TTC Service Changes Effective March 26, 2017 (Updated)

Updated March 27, 2017 at 7:50 am: The City of Toronto has deferred the work on Queen that would have required diversion of the 501 streetcar service between Spadina and Shaw to later in the year when the route will be operating with buses.

The TTC plans for service changes in March 2017 are not extensive. They are detailed in the spreadsheet linked below. I have modified the format of this to include not just headways but also running times (including layovers). This was done to clarify situations where adjustments are made to deal with traffic conditions on routes and to show the amount of time added for diversions.


Construction Projects

Although diversions and bus replacements are inevitable for track construction projects, the degree to which the TTC and city are content to remove streetcars for construction outside of the streetcar lanes says little for the “transit first” language we often hear. There also appears to be little incentive to complete such projects as quickly as possible.

501 Queen

Construction projects affect sections of the Queen route for all of 2017:

  • Reconstruction of The Queensway right-of-way, the Humber bridge, Humber Loop and track on Lake Shore
  • Sidewalk reconstruction on Queen between Spadina and Bathurst (late March to late summer) (summer)
  • Reconstruction of the intersection of Coxwell and Queen (August)
  • Replacement of the overhead walkway west of Queen and Yonge linking the Eaton Centre to the Simpson’s building (now HBC/Saks)

For the period from March 26 to May 6, Queen cars will divert both ways via Spadina, King and Shaw. Replacement bus service will operate from University to Dufferin (terminating at Dufferin Loop south of King). Night service will operate from Yonge to Dufferin looping in the east via Church, Richmond and Victoria. (Deferred)

During the Queen diversion, running time will be added on 510 Spadina to allow for streetcar congestion and delays making turns at Queen and King. One cannot help wondering where “transit priority” fits in this situation considering that problems with this diversion were quite evident during 2016.

Starting on May 7, the route will be converted to bus operation end-to-end. This will have two branches similar to the streetcar service before 2015. One branch will operate from Neville to Long Branch, while the other will run from Neville to Park Lawn. Buses will run through the construction area from Spadina to Bathurst.

Because so many buses will be required and streetcars now on Queen will be released, streetcars will return to 511 Bathurst, 503 Kingston Road Tripper and the 504 King trippers.

Streetcar service on Queen between Neville and Sunnyside will resume in September, and over the full route to Long Branch in January 2018.

See also Ben Spurr’s article in the Star.

505 Dundas

Three projects affect the Dundas service during 2017:

  • Reconstruction of the intersection at Victoria and Dundas Square (beginning late March)
  • Reconstruction of the intersection at Dundas and Parliament (May-June)
  • Watermain construction between Yonge and Church (late March to October)

Effective with the March schedules, 505 Dundas cars will divert both ways via Bay, College, Carlton and Church.

During the May-June period when streetcars will not be able to operate through the Parliament intersection, a different arrangement will be required, but the details have not been announced.

504 King

Starting with the March 26 schedules, the King bus trippers will be extended north to Dundas West Station to avoid congestion at Sunnyside Loop.

With the May schedules, the Queen turnback at Sunnyside will end, and the bus trippers will be replaced by streetcars.

503 Kingston Road Tripper

With the May schedules, this peak period route will return to streetcar operation, but it will loop downtown at Charlotte Loop (Spadina, Adelaide, Charlotte) because Wellington Street will be under construction.

For the July schedules (mostly in August), the intersection at Queen and Coxwell will be under construction, and so bus operation will return to the 503.

The 502 Downtowner service will remain a bus operation throughout.

506 Carlton

When the March schedules were planned, a diversion was to be implemented between Broadview and Coxwell to allow reconstruction of the overhead over that section of the route. This diversion has been deferred due to the shortage of buses, but the new temporary schedules were already in place for March-April. This will leave 506 Carlton service on its regular route, but with added running time and wider headways. The standard schedule will come back into operation in May.

Continuation of last year’s sidewalk construction and streetscape improvements is likely, but yet to be confirmed, beginning in June between Bathurst and Lansdowne. Service adjustments are yet to be announced.

