TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, February 18, 2018

Changes are coming to TTC routes in February with the most significant being on the streetcar network. I provided an overview of the streetcar changes in a previous article, but the details of headways and running times are in the spreadsheet linked below.

On the bus network, there are several tweaks to running times and headways.

Extra running time for Metrolinx construction projects will be provided on 36 Finch West, 63 Ossington and 71 Runnymede.

Evening service on the 12 Kingston Road bus will be modified so that trips after 10:30 pm on weekdays and 5:30 pm on weekends run via the 12B routing along Kingston Road instead of dodging north to serve Variety Village.

Service on 121 Fort York-Esplanade will lose one bus during weekdays all day except the AM peak, and weekend evenings. This route has chronically erratic service that affects demand, but that is not addressed in the change.

Minor service cuts and/or running time adjustments will widen headways on:

  • 17 Birchmount (AM peak)
  • 37 Islington (Midday weekdays)
  • 40 Junction (Saturday morning)
  • 79 Scarlett Road (PM peak)
  • 111 East Mall (AM peak and midday)

Minor improvements and/or running time adjustments will shorten headways on:

  • 40 Junction (Sunday afternoon)
  • 42 Cummer (Weekdays)
  • 102 Markham Road (AM peak)

On 1 Yonge-University, all crew change will now occur at Wilson Station rather than being split between Wilson and Eglinton Stations due to pending construction at the latter.


24 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, February 18, 2018

  1. I see that the frequency of the 121 is being reduced – presumably due to fairly low ridership. One major drawback of the 121 is that it has no stops between east of Bay to west of Simcoe. (i.e. zero stops right in front of Union Station). The City are currently doing a traffic study on Front and adjacent streets to improve traffic flow and will, they say, look at how to put stops in front of Union – which would certainly increase ridership. Like all fairly infrequent routes, the 121 will lose riders to more frequent ones in the vicinity. For example, anyone wanting to come to the Distillery District would be far safer to take the 504 or 514 streetcars from King Station as they run (very) often compared to coming to Union to catch a 121. (If one caught a 121 immediately that might be faster but ….)


  2. So do you know why 102 will be moved to Malvern garage on Feb 18?

    Steve: To make room at Birchmount for the streetcar service it is taking on.


  3. I finally rode the extension to Vaughan and the cars go like bats out of hell. Are they in high range or is there a speed that is not available in manual mode? Also the supervisor said that the trains can make the existing schedules in the rush hour. What is the condition of service on line 1 with the extension opened and what is the riding like? At 10:20 a.m. Sat. 8 people got of at Vaughan and SB no more that 8 got on at any station until Pioneer Village.

    Steve: The constraint on going back to a higher speed has always been that the signal system (especially the timing blocks) is set up for “low rate”, and changing it would be major work. With the shift to ATO, trains can operate faster. It will be interesting to see the effect as this moves through the rest of the line.

    As for riders, the TTC is not planning to report on this until at least three months in to let things “stabilize”.

    I don’t know what it will take to change the political mindset that builds subways with no hope of decent ridership. The real game is the artificial elevation of property values, and the transit system gets stuck with lines it cannot afford to operate.


  4. I’ve taken the 121 a fair number of times, often from Bathurst to John or Simcoe. For such a short distance, it’s a very long ride, assuming that the predicted bus shows up.

    This route suffers from being routed along streets that have plenty of four-way stops and heavy backups due to rush hour or Skydome/ACC events. At the same time, its stops are excessively spaced out. It might be more convenient to the local residents if it had bus stops at every four-way stop. But as it’s set up, it makes no sense to catch a slow bus that will, nevertheless, drop you off at a stop that’s five minutes walk away from where it could have let you off. The current arrangement of stops means that it does not run any faster, while being inconvenient for riders.


  5. I’m just wondering how long it will take before trains half the trains are short turned at Pioneer Village during the off-peak and weekends?. I have been to 407 station a couple of times and can walk with my eyes shut and not bump into anyone, the ticket agent for GO was looking rather board. Check out my photo from Sat 20th. The same was seen on when I went on a Friday afternoon peak.

