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.
Community Bus Routes
The TTC operates Community Bus Routes in various locations to link seniors’ residences with major destinations such as shopping, recreation and medical care that they cannot easily reach by conventional transit routes. The intent is to divert traffic that would otherwise be on WheelTrans as well as to serve those who might not qualify for WT service.
Despite attempts to build ridership, only one route, 405 Etobicoke, meets the service target of six boardings per vehicle hour.
The TTC has a number of “lessons learned” from the failure to build riding on these routes.
- Projected diversion of Wheel-Trans customers to community bus cannot be achieved until re-registration and conditional trip matching is implemented.
- Original community bus route planning assumptions (i.e. maximum walking distance to the route, destinations served, etc.) need refining.
- Schedule and service reliability is more important than more frequent or everyday service.
- Distinctive vehicle branding can support ridership growth, however, a more suitable vehicle should be considered going forward for community bus routes. [Attachment 3, p3]
The Wheel-Trans re-registration process is still in progress, and this is expected to shift some existing riders off of the WT service onto Community Buses. Meanwhile the TTC proposes various changes to the Community Bus network.
TTC has analyzed Wheel-Trans trips from 2018, incorporating lessons learned, in order to plan routing changes for several current community bus routes. In each case, the routes are planned to serve residences and destinations with a high potential to divert conditional Wheel-Trans trips away from door-to-door service. Service will also be removed from low performing route segments where ridership is not expected to grow, even with Wheel-Trans re-registration and conditional trip matching in place.
It is expected that these changes will improve route performance. However, it is expected that not all routes will meet the TTC’s productivity standard for community bus service until Wheel-Trans re-registration and conditional trip matching is implemented. In the interim, we are making these improvements to increase performance and sustain service.
A common factor in the proposed changes is the provision of more time for serving stops and waiting for riders to make service more reliable and attractive.
Of course, there is the possibility that these routes will never meet the performance criteria. If their purpose is to reduce WT cost by shifting riders to a fixed route service, one must ask whether the target demand level is realistic for this type of route, and what a former WT user is supposed to do if they are told that their Community Bus doesn’t make the cut.
400 Lawrence Manor
The Lawrence Manor bus would be modified by:
- Shifting a portion of the route near Lawrence West Station,
- Widening headways from 75 to 90 minutes to give buses more stop service time, and
- Changing the route’s operation from 5 days/week to 3.
The Parkdale bus would be modified by:
- Replacing service on Lansdowne between Dundas and St. Clair with service on Dundas to Dundas West Station,
- Removing service on the loop via Symington, Wallace and Dufferin,
- Improving service frequency from 90 to 60 minutes,
- Provide additional time for buses to serve stops, and
- Change the operation from all five weekdays to two days/week.
404 East York
The East York bus would be modified by:
- Replacing service that now operates to The Beach via Gerrard and Main Streets with service to Victoria Park & Kingston Road and thence west to the Glen Manor area, and
- Maintaining the existing 65 minute headway, but using the time freed up by the shorter route to increase dwell times at stops.
The Etobicoke bus would be modified by:
- Adding one vehicle and improving service from every 90 minutes to every 75,
- Extending the route to serve the No Frills at Dixon & Islington as well the West Park Health Centre,
- Removing service on The Westway, and
- Improving dwell times at stops.
An Equity Lens in Planning
The Service Plan contains a rambling section that attempts to address City policies about diversity, inclusion and equity as they apply to transit service. This is a difficult task because transit routes span many neighbourhoods and they are planned on a macro, not a micro basis. There are two separate aspects to the TTC’s planned approach.
Diversity & Inclusion
The City has identified 15 separate groups who could be affected by inequitable provision of public services for a variety of reasons.
When considering changes to its network, the TTC will ensure that affected groups are consulted to determine whether there is a disproportionate effect for one or more group. Obvious examples include groups who are more transit dependent such as seniors and students, public housing residents, or immigrants who are not yet economically established. Another variant would be a cultural group dependent on a specific transit route to link destinations of importance to them.
