TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, January 5, 2020

The TTC will make several changes to its services in January 2020.

All seasonal changes implemented on December 22, 2019 have been reversed to the November 2019 schedules except where some other change affects a route.

On the streetcar network, the retirement of the CLRV fleet will be complete and service will be 100% accessible on all surface routes. Route allocations to carhouses have been revised with a view, in part, to current and future pantograph operations

511 Bathurst schedules will be adjusted slightly to compensate for the larger vehicles, and streetcar operation will continue until April 2020 when buses will return to the route for construction projects.

505 Dundas will return to streetcar operation in April. The 502/503 Kingston Road service consolidation running with buses will continue for the foreseeable future.

Cars entering service from Leslie Barns via King Street are already running under pans for their journeys to and from 509 Harbourfront, 510 Spadina, 511 Bathurst and 512 St. Clair. 505 Dundas will operate under pans when streetcar service resumes in April, and 506 Carlton is expected to switch over in late 2020. No conversion dates have been announced yet for 501 Queen or 504 King.

Implementation of “service reliability improvements” continues on several bus routes with, in most cases, wider headways and no added vehicles. The premise is that if driving plus recovery time covers 95% of actual conditions on the route, short turns should be rare and service will more closely match the scheduled/advertised level. This does not take into account headway irregularity and bunching which can contribute at least as much to the perceived (in)frequency of service as the fact that some drivers could not make their trips in the previously allotted time. The change is particularly striking on 52 Lawrence West.

Another effect of these changes is that many buses make their trips in well under the scheduled time causing bunching at terminals, especially in cases where the recovery time equals or exceeds the scheduled headway.

The eight bus trippers in the AM peak on 506 Carlton will be changed to provide service on other routes (23 Dawes, 24 Victoria Park, 47 Lansdowne and 67 Pharmacy) on their trips to the Carlton route. [Updated December 2, 2019: The origin of these trippers on existing and planned schedules has been clarified in the pdf linked below.]

New trippers on 32 Eglinton West will serve the students from York Memorial Collegiate (Keele & Eglinton, damaged by fire) who have been relocated to Scarlett Heights Entrepreneurial Academy (Royal York & Trenholme).

Service will be improved on 300 Bloor-Danforth Night Bus Monday through Friday (Tuesday to Saturday mornings). Buses will be added to the Saturday and Sunday schedules, but the headways will not change. This is a “reliability” improvement that creates recovery times of half and hour and more. Service will also improve during the transition from night to daytime operations, but no details of this were included in the TTC’s service memo.

Planned overcrowding continues with three more routes (45 Kipling, 54 Lawrence East and 95 York Mills) slipping over the approved levels in some periods. These route will also lose their 10-Minute Network status during some periods.

Details of these changes are in the PDF linked below.


26 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, January 5, 2020

  1. I heard a little while back that the 501 and 504 changeover to pans was Q4 2020.

    Steve: That may be, but the service memo talks about 501 being considerably later. 504 I can believe because a good deal of the line has been converted already.


  2. Steve, in your opinion is the 172 Flexities scheduled during the AM peak period feasible or do you think they’re cutting it too close? The way I look at it, considering the streetcars that are still being repaired due to flood damage and otherwise along with the fact that even if Bombardier meets delivery targets for the end of 2019, all 204 streetcars may not be commissioned by January 5th. For simplicity sake, say the TTC has 190 vehicles ready for service on Monday the 6th, that means they are operating with a spare ratio of around 10%, if my math is correct.

    Steve: Your math is not correct. 99 (Leslie) + 40 (Ronces) + 23 (Russell) = 162 total, not 172.


  3. Isn’t Russell closing for construction in 2020? If so, how can they be operating cars out of there?

    Steve: Partly but not completely closing. Roncesvalles went through a similar process.


  4. Steve: Planned overcrowding continues with three more routes (45 Kipling, 54 Lawrence East and 95 York Mills) slipping over the approved levels in some periods. These route will also lose their 10-Minute Network status during some periods.

    That is because we need countless buses to perpetually replace streetcars. First, Downtown gets billions of dollars spent on a streetcar network and the suburbs get nothing but cheap buses. Then, Downtown keeps stealing suburban buses because streetcars are such a non-versatile form of transit constantly needing to be replaced. If you want expensive streetcars, then that is fine but don’t steal buses from the suburbs when your extremely expensive streetcars don’t work. For every route, please pick one: do you want buses or streetcars? You can’t have streetcars and then replace them with stolen buses (stolen from the suburbs) when your streetcars fail to be able to be in service.