    Steve: I am waiting to see how long it will take the TTC to release any station usage stats, and they may dislodge Bessarion from its place at the bottom of the list. One big problem is that there’s a considerable fixed cost just to own the line whether trains run in it or not, and the operating cost does not go down proportionately to the service.

    This sort of thing makes the whole idea of the provincial Tories’ plan to “upload” the subway amusing. I think they would have a big problem with spending so much to serve so few, especially on a blatantly Liberal line.


  6. 121 definitely could use more and better stops.

    “assuming that the predicted bus shows up.”

    The bus often lays over at Exhibition for a long time. On TransSee when the bus is laying over you can see that the predicted time is often 2 or 3 minutes before the scheduled arrival time. The bus will usually show up closer to the scheduled time then the predicted time.

    The other problem is that buses that don’t move for about 5 minutes disappear from the predictions, even if they are scheduled to. They still show up as off route vehicles on TransSee. I’m exploring ideas of providing predictions when this happens.

    Maybe the new schedules will reduce lay over times since it no longer gets caught in the traffic at Yonge and Wellington.

    No doubt that 121 isn’t the only route with these problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. On Sunday, February 18, 2018, streetcars will be returning to the “511 Bathurst” route, after five months and fourteen days of shuttle bus operation. The shuttle buses which have been running on this route will be redeployed to the “505 Dundas” and “506 Carlton” routes on the same date. Although I’ve become accustomed to taking ths shuttle buses, I’m looking forward to the ‘triumphant’ return of the streetcar, and find a way to celebrate. I’d suggest visiting Ontario Place, as the park is open during the winter for the first time in many years; there is a winter festival “Winter at Ontario Place” and there are new trails.


  8. So far Steve, I guess there are others moving yards that are never mentioned: 10 VAN HORNE, 29 DUFFERIN, 63 OSSINGTON, 168 SYMINGTON, 169 HUNTINGWOOD.

    Any others besides the 102 moving?

    Steve: The full list is not in the service change memo. I won’t know what’s where until the Scheduled Service Summary comes out about a week before the schedule change.


  9. Steve: The full list is not in the service change memo. I won’t know what’s where until the Scheduled Service Summary comes out about a week before the schedule change.

    While I always ‘enjoy’ learning more about transit stuff I am not sure why anyone (except the operators!) should care which yard a bus or streetcar is coming from. Am I missing something?.

    Steve: It’s a fan thing which I understand from my early years of knowing every piece of trivia about the system I could. The shuffles become important when they have effects on operations such as choices of which vehicles a route will get based on what is assigned to each garage. As and when the TTC makes a major transition to electric vehicles, for example, they won’t be everywhere all at once because there will have to be new, or majorly reworked, garages set up for that vehicle and propulsion type. It was the same situation when low floor buses were new. They weren’t and couldn’t be on every route.


  10. I live on the 121 & 514.

    Notes on the 121:

    1. The 121 suffers severely at Union Station with idiotic cab drivers, blocking the road & doing stupid stuff, fighting & just being nasty to everybody else.
    2. 121 also has serious issues along Fort York, several stops are not wheelchair accessible, in fact going east bound, I cannot get on the bus at all, between Bathurst & Spadina.
    3. The 121 has to deal with the market traffic on weekends especially.
    4. The issues with Blue Jays Way, Bremmer & anything happening at Skydome.
    5. Anything going on at ACC will also screw it up too.
    6. The Esplanade is also an issue, you have 3 routes sharing parts of it.

    But the number 1 issue is drivers playing games, going nis & dead heading across the Lakeshore.
    Playing games with going NIS at Cherry & Front, turning off the bus & disappearing for 15 minutes.
    Birchmount CIS needs to do a much better job.

    I’ve witnessed gaps of 30-45 minutes sometimes, evenings & weekends.

    I have a lot of driver friends & they say these things all the time.

    Steve: For the benefit of readers: “nis” means “not in service”.


  11. When DavidC asked:

    I am not sure why anyone (except the operators!) should care which yard a bus or streetcar is coming from. Am I missing something?