The difficulty with this scheme is that the areas where the “D&I Lens groups” are located are spread over the city, and much of the transit system lies in these areas. Although the plan is to ensure consultation where there is a concentration of people from these groups, it is not clear how this would actually affect the planning process.
A separate proposed change is to adjust the calculation of the effect of change to give a higher weight to demand in residential Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs) which take in the lowest income portions of the city. These are much more concentrated than the Diversity & Inclusion areas mapped above.
Service Standards require that routes achieve 10 boardings per vehicle hour off peak, or 20 for peak services. Under the proposed change, boardings in NIAs would count for 1.25 rather than 1.0. The intent is to make route evaluations more sensitive to demand in low-income areas.
In theory, this could save some routes from cutbacks that might otherwise occur, or raise a proposed new service over the threshold for approval. However, there are few routes where the majority of the line lies within an NIA, and so the higher weight would only apply to a minority of boardings. Whether this will have much effect on route evaluations remains to be seen.
In a related exercise, the TTC will use Presto trip data to determine which employment areas are the destinations for trips beginning in NIAs in order to flag districts that should receive a similar treatment for the return journeys.
The TTC intends to incorporate this change in their 2021 Service Plan.
The Service Plan does not address fare-related issues because these will be the subject of a future report on fare policy.
Analysis of Proposed Changes: Weighted Trip Component Values
When the TTC evaluates a change, they calculate the effect on travel times for riders using a weighted index for each component. The time spent in a vehicle uses a factor of one, but other components such as transfers and waiting use higher factors. These reflect the perceived difference of the time spent riding a vehicle as opposed to making no actual progress on a journey, sometimes in quite inhospitable locations. The effect of the proposed changes is to make travel time relatively more important by reducing all other factors.
The changes, while relatively minor for wait and walk times, indicate that the speed and reliability of the service appear to have greater influence on the customer’s route choice and travel behaviour than what the previous weights implied. In other words, customers are less sensitive to waiting for or walking to a transit service relative to the time spent on the vehicle than previously assumed.
The findings are similar for the transfer penalty, which simulates the inconvenience of transferring to another vehicle. Customers may be less sensitive to the number of transfers than previously assumed. Customers appear to be choosing faster, more direct and more reliable paths to complete their trip even if it may require an additional transfer. The different transfer penalties for different modes (i.e. subway, surface ROW, mixed traffic surface) may be indicative of customers’ preference of the environment when waiting for their vehicle or preference for the particular mode. [Attachment 3, p 18]
The term “effective” time is footnoted in this table, and that note reads:
In the proposed customer-minutes evaluation framework, in-vehicle travel time and wait time values have route-based reliability factors incorporated.
Given that the TTC only measures “reliability” at route terminals, and this value is not representative of conditions along the route where most riders actually board, this could produce skewed results. Moreover, reliability is measured on an all-day average basis whereas the service quality at the time of a proposed change might be very different from the average.
A related factor is crowding which can be caused both by irregular or inadequate service. The average wait time at a stop is not necessarily the scheduled headway divided by two, or the typical headway (allowing for gaps), but could also include the time wasted when the first arriving vehicle is full.
The absence of detailed published measures of reliability and crowding undermines the credibility of any analysis because we do not know what the TTC is measuring or trying to fix. A simple example is the focus on reducing short turns which has been underway for a few years. While this does have some benefit for riders on the outer parts of routes who might not receive all of their scheduled service, it has little effect on service quality in the more central portion of a route. Indeed, an embargo on short turns without active management of headways between vehicles can perpetuate gaps that might otherwise be filled.
This proposal deserves far more discussion than simply a footnote in a table in an appendix. Resources expended on improving route reliability and reducing wait times could produce benefits that the TTC is not measuring today in comparison to the usual route-by-route modifications. However, this type of analysis would require actually knowing where and when problems occur and acknowledging that they exist, a practice that goes against the grain of TTC’s self-congratulatory culture. There is reason to think this may be changing provided that the TTC improves the granularity of its “reliability” metrics.
