TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, October 7, 2018

Thanksgiving weekend will bring a major change in the organization of streetcar service on King Street, a further expansion of the new Express Network, and several service improvements mainly during the off-peak period.

2018.10.07_Service_Changes [Revised to correct branch letters on 12 Kingston Road]

King and Cherry Streetcars

As I reported in a previous article, the 514 Cherry route will disappear as a distinct entity. Service on 504 King will be changed to a configuration to the design used over summer 2018 while Broadview Avenue was closed for construction. An eastern and western branch will serve the route overlapping in the central section.

  • 504A Dundas West Station to Distillery Loop
  • 504B Broadview Station to Dufferin Loop

Unlike the summer routes, the Kingston Road streetcar service will remain in its traditional design:

  • The 502 Downtowner route operates between Bingham Loop (at Victoria Park) and University Avenue weekdays until 7:00 pm. This remains as a bus service pending availability of enough streetcars to restore streetcar service to McCaul Loop.
  • Peak period 503 Kingston Road Tripper streetcars operate from Bingham Loop to York & Wellington via King. Service to the Charlotte loop at Spadina, part of the summer design, was discontinued with the return to fall schedules in September.

Scheduled headways on the outer parts of the route are wider than currently operated on the premise that the route will operate with larger Flexity cars rather than the old CLRVs. The TTC’s intent is to have the route completely converted to new cars by the end of the year. As of September 13, about three quarters of the AM peak 504 King cars were operating with Flexitys as well as all of the 514 Cherry cars. Based on Flexity delivery rates, the conversion will not complete before the new schedules go into effect and a few CLRVs will remain at least to late October. The TTC plans to use these only on peak period trippers so that off-peak service is fully provided by Flexitys.

Express Bus Network

Four routes will join the 900-series express network. (For details of stopping patterns, please refer to the table of changes linked above.)

952 Lawrence will operate from Lawrence Station to Pearson Airport via Dixon Road during peak periods. The combined local and express service will provide about 13.5 buses per hour compared to the current 12 at the express stops.

Concurrent with this change, the end of construction at Lawrence West Station, service on the Westway branch will be cut back from Yonge Street to its usual eastern terminus at the Spadina subway. This branch will also change from 5 to 4 buses per hour during the AM peak.

Overall, the total number of buses assigned to this route will rise slightly during peak periods, but weekday off-peak headways will widen slightly.

924 Victoria Park will operate during peak periods replacing the 24E Victoria Park Express. This is only a rebranding, and the number of AM peak buses is actually dropping by one in the new service design.

929 Dufferin will operate weekdays in peak and off-peak until mid-evening between Wilson Station and the Dufferin Loop at the western entrance to Exhibition Place. Concurrently, the peak period short turn at Tycos Drive will be dropped and all of the local 29 Dufferin buses will run through to Wilson Station. The peak period combined frequency at express stops will improve, but local stops will see less service. Both the local and express services will operate with articulated buses.

989 Weston will operate during peak periods as a through service from Keele Station to Steeles overlapping both the 89 Weston and 165 Weston Road North routes. There is no change on the 165 schedule. The combined service at express stops will improve over current 89 Weston levels.

Service on Sheppard East will be reorganized on weekends.

  • On Saturdays, the 85 Sheppard East local service will change from articulated buses to standard-sized vehicles, while the 985 express service to STC will change from standard to artic buses.
  • On Sundays, the 985 Sheppard East Express will change to artic buses.

Concurrent changes will lower the capacity provided on the 85 service while slightly increasing it on the 985 express. However, the headways (time between vehicles) on the express service will widen to offset the use of larger vehicles.

Service on Finch West will be improved on weekends by provision of 939B Finch Express service to Finch West Station during the daytime. There is no change in the local bus schedules, and so this is a net new service, albeit not a very frequent one.