    Steve: No, actually. The TTC has enough vehicles in its fleet to provide better bus service, but it does not have the budget to pay to operate them. This is a political decision. For years the TTC has been forced to work with minimal increase in the service budget, and the TTC Board, singing the Mayor’s tune about keeping taxes down, failed to advocate for better transit service.


  5. I think the TTC should rename the ten minute network “12 minute network” since many TTC routes sees wider headways than ten minutes.


  6. No body bothers to improve route 26 [Dupont] and 126 [Christie] bus schedules. Each bus comes after half an hour. The schedule is going like this over 20 years which is very inconvenient and frustrating. Please do something about those routes’ bus schedule.


  7. 10-minute network is a little overrated for branding in my opinion. Buses still come far more often than in any other neighbouring transit system (my friend does a route outside Toronto that runs every 55 minutes in ‘RUSH HOUR’). Buses still come frequently. Yes some buses could come more frequent, but TTC is still one of the highest in the GTA.

    Steve: I invite anyone in Toronto to opt for what passes for transit outside of the 416 with single digit mode shares and sparse service. The TTC could and should be much better both in terms of route management (reliable headways) and level of service. The growth in demand thanks to the population changes and shifts simply cannot be handled by increased car use, as those in the outer 416 and 905 are finding. But, hey, we’re widening the 401 again and this will fix everything.


  8. Steve, your table for 506 Carlton, ‘ Trippers reassigned from Birchmount & Queensway to Mount Dennis & Eglinton garages’

    Trippers were at Eglinton before now they are moving to Birchmount and Eglinton & Queensway (unless the 67 Pharmacy route is moving to Birchmount, cause the 23 Dawes and 24 Victoria Park are at Birchmount). Confirm?

    Steve: Thanks for catching that. I have updated the table to clarify the origin of the old and new trippers. The offsetting garage moves are for 55 Warren Park and 91 Woodbine as already listed.


  9. What is the point of the “10 Minute Network” branding. This seems like little more than a vanity exercise and something to be put in press releases to be used as free filler content for various media outlets. I don’t think most riders, or even almost any riders know of it. I could understand if it was purpose made to serve Priority Neighbourhoods with additional service that the rider count may not automatically require, but I’m not sure it is doing that, and many of the routes in the network (the subway itself is a part of this, isn’t it?) don’t go into or near those neighbourhoods. If I recall correctly, most of the network already had service 10 minutes or better at launch. When you combine that with the TTC slowly chipping away at it and providing poor management until we really have in practice a “15 Minute Network” and then a “20 Minute Network” and then…

    Why is this still a thing they spend time on?

    Steve: Because the list of “ten minute routes” is still part of the Service Standards. Changing the standards would require an admission that they cannot/will not even try to run service at that level. The routes were chosen not by neighbourhood but to provide a grid of major routes, although there are some strange exceptions such as 41 Keele.


  10. I think the way TTC is adjusting the schedule for some of the routes will backfire eventually, and I don’t think it is working well. It is just an assault and TTC is somehow naming it as a ‘service reliability improvement’.

    I often take 50 Burnhamthorpe to commute, and the route was also a victim of that assault. After the assault was implemented, the route is more crowded during the rush after the gap was increased from every 13 min to every 15 min. It is not even an improvement since the service level is decreased, and the crowding issue will go from bad to worse.

    It is like Doug Ford’s PC government cutting everything for the poor and the most vulnerable and somehow calling it as an efficiency. I hope that kind of idiotic changes will stop soon.

    Steve: Yes. When the TTC does this they never talk about how it will affect crowding. The naming as a “service reliability” measure is Orwellian.


  11. How do the all-electric buses play into the service planning? Do they actually replace buses, expand service, or are they a separate fleet to strictly test the technology? And any word on how they are performing so far, especially the Newflyers, which have been operating the longest

    Next year should be interesting, No new streetcars, No new buses, McNicoll opening. Are they going to just dip into the spare of buses or cut services? There’s always a lead time from procurement to actually getting the vehicle on property, and with no word on anything, we’ll be in the same situation in 2022, if not worse.

    Steve: At this point, there are not enough electric buses on the property and running to really make a difference. This is intended as a trial with the aim being to place a larger order for the 2021 round, although I suspect it’s more likely we would see them in 2022 in significant numbers. A related issue is the retrofits needed at garages to provide charging stations for a large number of vehicles, and in some cases this requires Hydro to upgrade the power feed to the site.

