The TTC has several changes planned for the schedules going into effect on March 29.
Updated March 5, 2020 at 10:20 pm: Incorrect information was in the original description of the 163 Oakwood route. It will operate from Ossington Station to Lawrence West Station, not from St. Clair as the southern terminus as I had originally described it. Thanks to reader Joseph (who got there first) and others for spotting this. I am not quite sure where that idea came from, but both the article and the detailed list of changes below have been updated.
Updated March 6, 2020 at 10:55 pm: Incorrect naming of the 109 Ranee branches corrected. Thanks to reader Steven for spotting that.
Streetcar/Bus Mode Changes
The most significant change is the restoration of streetcar service on 505 Dundas after a long absence due to watermain construction and the shortage of streetcars. The new service plan represents an increase in capacity primarily in the off peak periods. The change in headways will be most noticed during the peak periods where there will be 6.9 new streetcars/hour in the AM, and 7.7 cars/hour in the PM as compared to 16 buses/hour AM and 15 in the PM. Of course the buses tend to travel in packs of two or three, and so the waits for service could be more comparable than the raw schedules suggest especially if the TTC manages to maintain proper vehicle spacing on these much wider headways.
Changes during off-peak periods are not as substantial, and the net effect will be an increase in capacity on this route
A related problem is that the TTC has extended the travel times for streetcars substantially over the bus times in some cases (and the bus schedules were themselves adjusted in Mid-February 2020). This could leave many streetcars with a lot of excess time at terminals where it is now common to see several buses laying over because they are early. I will publish an analysis of actual travel times for both bus and streetcar operations as data become available.
Service on Dundas will be supplemented by four bus trippers in each direction during the period from 8 to 8:30 am.
With 505 Dundas switching back to streetcars, the 511 Bathurst route changes to bus operation for various construction projects including work on the bridge over the rail corridor at Front, utility and track work from Front northward, and track work from Dundas to just north of Wolseley Loop (north of Queen). According to the TTC service change memo this will persist through all of 2020 implying that the streetcar service to the CNE will be provided only on the Harbourfront line this year. I have asked the TTC for service details, but they have not responded.
Keele Station Construction
The bus loop roadway at Keele Station will be under construction until mid-October 2020. During this period all services that normally terminate here will be redirected.
- The 41 and 941 Keele services will be extended south to Howard Park looping via Bloor, Parkside, Howard Park, Roncesvalles and Bloor back to Keele.
- The 89 and 989 Weston services will be extended west to High Park Station Loop.
- The 30 High Park and 80 Queensway services will be interlined.
Eglinton West Station Construction
The bus loop at Eglinton West Station (to be renamed “Cedarvale”) will close for work on the Crosstown project. This will trigger several changes:
- The 32D Eglinton West to Emmett service will be extended east to Eglinton Station.
- The 63 Ossington and 109 Ranee routes will be reorganized into three segments.
- 63B Ossington buses will run between Liberty Village and St. Clair (Oakwood Loop).
- 163 Oakwood buses will run between Ossington Station and Lawrence West Station.
- 109 Ranee buses will run between Lawrence West Station and Neptune (the street, not the planet).
- The 51 Leslie and 56 Leaside buses at Eglinton Station will be shifted south to make room for a bay for the 32D service.
Passengers on the 32 Eglinton West bus will make connections to and from the subway from on street stops in what is already an area poorly set up for pedestrians. How this will operate with all of the additional foot traffic after March 29 remains to be seen.
The TTC continues to “improve” routes by adding to running time and widening headways. Their claim is that they are just matching actual conditions, but what happens is that they aim for almost worst case situations (95th percentile) causing most vehicles to run early and bunch at terminals. From a rider’s point of view, service is less frequent most of the time.
Changes planned for March 29th affect:
- 23 Dawes: Buses will run less frequently in all weekday periods except the AM peak. Off peak service is not affected.
- 37 Islington and 937 Islington Express: Buses will run less frequently during the peak periods and midday weekdays. Evening service is not affected.
- 111 East Mall: Buses will run less frequently during all weekday periods.
