TTC Service Changes Effective March 31, 2019

TTC service changes for the schedule period running from the end of March through to mid-May 2019 are comparatively minor.

The reconstruction of King-Queen-Roncesvalles, originally planned to start this spring, has been delayed to 2020. Planned changes in affected streetcar services will not occur, although some revisions to 504 King are expected in May to address service reliability. The schedules for 29/929 Dufferin service have been left as originally designed for this period with all service extended to the Princes’ Gate Loop. This change will be reversed in May.

Construction begins on the CNR bridge over Coxwell Avenue. Half of the underpass will be closed at a time, and this begins with the northbound roadway. 22/322 Coxwell services will divert via Woodbine and Danforth.

Reconstruction of the bus roadway at Jane Station was planned to begin with these schedules, but work has been deferred until May. The new schedules provide for extension of the 26 Dupont and 55 Warren Park routes to Old Mill Station, but they will actually operate to Jane Station pending start of construction. At that time, the 35/935 Jane services will shift to on street loading on Jane Street.

On line 1 Yonge-University-Spadina, the crew relief and break point will move north to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station from Sheppard West Station.

Route 95/995 York Mills will be revised with weekday midday 995 express service added to the schedule. The midday 95B service to UTSC will be replaced with 95C service to Ellesmere Station as in the peak periods.

There are minor changes on several bus routes (see the linked summary for details) to adjust running times and headways.

Updated March 14, 2019: The number of vehicles on 167 Pharmacy North has been corrected in the spreadsheet linked below.


12 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective March 31, 2019

  1. How would breaks work on Line 1 then with the relief point at the end of the line? And I guess the significance of that is then there are at least amenities upstairs for the operators (because there is next to nothing at Sheppard West unlike on Line 2 at Coxwell where there’s a Tim Horton’s and a McDonald’s upstairs on the Danforth.

    It’ll be interesting to see the confusion around Jane Station as I think you said 55 Warren Park needs an accessible station and Old Mill is not accessible yet. Plus Old Mill is a small terminal to have 3 routes going into it?

    Steve: 55 Warren Park and 26 Dupont are both infrequent services even during the peaks, and so they will not pose a capacity problem at Old Mill. Riders with mobility issues will still be able to transfer to/from Warren Park buses but at surface stops which will not be as convenient as on the platform at Jane Station.


  2. Are the Woodbine South changes all for reliability? Normally that means adding a bus and/or extending the RTT. In this case “service reliability” leads to shorter RTT and reduced headways. Which would normally be great, except now it means that an easily recognizable clockface headway is now out the window. When you’re on the subway and about to get off at Woodbine in the late evening when the bus runs at :00, :20 and :40, it’s nice to know the likelihood of making your connection, and easy to remember. You lose that when the bus runs every 18 minutes instead of every 20.

    Steve: There are a few cases in the changes where “reliability” involves making the running time shorter, but with a corresponding increase in “recovery” time. I think the idea is that padded schedules cause operators to run more or less as they feel like it. How this will change in the new arrangement I don’t know. Also, of course, having only 12 minutes of driving time from Danforth to the Lake and back might work in the dead of winter, but not when crowds start to build up at the eastern beaches when the 92 gets quite busy in late evenings. The May schedules will be interesting.

    I agree about the clock-face headways. If they can actually do the trip in 12 minutes, then 15 minute scheduled headway should be possible.


  3. Hi Steve, since this post is about the March 2019 changes, any chance that the TTC may do a post-implementation review for the 121D FORT YORK-ESPLANADE (Ontario Place), 123F SHERWAY (via West Mall), 175 BLUFFER’S PARK, and 176 MIMICO GO services from 2018? I may get the feeling that the three could possibly stay including the 175 due to its popularity except for the 176, though I took that route last year and it is barely used with fewer passengers take that route daily as opposed to the heavily used 76A ROYAL YORK.

