The June 24 schedule change brings a major upheaval to the streetcar routes and the usual round of summer service cutbacks.
Construction Projects Ending
Queensway & Lakeshore
Streetcar service will, after a long absence, be restored west of Humber Loop. The new service design is similar to the pre-shutdown arrangement where a separate service, the old “507 Long Branch” in everything but name, will operate between Humber and Long Branch Loops. Late in the evening and overnight, streetcar service will run through from Neville to Long Branch.
Weekdays Saturdays Sundays First EB through trip 11:02 pm 10:42 pm 10:32 pm First WB through trip 10:09 pm 10:00 pm 9:52 pm
During the AM peak, five trips will operate through to downtown via Queen arriving at Yonge Street starting at 8:05 am and every 15 minutes after to 9:05.
Midday service at 9 minutes will be slightly better than the 10-minute network would require because the dead-head time to and from Russell Carhouse for one car is not worth the effort.
Recovery time for the “Long Branch” service will be scheduled at Humber Loop to maximize the overlap with the main service on 501 Queen for transfers between cars.
Gerrard & Parliament
With the completion of construction at Gerrard and Parliament, the 65 Parliament and 506 Carlton routes return to normal through this location. However, the 506 Carlton will divert a bit further east (see below).
Broadview Avenue from Dundas to Gerrard
The track on Broadview from Dundas to Gerrard, including both intersections, will be rebuilt over the summer months. This affects many routes.
For the duration of the project, the 504 King, 514 Cherry and 503 Kingston Road routes will operate as a single “504” route with three services:
- 504A streetcars will operate from Dundas West Station to Distillery Loop. This will be scheduled entirely with low-floor cars to preserve accessibility on Cherry Street. Note that the ramps will not be deployed on Roncesvalles because the “bump out” stops are incompatible with the ramps. This problem will be fixed in 2019 while streetcar service is removed from Roncesvalles for the intersection reconstruction at Queen Street.
- 504B/C streetcars will operate from Dufferin Loop to Bingham Loop (weekdays daytime) and to Woodbine Loop (evenings and weekends). This service will use CLRVs.
- 504D buses will operate from Broadview Station to King & Parliament.
Overnight service will operate with a 304 streetcar service from Dundas West Station to Woodbine Loop, and a bus service from King & University to Broadview Station. The streetcar service will be scheduled to use low-floor cars.
With the shuffling of buses between routes, the 502 Downtowner peak period service will revert to streetcar operation for the summer using CLRVs.
While construction is underway south of Gerrard to Dundas, diversion routes will be:
- 504D King bus: From Broadview Station south to Gerrard, west to River, south to King, west to Parliament looping via Parliament, Front and Berkeley.
- 505 Dundas bus: From Broadview Station south to Gerrard, west to River, south to Dundas.
- 506 Carlton bus: No diversion.
While construction is underway at Gerrard and Broadview (starting in late July), diversion routes will be:
- 504D King bus: From Broadview Station south to Jack Layton Way, then west and south via St. Matthews Road to Gerrard, and west via the River Street diversion as above.
- 505 Dundas bus: Same diversion as 504D King to bypass the intersection at Gerrard.
- 506 Carlton bus: Via River, Dundas and Logan both ways.
These diversions will add a lot of turning buses to the intersections at River & Gerrard, and River & Dundas. One can only hope that the City Transportation Department will adjust the traffic signals to suit this arrangement.
Construction continues at Main Station, but new work by Hydro has further affected routes in this area, and diversion routes around work on Main will be implemented as needed through the summer.
The 87 Cosburn and 64 Main routes will be interlined. On weekends, 64 Main buses will divert northbound via Kingston Road and Woodbine to Danforth on weekends due to City road construction.
Due to maintenance work at Greenwood Carhouse, movements to and from the yard will be reduced during the daytime weekdays. Four peak trains that normally return to Greenwood between the rush hours will instead use Keele Yard.
Lawrence West Station
Paving work at Lawrence West Station will prevent buses from using it as a terminus. The 52G Lawrence to Martin Grove service will be extended east to Yonge Street, along with the 59 Maple Leaf route. 109 Ranee buses will serve the station from the street.
Summer Route Changes
The 29 Dufferin bus will not operate into Exhibition Place during the summer because of many events that block roadways. All service will terminate at Dufferin Loop.
The 30 Lambton bus will be extended into High Park on weekends.
The 121 Fort York–Esplanade bus will be extended to Ontario Place.
Evening service will be improved on 509 Harbourfront and all recovery time will be scheduled at Exhibition Loop to avoid delays at Union Station.
The 83 Jones bus service will be improved off-peak to provide more frequent access to Leslie Barns as the infrequent evening and weekend operation interferes with operator access and crew changes.
