This article is the second part of a series on the TTC’s 5 Year Service Plan & 10 Year Outlook.
Just after I posted the article, the TTC replied to several queries about its content. This article has been updated to incorporate additional information.
- TTC’s Service Plan 2020-2024: Too Much Gloss, Not Enough Substance?
- 5 Year Service Plan & 10 Year Outlook (Board Report)
- Next Stop, Even Better 2020-2024 & Beyond
Requests for Service and Route Changes
Returning to past practice, TTC staff will report annually to the Board on requests for changes in the network requested by, among others, Councillors, community groups and employers, as well as changes triggered by events such as new rapid transit lines or staff-proposed area restructuring (such as the recent updates to routes in the Junction).
There has been a backlog of such requests, and the report contains a long section detailing them. Unfortunately, it is not indexed nor arranged in route order. For the benefit of readers, I have created a summary sorted by status and route number. Page numbers refer to those within Attachment 2 to the Service Plan.
The requests range from substantial route changes to minor items such as stop eliminations. There has been no filtering on the external support for some of these ideas, and some proposals have more a sense of tinkering by individuals rather than true community input. But they’re all there. Some make it to “recommended” status, subject to funding. Some are on hold pending other changes such as the opening of the Crosstown which will affect many routes. Many are not recommended for various reasons, mainly low potential demand or violation of network design principles to serve a specific locale.
The list contains several entries where the underlying complaint is crowding. Proposals include route changes to redirect riders to other routes as well as the simple request of “run more buses”. The Service Plan does not address crowding levels on a route by route level or even acknowledge this growing problem. It is almost comic for the TTC to trumpet evaluation of new services while failing to deal with shortfalls in the service it runs today.
One proposed change is the extension of the 339 Finch East night bus to serve the Tapscott industrial area. Because so many TTC service changes are done on a “zero sum” basis where resources are shuffled between routes, this will be accomplished by terminating the 365 Parliament night bus which is a poor performing route with other nearby lines serving the same area (Bloor Danforth, Carlton, Queen, King). The 365 Parliament bus gets only 4 boardings per vehicle hour well below the standard of 10. The change will be implemented in 2020, but the specific date has not been announced.
The report notes that performance on the night routes is generally good, although it does not list values for individual routes.
New ridership data for the overnight network shows that ridership on almost all the routes meet TTC service standards – in fact, many routes are showing growth since the expanded network. The only service to not meet the TTC’s service standards is the 365 Parliament overnight service where the boardings per service hour do not meet the minimum threshold to justify the resources spent to provide the service. [Attachment 3, p 8]
On the streetcar night routes headways were improved simply to reduce storage requirement for cars. The 301 Queen, 304 King and 310 Spadina routes operate every 15 minutes, and the 306 Carlton route has 20 minute service. Previously, the headway on all four routes was 30 minutes. It is not clear whether the performance of these routes is such that this level of service should become permanent.
During the workshops for the Service Plan, there were proposals that did not appear in the final plan. The TTC has now clarified that these will be part of the 2021 plan which will be subject to public consultation and funding.
East Scarborough Route Changes
By comparison, here is the current system map of the area.
These changes include:
- A new 938 Express bus from STC to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus
- Extension of 905 Eglinton East Express to take over the Conlins Road loop now served by 116A Morningside
- A new all-day route 178 from STC to Coronation Drive via Brimley, Brimorton, Orton Park and Lawrence replacing the 54B Lawrence East Orton Park Loop and the 86D Scarborough Coronation Loop
- Routing all 54 Lawrence East service to Starspray to provide more service east of Orton Park
Stanley Green Service
The list of proposed changes includes a new route to Stanley Green. Here is a map showing the route.
119 Torbarrie and 167 Pharmacy North
Additional periods of operation are planned on these routes in 2021.
Streetcar Network Changes
The plan shows an increase in the size of the streetcar fleet starting in 2022 although the TTC has not yet ordered any cars. The TTC advises that the plan assumes an additional order will be placed with Bombardier. These would be used to increase service on the network, to restore streetcar service to routes operating with buses, and to provide for route changes that would provide more overlap among services.
A proposed route network was shown in the workshops, but it is not in the final report.
The changes include:
- Route 501A would operate between Neville Loop and Sunnyside Loop.
- Route 501B would operate between Long Branch Loop and a new Riverside Loop to be built on the land now occupied by a parking lot on Broadview north of Queen. This land is owned by the TTC.
- The consolidation of routes 502 Downtowner and 503 Kingston Road is permanent.
- Route 503 would operate between Bingham Loop and Dufferin Loop.
- Route 504B would operate between Broadview Station and Humber Loop, later to a proposed Park Lawn loop.
Note that this is a draft and only gives an indication of the TTC’s thoughts on what might happen. It is subject to the acquisition of more streetcars, public consultation on the route changes and budget approval.