These variability factors were developed based on operational data which resulted in an improvement in fit compared to observed ridership data. It is recommended that the updated customer-minutes evaluation framework considers these adjustments to account for in-vehicle travel time and headway reliability. The new framework allows TTC to forecast ridership impacts associated with improving reliability of transit service. [Attachment 3, p 19]
Improvements that bring no noticeable change for most riders will not have the expected effect.
The fraud that Steve speaks of started under the leadership of Andy Byford who has since then been fired but it will take a long time for the TTC to undo the damage of the Byford era.
Steve: Andy Byford was not fired. He left to run the NYTCA of his own choice, an obviously was campaigning for this role well before he departed. He left us with a less than sterling replacement who is even worse in the pursuit of “fake news” to show what a good job management are doing.
You forgot the 512 extension west to Jane and eventually Jane station which was recommended.
Steve: It’s on page 1 of the list, near the bottom. I split it off from the Warden extension which was in the same block of the TTC report because it was not recommended.
The map of new streetcar routes is the TTC’s, not mine, and it does not include any network expansion such as St. Clair west or Waterfront.
So 503 goes back to Dufferin loop and would probably mean evening and weekend service on Kingston Rd. All that is old is new again as the Kingston Road tripper used to go to Dufferin loop.
Steve: Yes, I was amused to see the everything-old-is-new-again Kingston Road car.
I note that they say the possible expansion of the 121 east to Bayview is not recommended as “The area in question is already within 400m of transit service”. I find this interesting as only last week a TTC Senior Customer Service Rep told me that Service Planning are “reviewing your suggestion to route the service via Bayview instead of Cherry”. Left hand vs right hand or telling people what you think they want to hear!
With the 501A and 501B terminating at Sunnyside Loop and Riverside Loop, was there any discussion of where up to 100 people would be standing when they changed streetcars? Humber loop kind of works because of all the space. But Riverside loop would see lots of people changing at the already busy eastbound Queen at Broadview stop (or perhaps a reinstated northbound Broadview at Queen stop), while at Sunnyside … gosh, I guess you’d get off at Queen and Roncesvalles, and change there, or run to King and Roncesvalles if that one came first … ??? Not sure what’s gained by not running on the relatively quick dedicated track to Humber Loop.
I’m surprised to see abandonment of the Church/Wellington streetcar service. With all these new shorter services, you’d think something could loop around there … perhaps even the proposed Broadview service … perhaps if the Ontario Line ever opens …
I suspect this will change many times before it happens.
Would there be any need to maintain the Church-Wellington-York loop without regular service?
Steve: Still handy as a diversion/short turn route. When King & Church us rebuilt in a few years, an east to south curve there would not hurt.
I think the TTC should keep the current streetcar network. The enhanced streetcar network would be too confusing to customers.
A couple of thoughts:
On night service:
What do you think Steve of the ‘within 15m walking distance standard’?
I get where it was a reasonable place to start when 24h service was just beginning; but I take issue with it now.
After all for someone using the service it could be 15m at either, or possibly both ends (depends on day of the week and nearby daytime services along w/the length of someone’s work shift, or trip to the hospital etc.)
I also find it problematic, because when you look at the removal of Parliament, it leave no N-S service from Yonge to Broadview, that’s quite the gap! There are other similar or larger gaps today, such as Yonge to Don Mills w/no N-S service in the wee hours.
As you’ve noted in the past, part of ridership for the system, is the value of the ‘network’.
Given overcrowding levels, I’d be disinclined to argue for Blue Night expansion as the top priority, but I would have liked to see it somewhere in the plan.
Steve: I think the best we can hope for right now is the 15 minute rule. If we start to reduce that, we will trigger a lot more service to get 10 minute coverage, and that’s a whole separate discussion about night service ridership and warrants. A related point is that some night routes probably deserve better than the half-hourly service they get today. The really big problem with these routes is getting them to run on time with scheduled time points that riders can count on for connections.
