The TTC will make several changes in its service on June 23. Many of these are the usual summer service reductions, but others will see changes for construction projects, to improve reliability on some routes, and to redeploy the streetcar fleet.
On 1 Yonge-University-Spadina, the dispatching of trains will change to increase the use of the north hostler track and exit from Wilson Yard (all days), and to restore the full capacity of Davisville Yard following expansion of the carhouse (weekdays).
On 2 Bloor-Danforth, a gap train will be dispatched from Greenwood or Keele Yard in the AM and PM peak as needed to fill service gaps. There will also be the usual summer service reduction on this line.
On both routes, crew procedures at Finch, Vaughan, Kipling and Kennedy will be changed to single step-back operation.
The 501 Queen car will be formally scheduled as a low-floor route entirely with new cars. In recognition of their larger capacity, headways will be widened somewhat, but not on the scale Toronto saw when the two-section ALRVs replaced the CLRVs on a 2:3 ratio with correspondingly wider headways. Although in theory the scheduled capacity remains the same, the actual capacity could fall because new larger cars have already been operating on the shorter CLRV headways. I will explore this in a separate article.
Night service will be improved on 301 Queen to reduce overnight storage needs with the large number of new cars now on the property together with remnants of the old fleet, and the partial closure of Roncesvalles Carhouse for reconstruction. This continues a change introduced on 304 King in May.
CLRVs will continue to operate on the Long Branch segment of the route. This is expected to change to low-floor operation in September. The peak period trippers that run through from Long Branch to/from downtown will be dropped, but will return in the September schedules.
The 511 Bathurst route will revert to streetcar operation. The exact mix of cars will depend on availability and day-to-day decisions about allocation. The service memo shows a small allocation of ALRVs to the route, but these could turn out to be Flexitys instead just as happened on 501 Queen. (Click to expand the table below.)
Leslie & Eglinton
For the summer months, Leslie Street will be closed at Eglinton, and a temporary loop will be created north of the intersection. This will be used by 51 Leslie and by some of the 54 Lawrence East service. Weekdays from 5:15 am to 9 pm, and weekends from 8 am to 7 pm, the Starspray and Orton Park branches will terminate at the Leslie/Eglinton loop, and there will be a separate service running from Eglinton Station to Lawrence East Station via Don Mills & Eglinton. Outside of these periods, the Starspray and Orton Park services will run to Eglinton Station via Don Mills, and a supplementary shuttle will run from Leslie/Eglinton to Lawrence/Don Mills as part of the 51 Leslie route.
All 51 Leslie service will terminate at Leslie/Eglinton.
The 954 Lawrence East Express is not affected.
Service on 34C Eglinton East to Flemingdon Park will be increased slightly to offset changes to 54 Lawrence East.
See the linked spreadsheet for details of the various routes, headways and hours of service.
Because of construction at Lawrence Station, part of the bus loop will be closed for paving and the 52/952 Lawrence services will loop via the east side of the station. Service on 124 Sunnybrook and 162 Lawrence-Donway will be extended west and north to Roe Loop on Avenue Road. Transfers between these routes will move to surface stops.
Construction at Wellesley Station will complete and the 94 Wellesley will return to its normal operation with its eastern branch terminating there rather than at Queen’s Park.
Royal York Station
Buses were planned to return to Royal York Station on May 24, but the schedules will not formally be revised until August. Interlining of 15 Evans with 48 Rathburn, and of 73 Royal York and 76 Royal York South, will continue until then.
Service on the 6B short turn at Bloor will be discontinued during the peak period and all buses will run north to Dupont.
All service will terminate at Dufferin Loop rather than at Princes Gates due to frequent summer events that make bus operation through Exhibition Place difficult.
Road Construction in Scarborough
Several routes will be affected by road construction projects.
Danforth Road from St. Clair to Danforth Avenue:
- 113 Danforth
Midland Avenue from Danforth to Lawrence:
- 20 Cliffside
- 57 Midland
Brimley Road from Progress to Huntingwood:
- 21 Brimley
Huntingwood Drive from Kennedy to Brimley:
- 169B Huntingwood
A few questions Steve,
Firstly, with this being the first summer of the 929 Dufferin service and 504B King cars to Dufferin Gate, which operates much more frequently than the 514 Cherry cars did, along with the use of Artic buses on the 929/29 and the longer Flexity streetcars on King, does Dufferin Loop realistically have the space to handle all these services, especially during the CNE and peak periods?
Secondly, how do you think the changes on the Bloor-Danforth line (including the single train step-back operation and seasonal service reduction) will impact terminal stations? As a rider who almost daily takes the subway to Kennedy Station, I’m regularly faced with the agonizing crawling into the station while waiting for one of the trains to leave so the train can enter. Will these changes do anything to impact that?
Steve: Dufferin Loop is going to be crowded especially with the padding recently added to the King car schedules. I will be reviewing this after I have a chance to look at the May operating data.
