TTC Service Changes Effective January 6, 2019

Correction: In the list of new express services, I included 25 Don Mills when this should have been 86 Scarborough. Don Mills is part of the Pape Avenue water main project.

The TTC plans several service changes in January 2019, but most of these are minor and involve slight adjustments in running times and headways while keeping vehicle assignments the same as in the fall 2018 schedules.

The rebranding of Express Bus routes continues with 45/945 Kipling, 53/953 Steeles East and 86/986 Scarborough. In most cases the new schedules are identical to the old ones with only a renumbering of former “E” and “F” branches into the 900 series. Afternoon peak headways on 953 Steeles East Express will be widened slightly to provide more running time with the same number of buses.

Water main construction on Pape north of Danforth will affect the 25/925 Don Mills and 81 Thorncliffe Park services. In some cases, the only schedule change will be to shift recovery time to scheduled driving time. In others, there will be minor changes to headways.

The 501 Queen car will begin to see Flexity low floor cars in weekday service depending on availability. The only scheduled ALRVs will be five peak period trippers, three of which will restore the direct-to-downtown trips to/from Long Branch arriving/leaving Yonge Street in the peak period. (Details in the file linked below.)

The 503 Kingston Road Tripper service, which has been operating to the Charlotte Loop at Spadina due to construction on Wellington, will switch to bus operation and will resume its Church-Wellington-York loop downtown. An end date for this change has not been set.

The 510 Spadina service will be revised so that the official recovery point for the 510A service to Union Station is near the south end of Spadina, not at the route termini. Internal schedules will be adjusted so that they reflect the scheduled location of cars properly. This, in turn, will allow vehicle arrival predictions to be more accurately calculated by NextBus and related apps.

The 511 Bathurst service will remain a bus operation pending availability of streetcars later in 2019.

The 512 St. Clair car will return to Roncesvalles Carhouse as its base of operations as construction has progressed to the point that part of the yard is available for vehicle storage. Trips to/from the route will be via King and Bathurst for the January-February period, but will shift to Roncesvalles, Howard Park, Dundas and Bathurst in mid-February when reconstruction of the King-Queen-Roncesvalles intersection begins. That project will trigger bus shuttle operations on the west end of 501 Queen and 504 King and the restoration of streetcars elsewhere on the network. Details have not yet been announced.


26 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective January 6, 2019

  1. 25 Don Mills was converted back in September. What route do you mean to say there? Lol.

    Steve: Ooops! It should be 86 Scarborough and this has been fixed. The info in the linked spreadsheet with the details is correct.


  2. Just pointing out a minor in your chart it says “39B to Old Finch and Meadowvale”- it should be “Old Finch and Morningview”.

    Steve: “Meadowvale” was copied from the TTC’s service change memo. I have asked them to clarify that this was an error.

    Also, the 185 Don Mills rocket was changed to 925 don mills express on Sept 4. 🙂

    Steve: You are one of two who pointed this out. It should have been 86/986 Scarborough. The detailed chart is correct, but I was thinking of the Pape Avenue construction which immediately follows in the article when I wrote that.

    Also on a side note I still have never seen a bus that says 903 Kennedy-Scarborough Express. All of them still say 131E despite this being changed to “903” back on Nov 19. Same with 95E/995. Why would TTC change these and not have any bus signs prepared?

    Steve: The signs are electronic, and I believe that there have been some internal problems about how they get updated. However, this really is laughable to have a new “brand” but old signs. The matter of old service levels is a political/funding issue. Photo ops with new route numbers neglect to mention that there is little new service.


  3. Any idea when the 502 or 505 will return to streetcars?

    Steve: Some streetcars will become available in mid-February with the shutdown of King and Queen west of Dufferin. Where they will go has not yet been announced although Bathurst is strongly rumoured. However, this won’t free up a huge number of cars. The number of CLRVs released from Queen would not cover the needs of Dundas, and the Flexitys released from King would barely cover Bathurst. A lot depends on new vehicle deliveries (which are behind schedule), and as the February schedules are already in draft form, I don’t expect a big change then. Also, mid-winter is not a good time to be expecting a jump in vehicle availability, and the main use for new arrivals will be to replace unreliable cars in the existing fleet.


