TTC Service Changes Effective May 12, 2019

The May 2019 service changes bring a number of adjustments across the system:

  • Routes that serve post-secondary institutions have reduced service levels reflecting the lighter demand for summer enrollment.
  • The seasonal extension of 121 Fort York – Esplanade to Ontario Place and Cherry Beach begins, and the 175 Bluffers’ Park weekend service returns.
  • Many routes have “service reliability” adjustments which, for the most part, consist of giving more running time and/or recovery time to buses with slightly increased headways.

Construction projects beginning with this schedule period:

  • Davisville Station paving work will see the 14 Glencairn and 28 Bayview South routes interlined. They will not stop in the station. Also, peak period 97B Yonge service will only serve the southbound stop at Davisville. 11 Bayview and 97 Yonge northbound services will continue to use the station but will change loading spots as the work progresses.
  • Jane Station paving work will displace the 26 Dupont and 55 Warren Park services to Old Mill Station. They will serve Jane Station at on-street stops. 35/935 Jane services will offload in the station, but will load on Jane Street northbound.
  • Constuction work at the Wheel-Trans Lakeshore Garage will close the operators’ parking lot for several months. During this time, service to the garage will remain on 83 Jones, but a new 383 Wheel-Trans Shuttle night bus will operate from Queen and Coxwell west to Leslie and south to Commissioners. The eastbound route will use Eastern Avenue from Leslie to Coxwell.
  • Construction work at Eglinton West Station by Metrolinx will close the station during overnight hours. The 363 Ossington will be cut back to Oakwood and Eglinton and will operate as 363B from 2:12 am which will be the last southbound trip from the station.

Service on the Scarborough RT will be improved by extending the peak period service to 11 am in the morning, and to 9 pm in the evening. There is no change in the peak service level of 5’00” headways due to the ongoing reconstruction of the fleet which leaves only 5 trains available for peak service plus 1 spare.

Peak period service on 72 Pape will be modified by decoupling the 72B Union Station branch from the 72C Commissioners branch. Rather than attempting to operate the same headway on each service, the two will run independently of each other with improved service on the 72C branch and reduced service on 72B to Union.

The last of the old “Rocket” services, 186 Wilson Rocket, will be rebranded as 996 Wilson Express with no change in service levels.

The proportion of 501 Queen service between Neville and Humber operated with Flexity low floor cars will continue to increase, especially on weekends. Actual numbers could be higher than those shown in the schedule. In theory, the schedule provides for five ALRVs on the 501 service, but this is subject to availability. Either CLRVs or Flexitys would be substituted.

504 King service will see changes to the schedule during all periods, although this mainly involves adding running and recovery times, as well as some stretched headways.

  • Peak headways stay the same but with longer times through the addition of 3 cars in the AM and 4 cars in the PM.
  • Early evening service sees the greatest change with a move from service every 6’30” on each branch to every 8’00”. If nothing else, this might placate business owners on King Street who complained that service during this period was excessive.

Construction at Roncesvalles Carhouse has progressed to the point where much of the 504A Dundas West to Distillery service will now operate from that location rather than from Leslie Barns.

The growth of the Flexity fleet, combined with remaining “legacy” CLRVs and ALRVs and construction at Roncesvalles is causing problems for overnight car storage. Service on 304 King will be improved from every half hour to every 15 minutes, and similar changes will occur on other overnight routes in coming months. The reconstruction of old facilities moves to Russell Division in 2020, and so this problem is not going away soon. The TTC is also working on a plan to build a yard for 24 cars at Hillcrest as a base for 512 St. Clair, but this is only in the design stage.

2019.05.12_Service_Changes (Version 2, April 20/19 at 5:40 pm)

25 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective May 12, 2019

  1. The blended headway on the branches of the Pape route have been problematic for a very long time. I’m glad to see the TTC finally recognized it after almost 20 years.

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  2. Wow, more 504 service cuts on Broadview (and Roncesvalles).

    TTC really lied to us when they told us that bigger streetcars wouldn’t lead to significantly less frequent off-peak service.

    Should compare the current frequencies on most of the route (except downtown) to those back in 2014 or so (before the new cars and bus replacements).

    Steve: There is a table in the October article.

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  3. Just a typo on the document Steve: for the 14/28 interline, Saturday late evening should read every 20 not every 29.

    Steve: Fixed. Thanks!

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  4. Steve, at what time does “Early evening service” begin and end again? I understand it may vary across the whole line, but, say, at the midpoint of the line when would it start and end.

    Steve: Nominally about 7 pm, but it varies from route to route. For any specific route, your best bet is to check existing schedules to see when the transition from peak to early evening service occurs. These descriptions of time periods are the TTC’s, and they have been using them for decades.

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  5. Steve: There is a table in the October article.

