May 2016 brings the first wave of seasonal changes as attendance at universities and community colleges drops, and demand for travel to parks ramps up for the summer.
The 101 Downsview Park bus will now operate on weekdays. This was formerly a seasonal service, but the change is now permanent and it will not be reversed in the fall.
Several bus routes get new early morning trips. Individually these are small changes, but they illustrate how the city’s work day starts well before the subway opens at 6:00 am.
After several years’ absence for construction on Queens Quay, the Sunday afternoon PCC operation will resume between Victoria Day and Labour Day weekends. One car will run as an unscheduled extra from noon until 5:00 pm on 509 Harbourfront.
Route 501 Queen will divert around water main construction on Queen Street West from May until early October via Spadina, King and Shaw both ways with a replacement shuttle bus covering the gap. Route 510 Spadina will have extra running time to allow for the expected delays caused by the 501 diversion, and the short turn service will remain scheduled to Queens Quay rather than to Charlotte to limit turning moves at King and Spadina.
There is no information yet about special provisions to assist streetcars turning, particularly to and from Spadina, such as changes to traffic signals or use of police to manage traffic. Also unknown is how the congestion this diversion will cause will interact with the King Street closure for the film festival in September.
The 97 Yonge bus will be split with overlapping services running south from York Mills and north from Lawrence, and midday service between St. Clair and Davisville will not be operated. This is intended to isolate the effects of construction at Sheppard to the north end of the route, an arrangement used previously in 2014.
The city is planning on replacing a watermain on Coxwell Avenue between Queen Street East and Lower Gerrard starting April and lasting until September. There is no mention in the construction notice of how this may affect service on the 22 Coxwell bus or the use of the streetcar tracks along that stretch.
Steve: As you will see in the detailed list of changes, the 506 Carlton cars will make their carhouse trips via Broadview. The bus service is not affected.
I guess Witt 2424 will never be used again as an unchaperoned extra run for anything, due to unreliable breaks. A pity….
I’m a bit hazy on the PCC’s previous trips on Harbourfront, but wasn’t it a free service, and you paid if entering Union Station? Will you pay on entry into the streetcar? I wonder if they’ll add Presto readers, seems like the logical move…
Steve: It’s like any car on Harbourfront. If you board at Union Station, you are already in the paid area. If at a surface stop, then pay on the car. Somehow I don’t expect to see a Presto reader.
I assume you mean 2766, as 2424 is at Halton County Radial Railway.
To say that the Witt has unreliable brakes is a rather bold statement. The TTC probably would not word it like that, but I think their thoughts are along that line. When the Witt does venture out onto the streets the safety precaution mandates that the TTC “must have” a TTC vehicle fore and aft, just in case! It’s a really sad state of affairs when a transit company, that used to run 575 Peter Witt cars on a much larger street railway system, up and down hills, some pulling trailers doesn’t have the confidence to maintain and operate a vehicle that used to be the backbone of the system. My, my, there certainly was a different breed of management people in the transit industry from days gone by. And please, don’t give me this safety stuff — if there is a problem with the car, FIX IT!
They could have implemented an advance green at Parliament to help with back ups on Queen but failed to do so during the 20 year shutdown of the King branch of the Don bridge so I don’t expect any special arrangements here. I hope those switches are powered…
Are there not enough vehicles to have east end 501 services terminating at Charlotte Loop or even McCaul and do a swap with the 504 buses for the Queen West shuttle? It’s the summer months.
Harold: re 2766. Yes. My bad. Not enough morning coffee….
This should be interesting come June with all the added service on King between Spadina and Shaw.. the 504, 514 and 501 will all be running on that stretch. This may be another reason why they will not be running 510 cars to Charlotte this summer.
If the 510 turned back at Charlotte you would have 2 east and westbound routes running through King and Spadina along with 1 North and Southbound route and 2 routes making the turn North onto Spadina, Southeast onto Adelaide and Southeast onto King come June.. not exactly the situation you want to be in.
With that said… this would be the summer to avoid King and Spadina.. with all the construction. I shudder to think what it will look like during TIFF.
Nope. Actually 350. You’re counting the trailers as motors and then adding trailers to some Witts farther along in your comment.
It is amazing that Milan still operates a number of Witt cars in base service. When I was there in 2013 a number had just been outshopped. A Witt car with a PA and tun signals takes some getting used to. They had no trouble with their brakes, and the lines with Witts only had Witts.
Thanks for catching that, John.