  4. Minor error on your PDF – It should be 39B to Old Finch & Morningview not Old Finch and Meadowvale 🙂

    Steve: That’s what’s in the TTC service memo. I have asked the TTC to confirm that this is not a stealth route change.

    Also – TTC changed 131E to 903 and 95E to 995 om Nov 19 yet I have never seen the buses using those signs. Why do they change things then not follow through lol it’s been over 2 weeks.

    Steve: As I said in previous reply, there are some internal issues with control over updating the signs.


  5. What about the 186 Wilson Rocket rebranding into the 996 Wilson Rocket?

    Steve: The TTC has not yet announced new branding for this route.


  6. Rather dumb question. With the streetcar and roadway construction expected on The Queensway west of Roncesvalles Avenue and east of Parkside Drive in 2019, the entire stretch of the streetcar right-of-way on The Queensway will be out of action.

    With the Waterfront Transit Project, it looks like they may have to install rails down Colborne Lodge Drive from The Queensway to Lake Shore Blvd. W. (and east to the Dufferin Gates and points east).

    So my question is why don’t they install the switches and tracks NOW at Colborne Lodge Drive and The Queensway, instead of later?

    Since traffic will be disrupted for The Queensway & Roncesvalles intersection, might as well disrupt the Colborne Lodge Drive & The Queensway intersection at the same time. Unless they expect the Waterfront Transit Project only to begin after the life expectancy of the current tracks on The Queensway have expired, many decades from today.

    Steve: The WWLRT is, at present, only a proposal and is unlikely to see construction in the near future. The Colborne Lodge alignment has not yet been formally approved by Council. The real missed opportunity was during the reconstruction of The Queensway itself, but that’s water under the bridge, so to speak.


  7. Is there talk about an express bus on Bathurst also it is a bit shocking that they don’t use Articulated busses on the 41 Keele route on weekends. More service needs to be on the routes in my opinion!!!!

    Steve: The current peak scheduled service on Bathurst is so wide that splitting it into local and express would mean there would be only a few buses per hour on each service. The line is routinely a mess and needs better service, but an express would make things worse for many riders.

    That said, it would be intriguing to see whether Hillcrest Shops would be considered an express or local stop.


  8. Steve, the “511 Bathurst” route will continue its shuttle bus operation into 2019, until a sufficient number of streetcars becomes available – in time for the tourist season (when tourists would prefer streetcars on this route). The TTC is currently receiving a shipment of new Flexities from the Thunder Bay factory (yesterday I saw Flexity Outlook #4511 at the Distillery District loop) and there is more to come; however it is still awaiting its shipment of Flexity Outlooks from its factory in Kingston. By this time, I’ve become accustomed to shuttle buses

    The next major construction project is the Roncesvalles Car House and substantial portions of the “501 Queen” route (Dufferin loop to Long Branch loop) and “504 King” route (Dufferin Gates loop to Dundas West subway station), and this will require the switch to shuttle bus operation. Also the “503 Kingston Road Tripper” route is switching to shuttle bus operation. This would free up a substantial number of older streetcars (mostly CLRVs) to be used on routes currently using shuttle buses, such as “511 Bathurst”.

    Steve : All of this is well-known and has been written up here before. If you want to follow the day by day delivery info, go to this blog and skip to the last page for the most recent info..


  9. Do you know when the Royal York Station elevator construction will end?

    Steve: It was supposed to be this month originally, but obviously is going beyond that. The Service Change memo still shows it as a December 2018 end even though the routes serving that station have not been changed back to their normal configuration. The construction page now says “Spring 2019”.


  10. So, 501 gets weekday Flexities now (assuming they are available), it has technically had them since November, but never any available.

    Steve: They are evasive. Now you see them, now you don’t.