Construction Projects

Three construction projects end with the October schedules:

  • Lawrence West Station will re-open as a bus terminal for 59 Maple Leaf and the Westway branch of 52 Lawrence. The 109 Ranee and 400 Lawrence Manor buses, which had been stopping on street, will move back into the bus loop. Concurrently, because of the large number of buses on Lawrence serving this station, the through services to Yonge Street will continue to use on street stops and riders will require transfers to enter Lawrence West Station unless they are Metropass or Presto users.
  • Track construction at Lansdowne and Dundas will complete. The 47 Lansdowne, 402 Parkdale and 505 Dundas routes will resume their normal operation. Given the speed of recent construction projects, this is likely to occur before the official schedule change.
  • City construction at Yonge and Sheppard is finally complete and the 97 Yonge bus will resume its normal route rather than being split at Lawrence.

Seasonal Services End

Various seasonal services will end including the trial operation of 175 Bluffer’s Park. Its future will be the subject of a report to the TTC Board in 2019.

Miscellaneous Changes

1 Yonge-University-Spadina operations will be modified to improve reliability in three ways:

  • On current schedules, four trains in the AM peak originate at Finch Station rather than operating from Wilson Yard. This will be increased to five.
  • At the end of the AM peak, trains running in to Davisville currently short turn northbound at Lawrence Station. This requires co-ordination with the southbound service and can cause delays and gaps. On the new schedules, these trains will run through to Finch northbound, and then dead head southbound to Davisville. Although this will remove a problem at Lawrence, it could worsen queuing problems northbound at Finch.
  • In the evening, all trains running in to Wilson Yard will do so southbound from Vaughan using the new north entrance to the yard, rather than short turning northbound at Wilson.

Peak period service will be modified on a few routes:

  • 11 Bayview will get better AM and PM peak service.
  • 12 Kingston Road will gain a new branch 12D operating to UTSC and providing a through service on Kingston Road. However, this will run only every 30 minutes during the AM peak, 25 minutes during the PM peak, and the actual usefulness of the service is dubious. Concurrently, service will be reduced on the existing 12A/C branches. This change is more about political optics in southern Scarborough just in time for the election than it is a real contribution to better service. [Lettering of branches corrected Sept 13/18 at 3:55 pm.]
  • 25 Don Mills will get better service on its 25C branch to from Sheppard to Steeles during weekday midday and PM peak periods.
  • 925 Don Mills Express will see a slight improvement in AM peak service.

Off peak service changes include:

  • 54 Lawrence East will receive better service on both branches on Saturday afternoons.
  • 63 Ossington will receive better late evening service on Saturdays.
  • 95 York Mills Saturday service will be revised both to operate more frequently, and to extend the hours of the 95B service to UTSC which now ends eastbound from Yonge just before 7 pm into the mid-evening.
  • Saturday afternoon service on 102 Markham Road will improve slightly, but evening service north of Steeles Avenue will be cut from every 20′ to 30′ at York Region’s request.
  • 112 West Mall will receive improved weekday midday service.
  • Service on 129 McCowan North will be improved on Saturday daytimes primarily by trimming excess running time.
  • 131 Nugget will get better service on Saturday afternoons.

Details of all changes are in the PDF linked above.

24 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, October 7, 2018

  1. Stupid question Steve.. did the 193 disappear as a route this year? It was not running during the 2018 CNE and Dufferin Station is now accessible which gets me thinking that they eliminated it.

    Steve: Yes, there was no 193, and I don’t expect it to reappear.


  2. Hard to imagine that Wilson division buses now go as far as east as Markham Road in Scarborough on 42 Cummer and Westwood Mall in Mississauga on 52B Lawrence West!! 43 km apart!


  3. 12D Kingston Road not 12C to UTSC 😊

    Steve: Thanks for catching this. I have updated the text of the article and the linked details.


  4. I’ve been unable to find info on where exactly the express buses (I’m interested in the 929) will stop. It doesn’t seem to be on the TTC website. Looking forward to it just the same.

    Steve: If you open the linked document with the detailed descriptions of the changes, you will find the stop locations for the express services.


  5. So the U to T Scarb will replace the 12C branch to St Clair?

    Steve: Sorry, no. That was an error as noted in a previous comment, now fixed. The UTSC service is 12D, and the 12C to St. Clair continues, but on a slightly wider headway than before.


  6. One thing I noticed on the maps and route markers is that the new/re-branded express routes are no longer distinguished by their service level.