A bit of a pipe dream here (apparently, that will be legal next year, but, I digress): memory serves that every once in a while somebody comes up with the idea of instituting a heritage-route, where the TTC can operate vintage cars day-in day-out, along the lines of what San Francisco does. Now, that may mean buying foreign equipment, and operating them in the colours of the original system. But, why the heck not? Tourists love that kind of stuff. And they could operate out of the way, as it were, with some additional trackage along, for example, Church and Front Sts., right through the core of the city and through some established haunts and jaunts. Well, I can dream, can’t I?….
Steve: At the rate Bombardier is going, the first of the “new” cars could achieve heritage status before the last one is delivered.
Steve refresh my memory here but did they not try something like this with the Witt in the 70s?
If I recall correctly they had a tourist car running around downtown at one point.
Steve: Yes, there was a “Belt Line Tour Tram” operated by a Peter Witt car. It didn’t attract much business, and I think one problem is that for a tourist attraction to really work, it has to “be there” often. A heritage line has a fleet of cars, such as in San Francisco. I cannot see the TTC undertaking something like this at all. They don’t have the history of running old fleets (unlike SFO), let alone the money to add this to their operation.
If I am reading the changes for 501 Queen correctly, the decrease in headways for Humber-Long Branch in the late evenings — from 19′ to 9′ — is offset by the removal of the 18′ Neville-Long Branch runs.
In practice, runs would get out of synch on Lake Shore, such as a through car loading up at Humber, just before a Long Branch car pulled in. This led to discussions as to which Alfonse should preceed which Gaston. Also extensive use of the spare track at Long Branch loop.
Steve: Yes, they seem to have come to their senses on that arrangement. The schedule was quite weird with occasional pairs of cars even after midnight.
Do you know when the ten minute network will be fully rolled out on 65 Parliament and 96 Wilson?
Steve: Except for the PM peak when the combined service on the 96A and 96B is 11’00”, Wilson is already a 10′ service. There is no intention to make it 10′ beyond the point where the branches split. As for 65 Parliament, this was supposed to be dependent on vehicle availability, although that only applies to the AM peak. In theory this should be fixed by fall 2016, however, it is unclear whether the TTC is going to follow through on all of the planned improvements given the funding cut in their city subsidy and the unexpected drop in riding.
History of running a heritage fleet has to start somewhere. I don’t think it’s a question of not having done it before but of desire to do it now. I suppose though that the desire to actually run a proper system should take priority…..shouldn’t it?…
Bombardier fails to deliver yet again.
The TTC should rebuild the current fleet and as soon as possible look for another streetcar supplier and if not, then you can’t really blame Bombardier if TTC brass don’t have the balls to make tough decisions like dumping Bombardier for a more reliable supplier. The bottom line is that Bombardier knows that TTC is stuck with it for political reasons and so Bombardier can miss whatever deadline it wants to miss with impunity.
The TTC’s policy on charter rates makes them prohibitively expensive. Therefore they are chartered very infrequently. Therefore it’s easy to generate a PowerPoint showing that they ought to be gotten rid of.
The TTC of the past decade or so has show itself to be at best indifferent to the idea of historic vehicles, and strongly discouraging their actual use. (I don’t know if the to-be-preserved GM New Looks are a Corporation initiative or something being done by enthusiastic staff lower down.)
One of my favourite memories of the Witts was at Sherbourne and Dundas when they were running in to Russell via Dundas. They were moving right along and the gear whine echoed off the buildings. No safety flagperson walking in front or back, either.
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Unfortunately no one else had a bid anywhere near close and building for a legacy system with tight curves is not easy. That be said the TTC should sue for all expenses caused by the late deliveries. They are also late with the cars for KW LRT.
If I recall correctly, it was not the PCC service specifically; it was the entire 509, but only at specific times. Basically, there was such a crowd using the service that it was very difficult – and slow – for everyone to get aboard and pay. Therefore, the TTC decided to allow people to board without paying, but they set up fare gates at the Union Loop and everyone had to show Proof of Purchase or pay there. Obviously, this meant that anyone who disembarked earlier got a free ride, but this was not the intention, and since most of the passengers were headed for Union, the loss was minimal and was deemed preferable to the delays.
No, suing is not enough as guess who is going to pay for it? Thanks to the pro-Quebec Canadian government, we will be paying for it by our tax dollars and so we would be suing ourselves effectively for Bombardier’s incompetence. Plus, this non-competitive contract was awarded to Bombardier for the benefit of Ontario workers but Bombardier just announced that it is bringing in workers from Quebec just to be able to deliver about one car or so per month and even that I doubt they have the competency to do. Bottom line is this, why are Ontario taxpayers paying for Quebec workers and why are Canadian taxpayers paying for Bombardier – a private Quebec company? It is time for the TTC to cancel the contract immediately and look for a new supplier as it does not matter if Bombardier is offering dirt cheap prices when they just don’t have the ability to produce these.
