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.
[Revised to correct branch letters on 12 Kingston Road, and to correct PM peak and early evening service for 929 Dufferin Express]
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.
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.
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.