    Route 192 (to be re-branded 900 at some point) and Route 191 (now 927) were marked as Frequent Service/10-minute network routes on the system map. That’s no longer the case. In addition, most express routes were marked with dashed lines and white route markers. Now they’re all solid. There’s a big difference between Route 192/900 (with 21-hour service 7 days a week) or Route 199/939 (service at all times except late evenings) with a rush-hour only E-branch (like the re-branded 924) or a premium express route.

    That’s disappointing to see. I quite liked the recent map and sign design changes and route markers. Without posted schedules, this could be confusing.


  7. Isn’t the 97 going back to how it was before?

    97A Davisville Station-York Mills Station via Yonge Blvd (peak periods and evening Mon-Fri and all day weekends except early Sun AM
    97B Queens Quay-Steeles (peak periods)
    97C St Clair Station-Steeles (midday Mon-Fri)
    97D St Clair Station-York Mills Station via Yonge Blvd (midday Mon-Fri)
    97F Davisville Stn-Steeles (evenings Mon-Fro and all day weekends except early Sun AM

    Steve: The service as I described it is taken from the TTC’s service memo.

    • AM Peak: 97B Queens Quay to York Mills via Yonge Blvd plus 97F Davisville to Steeles
    • Midday: 97A Davisville to York Mills via Yonge Blvd plus 97F
    • PM Peak: 97B plus 97F as in the AM Peak
    • Evening: 97A plus 97F as in the midday

    Weekend service will use the March 2016 schedules which have 30′ headways on 97A and 97F at all times.


  8. Given the speed of recent construction projects, this is likely to occur before the official schedule change.

    Having seen Dundas and Lansdowne, I wouldn’t bet on it. Progress seems very slow as demolition was not completed on the west to north curve when I visited earlier this week.

    However, it is one of the simpler intersections and has no diamond so maybe it won’t take long once they start moving in the track panels.

    Steve: I was there on Sept 14, and yes, they are not exactly speeding through the work. Even so, they might actually get everything back together early. One can hope for small miracles.


  9. The construction on the bus bays at Bathurst station this past week, and there are barriers around the site.. Ahead of this start date, the TTC has been running shuttle buses on the “511 Bathurst” route since the final weekend/day of the CNE, and they now stop on the south end of the streetcar tracks, while the “7 Bathurst” buses stop on the streetcar tracks at the north end. How long will this period of shuttle bus operation on the “511 Bathurst” is expected to last?

    I still see the odd (Flexity Outlook) streetcar rolling down Bathurst street.

    Steve: These are likely from 512 St. Clair.

    Steve, what date is the next schedule change? Will the “511 Bathusrt” route still operate with shuttle buses?

    Steve: The November change is on the 18th, and that’s when the construction is expected to be done. However, this will only see the 7 Bathurst shift back to its own side of the station. As I have said many times already, the TTC’s priority for new streetcar deployment is on King and then Queen. When Bathurst will resume streetcar operation and with what type of vehicle has not been announced yet.


  10. Steve wrote “Based on Flexity delivery rates, the conversion will not complete before the new schedules go into effect and a few CLRVs will remain at least to late October.”

    Digging into the detail, they need 42 cars for AM peak on 38 cars for PM peak on 504.

    Right now at 5:30 pm they have only 30 Flexities out on 504/514 (and 12 CLRVs which means they are 6 short).

    But in recent days they’ve had 37 Flexities out on a few occasions for PM peak. Hopefully they can achieve 38!

    And they’ve had 38 out for AM peak a few times, with a total number in service of 78 Flexities. So unless something else has changed, getting out 82 Flexities for AM peak doesn’t look too far away now that 1 to 2 new cars arrive every week!

    Does 505 service and 506 trippers stay as buses with the end of construction? I don’t see a clear mention of vehicle type anywhere.

    Steve: 505 Dundas was unchanged for the September and October periods, and therefore was not mentioned in my compilation of changes. 506 Carlton went back to streetcars with the September changes, except for 8 bus trippers in the AM peak. There is no change for October, and I suspect this situation will continue for a while as new cars arrive. Because of the lead time between planning and implementation of changes, the TTC has to be sure it will have enough streetcars about three months in advance of committing more of them to service, especially with the declining reliability of the old fleet. The ALRVs will probably be gone by year end, and even if some remain, the TTC will not plan on the basis of their availability.


