Updated January 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm: The 95 York Mills restructuring was omitted in error by me in the original version of this post and the linked spreadsheet. This has been corrected.
The February 2017 schedules bring a relatively small set of changes to TTC operations.
Among them are a number of route restructurings where service is shuffled between the various local and express, where it exists, branches.
- 199 Finch Rocket will see:
- more frequent AM peak service on the 199B STC to York University branch, offset by reductions on the other two branches;
- more frequent midday service on the 199B offset by reduced service on the 199A to Finch Station;
- slightly more frequent PM peak service on the 199A and 199B services offset by a reduction in service on the 199C to Morningside Heights.
- 191 Highway 27 Rocket will see improved peak service on the 191C branch to Humber College.
- 72 Pape’s peak period short turn service 72A to Eastern Avenue extended to become 72C to Commissioners with headway widenings to compensate on both the 72B Union Station and (now) 72C short turn.
- 24 Victoria Park will see peak period improvement in the 24B Consumers Road branch offset by a slight reduction in 24A to Steeles.
- 95 York Mills will see better express service to UTSC in the PM peak offset by a reduction on the local branches.
Other significant route changes include:
- 511 Bathurst bus operation will be changed so that on weekday peaks and midday half of the service will short turn at King Street. This will reduce the cost of operating the replacement bus service on the streetcar route, and will also reduce the peak bus requirement.
- 52 Lawrence West will be modified so that the 52F service to Royal York loops via Braecrest and returns east on The Westway rather than running north on Royal York and then east on Dixon Road. Schedules at various times will be modified to better reflect actual operating conditions. There will be a slight decrease in PM peak service levels on all branches, with a small increase in the early evenings weekdays.
Service improvements (beyond those involved in the items above):
- 108 Downsview (Midday weekdays)
- Various school trips have been rescheduled to better match dismissal times for students
Service trims on various routes continue to reduce vehicle requirements and costs for 2017:
- 511 Bathurst (as noted above)
- 504 King (PM peak)
- 505 Dundas (Midday weekdays)
- 26 Dupont (PM peak)
- 15 Evans (PM peak)
- 46 Martin Grove (PM peak)
- 37 Islington (Late Sunday evening 37C service on Steeles to Kipling cut back as 37B to Islington)
- Some operational changes have been made to hook up runs on various routes and address situations where a bus runs into a garage at roughly the same time as another one is scheduled to leave.
There is no announced date for the return of streetcars to 511 Bathurst. This depends on the timing of new streetcar deliveries from Bombardier and the condition of the remaining streetcar fleet. Although some old cars are in the shops for major rehabilitation, many more remain on the street with declining reliability.
Once 509 Harbourfront and 514 Cherry are fully equipped with new cars, the next route to be changed over will be 505 Dundas and then 511 Bathurst. If Bombardier deliveries continue at the late 2016 rate and do not ramp up until April 2017 (as planned), the conversion of 505 Dundas will not start until sometime in the second quarter.
Details are in the linked spreadsheet:
Typo alert. Should read 191. Thanks for the always informative article Steve.
Steve: Will fix. Thanks.
Wow, interesting decision to cut 511 service to half south of King. When I lived in the area until 2016, the 511 Bathurst going Northbound in the AM peak usually had all seats occupied and a few standees by the time it serviced the Fleet & Bathurst stop, and took on many standees at Fort York and a few at Niagara, and more buildings have opened since then. They’re giving a giant middle finger to a lot of residents in those condos, on top of not operating streetcars. Yikes!
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Fort York Boulevard is a very popular stop for 511. The change to 511 looping means that many riders going to and from all the condos in the area will wait twice as long. The 121 Fort York-Esplanade is slow and infrequent, and the 509 Harbourfront is out of the way, and also slow.
I travel down that way at least weekly to the Fort York library. I guess I’ll be hoofing it down from King.
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Also, checking out the changes to 15 Evans and 4 Annette….err, 26 Dupont….
