TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, September 2, 2018 (Updated)

The TTC will implement many service changes with the first of new fall 2018 schedules, with more (as yet not announced) to follow.

The September schedules also include a return to winter service levels. I have not included these in the summary except where other changes happen at the same time.

Updated August 1, 2018: The Express Bus Network service comparisons have been updated to include April 2018 (winter) service levels as well as the current summer services where these differ. In many cases, although the new service design is an improvement over summer service levels, there is little or no change from the winter service. This was already noted  in the text describing each route, but it was not reflected in the detailed spreadsheet comparing before and after service levels.

Updated August 1, 2018 at 10:40 pm: The original version of this post and the linked spreadsheet showed 503 Kingston Road reverting to bus operation in September. This is not correct. It will remain a streetcar route, but will terminate at its “traditional” York & Wellington location.

2018.09.02_Service_Changes_V3  [pdf]

Express Buses

In a previous article, I gave an overview of the new Express Bus Network that will be rolled out in coming months. The details of service changes for the first batch of routes are included in the spreadsheet linked above. In a few cases, the change is simply a question of rebranding routes with the new 900-series numbers, but in many service improvements are included.

  • 37/937 Islington will have additional peak service between Steeles and Islington Station.
  • 54 Lawrence East will have additional midday weekday service on the local branches. The 954 schedule is based on the old winter schedule for the 54E Express service.
  • 60/960 Steeles West changes are mostly the return to the winter service levels with minor adjustments for reliability.
  • 84/984 Sheppard West changes mainly reallocate buses between various branches, and extend the express service from Sheppard West Station to Weston Road.
  • 85/190/985 Sheppard East and STC Rocket changes create a new peak period express service to Meadowvale, and switch articulated bus operation to the express services leaving standard sized buses on the local services on weekdays. Weekend schedules are unchanged except for the rebranding of the 190 as 985A.
  • 102/902 Markham Road services are reorganized by reducing service on the local 102A to Centennial College, but adding more replacement service as the 902 express.
  • 134C/913 Progress service to Centennial College is changed to operate express in the peak direction (outbound in the AM, inbound in the PM peak) from STC to the college, and service will run more frequently.
  • 185/925 Don Mills is only a rebranding. There is no change to service levels.
  • 191/927 Highway 27 will see improved peak period express service, but this is mainly the restoration of winter schedules. Otherwise, this is a rebranding.
  • 195/935 Jane will see improved PM peak express service, but otherwise this is a rebranding.
  • 198/905 UTSC/Eglinton East has some service improvements, partly through restoration of winter schedules, but is otherwise a rebranding.
  • 199/939 Finch will see better peak service to Morningside Heights, but otherwise this is a rebranding.

Subway

On the subway network, there will be one additional gap train (for a total of 3) on Line 1 YUS during the AM peak, and winter schedules will return on Line 2 BD. A new route number, 600, has been created for internal use for scheduled construction shuttle buses which will operate from Arrow Road, Birchmount, Mount Dennis and Queensway Garages, with a smaller contribution from Malvern Garage.

Streetcars

The streetcar network will go through another shuffle of bus replacements in response to construction projects, the streetcar shortage and shifting demand for fall 2018.

  • 501 Queen loses its 5 AM peak trippers from Long Branch.
  • [Corrected] 502 Downtowner reverts to bus operation, while 503 operates peak only with streetcars and runs to York and Wellington, not to Spadina (Charlotte Loop).
  • 504 King and 514 Cherry revert to schedules from April and May 2018 respectively.
  • 505 Dundas remains a bus operation due to track construction at Lansdowne, and water main work east of Bathurst.
  • 506 Carlton returns to streetcar operation with a handful of AM peak period bus trippers.
  • 511 Bathurst switches to bus operation. Construction at Bathurst Station will require the streetcar loop to be shared between the 511 and 7 Bathurst buses.
  • 512 St. Clair becomes 100% low floor with some adjustments in the service levels.

Operations on 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina will be modified to improve service and eliminate bottlenecks at subway station loops. On the 509, all recovery time will be scheduled at Exhibition Loop so that streetcars do not wait on their scheduled departure time at Union. The recovery point for 510 will be shifted to Spadina and Bremner where layovers, if needed, will not block other streetcars at Spadina or Union Station Loops. A side-effect is that through riders may experience a delay at this location. This practice has been in place unofficially for some time during quieter periods on the route, but it does not deal with issues of washroom breaks and crew changeovers at the terminal stations.