  11. Steve, the next schedule changes is Sunday, November 18, 2018 – which is also the day of the Santa Claus Parade. When streetcars return to “511 Bathurst” after this period of shuttle bus operation, which models? Will it be CLRVs (and ALRVs)?

    There will still be shuttle buses running on the “511 Bathurst” route when the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is on, which is November 2-11, 2018, and maybe when the next event – the One-of-a-Kind Christmas Show & Sale is on, running from November 22 to December 2, 2018.

    Steve: As I have said before, I don’t know yet what the plans are for November, but doubt that streetcars will come back that soon, let alone which model. ALRVs are definitely out as there are so few reliable ones left in service.


  12. Just a question here: the 913 Progress Express in the afternoons going back to STC, why does it still turn onto Corporate Drive and then Consillium Place even though it does does not serve any of those stops (Lee Centre Drive, 88 Corporate etc…)

    Isn’t it faster to just go straight through Progress Ave and then turn onto Grangeway to avoid making a circle? And save time?

    The way they routed it right now is extra time when no stops are served. Will they change this in the future?

    Steve: I have no idea, but possibly those in TTC Planning who read this blog might contemplate the question.


  13. Steve: When Bathurst will resume streetcar operation and with what type of vehicle has not been announced yet.

    The whole of Bathurst will be best served by articulated buses as this will allow the elimination of an unnecessary transfer at Bathurst station. A single route on Bathurst from the nearby Exhibition Place and all the way to Steeles is what is needed. Bathurst seems to be doing just fine with 511 buses and so, why not permanently combine the routes 511 and 7 to allow for a more seamless travel experience? A single night bus route 307 exists for both of those routes and it would be a very good idea to permanently extend this to daytime as well which will also alleviate the streetcar shortage caused by Bombardier’s incompetence and recklessness.

    Steve: Actually, the demand pattern on Bathurst is such that a minority of traffic wants to travel through in either direction, and a through route would only make service on the entire line even less reliable than it already is.


  14. Couple of questions about any future or near future service changes. Thinking as I’m reading this article.

    1. Are there any plans to do any construction to the bus terminal in Coxwell Station? On Strathmore Blvd there’s what looks like 2 temporary stops covered up.

    Steve: They were for the recent period when buses did not serve the station during elevator construction.

    2. With York University moving towards a “vehicle free campus”. Routes 106 Sentinel and 41 Keele as well as the 335 Jane, 341 Keele and 353 Steeles all operate onto York University, is there any plans to re route these off of York University? York Region just got forced off and so did Brampton.

    Steve: The difference with the YRT routes is that they looped through the central common whereas the TTC routes skirt it. I suspect that York is happy to have night service directly serving the campus, but doesn’t want the hordes of buses there during the daytime.


  15. Re Coxwell: there was a cutting out of the sidewalk immediately in front of the doors this week. This is now filled in but then the roadway was cut from the front doors to the far side of the bus loop entrance. 22 and 70 loaded from the stops on Strathmore formerly used for the loop rebuild, with 70 looping via Strathmore-Woodington-Coxwell and then north on the normal route.

    Work description and purpose

    Repairs to the bus roadway requires buses to board on the street and divert around the station to route. The bus loop will re-open at 5 a.m. on September 18, 2018.


  16. When using the “511 Bathurst” route (to get to Exhibition Place), I should get accustomed to riding the shuttle buses running on this route in the mean time; this is until streetcars make their ‘triumphant’ return (the date is now unknown).

    Steve: That’s what I have been trying to tell you in several replies.


  17. Steve: Actually, the demand pattern on Bathurst is such that a minority of traffic wants to travel through in either direction, and a through route would only make service on the entire line even less reliable than it already is.

    Do you have any reference for your claim or is it a baseless claim meant to justify streetcar service no matter what? Please provide a reference for the demand claim as I looked for it extensively but could find none.

    Steve: If you would ask questions in a less insulting manner you might get less insulting replies. There is a reason why your comments, whatever name you might file them under, are trapped out into the “trash” queue.

    Stand on the platform at Bathurst and watch how few passengers get off of the bus and get onto the streetcar, for starters.

