in for swan boats at Grenadier Pond (or maybe swan sleighs)?
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This page claims it was delivered February 12:
I have no idea what is their source so I don’t know if it is trustworthy.
Steve: Thanks for the update and link. The following comment includes a link to a tweet from the TTC’s @StreetcarTO account complete with a photo in the shops.
4405 is indeed in town.
This one will be shorter and slightly more intelligent, hopefully – as it’s becoming clear my knowledge on the topic is not nearly at the same level as others. Thank you all and particularly Steve for your patience, and wisdom!
RE: The 504 – I know the “busy section” is not anywhere near Broadview itself, but in the morning by the time the car reaches Dundas (at a very short headway) the seats can be full. More so politically (NIMBYism), I suspect some will object to *any* cars being diverted for a larger portion of the route than the cherry spur as it’s an inconvenience and people love to complain – in hindsight, the reason I even suggested keeping some of the old route was because I’m one of the very few who would be inconvenienced by a diversion through the Lever site!. But, I’ll re join the voice of reason – I think the entire 504 should be re-routed down Broadview through the Lever site, west along Villiers-ish to Cherry, and then back up Cherry to King.
RE: QQ – You’re right, I hadn’t been paying attention. I swear somewhere I saw an alignment that had a slip and went along Villiers, but upon closer examination it seems I didn’t remember the part where there was still a new QQ north of the slip that made it past Cherry, and Villiers diverted to Commissioners after the new mouth of the Don for the remainder of the route. I agree that there’s no real need right now to go north, and my original thinking was that the pape corridor could use better transit than buses in decades to come. Of course, I’ve stupidly forgotten that some of heavy rail, be it DRL or Smartrack or something else, will likely already serve the same corridor.
Haha, yes, I’m dreaming a little with the Parliament line. There just doesn’t seem to be the same demand east of Yonge as there is west, at least in the core, and the area is already well served by the 501/505/506. I just find it weird that the density along Parliament is quite high in places, but the ridership demand so low…
Now Steve, in fairness, what substantial bit of infrastructure has been added to the downtown, since say 1985, when Scarborough adopted what was then seen as incredible by the then Scarborough Town Council? or say 1980 when Kennedy opened, and that area’s zoning density was reduced?
In all fairness Steve, Toronto has been stuck with a couple added/improved of streetcar routes in the old city, which as Rob Ford made clear was not good enough for Scarborough or Etobicoke. It would be quite reasonable to say downtown has been neglected, certainly very reasonable to say old Toronto has been. How many more people live in the old city than in say 1980? How much of the subway that old Toronto built have its residents been crowded out of? How much additional transit has been added at all in the downtown since 1989 or since the last ALRV was delivered? What a total of 3 streetcars? How about new real transit in the downtown area since Victoria Park opened? Did not the ALRVs and CLRVs in essence replace the Witt and PCC cars capacity?
Seems to me that there has been a lot of development in the downtown in those years since Kennedy opened, or better still since Victoria Park opened. Why does Scarborough get 3 new subway stations, with 3 more on the way? Sorry Steve, I do not even live downtown anymore, but if you wanted to you really could make the case that downtown does not have the streetcar network it deserves! Why is it that downtown or old Toronto does not complain about this neglect? Why not discuss the issue of more and more people being forced into the same hugely overstretched infrastructure ? Where would additional transit development have the largest impact? Where would say a 4,5 or 6 km tunnel make the most difference? Where else might a billion or less in rapid transit actually be able to generate enough additional service that would enable enough growth (Lever) that it would actually pay for itself easily in taxes?
Sorry Steve, but the “fair” argument that makes me crazy, because it is so easy to spin in any direction you want. However, in Toronto, it has not been touched by downtown, but exploited to huge effect by the outlying areas. What benefit does a downtown resident really get out of the presence of Rogers Stadium or the ACC? (other than a huge mess of traffic after every game).
Steve: The problem I have with the proposal was that it basically says hey we should put back streetcars on old routes, some of which pre-date the Yonge subway. Better service to the redeveloping areas in the core, certainly, but the service has to be where the people are, not just where it looks nice to draw lines on a map. Except for the King car, we are nowhere near the level of service that was provided on the east-west lines 25 years ago. Can we deal with them before we start talking about routes like Harbord and Ossington where, by the way, there is still room for more buses.