As for Parliament, it’s hard to argue with the low ridership. As for the distance from Yonge, there is night service on four routes that cross Parliament and someone can walk up/down Parliament from another night route. At least this report does not repeat an error of a past evaluation of night routes and walking distances where the author appeared to be unaware of the existence of the Don River.
On Scarborough, I know a councillor had requested service on Scarborough Golf Club Road; that doesn’t seem to be in the enhancement package for Scarborough, did I miss that it was ‘not recommended’?
It actually looks like a good fill-in spot to me; but perhaps the analytics don’t support that.
Steve: It’s not anywhere in the list of requests. Lost in the mail, maybe?
Wasn’t there supposed to be another big ‘stop rationalization report’?
If so, do you know where that’s at?
I’m not one for advocating 500m between stops; but I do get frustrated on some routes at the endless parade of low-use stops that under 300m apart, some as little as 150m. It certainly appears to slow down service more than need be the case. The relevance here being that if delivered such a program might allow better service/less crowding at minimal extra cost.
Steve: I have not seen anything. The TTC was supposed to be looking at the bus network where there are a lot of closely spaced stops, but it’s really important to trade this off against convenience. Walking distance isn’t just the space between stops, but the access to the main street from nearby buildings. Moving stops further apart can compound poor access paths.
That said, I was amused to see the stops on Broadview back on the list, and I suspect these were proposed by someone who lives nowhere near the route. They were saved from removal in an earlier round through intervention by the local Councillor, and I can attest to two of the three being well-used.
When some of the stops downtown were cut on King, even before the transit priority pilot, I looked at the effect, and did not find any especially if (a) the stop is not at a traffic signal, or (b) it is at a signal, but priority programming usually holds the green long enough that stopping does not lose a cycle. The worst problem for a bus or streetcar is falling out of the wave of traffic and being trapped for a long red at a busy cross street. A good example is the stop on Broadview southbound at Mount Stephen which is not a signalized intersection. The real delay occurs at Dundas which has a long east-west green because Dundas is treated as an arterial for traffic flow. Yes, there is supposed to be transit priority, but it appears to be only north-south green time extension, not pre-emption of the east-west flow. Then there is the small matter of delays whenever operators have to throw the switch at Dundas which has not worked electrically for several years. This will be an issue again in April (?) when the 505 Dundas streetcar returns.
They need to rethink the numbering scheme on the proposed streetcar network. I get it when a route branches at one terminal, fine, but when both terminals are different, it just adds confusion.
What’s also interesting is the lack of the 508. Under this proposal, would it be removed in favour of the 504B?
Steve: Yes. With the Long Branch car travelling across Queen to Broadview, this effectively replaces the 508 which now runs to Parliament via King. But in any event this is just a proposal that’s years from being implemented, and that is dependent on the TTC getting more streetcars.
The absence of Broadview South-East Harbour Streetcar or any Cherry service below the rail corridor (but presence of the “Riverside” loop) is disquieting. It feels like the longer we go without a commitment to the aforementioned extensions, the more daunting it will be when it comes to demanding cooperation from Metrolinx to make them happen as they raise their service levels further and further. And that’s even before we talk about the necessity of Commissioners as a back exit from Leslie.
Presumably the notion is to eliminate 508 service, which is absent from the diagram, to create this extended 504A route.
Steve: The Waterfront lines are part of a separate City study, and the tentative budget for them includes money for new cars over and above whatever is needed for the “Legacy” routes. This is all tied up in City and Provincial priorities, most recently the question of how the Ontario Line relates to waterfront transit both to the east and to the west.
With alterations to the routing for 501 & 504 in the Roncesvalles, Queen, Queensway, and King intersections, the stops should be moved. I would “like” to put the 501A & 501B & 504B westbound on The Queensway (northwest corner), the 501A & 501B eastbound on Queen Street West (southeast corner), the 504A & 504B eastbound on King Street West (southwest corner), and the 504A westbound would remain on Roncesvalles Avenue (northwest corner).