    Also, the TTC many years ago tried operating a service into St. Clair West Station as a branch of 7 Bathurst. It had very light demand because people on the bus don’t want to transfer to the University subway, they want the Bloor line as well as destinations at Bloor-Bathurst itself.

    It is common for routes to be split at the east-west subway. Dufferin is a major exception because when the line was designed, the TTC didn’t even think Dufferin deserved bus service let alone a loop. Lansdowne runs through because in 1966 the north end of the line was at St. Clair and there was no point in splitting it. Ossington is a similar situation where much of the service only went to St. Clair, and the route was extended to Eglinton only after the Oakwood car was replaced.


  18. Re: Dundas and Lansdowne, based on conversations with a TTC worker a few days ago, it seems that contractors discovered a previously unknown high-pressure gas main directly under the roadbed, thus the slowdown. (I had noticed a switch from demolition using heavy machinery to much slower work with handheld jackhammers in that area.) The worker I spoke to said that due to the discovery of the gas main they would be unable to install the west-to-north curve as current standards demand greater clearance between the tracks and buried gas lines. The pipe does indeed seem to be very shallow and is readily visible when standing on the northeast corner of the intersection. I was told that relocation of the gas main would not be possible within the current construction window and that the missing curve would have to be installed next year as part of the College/Lansdowne reconstruction.

    Steve: Thanks for the update.


  19. I’m surprised the 8 AM peak bus trippers on 506 aren’t vanishing in October. With 504/514 AM Peak vehicles dropping from 50 CLRV/Flexities to 42 Flexities, there’s 8 more streetcars freed up.

    They’d only need 4 more CLRVs on 506 to restore the to the 32 used in January 2018.

    Are they really going to be running 8 less streetcars in October than now? Or did I miss something? I suppose they could restore 502 service with those 8 cars.

    Steve: Plans are made a few months in advance. Also, the TTC acknowledges in their plans that the October service design claims to be for Flexitys but will in fact continue to have some CLRVs in the mix.

    “Some CLRVs will operate in the peak periods through the end of the year and will be designated on runs that operate outside the busiest hour in the morning and afternoon peak periods. These will be replaced by low-floor streetcars, as available, at the divisional level.”

    That’s the context they planned for. I suspect you will see the Carlton bus trippers disappear fairly soon.


  20. “11 Bayview will get better AM and PM peak service.”

    I’m curious if a record could be compiled of routes which have service yo-yo’d over the past 10 years. 11Bayview/28Davisville combined feels like a route group that is repeatedly cut, then restored because of crowding, then cut, then restored again.


  21. Steve: Stand on the platform at Bathurst and watch how few passengers get off of the bus and get onto the streetcar, for starters.

    That is highly unscientific unless you are standing there 20 hours a day every single day. The fact that you failed to provide any reference for your demand claim on Bathurst and then deflected the question by starting to talk about Dufferin, Lansdowne, Ossington, etc (when the discussion was of Bathurst) simply proves that you are not at all about providing better transit but streetcars at any cost which is precisely why you balk at any suggestion of a prospective study comparing streetcars with buses. If streetcars really do provide better transit, then you should welcome any studies comparing streetcars with buses but instead you bitterly oppose any suggestion for any such study such as that suggested by Councillor Michael Ford. I like streetcars too but only when and where they can provably provide better transit.

    Steve: I am tempted to just tell you to go fuck yourself, but that’s the sort of language I would expect from a Ford supporter.

    Every time I have been at Bathurst Station, and I’m there fairly often, the pattern I have seen is that most people who get off of the bus do not get onto the streetcar. That may not be “scientific”, but it’s a large enough sample that I believe it would be verified by an actual study.

    As for Michael Ford’s proposed study, I have published several analyses here of the relative speed of buses and streetcars where routes have been substituted. In effect, I did the study Ford asked for to see what the results would be, because I have the software already developed to do this sort of thing while the city and TTC do not. (I also have several years’ worth of TTC tracking data for streetcar routes.) What I opposed was the delay in return to streetcar operation on Queen that Ford suggested because the data needed was already available.