PM peak service on both these routes cut to every 17 minutes? That’s a good way to kill ridership. There’s a mental threshold above which the service becomes ‘By Appointment Only’ (you don’t just go out and wait for the next vehicle) and I think 17 minutes is definitely in the “I don’t know when it’s coming, and it’s so infrequent, I won’t bother.”
Steve: Years ago, the same thing happened on what is now 74 Mt. Pleasant thanks to headway widenings when buses could not make the former streetcar running times. It shows how desperate the TTC is to find places they can save a bus here, a bus there.
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Steve, can you provide the round trip times for the new 52 Lawrence West changes? thanks.
Also, the sentence in cell is cut off “52F service to Royal York will use a new looping via S on Royal York, W & N on Braecrest to The Westway. This replaces the”
The 52B doesn’t run on Saturday instead the 52D to McNaughton does.
Steve: The spreadsheet has been corrected. The issue with 52B/52D is on the TTC’s service memo where they mis-identify the Saturday service.
In many cases, the round trip times are the same, but the time allocated for “recovery” (which is just a mechanism to get the time to a multiple of a headway) have been changed.
These service changes are brought to you by John Tory. Where money is more important than service.
I would rather see an increase in property taxes (if we can’t get a sales tax or income tax like some cities in the States have), in exchange for better service.
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The second quarter of this year (2017), or the second quarter of 2018? At this point I will believe that the TTC will get any new streetcars as they show up. I know I am being a bit mean in saying this, but with all the problems Bombardier has had with building the new streetcars for the TTC, I am not confident with their delivery schedule at all.
To follow up on Ed’s comment, a 17-minute headway is also a challenge for ridership because it’s infrequent enough that riders need to know the schedule, but without a clockface headway it becomes difficult to remember the schedule. It almost might have been better to round up to a 20-minute headway… it is not a major difference in terms of wait time or capacity, but at least it would mean an easier-to-remember schedule. (Assuming there was no way to make a 15-minute headway work.)
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There’s practically no local service between Exhibition and Bathurst anyway with a silly routing that ends at Princes, why keep up the pretense? Its not a long walk just don’t breate in the fumes from the generator near the TTC trailers with the exhaust piped through dryer duct on to the sidewalk 24/7. I liked it better when it smelled like horses.
Thanks for the info again.
I’m glad the TTC is finally adjusting the driving time on the 52 Lawrence West route. I find that the 52G branch to Martin Grove really lacks the driving time in M-F early evenings. Unlike the 52A and B branches, it was always zipping past lights to make the scheduled trip time. I made a couple of complaints to the TTC in the past but nothing was done probably to save a bus. Late buses on the same 52G branch often bunched together considering it was supposed to be 12 minutes apart (15 before the 10 minute network). Hopefully this will lead to safer driving and put an end to 52G branch bunching which shouldn’t be happening at 9pm.
I also find the 52G branch also tend to leave 2-3 minutes early during M-F middays. I feel like some operators purposely leave early to be a minute purposely behind another bus and to carry less riders as seen on every very frequent across the system. If this is the case, additional driving time wouldn’t solve a thing. The 52F short turn branch usually carry less riders and would be tailgating one or two other 52 buses. The headways being multiples only look good on paper. I’m looking forward in seeing if these changes lead to better service.
P.S. I wonder if TTC is delaying the presentation of the surface route performance since they can’t get close their desired results.
There was a routing change to the 66B Prince Edward bus that was approved by the board in September and supposed to be implemented during this board period. Do you know what the status of this is?
Steve: The new route is contingent on parking regulation changes by the City. I have not seen any report about this in the Etobicoke York Community Council agendas including the one for January 17, 2017.
Or, post a schedule on the bus stop at every transfer point! Novel idea eh?
Has the TTC published a revised Flexity rollout schedule for the other routes (501, 504, 512, 502, 503, 506)?
Steve, what happened with the TTC’s express bus network study? I still haven’t seen any final report, which was promised last summer.