Buses

Construction projects:

  • Work at Main Station will be complete by September, and all routes will revert to their standard arrangement there.
  • Construction at Bathurst Station will shift all bus operations to the streetcar loop.
  • Construction at Dundas and Lansdowne will divert the 47 Lansdowne bus via College, Dufferin and Queen both ways.
  • Construction continues at Lawrence West Station requiring extension of routes that normally terminate there to Lawrence Station.

Service on 29 Dufferin will be converted to articulated buses on Sundays. Further changes will occur in October with the Express Bus implementation on this route.

Service improvements include:

  • Better service on the 36B Finch West bus between Yonge Street and Finch West Station.
  • Better PM peak service to Steeles on 43A Kennedy.
  • Better peak and midday service on 63 Ossington.
  • Reallocation of buses between the two branches of 66 Prince Edward during peak periods to provide better service to Park Lawn Loop at the expense of service to Humber Loop.
  • Better peak service on 79 Scarlett Road which, combined with the return of winter service levels, will provide considerably more frequent service.
  • Better peak service on 88 South Leaside.
  • Better peak and midday service on 100 Flemingdon Park.
  • Route 123 Shorncliffe is renamed 123 Sherway, and a new branch via West Mall to Sherway is added during peak periods.
  • Better AM peak service on 165 Weston Road North.

The 21 Brimley route will shift from Birchmount to Malvern Garage, and the 102/902 Markham Road service will shift from Malvern to Birchmount.

35 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, September 2, 2018 (Updated)

  1. I wonder if it makes sense to eliminate all 510 service on Queens Quay and have the 509 only, and maybe reallocate one of two 510 cars to the 509? If would allow both the 509 and 510 to have proper layovers on both ends of the route without holding each other up.

    It would also alleviate issues of bunching on Spadina caused by the Queens Quay and Union branches merging unevenly.

    Steve: There is a very strong “around the corner” flow between Spadina and Queens Quay during the rush hour which would require riders to transfer, in very large numbers, to 510 cars that are already full eastbound from the condos between Spadina and Strachan. Off peak, there is a fair amount of demand from Spadina to Queens Quay, and I notice that streetcars start to fill up south from College with riders destined for the south end of the line.

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  2. 506 Carlton returns to streetcar operation with a handful of peak period trippers.

    Bus trippers, presumably?

    Steve: Yes. I will fix that. The info is in the detailed table.

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  3. Steve wrote: 191/927 Highway 27 will see improved peak period express service, but this is mainly the restoration of winter schedules. Otherwise, this is a rebranding.

    There is actually no improvement whatsoever to the 191/927 Highway 27 Express. The service level and RTT is identical to the April board period before summer classes at Humber College.

    I’m really not sure what TTC’s artic fleet usage plan is. Malvern division artics have been underused for a few years now. Only a third of the fleet is used in midday and less in the evenings. With this change, on a few of them would be used outside peak periods. Meanwhile artics are operating 7 days a week (unscheduled at times) on the 29 Dufferin and 36 Finch West.

    Steve: Thanks for pointing this out. The problem was that some of the “summer” changes took place in May, and when I looked at that as a reference point, the lack of improvement to the true winter schedules was not evident. I plan to update the article and table to include explicit comparisons with the “winter” service on the affected routes.

    Sadly, the “E” bus rollout is more marketing that a real system-wide improvement.

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  4. Has any progress been made on improving other loading/unloading practises at Spadina Station (e.g. including platform length improvements) beyond changing the recovery point? It’s a major bottleneck.

    Steve: No. Also, the problem of crew changes and washroom breaks will remain as a source of delay.

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  5. Steve – here’s what I don’t understand. The TTC has indirectly admitted that having numerous branches of a route is too confusing for most people (e.g. – the separation of the 96 into 96/118/119). So, why do they rename the 123 and add yet another branch (what will this make it – 4 or 5??)? Why not do something similar to the old 123/124 split? You just know that people who want to end on the East Mall will take the West Mall branch (and vice versa)/

    And, while I’m at it, why do other routes like the 84 continue to operate with multiple branches?