There is a particular irony to better service on this route. In 1972, a group of local residents forced the TTC to hold its Board meetings in public as required under the Municipal Act with the intent of making a deputation asking for a bus on Jones Avenue. This was the beginning of open meetings at the TTC, a residents’ group lobbying for a route the TTC did not want to run.
A new route, 176 Mimico GO, will operate between the Lakeshore/Park Lawn area and Mimico GO Station during peak periods on a 30 minute headway to improve access to the GO service.
Rumour has it that PCCs will no longer be running on 509 Harbourfront during the summer, because “the route is now pantograph operated”.
Steve: I have already challenged Brad Ross’ statement about this on Twitter. The overhead is still capable of handling poles, and will have to if the 511 or 504 services divert, a not uncommon situation. I suspect this is a BS story to cover up the problem posed by the 48-hour rule.
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Yes the irony for 83 Jones. Well, the same local residents will be happy to see improved service without making any deputations for it. That’s rare!
Hopefully the 176 Mimico shuttle will encourage TTC to look at other areas for similar shuttles to GO Stations.
30 minute headway in rush hour ought to attract HUGE numbers of riders!
Steve: It’s a sop to those who claim that more would ride GO if only there were a way to access it directly. If the bus does well, they can run more, although connecting with a 30 minute train headway would require a parade. The other intent is to show that there would be a demand from Park Lawn for their own station.
The intermix of 504/514/503 is interesting. I wonder what the reaction of Broadview (504) folks will be to being dumped at Parliament after a winding trip south rather than being brought further into the core.
I think it’s worth considering, assuming the closing of King for TIFF is a done deal, a similar intermix arrangement then with streetcars coming out of Springhurst continuing up Bathurst to Queen and going east rather than turning onto King and then off it again, and cars coming from Dundas West into the teeth of the closure cycling back via Cherry.
Steve: I recommend that you look at a track map. There are no curves N-to-E or W-to-S at Bathurst and Queen. I think you mean going straight up Dufferin to Queen, not Bathurst.
Your proposal would relegate the cars from Dufferin Loop (the 504B/C service) to effectively being Queen cars at least as far as Church when they could head south, briefly. The question is what are all of the people on King west of Spadina, and particularly west of Bathurst supposed to do.
Regarding the use of the PCC on 09. There are other factors to take into account as well
1.) Maintenance of the PCCs themselves — they haven’t done much with them recently because of all of the rebuilds going on with the existing fleet.
2.) Last year when it operated the had an empty CLRV follow it just in case it had an issue and needed to be helped out of service. It’s possible that the new cars may not be able to connect to it or they don’t want to have something happen to it like what did with the incident on King a few years back where a new one was derailed by an older car having its brakes on.
Steve: I think what is really going on here is an avoidance of work that could push operators beyond the 48 hour limit, but the TTC is blaming it all on the overhead.
Finally the streetcar service to Long Branch is coming back. It has been a while that buses served Lake Shore since just before Trump took office.
Steve: I’m not sure I would choose that date as a marker for anything beyond the corruption of the USA electoral system.
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@Raymond: The TTC is expecting a few riders to use the 176 route, so this route wouldn’t be popular at all.
Steve: Did you mean to say “few riders” or “a few riders”? The meaning is completely different.
I mean “few riders”
So far, I think these changes are reasonable and interesting.
Steve, will there be a service increase on the “511 Bathurst” streetcar route in time for the tourist season?
Many people choosing to take the TTC to get to Ontario Place ride the “511 Bathurst” streetcar; Ontario Place is free to enter, although watching movies at the Cinesphere usually require paying for a ticket, and concerts at the Budweiser amphitheatre are ticketed events. Also, there are a number of food and beer festivals at Ontario Place, many are free to enter and have free entertainment, although visitors buy sheets of tickets for food and drinks (usually beer); visitors know ahead of time that they’ll buy a can of beer or two, and they’d take the “511 Bathurst” streetcar.
In late summer, there is a long-running Toronto tradition – the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) – better known as the EX. Many people going to the CNE take the “511 Bathurst” streetcar; there’s the high-spirited excitement of the passengers riding the streetcar to the CNE, and this climaxes when the Canadian International Air Show is running. Maybe it’s the sights and sounds of the aircraft flying overhead, in addition to the good food and the rides and/or other fin activities at the CNE.
Steve: The service memo for June 24 does not show any change to the 511 Bathurst service although it would be possible for the TTC to increase capacity by swapping larger cars for CLRVs on busy days.
It is good that the 121 will be extended to Ontario Place (presumably through the Ex Grounds and only in summer?) but maybe unfortunate that they just reduced frequency on this route.