Route Changes

73 Royal York

The peak period 73A service that now terminates at Dixon Road will be extended north following the same route as the 73C Albion Road service to loop via Knob Hill Drive and Oak Street in Weston. This branch will be renamed as 73D.

121 Fort York – Esplanade

The route will be extended west into Exhibition Place so that operators on the route have access to a washroom (in Exhibition Loop). Running times during certain periods will be adjusted to match conditions on the route.

131 Nugget Express

Two branches of this service operate to supplement the SRT while the fleet undergoes major repairs to extend its lifespan. The 131E runs from Kennedy Station to Old Finch, but the 131F runs only from Kennedy to STC. Due to low ridership the 131F service will be removed. Service on the 131E is unchanged.

24 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective March 26, 2017 (Updated)

  1. Steve: One cannot help wondering where “transit priority” fits in this situation considering that problems with this diversion were quite evident during 2016.

    “Transit priority” works fine, as long as you understand that “priority” can be high or low. The phrase “nice streetcars” isn’t a comment, it’s a command. 😛


  2. “There also appears to be little incentive to complete such projects as quickly as possible.”

    How is that plan to have the city pay for streetcar replacements for city projects?

    Steve: I am not sure anyone at the City has twigged to the fact that longer projects cost them money on that budget line.

    For overhead reconstruction, there are lots of places that can work on that already have replacement buses for other reasons.


  3. Wow, this is the dumbest temporarily service change I’ve ever seen. The TTC should cut the 501 Queen car back west at McCaul or Charlotte loop and extend the 501L buses east to University Avenue. It is very redundant to have a separate replacement bus service from Long Branch and Dufferin and Dufferin to University. Also, when 501 Queen will entirely use buses, they should still operate on a route split, not a service branch as it was back before 2016 because it will cause delays to the Lake Shore section. The 506 car should be cut back to Broadview and have buses operating east of Broadview avenue to Main station. The way the TTC planned this change will be a disaster and cause numerous delays.

    Steve: If you have been paying attention, you would know that the Carlton diversion was planned, but has been deferred.

    Please find a new moniker other than “TTCplanner” because clearly you are not a member of TTC staff, and your comments can be misleading. Also, stop using a different return email in each post.


  4. Also, when no construction on Queen and Coxwell and the Eaton Centre overpass underway, streetcars should also return to 502 Downtowner so that it can free up more buses.

    Steve: I already asked. They don’t have enough streetcars.


  5. With all the buses they’ll need on Queen Street, how many spares will they have? What happens if there is a disruption on the Bloor-Danforth line and they need to run shuttle buses. What gets priority then?

    Steve: The buses for Queen will come from streetcar routes that are now using buses, but will be converted back. Current assignments are:

    503 Kingston Road: 7
    504 King : 11
    511 Bathurst : 15
    Total : 33

    They will also pick up some by elimination of the overlap between the bus shuttle and the streetcar service, and from the usual summer service cuts that begin in May but really sink in for June/July/August.

    Buses for subway shuttles have always come from whatever is available in the spare pool and from nearby routes. The situation won’t be any different with Queen as a bus.


  6. It’s about time TTC increased service on the 73 Royal York closer to the 401. I would say getting to Wilson would be better but I guess TTC ran out of buses as none are added to the route. I’m not sure why you wrote the 73A terminates at Eglinton, it terminates at Dixon. Maybe you got it mixed up with 73B but you got it right on your pdf spreadsheet.

    Steve: Thanks for catching that. I have corrected the article.

    I’m not surprised that TTC ran out of buses. There’s only so many buses to go around. Of course all the fans are wondering where the ALRVs would be assigned during the summer.

    Steve: King on weekdays and Bathurst on weekends are the obvious choices.


  7. “For the period from March 26 to May 6, Queen cars will divert both ways via Spadina, King and Shaw”

    Should I assume zero special preparations are bring made by the City, TTC, or TPS to prepare for this, and it will be a chaotic mess of backlogged streetcars waiting make turns at King/Spadina for all of April?

    Steve: Yes.


  8. If ALRVs don’t operate on Queen between May and September, I am pretty sure the ALRVs will operate on Bathurst and King. Right?

    Steve: Those are the two most logical places to put them.


