This article continue the series reviewing routes where the TTC alleges that service has improved during 2019. Please refer to the first two parts for introductory information.
- When Better Service Isn’t – Part I: Scarborough
- When Better Service Isn’t – Part II: The Three Yorks
- When Better Service Isn’t – Part III: Etobicoke
In Part IV, I will turn to bus routes in the “old” City of Toronto, the central portion of the network. As for the streetcar routes, they are a special case because of the effects of the changeover to the new Flexity fleet in recent years. Those will be the subject of Part V.
For reference, here is the map showing routes with supposedly better service.
As on routes throughout what were once “the suburbs” of Toronto, “improvement” is a euphemism where stretching vehicles over longer running times and headways for “resiliency” provides, in theory “better” service, but in fact a reduction in route capacity and longer scheduled waits.
5 Avenue Road
Although the TTC claims that this route is improved, the scheduled headways are, in fact, the same at the end of 2019 as a year earlier. What has changed is that a considerable amount of recovery time at terminals has been changed to driving time on the weekday schedules. This can be counterproductive if recovery time is too short to give operators a reasonable break at the end of their trips.
Weekend schedules are unchanged.
Two changes have affected weekday schedules on Bay. First, the peak period short turn at Davenport has been eliminated so that all buses run through to Dupont. The headways are now wider than they were when some buses short-turned. During midday and late evening periods, resiliency changes have widened the headways.
Weekend schedules are unchanged.
Resiliency changes have brought less frequent service to all weekday operating periods except late evenings. Weekend schedules are unchanged.
Resiliency changes made peak service slightly less frequent on this route. No other periods were modified.
Resiliency changes have brought less frequent service to all operating periods on weekday schedules. There is no change on weekends.
61 Avenue Road North
Resiliency changes have brought less frequent service to all operating periods on weekday schedules except for the PM peak when there has been a very small improvement. There is no change on weekends.
Resiliency changes have brought less frequent service to to peak and midday periods on weekday schedules. There is no change on weekends.
Peak service on Main is slightly less frequent at the end of 2019 (but only by 20 seconds), and service has been improved in the early evening from every 20 to every 12 minutes.
This route saw resiliency changes during 2019 bringing less frequent service during all weekday periods. This is masked in the December 2019 schedules because of extra service provided for the Christmas Market at the Distillery district. However, the January 2020 schedules (the third set below) show the service without the additional buses. There is no change to weekend service except for the extra Christmas Market buses in November-December 2019.
Two changes affected weekday peak and midday service on this route. Resiliency changes have lengthened running times on the two branches, and during peak periods there is roughly twice as much service on the 72C Commissioners branch than on the 72B Union Station branch. Previously, these were scheduled with the same level of service. The result is that peak service on the common portion of the route is now more frequent, while service to Union is reduced. Midday weekday service is less frequent due to resiliency adjustments. No other time periods are affected.
75 Sherbourne / 82 Rosedale
The Sherbourne and Rosedale routes are interlined on weekend evenings, and so they are shown here together.
Service on 75 Sherbourne is less frequent during all weekday periods due to resiliency adjustments. There is no change on weekends.
Service on 82 Rosedale is unchanged during all periods, but some driving time has been changed to recovery time in recognition that the circuit through Rosedale does not take as long as had been provided.
Service on 77 Swansea is improved during most operating periods because this route is interlined with 71 Runnymede due to construction at Runnymede Station, and service on the Runnymede bus is more frequent than what Swansea would normally receive. This is an improvement for operational convenience only, and service will no doubt drop back to its former level when the station loop reopens.
Service on the Jones bus is less frequent during most periods on all days due to resiliency changes.
Service on Vaughan is less frequent during all weekday periods due to resiliency adjustments.
92 Woodbine South
Resiliency adjustment brought slightly better AM peak, weekday midday and late evening service, while there was a small reduction in PM peak service. Sunday service was improved in the early evening.
At the end of 2018, Wellesley Station Loop was closed for construction, and the 94B branch was extended to Queen’s Park as 94C. When service returned to normal, resiliency adjustments produced less frequent service during all weekday operating periods. Weekend service was unchanged except on Saturday early morning when it became less frequent.
121 Fort York / Esplanade
This route operates between the eastern entrance of Exhibition Place and the Distillery District with summer extensions west to Ontario Place and south to Cherry Beech. The service summaries here are for the winter configuration.
The route’s reliability can be badly compromised by congestion around Sky Dome and other points west of Yonge Street, and this can produce quite erratic service on the eastern half.
Resiliency changes have produced less frequent service, in some cases by a wide margin, during all weekday operating periods. An early evening improvement with one extra bus to handle demand to the Christmas Market at the Distillery District was removed in January 2020 so that a service that had been every 20 minutes, then improved to 15 minutes, now runs half-hourly. It is little wonder that the route has poor ridership thanks to unreliable and infrequent service. Weekend services are unchanged and are considerably better than weekday services during many periods.
To show this on a map of “improved” services is among the worst misrepresentations of what has happened during 2019.
Resiliency adjustments have resulted in slightly improved AM peak service on Davenport, but less frequent service during weekday midday, PM peak and early evenings. There is no change to weekend service.
Junction Area Reorganization
Services in the Junction were considerably reorganized during 2019.
The 71A branch of the Runnymede bus (See Part II for details of its service) was replaced by the north end of the new 189 Stockyards bus.
The Kipling Station service of 30 Lambton was replaced by an extension of 40 Junction. Route 30 was renamed High Park and now operates only to Runnymede Loop.
The 189 Stockyards bus originates at High Park Station due to loop capacity issues at Keele Station, but operates east to Keele, the north to St. Clair and west to Scarlett Road
Service on 30 High Park is more frequent than on the former 30 Lambton route during off-peak weekday periods and on weekends.
Service on the common portion of the two Junction services east of Jane is better during peak periods in the new design. In other periods there is a mixture of service improvements and reductions. However, achievement of the combined headway depends on the blending of two branches, and this has never been the TTC’s strong suit
Service between Jane and Kipling Station is improved with the 40B Junction service compared to 30 Lambton in some periods, and is less frequent in others.
The 189 Stockyards bus is a new service intended to cover the portion of St. Clair formerly served by the 71 Runnymede bus and to give an additional service west to Scarlett Road connecting south to the subway. However, the route is infrequent and competes with other services for traffic.