I’m sure all the riders getting on north of Queen would love a free 20 minute tour of the Docklands before going to their destinations. Quicker to walk.
ps Steve, I am not seriously saying that Downtown should take this tack, however, it does seem to be a successful one, and there is a serious issue with regards to being able to get the very serious needs to maintain transit access in the core, the most road deprived area of the city, on the table.
Steve: When I made the remark about “fairness” to downtown, it was a joke. I am not trying to launch a competition to drawn more lines on the downtown map.
It is probably because the demand is mainly east west and that is taken care of by the 94 bus, the 505, 506, 501 and 504 cars plus the occasional 502 and 503.
Sorry, on this I agree entirely. However, getting the ones that are on the map addressed would be nice.
The cherry on top of this disaster would be if Bombardier were to go bankrupt and be unable to fulfill the contract. (To an even lesser extent than now)
By the way has anyone else noticed the black fleet numbering above the front window of 4405? That body shell must have been sitting in the factory for a very long time.
Today I waited 45 minutes (morning rush hour) for the McCowan bus in minus 40 windchill (usual wait time 5 minutes). When I got Downtown, guess what I saw on Queen St? Bus number 1128 which often runs as McCowan bus and guess what route it was serving? 503 streetcar route. This is extremely unfair. After spending billions of dollars on Downtown transit (i.e. new streetcars), they steal buses from Scarborough on the coldest of days leaving us freezing in the bitter cold. Downtown has to make up it’s mind – does it want buses or streetcars? If it wants streetcars, then don’t steal buses from Scarborough. With the amount of money spent on Toronto’s new streetcars, the bus fleet could have more than tripled and instead all we got is 3 new streetcars for billions of dollars and many years late and screws and what not falling from the very first day of service in spite of years of testing. This is why Scarborough would be much better of with its own Transit service. We never see Mississauga buses being used to make up for Brampton bus breakdowns or vice versa because their buses are marked with their respective city names and so the public would complain if that happened but where Downtown gets multibillion dollar streetcars, Scarborough gets a few buses worth only a few hundred thousand dollars each and those too get stolen from us to serve Downtown streetcar routes. How is this fair? Please have Scarborough buses marked with Scarborough city name so that people are more aware of this unfairness.
Steve: The streetcars were ordered before the Ford administration which cancelled an order for new buses as part of its cut to service standards. As for the 502/503, I really have to ask why the TTC has not been repairing its fleet so that it will work in cold weather. This is a legitimate complaint, but so is the question of the very long-standing problem with reliability of the SRT.
By the way, with your attitude, I want my money back from the Scarborough Subway tax. You want a subway, build it yourself.
@L. Wall, I had noticed that, and wondered why it was black not white.
I really hope that instead of the issues continuing however, Bombardier will get itself straightened away both in terms of the construction of Toronto’s Streetcars, and in terms of their new jets. I think success in both things is good for Canada, and the former especially for Toronto. Also I would hope that they would find more work for the local aircraft business. I am hoping this is a teething problem in some production change that they will soon figure out. I keeping hoping to get a new car every week.
I have personally seen MiLocal (orange) and older Mississauga Transit buses running MiExpress (blue) bus routes on more than one occasion.
And while it is a bit annoying to see the “wrong” bus on the “wrong” route … sometimes a bus is just a bus and not a representation of how Scarborough is getting screwed.
Do you have proof or are you just trying to make light of this guy’s serious complaint? If this was the other way around it would be an article in Metro daily or Toronto Star.
I agree we all get screwed by the TTC every so often. But most of Scarborough is already undeserved as far as transit & if there is any truth to this it should not be taken lightly or childishly mocked.
Steve: Moaz said he has seen buses running in the “wrong” place. What more proof do you want? After all the claim that “Scarborough” buses were running on “downtown” routes was based simply on an observation.
The Globe had an article on new streetcar deliveries, saying that the TTC expects to have 30 by year’s end. It also mentioned quality control issues, and that the recently delivered fourth car wasn’t up to spec, so the TTC rejected it. Do you have any insight into where it was deficient, Steve?