Steve: I have no idea where this study is, and will ask. A few points do come to mind, however. First, the relative importance of local service is often missed in the enthusiasm for express services, and the cost saving available from shaving local services is usually not enough to make the trade at no net cost. Since mid 2016, the TTC has focused on cost containment, not the creation of new services. Indeed, their capital plans to expand the bus fleet are out of sync with the money they have to actually operate more service.
With all of the cuts made to free up buses to handle the shortage of streetcars, what has been missed is that if the streetcar fleet were not a problem, the total vehicles in service would be higher and the operating costs greater. In a perverse way, Bombardier’s delivery problems are helping the TTC and City to constrain growth in the TTC’s budget.
It looks like shuttle bus service will continue on the “511 Bathurst” route until at least June 2017, and that’s when streetcars are expected to return. Will this include the new Flexity Outlook models? Until then people going to high-profile events at Exhibition Place – the Toronto International Boat Show (January 20-29), National Home Show & Canada Blooms (March 10-19) – will be taking the shuttle buses on the “511 Bathurst” route to get to these events. There are also events at Fort York National Historic Site, notably the Battle of York commemoration event (April 30, 2017).
Steve: Bathurst does not get Flexitys until after Cherry and Harbourfront are fully converted. There is supposed to be a delivery schedule in the CEO’s report in February.
Delivery schedule? What’s that?? As far as I know Flexity deliveries have been MIA this month. I know it would take years to reorder everything but.. I am starting to wonder what is faster, a new tender or waiting for the Flexities to be delivered.
I’m starting to wonder that myself.
Regardless, I still believe that the TTC should start a bidding process for the 60 LRVs that they have an option to extend the Bombardier order for. Worst case, it sends a message a whole lot stronger than writing a letter that the city is really pissed off at Bombardier. Best case, another vendor can provide the 60 for the same price or less and have them start arriving before the end of the 204 Flexities arrive.
If one wants to dream, “best-est” [SIC] case: The TTC could justifiably trim down the order of Flexities because the other vendor can do them for the same price or better and get them here sooner.
Not to repeat myself at length, but I believe that Bombardier continues to drag its feet because it is taking a loss on each Flexity. Of course, I could be wrong, but they do seem to be in long term disarray, when it comes to Flexity production, and that lack of problem resolution is strange at such a large experienced company.
Calvin H-C’s idea would certainly get their attention. Nothing else seems to work.
With the last few comments regarding the streetcar shortage, I relish the chance to rip on Tory who could be doing more. As mayor, i.e. the chief executive, I expect him to take the lead on city problems that the bueraucracy beneath him can’t or won’t handle. The dung piles, if you will. And so the opening salvo is… a letter? Pfft. Tory, if you can’t get a more direct line to someone important over there how were you successful in your business? How did you even get a job, let alone this one? Or are you all in cahoots and letting the streetcar business slide to keep operating costs down. Maybe it’s just that you and Bombardier are good buddies and you know they’re having a rough time. Guess who else is having a rough time? The TTC riders! Time to think of your citizens. Trust me, Bombardier will be back to the tap when the city coffers are full again. So get another supplier on deck and hold back Bombadiers checks until more streetcars are here. Do something!
Steve, did you or the TTC miss to mention about the 95E express reallocation in afternoon peak?
Steve: Oops! I missed that one. The post and the linked table have been updated. Thanks for the catch.
The other day – Sunday, January 22, 2017 – I was down at Harbourfront to take in the Dance Weekend at Fleck Dance Theatre, Queen’s Quay Terminal. I noticed that there are no CLRVs remaining on the “509 Harbourfront” route. This route is now fully converted to the new Flexity Outlook streetcars. Is that true? If yes, what’s the next route to become fully converted to Flexities?
The “511 Bathurst” route continues to use shuttle buses, running from Bathurst station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line down to the Princes’ Gates loop (or through the Exhibition grounds past the Enercare Centre and the Horse Palace) via Fleet Street. These shuttle buses are here to stay until early summer, when streetcar service is expected to resume on the “511 Bathurst” route, in time for the busy tourist season.
Steve: Sometimes there are still CLRVs on the 509. It depends on the daily allocation of the Flexitys. As for Bathurst, it won’t get new cars until after Dundas is converted, according to the TTC.