    Ah yes! So early evening 504 service has gone from every 4 minutes in 2016 to every 8 minutes now to the termini.

    Wow, horrific customer service failure. And doesn’t bode well for the rest of the routes as soon as they start looking for ways to cut $.

    They can’t even blame this on vehicle shortages at that time of day. This is simply TTC cutting spending.

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  6. With the interline of 14/28 will Mount Dennis and Wilson both have buses or will it change to only one of the divisions?

    Steve: 28 Bayview South moves to Mount Dennis.

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  7. During budget discussion it was suggested by TTC staff that they have budget for significant service improvements this year.

    As another service period passes with little or no improvement, does that mean substantial improvements are all scheduled for Sept/Oct? (obviously not your call, just wonder if you have insight into this)

    Steve: I believe that is when you will see the changes. This has happened before, and the strategy tends to be that if budgetary problems look like they will trump improvements, they just don’t happen. This was a problem with the years where, possibly due to miscounting “rides”, the TTC thought that more service wasn’t needed. Today there are too many reports of people stuffed onto vehicles for them to make this claim. But who knows with the Ford cuts what Toronto faces for 2020.

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  8. In the OLD days, items like water main work would close a street to traffic, but not to streetcars. If the TTC possessed enough streetcars today for all routes, would this still be the case?

    Steve: That’s a catch-22 because there are now attempts to co-ordinate water main work with other utilities and TTC track. That’s what will happen with King-Queen-Roncesvalles. There was work on Queen a few years ago that triggered a streetcar diversion, and I suspect that TTC takes bus substitutions for granted now.

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  9. I am really happy that the King St pilot has been made permanent, but I feel it would operate much better with more frequent service. The four-minute blended service is good, but not quite good enough (and definitely not good for Broadview or Ronces). If you are going to restrict auto traffic for streetcars, then I believe there should always be a “car in sight”, in order to truly take advantage of this change. Also, by running streetcars every two or three minutes, it would probably to a better job of discouraging motorists to drive straight through the intersections. With the far-side stops, if a streetcar is stopped to board passengers, there is nowhere for a car to go except to turn.

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  10. Hi Steve, there’s scheduled construction at Queen and Kingston this summer from what I’ve seen. How does that affect 501?

    Steve: I thought that was going to be in the fall once KQR was out of the way over the summer. It will mean that the east end of the 501 gets buses probably with an overlap of streetcar and bus service west of Russell Carhouse. I don’t know the details yet.

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  11. The next major construction project affecting streetcar service is at Queen Street East and Kingston Road, and it will start in mid-summer. This requires the eastern portion of the “501 Queen” route to switch to shuttle bus operation, and it will free up some streetcars to use on “511 Bathurst” route (which continues to be using shuttle buses), in time for the run-up to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). Many people going to the CNE take public transit particularly the TTC to get to and from there. This means an increase in service on several routes including the “511 Bathurst” route. As you’ve mentioned in late 2018 or early 2019, streetcars are most likely to return to “511 Bathurst” in mid-summer 2019.

    Speaking of “501 Queen”, the conversion to the new low-floor Flexity Outlooks continues, and this also frees up older streetcars. Will this become the next route for a pilot project if the King pilot project proves to be successful?

    Steve: There has been talk of both Queen Street and of extending the King Street pilot. However, the central part of King is unique in two ways. With a close grid of nearby streets, diversion of traffic is easier than any other location on the streetcar network. Also, the demand on King is higher than on other routes and there is a stronger argument for turning the street over to transit users. That said, better service on Queen would bring more riders, but for that to happen, the TTC needs more cars which they don’t have.

    Although delivery of Flexitys frees up CLRVs, there is a problem in that TTC plans to retire most of these cars in 2019.

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  12. Will the increase in RTT on 304 result in slower travel times for riders? Seems like a shift from recovery time to street time, presumably to ensure stacking doesn’t occur at termini…?

    Steve: No, they are increasing terminal time. I expect it will produce a combination of longer terminal queues and slower trips. A perfect advertisement for a “successful” project.

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  13. Hi Steve! Did I miss something? Since the beginning of April, I’ve been hard pressed to see any Articulated Buses on the 7 Bathurst Route, even during the evening rush. Do you know if there is any reason for this? Maybe the extension of the Subway into York region has something to do with it? Has Dufferin been similarly affected?

    Steve: The artics came off of Bathurst in mid-February to provide a pool of vehicles for their mid-life overhaul.

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  14. Steve, you mention ALRVs operating on the 501 Queen. Is it true that they will return to operation. I have heard rumours that will be returning to service and that they will not be returning to service.

    Steve: The schedule announced for May claims that they will operate, but that they could be replaced by other vehicles depending on availability. I won’t believe it until I see them actually in service.