  9. Steve said:

    “131 Nugget Express

    Two branches of this service operate to supplement the SRT while the fleet undergoes major repairs to extend its lifespan. The 131E runs from Kennedy Station to Old Finch, but the 131F runs only from Kennedy to STC. Due to low ridership the 131F service will be removed. Service on the 131E is unchanged.”

    According to the sign on the Westbound STC platform the Kennedy – STC branch has been there prior to the vehicular issues as a way to alleviate crowds. With that in mind, I am starting to wonder how bad the fleet is be it Streetcars or SRT. All the time these sorts of changes are due to lack of streetcars, lack of SRT vehicles.

    I realise vehicles do not just appear out of thin area but you think someone would have realised they were about to run into a bit of an issue. Next thing you know they will not have enough buses to cover for the lack of other vehicles.


  10. ALRV’s are already operating on King now. There were several out on King today and of course Queen wouldn’t be Queen without the shorter C’s trying to fill in for the articulated cars.


  11. Correct me if I’m wrong but by my math 65 buses do not replace the capacity provided by 35 of the articulated streetcars.

    Steve: The TTC’s service planning capacity for standard sized buses is 50 compared with 108 for the ALRVs, and so on a raw capacity basis, 65 buses equals 3,250 while 35 ALRVs give 3,780. It will be interesting to see what headways and running times the TTC schedules and how these translate to capacity per hour on the main route and on the Long Branch extension.


  12. Not totally connected to a Service Change but I see that the 121 will be extended into the Ex so operators can use the washrooms. I understand that all new routes are evaluated after x months (or years?). Do you have any idea when they will do their promised evaluation of that whole route and its schedule? There was some discussion of also extending it at the eastern end (From Cherry to Bayview.) and reviewing where the stops are.

    Steve: The 121 was part of the reorganization accompanying the 514 Cherry car, and so we are not yet at the one year mark.

    On a related note, it appears that the Cherry service will be officially scheduled so that all runs operating early morning and late at night have Flexitys (pending 100% low-floor service once there are enough cars). This will allow streetcar operation around the King/Sumach curves at all hours likely with the start of the March 26 schedules. I am waiting to see an official announcement of this.


  13. Hello Steve,

    I recently spoke to one of the employees on Facebook regarding the possible reopening of former Danforth and Old Eglinton garages in the future. Were there plans recommissioning them before McNicoll is in operation including the “Airport Garage”?

    While the TTC’s proposed map 105 and 107 will be “around”, they’re actually gonna kill them off with 105 absorbed into the 29 DUFFERIN and parts of the 106 being replaced by the 84E and new 106B/E. In addition, Downsview Stn.’s existing structure will be likely be replaced by the new Sheppard West Stn. in 3 years. Can you confirm or deny if there plans in place set by the employees?

    On topic, I had rode one empty 131F NUGGET EXPRESS bus, and a few crowds seem to dislike the idea. They could have at least use the 21A, 43B, 57, or 131E/F using relief buses in the event Line 3 closes for track work.

    Steve: Reopening Danforth would be extremely difficult as the site is in use for other TTC departments. There is no maintenance equipment or fuelling capability at this site. As for Eglinton, it remains in use as a “temporary” bus terminal pending opening of the Crosstown LRT. There is a closed up old garage at the west side, but it is signed as being unsafe to enter. Again, like Danforth, there are no fuelling facilities.

    The TTC recently approved acquisition of property adjacent to Malvern Garage that will be used to expand its capacity. This helps a bit, but there is still a long-term space problem. I will be writing about fleet plans soon, and will deal with this in more detail.


  14. Do you know if Queen & McCaul, Sunnyside Loop are still scheduled to be done this year? If so, are they sliding in sometime during the Queen bus conversion?

    Steve: McCaul is still in the list for 2017, but Sunnyside is in 2019 as part of the larger job at Roncesvalles. I have not seen a time yet for the McCaul job, but hope they do it before September so that the restored streetcars don’t start off with yet another diversion.