When streetcars finally – and triumphantly – return to the “511 Bathurst” route, which will be in early summer, will it include the new Flexities? If not, which models (most likely CLRVs and a few ALRVs). In the mean time, the route continues to use shuttle buses.
Steve: Probably CLRVs and ALRVs depending on the day of the week, and how many ALRVs are actually available. Current TTC plans are for the next Flexity route to be Dundas, not Bathurst.
Why is the TTC taking away buses from routes like 15 and 46 which service a number of schools?? There is already over crowding happening in the am and pm!!
Take buses off 45E … too many express buses running with no one on them.
The “511 Bathurst” route has been using shuttle buses since November 20, 2016. How many more weeks will there be shuttle buses running on this route (some of them entering the Exhibition grounds through Princes’ Gates and others turning around the loop just outside these gates) and before streetcars return to this route?
Steve: The return date is not settled yet. This is related to the delivery of new cars from Bombardier.
What’s the delivery date for more of the new low-floor Flexity streetcars from Bombardier?
What are the next routes to become fully converted to them?
Steve: 4431 is in town and should be in service by the end of this week. No word on the rest, but the schedule is supposed to become part of the regular CEO’s report in the TTC agendas, so we should be able to track promises against deliveries.
Dundas is the next route after Cherry and Harbourfront are both reliably running with all low floor cars all of the time. Bathurst has been deferred.
Sure seemed like a long wait for a 501L shuttle bus this morning.
There seems to be a discrepancy in the new service summary. The quick reference section for the Feb 12 board shows 501L service frequency to be every 10 minutes pretty much all day every day; the same reference section for the previous period shows 5-6 minutes weekdays (depending on exact time of day) and 6-8 on weekends.
Going down into the detailed allocations, they have not changed between the boards, with the same number of buses.
I’ll keep my eye on this, but this morning it felt more like the 10 minute service as specified in the quick reference section.
January 2017 vs February 2017.
Steve: The February quick summary is wrong, and has the old values from streetcar days when 10 minutes was the common headway. However, the extended layovers buses are taking at both ends of the 501L are very troubling. I am working on an article about bus vs streetcar ops on Lake Shore. Coming soon.
When streetcars return to the “511 Bathurst” route, which is currently using shuttle buses, which streetcar models are expected (most likely CLRVs and a few of the double-length ALRVS)?
Steve: Likely CLRVs. There is no announced date yet for their return.
This weekend, construction is complete on the Exhibition loop. Now streetcars on the “509 Harbourfront” and eventually the “511 Bathurst” route (which is currently using shuttle buses) will enter the loop. The “511 Bathurst” shuttle buseswill use the reopened loop instead of the one located just outside the Princes’ Gates.
For most of last year the loop was closed for reconstruction. However, there was a brief period when streetcars on the “509 Harbourfront” and “511 Bathurst” routes were entering and exiting the loop, for the period of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). This was done in order not to inconvenience the large numbers of people taking the TTC to get to the CNE. The rest of that time (when the loop was closed), the TTC ran shuttle buses (on the combined “509/511” routes) along Fleet Street between Bathurst Street and the Exhibition grounds.
This past weekend, the Exhibition Loop opened after more than a year of closure due to its reconstruction – new steel rails embedded in new concrete. The streetcars on the “509 Harbourfront” route (now fully converted to the new Flexity Outlook) and the shuttle buses on the “511 Bathurst” route will be entering and exiting the loop. For more than a year,, the “509 Harbourfront” and “511 Bathurst” streetcars were turning back at the Fleet Street “lighthouse” loop as construction was being done on the Exhibition Loop, and shuttle buses were running along Fleet Street between Bathurst street and the Exhibition grounds.