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  15. Hi there Steve does the TTC plan to preserve some of its decommissioned CLRV/ALRV cars to museums – such as the Halton County railway museum – and will they be keeping at least 1 CLRV and 1 ALRV on TTC tracks in Toronto – just like they did with the Peter Witt and PCC cars – ? This means is that they could be used for memorabilia such as for charters, heritage purposes, historical use, special events, open houses and the occasional weekend summer trips after retirement. It would be a shame and would be upsetting and very sad same with tourists if the TTC did not keep any of the old/legacy cars on property. If the TTC does save anywhere from less than 5 CLRV/ALRV cars, for other use after the cars are retired from regular service, will they be retrofitted to be panto-friendly? Because all streetcar lines will eventually be panto-only, and if they plan on leaving a couple legacy/old cars mainly for charters and/or special events, then they will have to be retrofitted with pantos as well. What do you think Steve?

    Steve: The problem for both the TTC and for the HCRR is that the control equipment on these cars is unreliable and hard to repair. The older cars have entirely mechanical controls, and it is fairly easy to diagnose problems and make parts if need be. For the C/ALRVs, the solid state equipment requires diagnostic tools which are themselves on their last legs. I would be very surprised to see one of either car type kept in operating condition in Toronto.

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  16. Any word as to when new accessible low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcars will be coming to the 505 Dundas and 506 College/Carlton routes?

    Steve: No.

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  17. Steve, this week TTC and Bombardier settle delayed streetcar claim, and finally reach a deal.

    So expect another shipment of new streetcars arriving in Toronto and entering circulation on TTC’s 500-series (streetcar) routes. Which routes will get priority as the new vehicles arrive? Maybe it will be the “511 Bathurst” route (which continues to operate with buses), in time for the run-up to the Canadian National Exhibition.

    Steve: Streetcars have been arriving at a brisk pace already from Thunder Bay. The hold up appears to be at Kingston which has managed to ship only three cars, one of which (4574) is not yet in revenue service.

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  18. Yesterday, I saw Flexity Outlook 4574 and it has just entered service on the “504 King” route; this is one of the Flexity Outlooks built at Bombardier’s Kingston factory. How many more will be built at this factory and shipped to TTC, and when?

    Steve: Kingston is supposed to be building 4572 through 4603, but has only delivered the first three cars so far. When they will arrive is a mystery because this plant has not built up a production rate from anyone could make estimates. I would not be surprised to see Thunder Bay take back part of the Kingston allocation. I too saw 4574 yesterday, but it was not in revenue service.

    This past weekend, streetcars were taken off the “510 Spadina” route and replaced with shuttle buses although some streetcars remained running between King Street and either Queens Quay & Spadina loop or the “Union” subway station via Queens Quay West; the reason for this was track repair/replacement work on many places on Spadina Avenue between College Street and Queen Street West. Today, full streetcar service on the “510 Spadina” route was restored.

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  19. Was it mentioned if the Sunday Harbourfront PCC will be returning this year after last summer’s absence?

    Steve: No word on that yet.

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  20. Any word on whether the 383 bus will be for the public or employees only? The 996, 175, and 121D have all appeared on Google Maps, but the 383 has not.

    The 407 community bus would be the only other route that does not appear on Google Maps.

    Steve: The 383 does not appear on the public list of service changes for May 12, and from that I assume that it is an “internal” route.

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  21. Steve, when are streetcars expected to return to “511 Bathurst” route (which has been using buses since September 2, 2018)? From reading your latest post “Transit & Politics” they are expected to return in the summer, in time for the Canadian National Exhibition. Also, the buses which ran on this route would be redeployed back to bus routes. The “501 Queen” route is currently being converted to the new low-floor Flexity Outlooks; the rollouts continue as more of these new streetcars arrive and “511 Bathurst” route will become the next route.

    Steve: Read this article published on May 2.

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  22. I wonder if they don’t want to put PCC’s on harbourfront because they are afraid of what could happen if it dewires and the trolly pole hits a pantograph. Plus compared to the LFRVS they are slow loading and often filled with rail fans rather than members of the public, plus with no way to pay by presto card they may not want to run them in service anymore due to the cost of a driver and not being able to recoup the cost.

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  23. Steve, what is the date of the next schedule change? The new low-floor Flexity Outlooks continue to arrive at TTC and enter circulation. How many are in service, and what is the next route to be converted to these new streetcars?

    Steve: The next change is on June 23 when 501 Queen will go all low-floor on Neville to Humber. The section to Long Branch will follow in September. 511 Bathurst goes back to streetcars at the same time, but is likely to see a mix of vehicles including possibly some ALRVs displaced from Queen trippers. The likely next conversion after that is 505 Dundas, but probably early in 2020 when all of the new cars are here. Other routes are to be announced and will depend on decisions about the use of bus trippers to supplement peak service due to the streetcar shortage.

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