    Steve: I suspect any service reviews were on hold for the election period. The 176 Mimico GO bus was supposed to be changed to improve the probability that it would actually be there when people got off of trains, but I have not seen any update on the effect this might have had on ridership. The fundamental problem with GO stations is that they are generally not located conveniently because the railways primarily served industry, and new development is elsewhere.


  4. The 92 Woodbine northbound in the afternoon rush hour is quite slow because of the high volume of right turns at Kingston Rd. and Gerrard St E. Both have near-side stops, so the buses have to line up with the right-turning vehicles in order to serve the stop. It can take multiple signal cycles to do this.

    The redesign of Woodbine to provide bike lanes means that there’s no room at Gerrard for a far-side stop (it’s one lane only northbound north of Gerrard because of the southbound left-turn lane), and the gas station at the north-east corner of Kingston Rd. has driveways onto Woodbine which interfere with far-side bus stop placement (those driveways are probably required for fuel delivery trucks, which can’t maneuver well in tight spaces) .

    The buses can’t jump the queues of turning traffic. Some days it can take 25 minutes for the bus to travel from Queen to Danforth. Bus service becomes highly irregular on most afternoons.

    It’s a tough problem. Maybe adjustments to signal timing would help. More time for right turns (northbound-to-eastbound) in the afternoon rush could reduce the queues, and let the buses through.


  5. Stephen wrote:
    The redesign of Woodbine to provide bike lanes means that there’s no room at Gerrard for a far-side stop…

    I often read/hear opinions from people describing how our transit system should be more like a city such as London, but the discussion is usually comparing the Underground with our subway. Perhaps we should think about taking some cues from them for other parts of our transit system such as busses…

    In London, it is rare for bus stops to be right at intersections the way we are used to here. Setting aside the large intersections with multiple roads meeting, sometimes with traffic circles, I am speaking of comparing the many of London’s intersections where two roads cross as most of our intersections are. In these instances, bus stops are typically 50 to 100 metres from the intersection, whether near side or far side.


  6. The “511 Bathurst” route still operates with shuttle buses, and for how much longer (until there is a more sufficient number of streetcars)? The switch back to streetcar operation on this route should hopefully be in time for the tourist season, or at least in time for the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) which runs from August 16 to September 2, 2019. Steve, I know that many people choosing to take the TTC to get to and from the CNE prefer to take the “511 Bathurst” streetcar. We’re awaiting a new delivery of Flexity Outlook low-floor streetcars from the factories in Thunder Bay and Kingston. The “501 Queen” route is gradually being converted to the new Flexity Outlooks, and older (CLRV and ALRV) streetcars are being released. When is the start date for the “506 Carlton” route to Flexity Outlooks – that would also release older (CLRV) streetcars?

    Steve: This has not been announced. The change in construction plans for King-Queen-Roncesvalles this year, that would have released cars over the summer, means that a larger fleet is required through that period. The TTC still talks of completing conversion by the end of 2019, or early in 2020, depending on which report you read.


  7. Just a mistake (I think). It shows 1 bus allocated to 167 Pharmacy North when it should be 2 at all times.

    Steve: Yes, that’s a mistake. Thanks for catching it. An updated spreadsheet is now linked from the article.


  8. The next major construction project affecting TTC service – the King-Queen-Roncesvalles – has been deferred to 2020 – and going ahead with it requires a larger fleet of streetcars through the period of construction. Right now, the TTC is awaiting the delivery of a more sufficient number of new low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcars from both the Thundar Bay and Kingston factories. The “501 Queen” route is currently being converted to these new streetcars.

    One day recently, as I passed through the Bathurst subway station, a TTC employee tells me that “511 Bathurst”, which is still using shuttle buses, may switch back to streetcars in time for the 2019 tourist season, which begins Victoria Day weekend.

    Steve: When I see the official list of changes for mid-May (which will come out mid-April), then I will know for sure. You have repeatedly reported rumours of the streetcars’ return on Bathurst which have not proven to be reliable. That said, given the current state of deliveries and the buildup of traffic on that route for the summer, it would make sense to change back in May.