  11. I’m still surprised that they haven’t replaced the current 502, 506 and/or 511 buses with streetcars. In AM peak, the fleet requirement was reduced by about 8 cars in October with the 504/514 service cut outside of downtown. And now 8 more cars are freed up in peak by converting 503 to buses.

    It would only take 4 additional CLRVs to put 506 back to it’s old streetcar-only AM peak service, 12 for AM peak on 511, and 7 for 502.

    That with 16 additional cars available since September, and not even 4 to spare for 506, I’d assume that either CLRVs are fading quickly, or they are anticipating a lot of frozen air lines again this winter. Even the 18 cars required for 505 isn’t out of reach, had those 16 remained available.

    How many AM peak cars do the February construction changes free up? I assume that 501L will be bustituted, so that’s 7 there.

    Steve: It’s fairly easy to do the math. 501L as you mentioned is good for 7 cars. The 501 itself will probably be cut back to Dufferin Loop, but that extra north-south mileage is roughly equivalent to travelling a bit west of Lansdowne. Therefore the saved running time to Humber is maybe 15 minutes each way. At a scheduled headway of 4’15”, that’s about 7 cars. On the 504, only half of the service goes west of Dufferin now, and so the saving will only be against a 5’15” headway to Dundas West. That’s maybe 7 cars. So in total, we pick up about 7 Flexitys and about 14 CLRVs.


  12. I’ve seen a few 903’s using the 903 destination signs this morning: 903 KENNEDY STN EXPRESS and 903 SCARBOROUGH CTR EXPRESS.


  13. Sorry Steve! I thought my original comment didn’t post because the page refreshed when I was posting the comment from my phone. So I retyped the comment and then posted it and then I realised my original post went through.

    Steve: Don’t worry about it. I see double postings from time to time either as corrections, or because some of the more insistent writers don’t understand that no comment will appear until and unless I approve it.

    Today, I finally saw the 995 York Mills Express buses programmed as I took one this morning. They also programmed the “Brookbanks Drive” & “Arriving at…” express stop announcement with the robotic voice. I wonder if York Mills Express would ever get daytime express service like 939/985.

    Steve: It’s hard to tell what the TTC’s plans are pending the release of the 2019 budget and the inevitable debate at Council over subsidies and where they would be spent. The 2017 Express Bus Study has a list of routes and planned enhancements of which all-day (aka Tier 1) service on York Mills is not on the list. However, some changes that the report proposed for future years have already been implemented. Any refresh of the list would logically be part of a new Ridership Growth Strategy. Depending on the mood of the new Board, we may or may not see something like that in 2019.


  14. I really wish that the TTC could have chosen a better renumbering for all their routes during the express bus rebranding. For the longest time, I was afraid of riding the new “express” buses because I was afraid of needing to pay an extra fare. But I think the express buses that cost extra start with 14, while the express buses that don’t cost extra start with 9?

    Steve: Yes, the 14x routes are premium fare routes, while the 9xx routes are regular fare. There has been talk of getting rid of the extra fare, but there is a related problem that the 14x routes don’t do very well, even with the extra revenue, and there is a valid question of whether they should be retained. They are all the result of local political intervention.


  15. Steve said: 14x routes don’t do very well, even with the extra revenue, and there is a valid question of whether they should be retained. They are all the result of local political intervention.

    My question is this Steve… why have they dragged on this long? As an outside observer I do not recall these routes being mentioned much. I assume they are pet projects to win votes and not actually a cost-effective route?

    The 14x routes almost seem like the 82 Rosedale in the sense that the route only exists to cater to the people that supported the TTC, local Councillor or City of Toronto. For the uninitiated the 82 Rosedale is the Hired Help express essentially. The cleaners, caregivers, support staff and nannies for the rich folk use it to get to work. If they did not have the 82 they would be somewhat inconvenienced. The area in which the bus runs is not one where people normally take the TTC, instead driving expensive vehicles.

    Steve: Sometimes the outright bias in comments here really floors me. The last time the TTC published route by route riding counts (2014), the Rosedale bus carried 1,500 people per day, compared to the Downtown Express buses none of which carried over 500. Hired Help have to get to work whether they are in Rosedale or at King and Bay.