    The pool of spares is fairly large right now. Dundas will convert to streetcar in April, although Bathurst will go back to buses, and this will free up some vehicles. When (and if) the construction project on The Queensway, including the access trackage to Roncesvalles Carhouse and the intersection, gets underway, this will take a fair number of buses to cover the outer parts of Queen and King, but this will probably be during the period when service is reduced for the summer and there are spare vehicles.

    As to service increases, there is not much headroom in the 2020 service budget compared to 2019, and so they don’t plan to run much more than they do today. In a few days, the 5 and 10 year service plan should be out (as part of the December 12 board meeting agenda) and we will have a better idea of what’s in store, if anything, for coming years.

    I have not seen any reliability numbers published for the electric buses yet.


  12. So when the TTC 2020 budget will be revealed?

    Steve: There are two board meetings in December. December 12 is the regular meeting but will include the 5 and 10 year service plan report. December 16 is the budget meeting.


  13. Yet again the TTC chooses not to add more service. It is getting absolutely ridiculous. I am sick and tired of Tory tooting his horn about the kids 12 and under idea but not putting enough service to meet the quota. On top of that if they keep this up I am afraid that people will find alternates. Finally, the city needs to deal with gridlock better and not treat TTC riders as second class citizens.


  14. Steve, I read your latest post. The “511 Bathurst” route will switch back to shuttle bus operation in April 2020 (the same time streetcars return to “505 Dundas” route), for TTC track construction on Bathurst Street. This construction should be completed in time, and streetcars to return to the (“511 Bathurst”) route in time for the tourist season and particularly Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). Many people choosing to take the TTC to the CNE take the “511 Bathurst” route, and streetcars transport more passengers than buses, and taking the streetcar is part of their trip to and from the CNE. The busiest days of the CNE is the Labour Day long weekend, when the Canadian International Air Show runs, and you’d get a much better view of the air show through the windows of streetcars.


  15. @Surface Route Aficionado: If someone wants to see the air-show, they’d presumably get off the vehicle and watch from outside, rather than breaking their necks trying to see out the window of a streetcar or a bus.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. By the end of the year with the retirement of the CLRVs, the “511 Bathurst” route will become fully converted to the new low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcars.

    However, in the spring, it will switch back to temporary bus replacement. What’s the next construction project which will affect this route (“511 Bathurst”)? Would one of these be track work projects be on the Bathurst Street bridge? What’s the date for this construction?

    Steve: The date is not set yet.


  17. By the year 2020, there will be another order of Flexity Outlook streetcars – 60 of them – from the Bombardier factories in Thunder Bay and Kingston, Ontario. This will either reduce or eliminate the need to run shuttle buses on streetcar routes. Which routes will we see these new streetcars running on?

    Steve: First off, that order is far from confirmed. Second, the first cars will not begin to appear in Toronto until 2022.

    The first candidate will be existing busy routes that need more service such as King and Queen. Bathurst will get all-year streetcar service, and eventually a Kingston Road service will return, although its exact form is up in the air given ideas about restructuring service on King and Queen that have been suggested as a possibility in the Service Plan.

    But first we need to order them, and that’s not yet a done deal.


  18. Twilight of the CLRVs:

    Steve, the ‘golden age of the CLRV’ on the “511 Bathurst” route will end when this route is converted to Flexity Outlooks on Sunday, December 29, 2019. Over the years, i has been a lot of fun riding the CLRVs and their double-length cousins the ALRVs when they were on the “511 Bathurst” route, to and from the Canadian National Exhibition {CNE}, better known as the “EX:”, and it was, especially, on the southbound “511 Bathurst” there was the high-spirited excitement of the passengers aboard the streetcars to the ‘EX”; this is especially true the Labour Day weekend, when the air show adds extra super high spirited excitement to the CNE. There is a great view – a view of the planes {and their pilots} performing their distinctive aerobatic stunts over Toronto – through the windows of the southbound “511 Bathurst” streetcars for those passengers ‘running late’ getting to the CNE that weekend.

    This past year {2019}, with data collected over the years and the arrival of the new accessible low-floor Flexity Outlook, the TTC decided that the “511 Bathurst” route to be operated exclusively with these Flexity Outlooks for the entire duration of the Canadian National Exhibiotion {CNE}, to meet an increase in demand brought about by the CNE. Many people choosing to take the TTC to get to and from the CNE would ‘naturally’ choose to take the “511 Bathurst” streetcar route.