  9. The new low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcars continue to arrive from the Bombardier factories, and enter circulation. How many of them are currently in circulation, and how many more are expected to arrive during the spring (and summer) months? Which routes will we see these new arrivals on? Maybe one of those routes is the “511 Bathurst”, which continues to operate with shuttle buses, when it switches to streetcars in time for the start of the tourist season.

    Steve: Highest car number in Toronto of the Thunder Bay cars is 4535, plus the two Kingston cars 4572-73. Allowing for cars off site for major repairs plus those still in the delivery/acceptance process, that gives us roughly 130 cars now. The real challenge to deliveries right now is that Kingston seems to be stalled, and therefore predicting how many cars we will have later this year is challenging.

    You won’t see streetcars on Dundas until Toronto Water finishes its work, supposedly in Spring 2019 according to the construction notice. I will believe this when I see it. Maybe in the fall, but conversely the TTC might concentrate the new cars on Queen where the capacity is needed.

    Bathurst is a logical route for the summer, but I wouldn’t count on this lasting through the fall.

    Kingston Road Tripper is out of action until Wellington Street becomes available again, and the City/Hydro/TTC are screwing around with project schedules there right now.

    I have already written at length about how retirement of the CLRVs by the end of 2019 would put the TTC in a position where they cannot restore streetcar service everywhere, but this conflicts with comments made by the CEO who does not appear to be able to count his fleet.


  10. Steve, there was an article about the new Flexity Outlook streetcars in the front section of today’s Toronto Star. So far, there are 120 of the new streetcars in circulation, and we are awaiting the rest (84) of them to be delivered by the end of this year. The “506 Carlton” route continues to operate with the old CLRVs, and will probably become the last route to be converted to Flexity Outlooks. Starting next year (2020) there will be an additional 100 new Flexity Outlooks delivered, and entering circulation. As there is a shortage of streetcars due to the delayed delivery of the new streetcars and the gradual retirement of the old (CLRV and ALRV) streetcars, five routes are currently operating with shuttle buses, most notably the “511 Bathurst” route.

    When are streetcars making their ‘triumphant’ return to “511 Bathurst” route, hopefully in time for the busy tourist season – and which models? We know that tourists (using the “511 Bathurst” route) would prefer a comfortable ride on streetcars to a bumpy ride on shuttle buses.

    In late summer, there is the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), and many people take the the TTC to get to and from this event, which means increases service on this route.

    Steve: The deferral of the King-Queen-Roncesvalles project means that streetcars that might have been available from the west end of King and Queen will not be this summer, and this slows the move of Flexitys onto other routes. The service changes for mid-May will be out soon, and we will see whether Bathurst goes back to streetcars yet.


  11. Steve, when (what is the date for) the next schedule change? The new low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcars continue to arrive from the Bombardier Factories and enter circulation. When is the next shipment of Flexity Outlooks expected to arrive? The “511 Bathurst” route continues to operate with shuttle buses, some of them going only as far south as King Street (which is a weekdays service), but the balance of them running the full course between Bathurst station and the Exhibition loop via Fleet Street. It won’t be too long before the busy tourist season begins (with the May 2-4 weekend kicking it off), which means increases in service on some TTC routes with streetcar routes in particular.

    Steve: The next schedule change will be on May 12, and I have just received the details. Once I have formatted them into my usual before-and-after comparison spreadsheet, I will publish this info, probably over the weekend.

    511 Bathurst will remain as a bus operation because the King-Queen-Roncesvalles reconstruction, which would have meant the west ends of 501 Queen and 504 King would operate with buses, has been deferred to 2020. There is no announced date for the return of streetcars to Bathurst.

    Also, in a recent set of answers to my queries about the capital budget and fleet plans, the TTC acknowledged that buses will be needed to supplement the streetcar fleet for some time to come because more streetcars are required than the original 204-car order. This means that some streetcar lines will probably see buses come and go depending on where and when construction projects occur.


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