I say “like” because of the streetcar tracks entering and egressing the Roncesvalles yard could put a wrinkle in that “idea”.
For the 405 Etobicoke proposed routing, and since the Mt. Dennis station is not available (yet), couldn’t they extend the eastern terminal to the Weston GO/UPX station? Or just wait the two years and then extend it the Mt. Dennis Crosstown LRT/GO/UPX station?
Steve: The “Community” routes are seen as serving local destinations, and I don’t think that GO or Line 5 were on the TTC’s radar when they designed this. Maybe in the next round of discussions about Line 5 related changes, someone will point out this shortcoming in the 405.
Steve said: Then there is the small matter of delays whenever operators have to throw the switch at Dundas which has not worked electrically for several years. This will be an issue again in April (?) when the 505 Dundas streetcar returns.
Was the special trackwork at Broadview and Dundas not replaced in 2018/2019? Do they not deal with ‘electrical problems’ when replacing tracks? (Oh, OK I get it. TTC silos again!)
I suspect that whoever assigned the weights rarely travels by TTC, nor understands that travel for some is more difficult than for others. Furthermore, excessive wait and walk times ought to rate higher than for more than reasonably expected times, not on a straight line. Plus, the “in-vehicle” experience is better or worse depending on seat availability and type of transit vehicle, that there ought to be a “crowding penalty” and a “bus penalty”.
Here are a couple of my own recent personal experiences. Last evening at 6:00 pm I began a TTC trip from Sherbourne & Wellesley to St. Clair & Dunvegan. From the point of origin, three of the four buses go to the subway. I waited 20 minutes for any one of these buses but two southbound Sherbourne buses came & went, one right after the other. Finally, an eastbound Wellesley bus came, and it was packed. If I had felt better and stronger, I might have walked to either Wellesley Station or Sherbourne Station within 20 minutes, but this is 6 pm and one ought to expect more frequent service in a busy downtown area. I got to my destination in one hour, but the return trip at 9:30 pm took only 40 minutes.
A couple of Saturdays ago, a windy & bitterly cold mid-afternoon, I waited for a northbound Spadina streetcar for 20 minutes. I watched a conga line of six southbound streetcars.
Myself, I plan my trip factoring in the vehicle type (preference to streetcar), the weather, the time of day, the number and kind of transfers, plus my own physical condition.
As far as the 404 goes, the Coxwell bus loop is frequently congested to the point where buses are unloading on Strathmore, but now must accommodate 404 also. When Crosstown goes live, it may result in further additional service needing to be put on the Eglinton branch of 70. In that event, I would like TTC give some consideration given to routing 404 further west along Mortimer and down Greenwood when it becomes an accessible station to add some transit permeability to that street which is probably too narrow for a standard route (but also providing some connectivity options for people coming north on the 31).
That said, I have no experience on other 400s but the TTC really doesn’t sell the 404 – despite being requested to do so there is no sign of 404 appearing on the Coxwell Nextbus screen, and I think most people who aren’t regular users probably think of it as a Wheeltrans service rather than something they would take themselves.
Actually it was me that proposed that. Not only do I use the 504 on Broadview every day, I even use the Mount Stephen stops when they are more convenient than Gerrard or Dundas.
The Jack Layton Way southbound stop is absurd. It’s literally 80 metres (3 hydro poles) from the back Flexity at the Gerrard stop to the front of the Flexity at the Jack Layton Way stop.
Not only that, the backdoor of the Flexity at the Gerrard stop, is actually closer to Jack Layton Way than front door of the Flexity at the Jack Layton stop!
When the traffic is backed up a bit at Gerrard, the gap can be even closer, with the Flexity blocking Jack Layton Way stop.