As for Kennedy Station, the single step backs will probably make things worse by creating a situation where it is more likely that a crew will not be ready to take out trains on time. The queuing is caused by excessive scheduled trip time and trains getting to the terminal early. This has been a problem for a long, long time — I used to encounter it when commuting from downtown to STC in the 2000s. TTC pads schedules to avoid triggering overtime penalties, but in the process creates really crappy service for riders outbound to terminals, particularly at the ends of peak periods.
Why does 95A York Mills between Kennedy Road and U of T Scarborough have greater than 10 minute frequency on weekday midday and afternoon peak when it is supposed to be a ten minute network route in between York Mills Station and Military Trail?
Steve: Because the TTC forgets where its “10 minute network” is sometimes.
Is it safe to assume that ALRVs won’t be returning to service?
Steve: The fleet summary for June 23 shows four of them being used on Bathurst, but I will believe it when I see it. At the rate Flexitys are arriving in Toronto, the ALRVs are unlikely to get out much.
I know this questions is little off from the topic, but when do you expect the Orion Vll (7900-7979, 8000-8099) at Queensway garage to retire.
I know very few of the 79xx started to retire, especially those which didn’t have it’s VISION system installed.
Also, I found out that Queensway’s been often getting ‘hand me down’ buses from other divisions, and I am wondering if there are any reason associated with that.
Steve: According to the fleet plan, a good chunk of the Orion VII’s will be gone this year, the rest in 2021.
Queensway has been getting hand-me-down buses for as long as I can remember, and it’s not uncommon to hear complaints from residents in Etobicoke about the old equipment they have to ride. It is possible thath the TTC does not want to invest in the equipment needed to maintain newer vehicles at this elderly garage, but the situation is long-standing back to an era when buses did not change much from year to year.
What is the excuse for not returning schedules to prior times at Royal York Station?
Originally I believe it was due for first week of last November then delayed to unknown date so we suffered through yet another winter. Loop has been restored to use.
Steve: Because by the time that Service Planning was certain the loop would actually be available, the cutoff for changing the schedules had passed. The routes will still be interlined, but they will use the loop.
511 Bathurst only needs 8 cars?
Steve: What part of the chart are you reading? 12 cars in both the AM and PM peaks. If you’re looking at the fleet allocation, there are 8 listed under CLRVs and 4 under ALRVs, although there is a good chance these will wind up being Flexitys.
One writer writes about the backlog into Kennedy Station of trains. Kennedy Station (and Kipling, too) aren’t as backed up as Finch is. Like the guys don’t go when they have green lights. Supervisors say to me too that Danforth operators get on their trains and go. They don’t do that at Wilson Subway.
Steve: This does not surprise me.
Does this mean the 301 is going to be fully converted too? Or do some of the Long Branch runs go to the 301 as well?
Steve: I will have to find out. Obviously with Flexitys on all of the 501 Queen runs, there will be fewer CLRVs as potential night cars on the 501 and 501L.
And, is there a word on when Bathurst and Eglinton West are switching divisions? I think I heard it was coming.
Steve: Nothing in the current schedules.
To answer a question someone had, according to info on the coupler site about the June board changes, the 301 will be using 100% low floors and will be operating with shorter headways due to storage capacity issues
Another question I found I have is in the June CEO report, it says (I’m assuming in April) that there were two additional CLRV RAD streetcars on Queen. So can it be assumed in the June period those will either be replaced with Flexity cars or eliminated entirely ? (This is located under the “Streetcar: Short Turns” part of the report.)
Steve: There will be a few RAD cars, but I am waiting to see how these are actually used. Depending on where they are stored in readiness for service, they might not make much difference. A big issue with trying to send all cars to the terminals is that when there is a bunch created by a delay, failure to short turn cars simply leaves a gap echoing back and forth across the route. Some short turns are an absolute necessity, but if the artificial goal is to have none, other aspects of service suffer. However, if the TTC only measures “quality” by “no short turns”, well, that’s what you get.
When will be the next opportunity to change schedules for bus routes using Royal York Subway Station in order to get schedules restored to service pre-closure of loop?
Steve: As I have said before, quoting the TTC, the August schedule change will see a return to the original route structure.
On Sunday, June 23, 2019, the “511 Bathurst” route reverts to streetcar operation. The shuttle buses which have been running on this route since Sunday, September 2, 2018 (although some streetcars remained in service on the “511 Bathurst” route until the final day of last year’s CNE), will be redeployed back to bus routes.
This change comes in time for the busy tourist season. Both tourists and residents of Toronto would prefer to take streetcars to get to the attractions served by this route, most notably Ontario Place and Exhibition Place. There’s the Toronto Festival of Beer at Bandshell Park, Exhibition Place which happens the last weekend of July, and many people take the “511 Bathurst” streetcar to and from this event. In late summer, there is the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), which runs from August 16 through to September 2. Many people going to the CNE take the TTC to get to and from this event, and a popular route is “511 Bathurst” streetcar route. For many CNE-goers, taking the “511 Bathurst” streetcar is part of the trip to and from the CNE; there’s always the high-spirited excitement of the passengers.