    Steve responded:

    It’s a fan thing …

    Transit fans would love Pittsburgh. It’s been a few years since I’ve been there, so this may no longer be true, but when the Port Authority (why does a land-locked city at the junction of three rivers in deep gorges have a transit system called the Port Authority?!?) buses are heading back to their garage, their signs actually say what garage they are going to.

    Imagine TTC buses displaying “Birchmount Garage” or “Malvern Garage” when they are heading back.

    Steve: Years ago, the TTC started dead heading the garage trips to save money on driving time.


  12. Calvin Henry-Cotnam asks “(why does a land-locked city at the junction of three rivers in deep gorges have a transit system called the Port Authority?!?)”

    The answer is that the river barges run in tows, though they are pushed, not towed, to 34 barge groups that are just under 1200 feet long and 200 feet wide. This is bigger that the upper lakes freighters which are around 1000 feet long. If you are in a pleasure craft and see one of these coming you keep well out of the way.

    In 2010 I travelled the inland waterways of the US from Chicago down the Illinois to the Mississippi, then 218 miles down the Mississippi to the Ohio river. (That is 219 miles more than any sane person would want to take a pleasure craft on the Mississippi.) We then went up the Ohio to the Tennessee River to the Tennessee Lakes. As the 1200 foot lock was out of service for maintenance we saw 1200 foot tows bow into the banks for mile after mile along the Ohio. It is a very, very large port. Barge shipping on the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri rivers is a very major operation. Those ports are probably way busier that the port of Toronto.


  13. Steve wrote: Years ago, the TTC started dead heading the garage trips to save money on driving time.

    The Port Authority was also dead heading to the garages. They just signed which garage they were heading towards.

    In Melbourne, the trams run (or used to, it’s been awhile since I’ve been there) in revenue service back to the depot also signed with the depot name, but with route “00” on the display.

    Robert Wightman wrote: The answer is…

    The question was rhetorical. 🙂

    I do know the history, and how it ended up including transit. It was a bit of a joke on how, when one is in Pittsburgh, there are few visual cues to anything in the area being very nautical. The rivers are large and are likely busier than Toronto’s port, but our port and waterfront can be seen across a vast distance. With Pittsburgh’s rivers at the bottom of deep gorges with looming Appalachian mountains around, one can pass by and miss their existence simply by blinking.


  14. “Sorry…” buses are infuriating! Especially when fresh out of a garage heading to the end of the line to start back. The purpose of a bus being on the street is to provide a transportation service. NOT to wear the tires off the bus! Start the bus out 5 minutes earlier if need be and make all stops.


  15. Speaking of rhetorical…

    I wonder if Malvern operators will dispatch articulated buses on the 102A branch. From what Steve almost forget, the buses that will be used for the 102, are likely being taken from the 199B since Finch West Stn. opened.

    Of course, I don’t even expect 12B restored to its former late evening and early evening schedules with the 12A cancelled after 10:30p M-F and 5:30p weekends/holidays. I wonder if the TTC would split the 12 “via Brimley” into its own route with the launch of the Bluffers Park service this spring.


  16. On the “511 Bathurst” route, shuttle bus operation will end Saturday, February 17, and streetcar operation will begin Sunday, February 18.

    I’m looking forward to taking streetcars on the “511 Bathurst” route to get to popular destinations, most notably the Exhibition grounds and Ontario Place. There are some upcoming events at the Exhibition grounds – the Artist Project at the Better Living Centre (February 22-25), the combined Toronto Antique & Vintage Show and the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show at the Queen Elizabeth Building (March 3-4), and the National Home Show & Canada Blooms (March 9-18). A little further south, Winter at Ontario Place wraps up on Sunday, March 18th, and I shall likely pay another visit to Ontario Place to check out this festival while it’s still on. This year, I continue to meet people from Venezuela, and maybe I will meet some more, either while travelling on the “511 Bathurst” streetcar or at the Exhibition Grounds and/or Ontario Place (this past year or two has been my breakout year for meeting recent immigrants from Venezuela (arriving since 1999) .