    I can think of plenty of places in Toronto where we could construct a story along the line of “people don’t deserve transit here”.

    As for “why have they (the 14x routes) dragged on so long? Simple. Nobody wants to admit they’re a waste when it was a politician’s idea to implement them to benefit their voters.


  16. Most likely the 14x routes would have been “Gray Coach” routes, with a premium fare, if they were still around.

    A bit like the old HIGH PARK COACH that ran from Jane & Annette, over to Indian Road, down to Lake Shore to downtown. Unfortunately, the Indian Road intersection with Parkside Drive got destroyed in the late 1950’s with construction of The Queensway and Gardiner Expressway. So that disappeared, along with other COACH routes.


  17. As a follow up to my above question about weekday Flexities on 501, I spotted 4450 during AM Rush 2 days after this was posted on 501, so maybe they had a spare to spare for 501.

    Steve: Yes, they are showing up now and then.


  18. Taken from your article April 19, 2017 “TTC Updates FlexityPlan (Updated)” … The TTC has issued an updated plan for implementation of the new Flexity streetcars.

    The attached chart shows the “plan” as it was for the car rollout – is there a 2018/19 updated one? I would love to see one that also shows the required number of CLRV/ALRV/Flexity cars needed to run each route.

    The 514 Cherry route has folded into the 504, 502, 503, 505 and 511 are all running buses due to shortage of cars. I also suspect that the TTC is trying to convert Flexity routes to the new pantograph style of power pickup and this might have something to do with route conversion choice? If this is the case, 511 Bathurst would seem to be next allows panto operation south from 512 St. Clair.

    On a separate note, how quickly are the older CLRV and ALRV’s that have not been refurbished, getting put out to pasture? How many are considered unreliable for winter operation, but could make a spring/summer/fall 2019 comeback to bolster service? Or is TTC policy once you are a retired car, you stay retired?

    Steve: The TTC gave up producing a roll out plan because they could not count on Bombardier making its delivery target. Moreover, the continued reliability of the old fleet was in doubt.

    You can get a sense of vehicle requirements from the Scheduled Service Summary, but the TTC’s attitude to replacement ratios has changed over time. Originally, they were looking at capacity-for-capacity replacement. Later this evolved to a varying replacement ratio based on what they perceived as latent demand. The King Street Pilot has shown that there is a lot more latent demand than they had anticipated, and current plans are for a 1:1 replacement of CLRVs by Flexitys on Queen. What was originally to be an “optional” extra 60 cars has turned into a necessity, although just how we will pay for them remains to be seen.

    Yes, Bathurst makes sense as the next pantograph route, but given the priority to shift larger cars onto Queen, it may wait to actually see full Flexity service. This really is a moving target.

    Old cars stay active while they can, but there are no heroic efforts to keep them on the road because they are so much less reliable than the new cars. The weather plays a part here too, and we will see what this winter brings. Current plans according to the CEO’s report for November 2018 (see p. 56) show the ALRV fleet being reduced to 10 cars for 2019 (only 5 are scheduled for peak service in January 2019). The CLRV fleet retirements will increase in 2019 with 69 cars planned for decommissioning as the balance of the new Flexity fleet is delivered. This will leave 44 active cars by year end.

    Performance of the old cars improved in October according to the December CEO’s Report (see pp. 1-53) due to a combination of good weather and improved maintenance practices.


  19. Steve: The last time the TTC published route by route riding counts (2014).

    They did release the December 2016 route riding count – but hid it in the city’s Open Data Catalogue.

    Though that doesn’t change the point made.

    Steve: But those are only weekday counts, and the file does not include other fields such as vehicles, hours and kilometres, nor does it include weekend data.


  20. The 995 York Mills bus worked this Saturday, which comes as a surprise because for the past four years travelling this route, the York Mills bus would be jam-packed by the time it reaches Markham Road on afternoon and morning rush hours.