When will the 186 Wilson Rocket Bus have service 7 days a week? Also Steve, do you have the service changes for June?
Steve: Re the 186, I don’t know. I wouldn’t hold your breath. The change memo for June won’t be out until sometime in mid-May.
Hope the TTC will remove articulated buses from 129 McCowan North because it goes inside York Region and it is not very busy. Plus the service summaries says that this route only uses regular TTC hybrid buses.
There is a hump to time and costs. There were only two original bids, so if the TTC cancels this contract it can be pretty sure that the originally more expensive alternative will get more expensive as they know there is no one else. Then you have the lost time of breaking this contract, tendering the new contract, and mobilization.
Thus there is a strong desire for Bombardier to turn things around, but so long as the can is kicked down the road, those factors don’t change until action is taken, so next time there is a minor blow-up about non-compliance they look at the facts again and come to the same decision.
As for supporting a private Québec company, look at how great Nortel was and what we’d still have in Canada if we were more supportive. A healthier Québec economy means less equalization payments for them and either more for us or lower costs.
Steve: Considering the investment the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec made in Bombardier Transportation, it is in Québec’s interest to turn that side of Bombardier around. The big challenge is ramping up capacity at La Pocatière not just for the Toronto cars, but for the Metrolinx order which, originally, would not have overlapped Toronto’s order to the same extent. Then the question becomes whether they cut the Mexican plant loose as part of a “reorganization”, or find some work it is actually capable of performing.
Will the shortage of Flexities affect the roll out of the 514 service?
Steve: No. There will be a mix of ALRVs and Flexitys on the route according to the TTC.
Speaking of the 514, please say, the points E-S King/Sumach, W-S King/Dufferin, at a minimum are powered.
I guess I’ll see for myself the effect of the no-through-501 in the evenings, starting next week. (I’m often heading home from TSO concerts using 504/501 through to Long Branch–the Mahler was pretty good eh?)
Steve: Yes, the Mahler was very good!
Right now, even if you catch a westbound 501 HUMBER car from downtown to Humber loop, the chances are that you will continue on from Humber loop on a following 501 LONG BRANCH through car. The streetcars on the downtown section at least mostly show up. The pseudo-507 service is very erratic, and often a car or two will be hiding on the Long Branch loop spare track.
One early weekday evening, I guess around 6 PM, I decided not to run down the hill from The Queensway to catch a departing pseudo-507. Mistake: the next “507” didn’t come for 25 minutes. I can understand rush hour traffic on Lake Shore by Park Lawn being bad, and delaying streetcars relative to their schedule. However, there appears to be no attempt to sort out headways when this happens.
At 11 PM when you’re standing and waiting for a pseudo-507 to show up, traffic is obviously not an issue, yet they run in clumps and with big gaps.
Years ago, in the PCC days, I thought Humber loop was kind of like Casablanca, where you stand around waiting for that mythical streetcar to come and take you westbound. Those vintage days may be back — and other than nostalgia, it’s not an improvement.
Steve, Has there been any mention as to what the bus routings would be for the Spadina extension? York region has their’s set up, TTC has the Crosstown routes set up and the bus/lrt platforms are in place at most of the stations. If there’s no info out why do you think there is none?? Curious.
Steve: I have not seen a definitive list yet.
During recent trips to Bathurst Street and Lakeshore Boulevard to visit places like Fort York, I’ve noticed that streetcars on the “509 Harbourfront” route have recently been replaced with shuttle buses. What is the reason for this, and how long will this last until?
As long as this route is using shuttle buses, its unlikely that TTC will run a PCC streetcar on “509 Harbourfront” – that’s if and when streetcars are running, on Sundays during the tourist season. Do you remember? In recent years the “509 Harbourfront” route has used shuttle buses on part of the route (Queens Quay & Spadina loop to the Exhibition Loop) in 2007-2008 at the time of Fleet Street track construction, and more recently the entire route (Union Station loop to the Exhibition Loop) from 2012-2014 for Queens Quay West track construction. In these 26 months, TTC ran shuttle buses on “509 Harbourfront” from July 29, 2012 through to October 11, 2014, while streetcar tracks were removed and later completely rebuilt.
Steve: The TTC has been doing work on the past two weekends which required bus replacement of the 509 Harbourfront car. The PCC operation is not scheduled to begin until the Victoria Day weekend.