Updated April 1, 2020 at 10:30 am:
This morning, the TTC announced extra service on several routes to address crowding. The list below is taken from the Twitter feed of Stuart Green, TTC Media Relations, who describes this as a work in progress.
The first set of numbers below were in Green’s original announcement, but they have changed over the course of the morning with a total of 71 buses added as of about 7:40 am. By 10:30, that number rose to 89. The second set is taken from TTC service alerts. These numbers have been changing hourly as vehicles are shifted from route to route as needed. For current details, follow @TTCHelps on Twitter.
|Route||7:00 am||10:30 am|
|300 Bloor-Danforth Night||5|
|320 Yonge Night||4|
|39 Finch East||4||21|
|44 Kipling South||2||5|
|52 Lawrence West (Airport)||2||7|
|102 Markham Road||4||8|
|165 Weston Road North||3||2|
Supervisors will direct additional buses to where they are most needed.
The TTC now asks riders to shift any non-essential trips until after 8 am.
The TTC asks early morning riders to shift their travel, if possible, due to congestion on several routes before 7 am. Riders are requested to shift non-essential trips after 7:30 if possible.
The affected routes are:
- 29 Dufferin
- 35 Jane
- 41 Keele
- 44 Kipling South
- 96 Wilson
- 102 Markham Road
- 117 Alness-Chesswood
- 119 Torbarrie
- 123 Sherway
- 165 Weston Road North
The location of these routes and the time period of the crunch says something about the drop in riding by classic commuters, but shows the need for transit in areas well away from the core.
TorStar is using this as a lead headline right now:
At the same time, the City is declining to increase pedestrian sidewalk space and bike lanes, and Tory and Ford are fuming about closing the remaining park ‘green spaces’ as well as playgrounds and off-leash dog areas, even as the vast majority are ‘physically distancing’ themselves.
All the while including construction as ‘essential’. It would appear “the virus” is as much rabies for those at the helm, as it is Covid for everyone else.
Serious pushback isn’t far off…
The TTC’s website includes the 29 Dufferin on that list.
I note that most of these routes are located in the city’s northwest, where there are many warehouses and food service companies, such as the infamous Fiera Foods. I explored this more on my site.
Steve: Thanks for catching that. I have updated the article. The TTC has also been sending e-Alerts on a route-specific basis.
Aren’t open green spaces the last thing we should be closing? I understand why playgrounds in at least some places have been closed, but wide open grass areas are less of a risk than potentially-crowded sidewalks (well, assuming people are walking or jogging, not playing tackle football or wrestling).
I wonder if the situation with the 102 Markham Road has anything to do with the elimination of the 902 Markham Road Express service.
They got rid of the 902 and now there is overcrowding on the 102. It is one of those ideas that seemed good in theory but in practice not so much.
The north-west part of Toronto is home to factories, bakeries and warehouses i.e. essential services. Many of these low-income workers can’t afford to work at home or change their shifts when they have to be at work by law and also to pay the overpriced rents.
How can they ask people who need this service not to use it?! Let them just run more buses on the route, and it’ll be less crowded.
Steve: That is a rather obvious question that I plan to chase with the TTC. They know that demand is uneven, and should be deploying vehicles as available to key areas. That said, the question is how many other routes are moderately busy and cannot spare vehicles for this.
Do TTC routes operate the same headways as in the service summary during COVID-19?
Steve: Not exactly. It depends on operator availability, and some routes are short vehicles. Also, of course, 505 Dundas and 511 Bathurst are on ad hoc schedules pending the switch over to streetcars on Dundas. Also, the express buses have become locals, and school trippers have almost certainly disappeared.
There is no congestion. Ridership is down 95%. There is no congestion. They are trying to control you. If you don’t want people using in the morning, then shut it down.
Steve: Ridership is not down 95%, and riders have documented problems with bus crowding with photos. Many routes have lots of room, but there are problems corresponding to start-of-shift times in some areas.
Shutting down the system would make it impossible for these people to work. Your “solution” is totally ridiculous.
If the extra buses “are shifted from route to route as needed.” It might be ‘instructive’ to see how well they are being spaced out! I realise it is a difficult time, but one fears they are simply running in larger packs and those who assign buses are not making (successful) efforts to separate them.
I am glad to see the vehicle shuffling is now being done. I notice 102 is the only route running north of Steeles. What is being done about the routes running north of the city limits in regards to scheduling?
Can YRT or Miway not help out temporarily within Toronto or is there licensing or union issues?
Is that what prohibits mutual aid in time of crisis? (all for 1 & 1 for all?)
Steve: It appears that York Region overshot on its service cuts on some routes and plans changes on April 5. The details have not been announced as I write this at 6:40 am on April 2. Any service the TTC might operate north of Steeles depends on York Region asking for it because these are contract services. The region’s approach to service over the past few years where they appear to be trimming service to fit how much they wish to spend does not make me hopeful. I’m sure York and Toronto could come to some agreement about service pooling, but with the number of operators off work, the issue is not vehicles but available staff.
Then there is the tiny issue of Presto which could get messy if a YRT bus was running on a TTC route within Toronto.
I am outraged by Mr Stone’s suggestion that YRT should help TTC for free. As Steve points out when TTC operates service in York Region, it is contracted service that York Region has to pay for but you want York Region to help TTC for free? Upon my dead body.
Steve: You may want to remember in taking such umbrage that Toronto operates the subway from Steeles to Vaughan Centre at a net cost to Toronto of $12 million/year of which York Region pays not one penny. Frankly, I suspect that if this had not been part of the deal forced on Toronto by the Liberals, the extension would never have been built because York wouldn’t want to assume that burden. They paid their share of capital costs, but pay nothing toward operations.
I’ve noticed that the info reps in the red TTC aprons are present at Bloor-Yonge station (these are the same workers I see during subway closures). Are these essential workers?
Steve: That’s an interesting question. At a time when a lot of TTC staff are working from home, one has to wonder why low-paid contract staff like these are still out on duty.
This boils down to the TTC’s penchant for wasting money. TTC does not have a revenue problem but a spending problem. Send these red shirts home.