  21. The rollout of the new low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcar continues. I’ve seen Flexity Outlooks no. 4514 and 4515 on the “510 Spadina” route the other day – Sunday, December 23, 2018 – on my way to Ripley’s Aquarium. How many Flexity Outlooks are in circulation right now and when is the next shipment expected to arrive?

    As the “501 Queen” streetcar is being converted to the new Flexity Outlooks, it will release older streetcars – CLRVs and ALRVs. In less than two months, mid-February 2019, the next major construction project begins on the Roncesvalles Car House and the Roncesvalles-King- Queen junction and this requires shuttle bus operation on large portions of the “501 Queen” and “504 King” streetcar routes (the “504 King” route is now fully converted to Flexity Outlooks). Also, the “503 Kingston Road Tripper” route (currently using CLRVs) will be switching to shuttle bus operation about the same time. These changes would release some older streetcars to be used on routes currently using shuttle buses, with priority to the “511 Bathurst” route.

    Steve: You keep posting the same info, in some cases duplicating material in this and other articles, over and over again. Streetcar deliveries and testing can be tracked on as I pointed out previously (go to the last page for the most recent news). The February schedule details should be out in a few weeks, and then we will all know officially what’s planned.


  22. Hey Steve. Just sitting here thinking.

    How can the 512 deadhead up Roncesvalles to Howard Park if part of the construction project of King-Queen-Roncesvalles is to fix Roncesvalles Avenue stops so the ramp can be deployed? Wouldn’t that effectively mean the streetcars can’t go up Roncesvalles and trap the cars there? Or do you know for sure?

    Steve: The streetcars only have to get past the stops, not serve them, but, yes that is something the TTC will have to watch out for. The work involved should be straightforward – breaking out a section of concrete and reinstalling it at a different elevation. It’s not as if the whole stop is being demolished.


  23. Part 2: My thought is because Roncesvalles is only one lane with traffic (the work vehicles will have to be separate from the area so they will essentially block traffic (including streetcar traffic)… correct me if I’m wrong. I think the TTC moved the streetcars back to Roncesvalles at the wrong time….

    Steve: They need the space. Also, the carhouse moves generally do not conflict with work hours for the demolition and reconstruction.


  24. Today, while riding the “7 Bathurst” bus, I spoke to one of TTC’s streetcar specialists. I asked him when streetcars are expected to return to the “511 Bathurst” route (which is currently operated with shuttle buses), and he replies “in mid-summer (precisely August)”. This return of streetcars to “511 Bathurst” will be just in time for the start date of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). Many people heading to the CNE choose to take the TTC to get to and from this popular late-summer event, and at least a substantial minority of those opt to take the “511 Bathurst” streetcar to the CNE. In late summer, the TTC increases service on this route, as it anticipates large numbers of people heading to the CNE.

    Which streetcar model will be on the “511 Bathurst” route when they do return? Will it be the new accessible low-floor Flexity Outlooks? These streetcars have the most seating capacity, ideal for the summer tourist season and for transporting people to and from the CNE.

    Steve: You’re the one who is always quoting someone from the TTC as a source. Why didn’t you ask about vehicle type too? Yes, Flexitys make the most sense for the CNE.


  25. Steve, from what you wrote it looks like the “511 Bathurst” route will continue with shuttle bus operation until mid-summer. The switch back to streetcars on “511 Bathurst” will come just in time for the Canadian National Exhibition, a late-summer tradition for many Torontonians, and the TTC increases service on the route to meet that demand.

    When the CNE is on, there’s always the high-spirited excitement of the passengers riding southbound “511 Bathurst” streetcars; this is especially true the last weekend of the CNE, when the air show is on. Last year, I went to the CNE during the weekend the Canadian International Air Show was on, on Sunday, September 2, 2018. The TTC started with shuttle bus operation on the “511 Bathurst” route that day, although some streetcars (mostly Flexity Outlooks) were kept on this route as many CNE-goers would prefer to ride them as they had better views of the air show through the windows and a lot more seating capacity than shuttle buses.


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