  17. 12A service stops when Variety Village is closed, reverting to the 12B routing during the late evening period. 12C has no changes made, as residents do not want buses operating through the residential area in the late evening hours. On a related note 302 service will be following the 12B route and not the 12A route as Variety Village is closed overnight.


  18. When streetcars return to the “511 Bathurst” route on Sunday, February 18, it will be CLRVs. Will there also be some ALRVs on this route?

    Steve: None are planned, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see ALRVs or Flexitys for busy days especially on weekends when fewer of them are needed elsewhere.


  19. Today, I picked up a copy of Metro daily newspaper. One news item is an article about Bombardier, which makes the Flexity Outlook streetcars, stepping up production of the Flexity Outlook streetcars, in order to meet the magic number of 204 by the end of 2019. This means opening up another factory in Kingston, Ontario, to build them. When more of the new Flexity streetcars arrive, which route will be getting priority this year?

    Steve: The current priority is King. Given the less than dependable deliveries of new cars, the TTC has not announced anything beyond that. With streetcar service planned to return to Long Branch in the summer, there will be a bit of a juggling act for the coming months, and that will likely consume the remaining CLRVs and ALRVs still on King as they are replaced by Flexitys.


  20. Beginning on Sunday, February 18, streetcars will be returning to the “511 Bathurst” route, which has been using shuttle buses since Tuesday, September 5, 2017. The TTC had the decency to keep streetcars on the “511 Bathurst” route until the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) was over, as visitors to the fair would prefer to ride them as opposed to shuttle buses, especially when the Canadian International Air Show is on. From a streetcar, people heading to the CNE and the air show would have better viewing (almost 360 degrees) of the aircraft flying over through the large windows as they fly over the city, particularly over the Bathurst street corridor, between Bloor Street and the waterfront. There’s a high-spirited excitement of the passengers on the “511 Bathurst” streetcar as it is making its way southbound to the the CNE, and an even higher-spirited excitement when the air show is on; this super-high-spirited excitement is fueled by the planes and other aircraft flying over.

    This year or two has been my breakout year(s) for meeting recent immigrants from Venezuela, – pronounced ‘ven-ess-WAY-lah’ (the ‘Bolivarian Diaspora’) – and I’ve met them at various locations and during major events – that includes at the Canadian National Exhibition; often during my Sunday trips downtown; Sunday is the traditional day for Venezuelan families to go out together. I’m looking forward to the ‘triumphant’ return of streetcars to the “511 Bathurst” route, and continue meeting more people from Venezuela aboard the streetcar).


  21. Today, streetcars returned and were running on the “511 Bathurst” route for the first time since the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). I took them to get to Ontario Place, a lakeside amusement park located just south of the Exhibition grounds.

    At Ontario Place, there were many people enjoying the mainly sunny weather – walking, riding their bicycles, rollerblading, skating on the artificial-ice rink, sitting around the bonfire, and checking out the art installations. It was almost as busy as on a summer’s day. Also, there were people walking their dogs along the new trails. Along the rocky shores of Ontario Place is ice forming on the rocks. My favourite art installation is the Shine & Smimmer; it’s a vertical installation going down rocks, and it looks vaguely like Angel Falls in Venezuela.


  22. I shall miss being able to take a 511 Bathurst.

    Its been amazing to be able to.

    Farewell accessibility on 511.

    Now I get to explore the areas of the 505 & 506, I’m excited about this!


  23. Today, I took the “511 Bathurst” streetcar; they made their triumphant return exactly a week ago. I took it down to Exhibition Place, to get to the Artist Project, a contemporary art expo located in the Better Living Centre. The calendar may read winter, but it felt more like early spring, with temperatures reaching the double digits (today’s forecasted high was 11 C). There were many people riding the streetcar today, just like last Sunday (February 18 when I went to Ontario Place). From a streetcar, passengers get better views of the city’s streetscapes (nearly 360 degrees), particularly rear views, and streetcars have more seating capacity and more comfortable seats. What I also missed during the five and a half months of shuttle bus operation was the distinctive sound of the “511 Bathurst” streetcar when it travels; it’s the steel-on-steel contact that produces that sound.


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