Meanwhile, in rush hour, you get off the 506, and about 10 people walk to the Gerrard stop, with 3 or 4 invariably choosing to walk the extra seconds further north to Jack Layton to have a better chance at getting a seat. Sometimes the only reason the streetcar stops twice, is because of people who’d walked past the Gerrard stop!
Mount Stephen is at least better spaced, but not relatively well used. And there’s no pedestrian crossing (though one could be moved.
Northbound at Mount Stephen, it’s only 140 metres further north to the Gerrard stop (110 metres to the back of the streetcar). Given how often the car gets delayed there, if you miss it at Mount Stephen, you can invariably keep walking and catch it at Gerrard.
Southbound is similar, though 180 metres to Dundas. This stop might make a bit more sense – though seems less used to me (I think many just walk to Dundas or Gerrard because they have shelters, and more space to stand).
The distance at Broadview between Gerrard and Dundas is 500 metres. Compare to Dundas and Queen, where distance between them is 600 metres, with no one suggesting a stop at Kintyre.
The time penalty I see each day particularly northbound at Mount Stephen and southbound at Jack Layton Way don’t seem worth it.
Steve: Thanks for your personal experience. The last time the removal of the Mount Stephen stop was proposed, it was by someone who lives in the 905. My own experience is that these stops are as well-used as others that are not at main streets and they serve points of access to the neighbourhoods east and west of Broadview. As I said elsewhere, the delays at Dundas where the traffic signals favour east-west traffic are far worse than any small delay at Mount Stephen.
Do you know what’s in store for TTC bus routes in the 2020 budget?
Steve: The budget is not out yet, but the Service Budget (which is stated in hours, not dollars) for next year shows only minimal increase. Unless a magic new pot of gold is found to beef up TTC services, there is not much in the pipeline.
Extending the 512 to Jane Stn. is all well and good: what are the plans to accommodate them at that station?
Steve: This is a fantasy proposal. I will be surprised if the TTC even extends the 512 car to Jane Street, much less south to Jane Station.
Wouldn’t the 501B Long Branch to Riverside Loop be only a temporary route. Until that is, the Ontario Line (AKA Downtown Relief Line) goes into operation? Whenever that would be.
With the Ontario Line’s Leslieville Station or the Downtown Relief Line’s Carlaw Station (located on Queen Street East), wouldn’t it become the new eastern “terminal” for the 501B? And would it be a on-street transfer or off-street paid-area transfer? For both the 501A and 501B?
That should put a wrinkle with Metrolinx plans.
Steve: Who the hell knows? This was a map as an example of what might be done, not a definitive change proposal. That’s why it has “Draft” in big letters.
I’m a distant observer of the TTC, but occasionally get to visit and stay with relatives that live not far from the Roncesvalles car house … so I try to keep up. 🙂 Now that the commission has split the 504 King into two different, overlapping routes — something they can do because almost no one who isn’t a fan rides the whole length — the TTC seems to be interested in doing the same to other routes.
If they’ve gotten the idea that these routes are too long to be useful to riders in their entirety, not to mention operationally, does it now make sense to evaluate the two halves (say the 504A and 504B) as independent routes that happen to overlap in the middle? Maybe to give them completely different routings once they get to the middle rather than simply looping after the overlap section?
Steve: I’m not quite sure what you have in mind about a “completely different routing” given the limitations of the available track and the intent to concentrate service on the central part of the longer corridor.
If the 512 were a bus route without the physical overhead of rail it would have logically been extended west eons ago to simplify the routings in the area. It would make perfect sense to extend it to a new loop at the northwest corner of Dundas and Runnymede (as an example) but barely 1.5 of the new cars would fit in such a loop. There are no other obvious spots for quick turnback locations without acquiring land.
With Hillcrest poised to become an active carhouse again it’s time to consider double-ended legacy cars for the next order. A sub fleet of 60 or so double-ended cars based at Hillcrest to handle the 512, 510, 509, and Harbourfront lines would make things simpler for new additions to the legacy network.