I thought the TTC had a policy (!!) of reviewing new routes after x months. The 121 was created about 2 years ago and has, as far as I know, not been reviewed. One of its MAJOR problems is that it has NO stops in front of Union Station. (Westbound it stops on east side of Bay and west side of Simcoe, Eastbound it stops east of Bay and west of Simcoe). Also the traffic on Front from John to Yonge really causes delays. The City were looking at parking/traffic on Front @ Union with hope of dealing with blockages and creating spaces for TTC stops in better locations but Ii have seen no word on that.
The biggest problem with the 121 stopping in front of union station is the cabs and also the bike share thing that both sit in what would be an ideal spot for a TTC stop.
Exactly. Barbara Gray of Transportation told me that that is what they were trying to deal with in their “traffic study” but I am not sure what’s going on now – they were aiming for a Report about now. (Of course, there are other traffic problems in the Front Street corridor but using all the space in front of Union for cab ranks, rental bikes and a small drop off zone is certainly a big contributor to ‘grid-lock’ in the area.)
To the one who commented on PCCs not operating in 509. The trolley poles can still operate on wires already converted.
511 Bathurst still uses trolley poles but 509 Harbourfront doesn’t. And they share trackage from Bathurst to Exhibition Loop. 503 Kingston Road turns up Spadina but 510 Spadina is already converted. They just can’t operate the other way.
Love the posts Steve! 🙏
Steve: I checked with Brad Ross via email on May 22, and it’s best I let him speak for himself rather than me paraphasing.
My note to Brad Ross:
Brad Ross replied:
Are the 504 King, 514 Cherry and 503 Kingston Road routes all actually going to be signed as 504 cars during the construction period? Or is it just for internal purposes, within the TTC?
In a way, it seems like the TTC is using construction season to test more permanent route changes in the King Street corridor: the 503 to Dufferin and the 514 to Dundas West Station.
Steve: Here is the list of signs that are to be displayed by cars on King taken from the service change memo:
1. Isn’t there a “504 Woodbine” exposure on the destination signs?
Steve: I have never seen one, and they’re using the “Greenwood” sign as a fill in. It will be interesting to see how many cars actually get to Woodbine rather than short-turning at Russell Carhouse.
2. Wouldn’t it make more sense to sign them as “514 Cherry to Distillery via King” ? Those at Dundas West station are going to know it’s a King car … just curious
Steve: That could be argued either way with “King” for the west end and “Cherry” for the middle/east. Westbound “King” makes sense for the entire route.
Steve, what is the 48-hour rule? I wonder if the problem with the TTC not operating the PCC on the Harbourfront line is because of the problems last year. On a number of occasions the car did not run, despite the fact that the TTC has two PCC streetcars, one was not ‘working’ and when questioned by me as to why the other car was not being used the question was ignored. Why bother promising the service if they are not going to provide the service?
Steve: Provincial regulations limit the number of hours per week employees in the transportation sector can work to 48. Exceptions can be made with the agreement of the employees’ union. ATU local 113 had such an agreement in place, but has withdrawn it as part of the current contract negotiations arguing that the TTC is taking advantage of overtime to avoid staffing at an appropriate level. The PCC operation would have almost certainly been overtime work, and the TTC is limiting this to provision of core services. The cancellation of weekend subway shutdowns is caused by the same rule because crewing the shuttle buses requires overtime.
With the reconstruction of Humber Loop, the passing siding on the west-to-east loop was replaced by a stub siding. The TTC had been eliminating stub sidings at loops. This appears to go against the trend.
Steve: I suspect this was the only way they could fit a Flexity-length spare track into the loop.
Re-Appearance of CLRVs (and ALRVs) on Sundays on the “511 Bathurst” Route:
The other day – Sunday, June 24 – I was kinda surprised to see some older streetcars – CLRVs – on the “511 Bathurst” route; I thought on Sundays thise route was to be operated entirely with the new Flexity Outlook streetcars. What is the explanation for this re-appearance of the older streetcars on Sundays during the summer? Is it increased service on that route for the tourist season? Also, will we also see ALRVs on this route?
Steve: The service design is for CLRVs 7 days/week. I suspect you will only see longer cars when there’s something special on at the Ex. Then in September it’s back to buses for a while during construction at Bathurst Station.
One interesting change (not for the better) is that summer service reductions are now buried way down in the service change
From the main TTC page, you click the ‘Service Changes’ hyperlink. This puts you on the ‘Service Changes’ page, with lots of details, but nothing about summer service reductions.
You have to click on the grey box on the left that (seemingly redundantly) advertises “TTC service improvements and changes” (aren’t we there already?).
Scroll way down to ‘Various routes’ and you finally see seasonal service reductions.
These seasonal reductions are not noted in the schedule for a route, even though service will be different. I only realized we had summer reductions on the 110 when the normal 110B didn’t come, but a 110A came instead. Well, yes, the afternoon peak period is down by two buses compared to the rest of the year.
I’m not “shocked, shocked!” because the same reductions happened last summer.
But last summer, they were noted.