Steve: Actually, the buses won’t be redeployed anywhere until the fall, assuming that planned service increases actually occur, because of summer service cuts. The AM peak total buses in service will go down from 1,616 in the May schedules to 1,531 in the June versions.
Will the Harbourfront PCC run this year?
Yesterday – Sunday, June 23, 2019 – streetcars returned to the “511 Bathurst” route, just as the busy tourist season is revving up in T.O. I took them to get to and from the Toronto Craft Beer Festival at Ontario Place. There’s more opportunities for me to take the “511 Bathurst” streetcars this summer – with summer programming, festivals and special events down at both Ontario Place and Exhibition Place. In late summer, there is the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), which runs from August 16 to September 2, and many people including myself take this route to and from this event. There’s the Canadian International Air Show which happens the last weekend of the CNE.
Apparently, the diversion of routes 124 and 162 to terminate at the Roe Loop instead of Lawrence Station has been suspended. The paving workers have still not shown up, and 124/162 buses are still terminating in Lawrence Station. By Wednesday, the TTC had taken down all its posters at Lawrence Station about the diversion. NextBus and the digital signs on 124/162 buses still show Roe Loop as the western terminal; just don’t believe it. NextBus shows that some, but not all, of the extra buses to support the diversion are often in service.
This past Sunday – June 23 – streetcars returned to the “511 Bathurst” route, and it was the older models (CLRVs). Already I saw some of the new low-floor Flexity Outlooks on this route. When is this route expected to become fully converted to the new streetcars? Maybe it will be in time for the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) a popular late-summer event which runs from August 16 to September 2, 2019; more likely in time for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, which runs November 1-10, 2019.
Steve: There is no definite date for this conversion beyond the TTC’s plans to retire all of the C/ALRV fleet by year end. At that point, they have to decide which routes will remain with bus operation either in total, or with peak trippers.
As a result of flooding along the waterfront, the Redpath Waterfront Festival has moved some of its program to Sugar Beach and Sherbourne Common. Some of the tall ships – most notably the Picton Castle – will relocate to those stretches of waterfront which aren’t affected by flooding and high water levels between the foot Bathurst Street and Lower Simcoe Street.
These changes may influence the decision to move forward with construction on a new streetcar route along Queens Quay between Bay Street over to Parliament Street (or further east to the Port Lands); or as an eastward extension of the “509 Harbourfront” route.
Steve: There are factors far larger than this affecting, and for years delaying, construction of the eastern leg of the waterfront LRT.
There have been a handful of new cars out there on weekdays but weekends are a different story. NextBus isn’t showing any new cars on 511 and overall there a fewer than 100 new cars out on the roads.
Yesterday, there was an article in the Toronto Star about the delivery of new accessible low-floor streetcars from Bombardier’s factories. It’s now certain that the remaining 38 Flexity Outlooks will be delivered before the year is out. Which is the next route to be given priority to become fully converted to Flexity Outlooks? What is the next route to use the new Flexity Outlooks? Starting next year, an additional 100 new Flexity Outlooks will be built, and delivered to TTC and enter circulation.
Steve: Carlton is the next major route, to be followed by Dundas in 2020.
There is no funding nor approval for additional cars, let alone carhouse space in which to store them. I don’t know what article you are reading, but Ben Spurr’s piece in the Star does not mention them at all. The Capital Investment Plan includes these cars, but at this point it is just that, a plan, and there is a huge backlog of funding needs across the system.
Do you know if the 7 Bathurst Bus will ever be improved on weekends? Worst times are Saturday afternoons and evenings and Sundays till 1pm. Traffic or not raining snowing or sunny and clear 20 to 30 minute waits and overcrowding as 3 buses usually at a time. Sunday mornings sometimes 40 minute waits and too full so another long wait. TTC has done nothing despite promises to me back in 2014. Don’t understand Sunday mornings no traffic. I think the drivers party and smoke with each other at end and beginning stops of route. Can you help Steve?
Steve, is the “508 Lakeshore” streetcar still running? On two occasions, I see “508” on the destination bar at the rear end of CLRV streetcars (both times on the “511 Bathurst” route).
Steve: The 508 has not run as such for many years, although until recently, there were 501 trippers from Long Branch to downtown. Because of equipment shortages, these were cut back to bus trippers operating from Sunnyside, although when Queen goes 100% low floor this fall, the trippers may return on Long Branch. In any case, they will not be 508 cars because they will operate to downtown via Queen, not King as the 508 did.
And more on the topic of destination signs at the back of CLRVs, these are very frequently not correct evidently because the TTC does not care.
Last month – on Sunday, June 23 – the “511 Bathurst” route reverted to streetcar operation, with (for the most part) CLRVs. When will the “511 Bathurst” route expected to become become fully converted to the new low-floor Flexity Outlooks?
Steve: There is no fixed date for full low-floor service on Bathurst.
Hi Steve, what about the reconstruction of Kingston Rd and Queen St planned for later in 2019? won’t that requirement bus replacement for the 501 at least for a couple of weeks?
Steve: I have not seen an announced date for this yet, but typically there would be one schedule period (six weeks) with bus service to the Beach.