With the schedule change coming on Sunday, November 24, 2019 (for which details will appear in a separate article), the routing of the Downtown Premium Express 14x series will be shifted off of Adelaide and Richmond Streets to the King Street Transit Corridor.
New stops will be created eastbound along King at Peter, Simcoe (west of University), Jordan (west of Yonge), George and Parliament. The one exception will be that the 142 Avenue Road service will stop for unloading only eastbound on King farside at University, the streetcar stop.
New westbound stops will be at George, Yonge, York, and Peter.
All of the stops for these routes will be separate from those used by streetcars to avoid confusion between local and express services.
Services from the east (141 Mt. Pleasant, 143 Beach, 144 Don Mills) will loop via Spadina, Adelaide and Charlotte with a stop southbound on Charlotte at King.
Services from the west (142 Avenue Road, 145 Humber Bay) will loop via Sherbourne, Front and Berkeley with a stop northbound on Berkeley at King.
The 141 Mount Pleasant bus will jog east via Adelaide to George before continuing south to King where there will be an inbound stop. Outbound service will stop on Jarvis north of King.
The 143 Beach and 144 Don Mills services which come through the Richmond/Adelaide interchange east of Parliament Street will turn south from Richmond via Parliament with a stop at King. Outbound services will turn north on Power from King Street to reach Adelaide. (As a matter of historical interest, the original name for the spaghetti junction east of Parliament was the “Duke and Duchess Interchange” after the names of these streets in the old town.)
The 145 Humber Bay service will enter downtown via Adelaide Street from Bathurst, but will turn south to King at Charlotte using the common stop with services from the east. Outbound buses will continue west on King to Bathurst, then turn south.
The 503 Kingston Road bus will continue to operate on King Street looping via York, Richmond and University.
With all of these bus routes and a new set of stops on King, cyclists will find the transitway somewhat more challenging and motorists will have to deal with buses blocking the curb lane at stops. Turning movements at Spadina could be challenging as there is no priority for streetcars when they turn off of King, let alone for buses. This will add to delays that are already a problem at this location.
It is also unclear what the effect of these routes will be on the ambience of the curb lane cafe spaces along King should the operation last into the good weather in 2020, nor how these arrangement would be affected by the TIFF diversions.
There is no end date announced yet for this trial, nor for the outcomes on which it will be measured. I will continue to track the speed of streetcar operations in the corridor to determine whether the additional buses have an effect on streetcar service.