- 161 Rogers Road: Buses will run less frequently during all weekday periods.
In one case, on 7 Bathurst, the TTC is clawing back excessive running time. During peak and weekday midday periods, there will be one bus less on the route, but scheduled headways stay the same. During the evening the number of buses and headways are unchanged, but some scheduled driving time is converted to make “recovery” time even longer than it is now.
Streetcar Carhouse Allocations
Due to trackwork at Roncesvalles Carhouse, there will be no access to the “North Gate” exit onto Roncesvalles for at least the remainder of 2020. Some services will be shifted among carhouse to allow for the reduced capacity at Roncesvalles.
- All 501 Queen Humber-Neville service will operate from Russell Carhouse.
- All 505 Dundas service will operate from Leslie Barns.
- Some 506 Carlton service now operating from Leslie Barns will shift to Russell Carhouse.
- Two of the five 508 Lake Shore trippers will operate from Russell Carhouse.
The TTC continues its practice of scheduling services at crowding levels above the board-approved standards. This occurs in some cases due to vehicle shortages, but more commonly because of budget pressures that do not allow provision of service at the level the standards would require.
New periods of scheduled crowding added on March 29 are:
- 37 Islington weekday early evenings
- 111 East Mall AM peak
TTC management are supposed to be reporting regularly to the Board on routes that exceed crowding standards, but this report has not yet appeared.
Holy @#$@; they’re apply their service reduction improvement plan to Dawes during the evening rush. This service was every 5M at one point (6 buses/30M RTT), it is now eroding to 10M service in that slot and from 10, 11’20 at other times etc. Buses are already routinely standing room only! Three words, Fire Rick Leary.
Very interesting changes! I was expecting the Eglinton West Station bus loop to be closed at one point well before the TTC announced it.
Is the 163 running between Lawrence West Station and Ossington Station? (As indicated on the TTC map and on TTC.ca) or is it running to St Clair (as you indicated on the document and description on the website. Clarify and fix? Lol.
Steve: Thanks for catching this. I don’t know where I got the idea that the south end of the 163 was at St. Clair, not at Bloor. I have fixed both the post and the linked table.
Steve: What’s the difference between a car house and a car barn. The latter is bigger/newer?
Steve: Nothing. It’s the name the local community wanted in place of “Maintenance & Storage Facility” which is not exactly the most romantic of descriptions.
I note than in the detailed listing you attach they note for the 504 “Streetcar shortage?” A typo or ??
Steve: That is the reason given in the service memo even though the peak vehicle requirements on Saturday are lower than weekdays. This is one of several oddities in the announcement I am chasing at the TTC.
1. Based on the timetables on the closure of Eglinton West Stn., the 109 RANEE cutting back to Lawrence West Stn. would be the temporary resurrection of the original 109 “Flemington” and 109A “Varna” branches prior to its extension to Marlee in August 1978.
2. I’m hearing about the 86 SCARBOROUGH and 116 MORNINGSIDE moving to Malvern later this spring. Are there any confirmations of the changes?
Steve: The service change memo only deals with changes effective on March 29.
Steve, as the “511 Bathurst” route will be operating with buses for the remainder of this year, starting March 29, there’s other options for streetcar enthusiasts heading to and from the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). In recent years, many CNE-goers took a combination of the “510 Spadina” streetcar from Spadina subway station to Queens Quay loop, then transferred to a “509 Harbourfront” streetcar to complete their trip to the Exhibition loop; their homeward journey was in the reverse order – “509 Harbourfront” streetcar and then transferred to a “510 Spadina” streetcar back to Spadina subway station.
Steve, it looks like I may opt for taking this combination to get to and from this years CNE.
This year, I shall be planning to make many “Sunday trips” using the “510 Spadina” route, which operates with streetcars, either by itself or in combination with other streetcar routes.
Ripley’s Aquarium – “510 Spadina” to Queens Quay & Spadina loop.
Toronto Blue Jays baseball games at Rogers Centre – “510 Spadina” to Queens Quay & Spadina loop.
Trips to Harbourfront Centre or the Toronto Islands – “510 Spadina” to Union Station
Distillery District – “510 Spadina” plus “504 King” combination.
