On June 15, TTC Chair Josh Colle and Deputy CEO Chris Upfold held a press conference at Bathurst Station to announce the “Ten Minute Network”, one more step in restoring transit’s lustre after the Ford/Stintz regime of cutbacks.
The announcement trumpeted the change for more than it actually represents:
The improvements include all four subway lines, 10 streetcar routes and 37 bus routes and will be implemented through the end of 2015 and into 2016.
Of course the subway lines already run at better than a 10 minute headway, as do most streetcar lines most of the time. Colle talked about how people would not be waiting as long for their bus. Technically, that is true, provided that their bus is one that now runs less frequently. Changes are planned for subway services, but they are not included in this package (I suspect we will see those in the 2016 budget proposals).
For convenience, I have consolidated all of the current service levels (May 10, 2015 schedules) for the affected routes into a chart.
The routes are colour coded to indicate their current status:
- Green indicates a route that already has service every 10 minutes or better
- Red flags a change that was implemented in the May 10, 2015 schedules
- Blue flags a change that will be implemented in the June 21, 2015 schedules
- Purple flags a route and time period where the service has not yet been improved to the 10 minute standard
Where times are shown in black, they were already at 10′ or better before May 10, are are not affected by the announcement. A considerable amount of service already operates at better than 10′ headways, or will by June 21.
Of particular note is the inclusion of 501 Queen from Neville to Long Branch in the list. Riders in southern Etobicoke will finally get “frequent” service. Moreover, the TTC plans to revise scheduled running times so that streetcars do not have to short turn as often just to stay on time.
The list of routes includes a note that peak period constraints on fleet size will prevent improvements on 501 Queen, 65 Parliament and 96 Wilson until there are more vehicles. This may be true for peak periods, but nothing prevents the TTC from adding off-peak service immediately.
The schedules going into effect on June 21 will be used through the summer except for the Pan Am Games period in July. Therefore, the next “new” schedules will not appear until September.