    The common result of every comparison (and this is using TTC tracking data with a 100% sample of vehicles) is that buses tend to run faster when there is little traffic congestion, while during periods and in areas where lines are busy, the operating speeds are the same or worse for buses. That is what I found on Queen, Dundas and Carlton. Maybe you missed the articles.

    A related issue is that bus operators tend to put their foot to the floor when they get the chance, even speeding in some places, while streetcar operators are under strict instructions not to get ahead of schedule. This is a direct result of the TTC padding streetcar schedules to reduce short turns, but in the process creating slower service. The management reports look good because the target was to reduce short turns, not to run service that is attractive overall.

    I mentioned other routes to counter an inevitable comment along the lines of “what about Dufferin” to explain the historical context of Bathurst being split, but other routes not.

    Sadly people like you think I would cook the stats to make streetcars look better under all cases when in fact I ran the numbers and let the results speak for themselves. Sometimes buses are faster, other times streetcars, but buses do not have a clear, overwhelming advantage that would warrant permanent replacement.


  22. I just wanted to give my two cents here on Bathurst just because there seems to be a good healthy debate on it.

    With the fact the TTC only ordered 204 of the Flexity cars with an option for more, and all the delays and issues with these cars, I feel we will have a shortage of streetcars after we have all 204. Unless the TTC has some plans for modifying routes like the 502/503 and with the changes they are implementing to the 504, will we have enough streetcars to run Bathurst as a streetcar route. My worry is even with 204 cars we may need to add buses to parts of certain routes like the 504 and maybe the 502/503 again. I don’t necessarily think we need to run the 511 and the 7 as one route but I do feel that maybe a shorter route like the 511 could be better as a bus service.

    This is just my two cents and I know Steve, you are far more qualified to answer this then I am.


  23. FYI, I spent 20 years living at Bathurst and Glencairn, commuting on all of the service iterations of the Bathurst bus that have existed in that time. I’ve been through Bathurst station at all hours, frequently, through many years. A couple of observations:

    Bathurst street itself is almost entirely residential, both north and south of Nloor. What that means, is that anyone who lives along Bathurst street and isn’t a student, is very likely trying to get somewhere other than a destination along Bathurst itself.

    You might remember the years before articulated buses, when Bathurst had shorter headways but also pretty legendary bunching and short turns. It was quite typical to see 1 in every 2-3 buses short turned at St. Clair West Station. This had relatively little impact on most riders because most people just wanted to reach *a* subway station. Didn’t much matter which one.

    Similarly, for a while service was split at St. Clair for the lengthy reconstruction of different parts of Bathurst street. Ridership on the short connector branch between St. Clair West and Bathurst stations was always very light – it just didn’t matter where most people connected to the subway.

    Steve, to your point about the 7A – it was just never frequent enough to justify the 5 minutes of walking it saved on the connection at St. Clair.

    Hope this helps!


  24. The construction on the now-closed bus bays of Bathurst subway station is now well underway, with the breaking up of the asphalt which has been showing wear and tear from the freeze and thaw cycle. The bus bays will open as soon as this construction is complete, and the “7 Bathurst” buses will return to the bays. Will there eventually be an express Bathurst bus (running in tandem with the “7 Bathurst” buses)?

    Steve: Look at the Express Bus Network map. There is no Bathurst service.

    When this construction is complete, will the TTC continue to run shuttle buses on its “511 Bathurst” route? When streetcars return, which models?

    Steve: As I have said many times, the plans for 511 Bathurst are not known at this point. The TTC is concentrating on King and then Queen for new cars. Whether the old ones they displace go to other routes, or simply allow scrapping of the worst of the fleet, remains to be seen.

    What needs to be – and should be – done is the jackhammering and resurfacing of the sidewalks of the intersection of Bloor Street West and Bathurst Street. These sidewalks have been left to deteriorate over the past twenty years, to the point that they are not only unattractive but also unsafe. There are holes in several places – large enough to fit winter boots in – and even a small sinkhole located just outside a now-vacant storefront (north-east corner of Bloor West and Bathurst), just south of the subway station.

    Steve: The city’s online map of planned construction work shows work by Transportation Services on Bloor east from Bathurst in 2019. The details are not there, but it is possible this will address sidewalk conditions. If there is a present danger, you should report this to Toronto’s 311 service, not simply complain about it here.


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