St. Lawrence Market (will start opening on Sundays starting March 15) and Antique Market at St. Lawrence – “510 Spadina” plus “504 King” combination.
Exhibition Place – “510 Spadina” to Queens Quay & Spadina loop plus “509 Harbourfront” for this year’s CNE.
T.I.F.F. – take the “510 Spadina” down to King Street.
I believe the term “car barn” goes back to the time when streetcars where pulled by horses. I love that they went with such a retro name.
There is another typo on the chart. Steve, you have listed both 109 branches as 109B in the 63/109/163 reorganization.
Steve: Thanks. Fixed.
Steve, you forget to mention on the table that the 109 RANEE also has two additional branches: 109 via Flemington and 109A via Varna. These branches still exist as short turn routes but its unknown if any of the buses are programmed with them.
Regarding the 109 “Flemington” branch, I think they should go with the 109D designation.
Steve: Both the March 29 service change memo and the February schedule summary only talk about the 109B and 109C. That’s what I reported.
So what division the 511 Bathurst bus and 163 Oakwood will operate out of?
Steve: 511 Bathurst runs from Mount Dennis, and 163 Oakwood runs from Wilson.
It is clear now that the next election will be a two horse race between Ford and Del Duca. Which one would you like to see victorious? It is unlikely that the NDP can win under Horwath who the voters have rejected in four consecutive elections. Frankly, the NDP can win if under a newer better leadership which is unlikely to be given a chance.
Steve: My preference is for the NDP, but Horwath just isn’t maintaining a profile against Ford as a Premier in Waiting. I shudder at Del Duca and the Liberals given his behaviour in the Ministry of Transportation. He turned Metrolinx into a publicity machine for himself, and of course there is the whole mess with Kirby Station which is part of the grand plan only because Del Duca put it there. The word sleaze comes to mind.
But Ford should be banished to the outer darkness along with much of his caucus. The damage they will have done in four years will take a long time to repair. Ford deserves to know what it feels like to be utterly rejected by the voters.
To the gallows you mean? Please clarify.
Steve: Of course not. To a place where they are ignored and powerless, but must watch as others undo their policies.
Beginning next Sunday – March 29 – the “511 Bathurst” route will switch to temporary bus replacement. This comes ahead of construction projects scheduled for the remainder of this year – between April to December 2020 – which include the Bathurst Street Bridge which begins in April or May of this year.
The annual Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) runs from August 21 to September 7, 2020, and for the first time in many years people taking the “511 Bathurst” route to and from this event will be riding buses as opposed to streetcars. In past years, buses have supplemented streetcars on this route during the running of the CNE, particularly during the Labour Day weekend to provide extra express service. Last year, this route – “511 Bathurst” – operated exclusively with Flexity Outlooks for the duration of the CNE.
And for those streetcar diehards heading to and from the CNE, there’s the combination of the “510 Spadina” from Spadina subway station to the Queens Quay loop, where they’ll be transferring to the “509 Harbourfront” to the Exhibition loop to complete their journey to the Exhibition.
The St. Lawrence Market was originally scheduled to start opening on Sundays as part of a pilot project, now postponed because of the current health crisis (the Covid-19 epidemic with increases in cases). The health and safety of both food vendors and customers have priority.
As soon as this crisis is over and it’s safe to do so, the market will then start opening on Sundays. If (the pilot project is) proven to be successful, the new opening hours of St. Lawrence Market will become permanent.
I shall definitely visit the market – in combination with the Sunday Antique Market at St. Lawrence (which has been suspended for the same reason that the pilot project was postponed – the Covid-19 epidemic – with the health and safety of both vendors and customers).
In addition to the subway, I’d take the “510 Spadina” and “504 King” streetcars to get to and from the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood.
Steve, temporary bus replacement (also known as shuttle bus operation) on the “511 Bathurst” route will be postponed for about another month, until late April. That means streetcars will continue to operate on this route. So construction on the tracks on Bathurst street will be postponed.
Steve: No, it is the work on the Bathurst Street bridge that is postponed.