  15. In two months time, on Sunday, May 7, – ahead of the start date of proposed construction projects – the CLRV and ALRV streetcars on the “501 Queen” route will be taken off and replaced with shuttle buses. Those streetcars will be freed up to be used on other routes, particularly the “511 Bathurst” route; that route will return to streetcar operation. In turn, the shuttle buses which have been running on that route since Sunday, November 20, 2016, will be redeployed to the “501 Queen” route, plus there will be buses taken off some of the busiest routes to be used as shuttle buses on that route (“501 Queen”).

    This change comes just before the start of the busy tourist season. In late summer, service is increased on the “511 Bathurst” route for the run-up to and the duration of the Canadian National Exhibition, August 18 to September 4, 2017, to accommodate the large numbers of people taking the TTC to get to this popular event.


  16. Though it’s a rather nerdy question I wonder if you have (and could publish) the 2017 TTC schedule for streetcar track rebuilds?

    Steve: I just received the detailed Capital Budget books and will be publishing various articles about them. Stay tuned.


  17. It’s now for sure, that the streetcar will be making its ‘triumphant’ return to the “511 Bathurst” route on Sunday, May 7, 2017, and this will come just in time for the start of the busy tourist season. Patient passengers on this have been riding on shuttle buses for now almost four months – some becoming accustomed to them while others are growing tired of them and eventually welcoming back the streetcar.

    One of the Toronto Star’s writers, Ed Keenan, prefers the streetcar to the bus – he prefers the gentle humming of the streetcar on its track to the jerking of the bus in traffic on busy downtown Toronto arterials, in a recent article (February 28th, 2017). I agree with him that a ride on a streetcar is more pleasant than one on a bus; it jerks less in traffic, carries a lot more passengers, and there is a better view (360-degree) out of the windows – and it is a very Toronto experience.

    During the summer months, the “511 Bathurst” streetcar gets busier, with people heading to tourist attractions near the foot of Bathurst street, the Toronto Island AAirport, and to high-profile events, such as the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). During the CNE, extra streetcars get added to this route, carrying excited passengers.


  18. The GTFS schedule data for March 26th dropped today. TransitFeeds provides a pretty good interface for browsing the data.

    Steve: Thanks for this link. Definitely friendlier than just getting the raw data from the City’s Open Data site.


  19. I have checked the TTC route diversion and there are no signs that the Queen streetcars will divert between Shaw and Spadina.

    Steve: Yes, there is no project listed on the City’s construction site either for the segment where there was to be a diversion. I will inquire about what is happening. Possibly they are waiting until later in the year when the route is completely converted to bus operation.


  20. Yeah Steve. I just rode the Queen steetcar through that area today and it’s normal.

    Steve: The TTC has confirmed that the City has deferred its work to the summer when buses will be running on Queen.


  21. The TTC will continue to run shuttle buses on its “511 Bathurst” route until Saturday, May 6; beginning on Sunday, May 7, streetcars will be returning to this route. The return of streetcars to this busy route comes just in time for the tourist season, which climaxes with the running of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), when the TTC adds extra streetcars to this route. Aboard these (“511 Bathurst”) streetcars ,there’s the high-spirited excitement of the passengers after it leaves Bathurst subway station and is heading southbound to this popular late-summer event.

    The shuttle buses which have been used on the “511 Bathurst” route will be redeployed (such a militaristic-sounding word) to the “501 Queen”, ahead of the start of proposed construction projects, which begin in May and, hopefully, will be completed in September.


  22. What happened to all of the articulated cars? I have seen a lot of rebuilt ones on the road yet as I look at the live NextBus feed I see 5 articulated cars out on Queen and 11 standard CLRV’s and it’s late evening on Saturday.

    Steve: The TTC’s inability to field vehicles matching what is scheduled has been a problem for years. The service capacity provided on Queen assumes ALRVs, but then a CLRV shows up.


  23. It’s not long – now less than a month – until streetcars return to the “511 Bathurst” route – the date is Sunday, May 7; streetcars – even the older ones – are superior to buses, since they carry more passengers, and there’s a better view through the windows.

    The proposed construction projects on Queen street will require the TTC to take the entire rolling stock of streetcars off, and put shuttle buses on, this route; the first time in the history of this route. Some of these freed-up streetcars will be redeployed to the “511 Bathurst” route, and the shuttle buses which have been used on that route will be used, in turn, on the “501 Queen” route.


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