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  6. The 123 has been a problem child for a while. Because of increasing traffic around the big box stores, the North Queen/Queensway branch has problems running on time. For morning peak, midday, and afternoon peak, the 123C alternates with the ‘local’ 123D to Sherway via East Mall and Evans. There are all sorts of difficulties in getting the two branches to interoperate on an even headway. Not only are the headways uneven, the 123C running time has been padded to the point of riders getting a 5 minute layover on Sherway if they’re travelling to or from further south.

    It would be good to do a rethink of service in SW Etobicoke, akin to the rethink in the Junction. I think there should be a dedicated Brown’s Line route, which runs to Long Branch without looping through Sherway Gardens. Even without a layover, it’s at least five minutes to loop through Sherway, maybe ten. For people from Long Branch or Alderwood travelling to or from the subway, this is a time-wasting diversion.

    PS. 123 SHORNCLIFFE is already confusing. If you stand at the stop at Evans and Gair on the south side, you can catch a 123B to Long Branch, and 123B to Kipling station, or a 123C to Kipling station. If you stand on the north side at Evans and Gair, you can catch a 123B to Long Branch, a 123B to Kipling, or a 123C to Kipling. Moral: read the destination sign carefully!

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  7. A heads up, on your “Service Improvement” a typo. Should be 36B Finch West bus between Yonge Street and Finch West Station. (Not Sheppard West)

    Steve: Fixed. Thanks!

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  8. This year, like last year, the TTC should wait until the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is over before replacing streetcars on the “511 Bathurst” route with shuttle buses. There will be many people taking the TTC to the CNE, and they would prefer to ride streetcars as they have more seating capacity and more comfortable seats (than buses) and more viewing of planes during the Canadian International Air Show when its on; you don’t get the same viewing with buses (no rear view) – especially from the low-floor, multiple-articulated Flexity Outlooks. For those taking the TTC to the CNE, riding the streetcar to and from the CNE is part of the experience and a distinctive experience; there’s always the high-spirited excitement of the passengers on the “511 Bathurst” streetcar.

    Last year, the TTC left streetcars on the “511 Bathurst” route until the CNE ended, waiting until after Labour Day to replace streetcars with shuttle buses.

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  9. For those who are following this post, the detailed table of service changes has been updated to include both summer and winter frequencies for routes affected by the Express Bus Network implementation.

    Like

  10. Will 953 be served by articulated or regular buses? What routes will be articulated besides 985 Sheppard East?

    Steve: The details for routes to be implemented later in 2018 and 2019 have not yet been released.

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  11. Steve, the TTC should leave streetcars running on the “511 Bathurst” route until the last day of the CNE (which is Labour Day) just like last year before replacing streetcars with a shuttle bus operation; people would prefer a comfortable streetcar ride as opposed to a bumpy shuttle bus ride to and from the CNE. Also, streetcars have more seating capacity, especially the longer low-floor Flexity Outlooks (Flexities), which have large windows.

    This – leaving streetcars on the “511 Bathurst” route until the CNE is over – is especially important during the last weekend of the CNE, when the Canadian International Air Show is on. If ‘running late’ for the air show, passengers would get a far superior – especially a rear view – of the planes and other air craft flying above them through the windows of streetcars (especially Flexities); the experience wouldn’t be the same when riding a shuttle bus to the CNE when the air show is on, as shuttle buses have no rear windows for passengers to watch the planes when they fly over Bloor Street.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Steve said: [Corrected] 502 Downtowner reverts to bus operation, while 503 operates peak only with streetcars and runs to York and Wellington, not to Spadina (Charlotte Loop).

    I will be very surprised if this change to 503 actually happens as the section of Wellington from Church to Yonge is now a major construction site – and will be until Christmas. Hydro are currently installing new underground chambers and they will be followed by (or accompanied by) Enbridge, Bell, Rogers and Beanfield. They are all expected to be out of the street early in 2019 when a major streetscape improvement project will start. This includes new streetcar track.

    Steve: Yes, I was surprised by that and missed that 503 was staying a streetcar even though it would run along Wellington. I plan to check with TTC about the Hydro work as this project was known about some time ago, and was actually delayed so as not to interfere with the launch of the King Street Pilot last fall.