Steve: From what I have been told, the problem is that parts of the car are manufactured in various places, and they don’t all fit together properly. Just shoehorning them into one “car” really isn’t a solution because this only creates problems today (e.g. it just won’t work) or tomorrow (e.g. stresses in the structure where there should be none).
Joe, basically the issue is simple, there is not enough fleet to go around when everything is working well. So when something happens, be it, a streetcar failure, and RT failure or a subway shutdown, there is a colossal issue. The TTC has no way to solve a problem where they are operating at 110% of realistic capacity, before they have a further breakdown.
The way queues work is such that when the TTC tries to provide everybody a little service, all buses arrive to a stop later in the line full. There are simply not enough vehicles in the fleet. The core does not have enough streetcars on the road to serve King on the very best of days. Lose a CLRV, and basically you need 2 buses to replace it, lose an ALRV and you need 3, lose a new car, and well all hell is going to break loose if they are full.
The TTC needs to change its loading standard, and push the point that really even with the new streetcar fleet in hand it is anywhere from 200 to 400 buses short of being able to offer the level and reliability of service required. Increase the service on Yonge subway and that number gets worse. Yes the TTC needs better headway management, but it needs a lot more buses too.
By the way Joe, when the problems occur everybody gets screwed.
Would there be an additional option for more streetcars, over and above the 60 currently? Or would they have to put out another tender for all streetcar manufacturers once all the current order is filled?
Steve: That’s a whole new order, but almost certainly it would be a new design as we would be into the 2020s by then.
On December 8/9, 2000, as a result of the fire at Old Mill Station involving the Garbage Train, the Bloor/Danforth was closed west of either Keele or Dundas West Station replaced with buses during the morning rush hour. I saw Mississauga Transit Buses travelling along Bloor to either Dundas West or Keele. My late brother was driving for Mississauga at the time and he confirmed that Mississauga did this on a volunteer basis.
The Mississauga Buses may have run to Keele to get their passengers to the subway as dropping them at Islington would have been useless and would have overloaded the TTC shuttle buses.
Robert Wightman suggests that Mississauga Transit was endeavouring to get their own passengers to Keele in order to avoid them having to attempt to board TTC shuttle buses. This was probably the intent however, as far as I know, Mississauga Transit does not have authority to carry passengers east of Islington Avenue and from recollecting my brother’s comments, they did volunteer to do this but the TTC would have to approve. Whatever the situation, Mississauga Transit would have a considerable number of buses between Islington and Keele and this would have to impact on the headways of the balance of the Mississauga system. Although this incident occurred in early December, it would be cold for passengers waiting for Mississauga buses that did not come as soon as they should have. This is the concern that our friend, Joe, from Scarborough complained about, waiting longer than he should have for buses that had been re-allocated to help solve another problem and, by helping the TTC during their fire emergency by re-allocating some of their buses, some Mississauga customers had to wait in the cold for their bus. Others said that one system would not assist another but, in this case, Mississauga did.
To add another example, during snow storms express bus services often make all stops in order to ensure more people do not have to wait for a bus.
Express bus passengers are inconvenienced by this…but given that the whole city is being inconvenienced by the snow and the congestion impacts, they are able to put aside their personal convenience for the sake of others.
Let’s hope the budget committee decides to buy them.
Interesting, since that fourth car was 4405 and it entered service this morning on 510.
Steve: I think there is a timing problem with reports and events. Yes, the TTC did stop accepting new cars until Bombardier cleaned up its act at Thunder Bay. The real issue will not be 4405, but cars later in the run that should arrive like clockwork every 12 days or so.
Is there reason to believe that they will start arriving faster than even every three months? There news reports say that deliveries will be speeded up to ten cars per month from five cars per month. Five cars per month? Really? I haven’t noticed.
Steve: Those numbers do not make sense. I might believe five, but certainly not ten per month. We will do well to get one a week, more like one every ten days or so. I think that the “ten” you may have read was in reference to the space between cars, not the deliveries per month.
Steve, this past Sunday a supervisor at Spadina Station said that 4406 is supposed to go into service at the end of March. I just hope he didn’t mean April 1.
Steve: Yes, I have heard similar news. As long as it’s not Groundhog Day with the same car being launched over and over again.