Late in 2016, on Sunday, November 20th, due to a shortage of streetcars the TTC began running shuttle buses on the “511 Bathurst” route. The shuttle buses don’t carry as many pasengers as do streetcars, but they run more frequently and are wheelchair-accessable. There are some high-profile events in the upcoming months – most notably the National Home Show & Canada Blooms at Exhibition Place, March 11-19, and the One-of-a-Kind Spring Show & Sale, March 29 to April 2, also at Exhibition Place. People intending to tke the TTC’s “511 Bathurst” route to these events would likely be travelling on shuttle buses, which will now be pulling into the Exhibition Loop. When streetcars do finally return to the “511 Bathurst” route, what’s the expected date of their ‘triumphant’ return?
Steve: You have asked this question several times before. No date has been announced, although it is likely that we will see a temporary return of streetcars during the summer as we did in 2016.
In today’s news, I heard the announcement that starting in May, major construction will begin on Queen Street, and for the first time in the history of the TTC, streetcars on the entire “501 Queen” route will be replaced with shuttle buses (about 65 of them on that route), and this would free up many streetcars to use on other routes. The “511 Bathurst” route would become the most likely beneficiary for these freed-up streetcars, and be using them earlier than expected, just in time for the tourist season. In turn, the shuttle buses which have in use on the “511 Bathurst” route (for more than three months now) would be redeployed to the “501 Queen” route ahead of the start date for scheduled construction projects.
One of Toronto’s most iconic tourist attractions, Ontario Place, is scheduled to reopen in early summer, after more than five years of closure and possibly in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Many people taking the TTC to get to Ontario Place would most likely be riding on the “511 Bathurst” streetcar from Bathurst station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line down to the Exhibition Loop, then walk south through the Exhibition grounds, then walk across a bridge, to get to their destination.
Steve: Please see my article, just posted, about the March service changes. It includes a list of the many service diversions and bus replacements planned for this year.
This morning, there was an emergency at King and Tecumseh. King service diverted both ways via the usual Shaw/Queen/Spadina.
Where will King cars go when Queen is totally closed? Will the rails and overhead/power remain available for emergency diversions, or will it all be shut down? Last summer we already had Queen ALRVs diverted via Roncesvalles, Howard Park, and Dundas (to, I don’t know where) because Queen was closed and the LFLRV derailment pooched King.
Today’s diversion was met with pretty much “well it’s the usual” and silence from the riders on the full car I was on. King, Queen, they have used each other for diversions so often, everyone is used to that. Run them up to Dundas and see riders panic.
Steve: Queen will still be available west of Shaw to Roncesvalles, from Spadina to McCaul (assuming a blockage at Yonge) or all the way to the Don Bridge once the Eaton’s overpass work is done. The real issue will be to ensure that folks at the TTC make keeping as much of the route available as possible a priority even when there is no scheduled service.
When construction projects begin on Queen Street, streetcars on the “501 Queen” route will be replaced with shuttle buses – 65 of them. This will include those currently being used on the “511 Bathurst route. Will there be also be articulated shuttle buses? If yes, some of these these double-length buses would be taken off the “41 Keele”, “29 Dufferin”, “7 Bathurst”, and “53 Steeles East” routes and redeployed to “501 Queen” to be used as shuttle buses.
Steve: I doubt you will see artics on Queen given the garages from which the shuttles/replacements are usually pulled. Reorganizing other routes to switch back to 10m buses would be a major headache.
Streetcars to return to “511 Bathurst” route:
On Sunday, May 7, 2017, streetcars will be returning to the “511 Bathurst” route, just in time for the busy tourist season It will be, during these five and a half months of shuttle bus service, that many streetcar aficionados have been patiently awaiting the triumphant return of streetcars to this route.
The upcoming summer will see the much awaited reopening of Ontario Place, a popular waterfront amusement park located just south of the Exhibition Grounds, which closed in early 2012 after seeing years of declining numbers of visitors. During the last year of operation before closure, Ontario Place tried to reverse the trend by admitting people for free. Visitors still needed to pay to get on rides, such as the Wilderness Adventure log-flume ride, or to watch a movie at the Cinesphere. People who chose to take the TTC to Ontario Place would likely use the “511 Bathurst” streetcar.
There is the Honda Indy at Exhibition Place in mid-July, and many take the “511 Bathurst” streetcar to this event.