This summer, they’re not.
Steve: All of the summer changes, including the 110, are the detailed breakdown attached to my article on the June schedules. Of course, that’s not the sort of thing the general public has access to.
It’s back to shuttle buses on the “511 Bathurst” route in September for construction on the tracks at Bathurst Station; the track and the surrounding concrete at and around this station needs to be replaced. Also, the sidewalks at Bloor Street West and Bathurst Street need to be replaced, as the condition of them has deteriorated in recent years.
Again this year, the TTC should wait until after Labour Day weekend, the last weekend of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), to switch from streetcar to shuttle bus operation; they had the decency to wait until the CNE was over before switching to shuttle bus operation. Many people going to the CNE take the TTC to get to and from this event, and the most popular route is the “511 Bathurst” streetcar, and they prefer streetcars, not shuttle buses; streetcars have more seating capacity – and better views. There’s always a high-spirited excitement of the passengers aboard the streetcar heading to the CNE. During the weekend of the Canadian International Air Show, passengers heading to the CNE aboard the “511 Bathurst” streetcar look out the windows and watch the planes flying overhead ‘if they would be running a bit late’ arriving at the CNE and the air show has already started; there is a more limited view (of the air show) from a shuttle bus and the rear view is nonexistent.
Last year for Sunday and Monday of the Labour Day weekend 511 Bathurst had a mix of buses providing base service and streetcars operating as extras. I expect they will do the same this year.
The service design during the playoff runs for the Toronto Marlies games seemed to both accommodate extra service while also sabotaging it. I remember leaving the final game where they won the championship – over 8,000 in attendance – and it was a disaster. There was a very large contingent of TTC Supervisors and staff wandering around the Exhibition Loop, but it looked like zero extra vehicles were there. When they did show up they would fill up instantly with passengers, but then would simply sit in the loop for 10 minutes before departing. It’s not like the end time of the game was unpredictable. They are almost always about 2.5 hours. They deployed staff, but no vehicles.
During last year’s Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), I went three times – all three visits were on a Sunday – and I took the “511 Bathurst” streetcar both ways for each visit. I met people originally from Venezuela (pronounced ‘ven-ess-WAY-lah’) on the streetcar en route to the CNE and met them again in the Food Building (at lunch-time); I heard them talking to each other in Spanish – and even talking to the food vendors in Spanish – “yo quiero una hamburguesa y papas fritas, por favor”. Sunday is the traditional day for expat Venezuelan families living in Toronto to go out together, and a visit to the CNE is an ideal family outing for them; there has been a steady influx of Venezuelans immigrating to Canada in recent years, and many of them have chosen to live in Toronto.
On the TTC’s website, the schedule page for 506 Carlton mentions both the temporary route change at Broadview, and replacement by buses.
The schedule page for 505 Dundas does not.
Steve: Because other than dodging around the construction at the corner of Broadview & Gerrard, the Dundas bus will follow the same route throughout the summer. Only the stop locations at that intersection will shift, but the route stays basically the same.
The schedule page for 504 King assures riders that the route runs from Broadview station to Dundas West station while also showing schedule times for all those different branches, with no particular further explanation.
Steve: Actually, the full length route is described on the Route Description page. The directional pages shows the service in a somewhat confused way that does not include the Woodbine Loop extension. There seems to be a problem with defining the route and its many permutations of routing. The Nextbus export has similar limitations, and also fouls up by giving predictions for any “504” at shared stops even when they are of no use to riders (e.g. a westbound shuttle bus at Parliament).
I assume the King diversions are documented somewhere, but certainly not under their Route Diversions page.
Steve: This is a long-standing problem with the TTC site. The diversions are listed on the construction page under “Broadview Dundas”, not 504 King. They are also listed under “Service Changes”. But they are not listed under “diversions” where one might reasonably expect to find them. To be fair, the Service Change is linked as one of the Service Advisories for 504 King from the schedule pages. But Holmesian sleuthing is required to understand which info is where.
Well, notes about the various diversions have appeared for 504 and 505 on the basic page that’s above the EB/WB/Description/Map tabs. 🙂
The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is just around the corner, and many people take the TTC to get too and from this popular late-summer event. Me and many others will be taking the “511 Bathurst” streetcar to get to the CNE, and this means extra service on this route – and also the use of larger streetcars (ALRVs and Flexities) in addition to CLRVs. There’s always the high-spirited excitement of the passengers riding the “511 Bathurst” streetcar to the CNE.
In more recent years, I’ve sat next to people originally from Venezuela travelling aboard the “511 Bathurst” streetcar on the way to the CNE; they were super-excited as this was their first time going to the CNE.
The TTC should do the decent thing and wait until after the Labour Day weekend – the last weekend that the CNE is running and also the air show – before replacing streetcars on this route (“511 Bathurst”) with shuttle buses.