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  13. Also on that 503 route: the switch northbound on York at King appears to be impassable at the moment. There has been one of those orange warning dohickeys placed on it and a big sign directing traffic out of that lane for about two weeks now. I work at the intersection and have not seen anyone there working on it in that time.

    I’m sure it’s scheduled to be done, but with the TTC I can’t help but chuckle at a possibility they have forgotten about it and the first operator who attempts pass through there will get a big surprise!

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  14. The orange cones etc at York & King are there because there is a ‘manhole’ (between the rails) that has collapsed. (I think it’s access to a water valve and not a TTC problem). I suspect it would not bother a streetcar as the rails appear unaffected and think that the cones etc are there to stop cars from going into the hole. (Of course, the cones and signage would certainly block a streetcar, should one actually be able to get that far past all the Hydro work further east.)

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  15. Could you explain why there will be a division shift for 21 and 102?

    Steve: The text in the service change memo says, in each case,

    “This route will move from xxx Division to yyy Division in order to better balance bus fleet allocation amongst the garages in the city.”

    21 Brimley requires fewer buses than 102/902 Markham Road (10 vs 18).

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  16. A week from today – August 17 – the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) begins and runs until Labour Day (September 3); the TTC should run streetcars on its “511 Bathurst” route until the last day of the CNE, then replace streetcars with shuttle buses on that route. This would be the decent thing for the TTC to do. There will be many people taking the TTC to get to the CNE, and a substantial minority of those choose to take the “511 Bathurst” streetcar to get to and from the CNE. The largest demand is during the last weekend of the CNE, when the Canadian International Air Show is on, and warrants the TTC to increase service even more on the “511 Bathurst” route by adding extra streetcars.

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  17. Hi Steve,

    I have 2 questions and its two different things that I have heard from various places.

    1. Is the 193 running this year with the CNE? If no, do you know why?
    2. I heard that Royal York Station is re-opening in the fall (from 2 Queensway Garage operators), are the 15, 48, 73 and 76 going back to previously scheduled routing or are they still serving the stops on the street? Nothing is indicated.

    Steve:

    1. No, the 193 is not running this year. See the TTC’s CNE Service page. As to why not, I suspect that the TTC views it as superfluous now that Dufferin Station has elevators and everyone can simply use the 29 Dufferin bus. Whether there is enough service or not is a completely separate issue, and would apply to the 193 bus at Dundas West as well.
    2. The work at Royal York Station is supposed to finish at the end of 2018. I have not yet seen the proposed schedule changes for mid-November or for year-end, and so I cannot say which one will see normal service restored.

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  18. It would be better to have a new route: ”936 Finch West Express” between Finch Stn and Finch West Stn, replacing 939B (formerly 199B). Route ”939 Finch Express” should be renamed as ”939 Finch East Express” and should terminated at Finch Stn.

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  19. Steve, the delivery of more new streetcars means a shorter period of shuttle bus operation for “511 Bathurst”:

    Next month – after the CNE ends – the “511 Bathurst” route will return to shuttle bus operation and this time for a shorter duration than the previous two years. Looking back, in 2016-17, the “511 Bathurst” route operated with shuttle buses from Sunday, November 20, 2016 until Saturday, May 6, 2017 (streetcars returned on Sunday, May 7); in 2017-18, the “511 Bathurst” route operated with shuttle buses from Tuesday, September 5, 2017 until Saturday, February 17, 2018 (streetcars returned on Sunday, February 18).

    This autumn, there will be another large delivery of the new low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcars, and this would mean that streetcars will return to the “511 Bathurst” route, hopefully in time for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair at Exhibition Place (Enercare Centre & Coca-Cola Coliseum); but more likely in time for the One-of-a-Kind Christmas Show & Sale, which runs from November 22 through to December 2, 2018, at the Enercare centre at Exhibition Place.

    Steve: There is no guarantee that streetcars will return immediately to Bathurst. Current plans are to completely convert King by year-end, and this will soak up a chunk of the new deliveries.