    The construction projects – which call for a switch to shuttle bus operation on “511 Bathurst” should be completed hopefully in time for the busy tourist season 2020 – and more likely for the running of the Canadian National Exhibition {CNE}, August 21 to September 7, 2020.


  19. Has the TTC officially terminated 502 Downtowner? It no longer appears on:

    Steve: And just to keep things interesting, the detailed downtown map included in the Ride Guide Lite still shows the 502 to McCaul and the 503 as a peak-only service to University. They missed one.

    There has been no formal decision about the 502 yet, but it is unlikely to return in the near future as the TTC appears to be concentrating services on King Street.


  20. 508 is operating with buses.

    Steve: Actually it is using a mix of buses and streetcars. Numbers vary from day to day.


  21. Steve, starting on Sunday, March 29, the “505 Dundas” route – which has been operating with buses since February 18, 2018 – will switch to streetcar operation. On the same day, the “511 Bathurst” route will switch to temporary bus replacement for track work on Bathurst street, lasting until eventual return of streetcars to this route in time for this year’s tourist season, and most likely in time for the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) as this route sees an uptick in the number of passengers.

    This – the summer tourist season – is when the next construction project happens. It will be at the junction of Dundas Street, College Street, and Roncesvalles Avenue – affecting the “505 Dundas” (a switch back to temporary bus replacement), and buses to replace streetcars on sections of “504 King” (on Roncesvalles from Dundas West subway station to Queen-King junction) and “506 Carlton” (from the High Park loop to Lansdowne Avenue).

    There’s routes which will operate with buses for the foreseeable future, notably “503 Kingston Road” tripper route.

    Steve: There is no such place as the intersection of Dundas, College and Roncesvalles. As for King on Roncesvalles, it is not supposed to close until 2021 when the work is underway at King, Queen and Roncesvalles. Nothing prevents the King car from reaching Dundas West Station while trackwork is in progress on Dundas and Howard Park.


  22. Steve, what day is the next schedule change? Is it March 29, 2020?

    Steve: February 16, then March 29. The changes for February are not substantial. I just received the notice with the details, and will publish my usual summary of them soon.


  23. Beginning on Sunday, March 29, 2020, the “511 Bathurst” route will switch to temporary bus replacement (also known as shuttle bus operation) for track work on Bathurst street? How long will this last? This route could operate with articulated buses during this period of temporary bus replacement – taking them (the artics) off routes which use them – “29 Dufferin”, “41 Keele”, “36 Finch West”.

    Steve: You would not need the combined artic fleets of those three bus routes just to serve 511 Bathurst. As you may know, a part of that fleet has been under overhaul for the past year or so. 41 Keele only runs with artics on weekdays, and so if there were a special event requiring more capacity on weekends, there would be vehicles available.


  24. Starting on Sunday, March 29, 2020, the “511 Bathurst” route switches to temporary bus replacement (also known as “shuttle bus operation”) for scheduled track work on this route, and continues with this until June 20, when the tourist season officially begins. By this time, track work – which includes that on the Bathurst Street Bridge – is expected to be complete, and streetcars to return to this route.

    When the track work on Bathurst Street is complete, what is the next construction project affecting TTC streetcar service during the summer?

    Steve: Looking at TOInview the date for work at Bathurst & Front is scheduled for Q2-Q3 this year, while the work south of Dundas is all in Q3.

    Richmond & Church, Victoria Street from Queen to Dundas Square, and Church/Wellington from King to Yonge are planned for 2020, but TOInview does not give specific dates.

    There is a major construction project on Dundas from the Junction with College westward to Sorauren (Q3-Q4)as well as some track on Howard Park (Q2-Q4). I don’t don’t know the details yet.


  25. Another construction project affecting TTC streetcar service – which was supposed to happen last year (2019) – was Queen-King-Roncesvalles, and has been deferred. Is it still scheduled for this year? If yes, when? This track reconstruction would mean streetcars taken off portions of the affected routes – “501 Queen” and “504 King” and switching to temporary bus replacement. It would free up streetcars to be used on busy routes such as “511 Bathurst” which sometimes uses buses for one reason or another.

    Steve: This project has been deferred to 2021 because it would overlap the planned work on Dundas causing the west end of the system to be completely isolated.


  26. Steve, when buses take over from streetcars on the “511 Bathurst” route on Sunday, March 29, 2020, how long will this temporary bus replacement last? Will that be until the next major construction project affecting streetcar service on Dundas Street (and College Street) scheduled for the summer months?

    Steve: I answered this question in a previous reply.


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