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  20. I was passing through the Bathurst subway station after stepping off the ‘7 Bathurst’ bus, and read the notice about the “511 Bathurst” route; streetcars will be replaced with shuttle buses, effective September 2. Will there still be streetcars running until Labour Day? I hope there is streetcars, particularly the low-floor Flexity Outlooks – it would otherwise be petty to rob CNE-goers of their streetcars, which carry a lot more people than buses, as there will be crowds expected, and the Canadian International Air Show runs from Saturday through to Monday (Labour Day). Also, on southbound “511 Bathurst” streetcars, passengers would have a better view out of the windows (if ‘running late’ and the air show has already started) than they would through those of a shuttle bus on that same route, as the latter doesn’t have rear views.

    Steve, it would be the decent thing for TTC to leave streetcars on the “511 Bathurst” route until Labour Day, which is also the closing day for the CNE.

    Steve: According to the Service Change Memo for September, the 511 Bathurst route will have bus extras, not streetcars.

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  21. Steve:

    As in the past, the TTC added bus extras (an express shuttle bus service), supplementing (but not substituting) streetcar service on the “511 Bathurst” route during the last weekend of the CNE, and thus running in tandem on Bathurst Street between the Bathurst subway station (on Bloor Street West) and the Exhibition Loop. This gives CNE-goers using the “511 Bathurst” route a choice between streetcars and express shuttle buses to get there and back.

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  22. Aside: why do people refer to `shuttle buses’ when they cover the entire streetcar (or other) route they replace?

    I thought a shuttle bus was one that just went back and forth between a few places, e.g. to cover a short out-of-service section of the subway. Surely buses that replace an entire streetcar route are no more shuttles than the streetcar they replace.

    Is there some transit term-of-art I’m missing, or is this just careless usage?

    Steve: In this context, an “express bus” might be a better term.

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  23. Hi Steve,

    I came across a posting on another forum that mentioned the TTC has imposed a slow order across the entire streetcar network until the overhead system is upgraded and so that trolley shoes/pantograph carbons lifespan are extended. I know in a previous excellent post you discussed about trolley shoes. Do you have any info on this system wide slow down? When it comes to the 510, it seems like the service has been purposely slowed down to the point that operators unnecessarily dawdle (disregarding scheduling).

    I am hoping that this is temporarily but I have a feeling that this slow down will eventually become forgotten and made apart of the appalling timid streetcar operations culture.

    Steve: This does not make sense. I certainly have been on streetcars that are not running slowly. I will inquire about this.

    Update: According to the TTC’s Brad Ross, this rumour is not correct. There has been a slow order on all intersections for a long time thanks to the unreliable electric switch systems, but not for the system as a whole.

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  24. There will be extra service on the “511 Bathurst” route for the final weekend of the CNE to meet the demands, as there will be crowds; streetcars including the accessible low-floor Flexity Outlooks are to remain on this route until Labour Day, with additional service provided by express shuttle buses.

    Steve: That makes a lot more sense than a complete switch to buses, but I will wait to Sunday morning to see if what you describe is what they actually run.

    There will be an even higher-spirited excitement of passengers on the “511 Bathurst” streetcars during the final weekend of the CNE, the Canadian International Air Show, which is running for the duration of that weekend, fuels this excitement.

    Steve: An update as of 11:30 am on Sunday, September 2: There are no streetcars on 511 Bathurst today, only buses.

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  25. So, wasn’t the 512 supposed to be 100% converted to low-floor streetcars as of September 2 2018? Wouldn’t that mean too that they would be using pantographs now seeing as that’s why they have had the nightly bus replacements to convert the wires…. Yet I saw several 512 streetcars with trolley poles.

    Steve: Give it a few weeks to see if the TTC actually makes the changeover.

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  26. Steve, there were mostly shuttle buses on the “511 Bathurst” route, but there were some low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcars sticking around (for the remainder of the long weekend), and I managed to ride them both to and from the CNE. The air show had already started when I was heading to the CNE, and the excited passengers on the streetcar had a good view of the planes – the F-16 Thunderbirds – flying overhead. The air show was fuelling their already high-spirited excitement which comes with going to the CNE.

    There was a wait for a Flexity Outlook streetcar on the “511 Bathurst” route coming from the CNE (mostly shuttle buses on this route by that time), so I boarded it, and there were large numbers of people aboard it, including myself, coming from the CNE and heading back to the Bathurst subway station; this includes families bringing home prizes that they’ve won and merchandise that they’ve purchased.

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  27. The 512 is not fully converted to pantograph overhead yet, it seems. This post claims 4461 had a pantograph related oops at St Clair West.

    As for the changeover of 511, I don’t understand the virtue of changing the board period on Labour Day Sunday – surely it is not beyond the wit of the TTC to delay the change until the holiday Monday at least.

    Steve: Schedules always change on Sunday because work is signed up on a Sunday-to-Saturday-based week. Labour Day is a special holiday schedule and signup, and so could have had streetcars provided for the single day.

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  28. In regards to Pantographs on 512 in the St Clair West station section, they are in the process of installing a rigid overhead a metal bar that will conduct the power to the pantograph instead of a wire. From my most recent trip there they are still working on some of the sections of it.

    Like

  29. “Flexity Outlook” Streetcars:

    Steve, more routes are getting the new Flexity Outlook streetcars; the most recent is the “501 Queen”. I saw a few Flexities on this route yesterday on the way to and from the CNE; I was riding Flexities on the “511 Bathurst” route both to and from the CNE – there were still a few streetcars (Flexity Outlook) running on this route – although that day TTC started replacing streetcars with shuttle buses.

    Steve: The TTC announced that it was starting to use Flexitys on 501 Queen on weekends on September 2, although none were out on Labour Day. The cars on Bathurst were extras.

    There are two routes which the Flexity Outlook streetcars use pantographs instead of trolley poles; the first is the “509 Harbourfront” and more recently the “510 Spadina” (the first route to use the new Flexities. However, the Flexity Outlook streetcars on the “514 Cherry”, “504 King”, “512 St. Clair West”, and “511 Bathurst” still use the trolley pole.

    Steve: St. Clair is supposed to convert to pantograph this fall, but for some unknown reason the TTC has still not finished the pan-friendly installation at St. Clair West Station.

    Buses on the “511 Bathurst” route:

    The TTC has just replaced streetcars on the “511 Bathurst” route with shuttle buses, and how long (how many weeks or months) will this period of shuttle bus operation last?

    Steve: At least until late November due to construction at Bathurst Station. Beyond that is a question of streetcar availability and where the TTC wants to concentrate available equipment.

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  30. The first morning of TIFF, literally nothing happening on King Street, and there’s 10+ minute gaps between cars on King. Nextbus seems to have no clue how to predict anything. What a gong show. It’s almost like they’ve never done this before…

    Steve: The TTC does not update the “map” of the King route during the TIFF diversion and so NextBus is completely lost when it comes to predictions. This is called “customer service” in some circles.

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  31. On Sunday, September 2, although it was mostly shuttle buses running on the “511 Bathurst” route, some streetcars remained, the majority of them Flexities – and I took them both to and from the CNE that day. When streetcars return to “511 Bathurst” after this period of shuttle bus operation, which model? Will this route become fully converted to the new low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcars?

    Steve: Eventually, but the schedule appears to have been shuffled with the priority going to finishing the King conversion by yearend and moving on to Queen to address capacity issues there.

    Like

  32. This week, the “7 Bathurst” buses and the “511 Bathurst” shuttle buses (temporarily replacing streetcars on this route) both stop on the streetcar tracks, and the bays for the “7 Bathurst” buses at the Bathurst subway station are now temporarily closed, in advance of the reconstruction of the bus bays.

    What really needs to be done is jackhammering the old sidewalks at Bloor Street West and Bathurst street, especially th northeast corner. These sidewalks have been left to deteriorate until they are now not only unattractive but also unsafe. There is even a small sinkhole right outside a now-vacant dollar store. This has been earmarked for jackhammering and then the pouring of fresh concrete. The resurfacing of the sidewalks should be part of the rebuilding of Bloor Street West and Bathurst Street.

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  33. This week, construction work has just begun on the bus bays at Bathurst station, where the “7 Bathurst” bus pulls into. Is this the reason for running buses on the “511 Bathurst” route and are there other reasons for running buses?

    When streetcars finally return, which models?

    Steve: The construction is supposed to finish in time for the schedule change in late November, but I don’t know yet what type of vehicle you will see. My suspicion is that buses will dominate the service until the streetcar fleet builds up because the TTC wants to finish the conversion of King by the end of 2018 and move on to Queen.

    Like

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