TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, May 10, 2020 (Updated)

This article continues the presentation of service changes effective May 10, 2020 with further details of the published levels of service on various routes. It should be read in conjunction with the original article which contains the originally announced changes.

Information here applies only to:

  • Weekday service
  • Routes where the service level was not specified in the original announcement, or where the published timetable varies from what was in the announcement.

There is a very important caveat about the level of service shown in the TTC’s timetables. Because of the volume of work to reschedule the system, several routes will actually operate on wider headways (the time between vehicles) than the timetables show. The reason for this is that although there may be new schedules in many cases, the TTC also pared down service by selective cancellation of some trips and crews so that fewer vehicles are needed than originally planned.

This shows up in the online timetable as gaps in what would otherwise be a regular headway. As an example, a route might be planned for a 6 minute headway with vehicles at:

9:00 9:06 9:12 9:18 9:24 9:30 9:36 9:42 9:48

However, careful examination of the timetables shows that some trips are missing and the timetable might actually read:

9:00 9:06 9:18 9:30 9:36 9:40 9:48

The plan is for Transit Control to manage service by running these lines on headways appropriate to the number of vehicles available.

Some routes may change from their scheduled service level as experience is gained with crowding levels, and the schedule change in late June will include adjustments for this.

Finally, some routes will have extra service allocated from a pool of spare buses and streetcars as needed. However, these vehicles will not appear on apps or TTC displays of predicted service because NextBus (the data source for all of the apps) does not track vehicles that are not in the schedule.

Updated May 11, 2020 at 11:00 pm:

Known problems with the May schedules:

  • The running time allocated for 501 Queen cars west of Humber Loop is too short to be operated until mid-evening. During the affected periods, there will be a bus shuttle on Lake Shore. The weekday and weekend services are affected, but not the Holiday schedule on Victoria day when separate streetcar services will operate on the Queen and Long Branch sections of the route.
  • With the removal of the 953 Steeles East Express, there is no scheduled peak period service to Staines Road because this was formerly provided by the 953. Unscheduled run-as-directed (RAD) buses are being operated to fill in.
  • With the removal of the 945 Kipling Express, the remaining scheduled 45A local service to Steeles during the peak period is very infrequent.

Updated May 13, 2020 at 6:15 am:

  • A reader reports that the TTC is supplementing the Kipling service to Steeles with extra buses running as 45A. They do not appear in NextBus predictions.

Route Level Details

Here is a route-by-route rundown of updated information about service frequencies. Note that this information may not correspond to service actually operated. If a route is not listed here, then the changes described in the original article still apply.

An updated version of the full chart of changes is here:

In this chart, the areas colour coded as “GTFS” (mauve) contain information taken from the electronic version of schedules initially as published by the TTC through the Toronto Open Data Portal, and later verified against timetables on the TTC’s site when they went “live” on May 10.

In some cases the original service announcement did not include a service design, only the number of vehicles to be assigned. From the actual schedules, one can tell there is no change in the headways, but fewer buses are used to take advantage of faster travel times.

Routes in this group are:

  • 11 Bayview (one AM peak tripper dropped)
  • 24 Victoria Park (one AM peak tripper dropped)
  • 25 Don Mills
  • 32 Eglinton West
  • 42 Cummer
  • 43 Kennedy
  • 56 Leaside (one AM peak tripper dropped)
  • 67 Pharmacy
  • 68 Warden
  • 79 Scarlett Road
  • 86 Scarborough
  • 88 South Leaside
  • 123 Sherway (except PM peak on 123C to Long Branch which changes from every 16 to every 19 minutes)

In some cases the original service announcement showed a new service design, but the published schedules show the same level of service as in April. A quick review of service actually operating in the AM peak on May 11 suggests that it is the April schedules which are in effect, not the announced May changes.

AM Peak PM Peak Midday Early Eve Late Eve
5 Avenue Road
April 2020 13′ 20′
Announced 20′ 30′
5 Avenue Road
April 2020 8′ 8′ 7’30” 7’30” 8’45”
Announced 8’30” 9′ 7′ 8′ 8’30”
10 Van Horne
April 2020 15′ 10′
Announced 30′ 15′
29 Dufferin
April 2020 7’15” 7’30” 7’30” 8′ 8’30”
Announced 7′ 7′ 6′ 8′ 10′
35 Jane
April 2020 8’45”
Announced 9′
61 Avenue Road North
April 2020 12′ 13′
Announced 15′ 16′
63 Ossington
April 2020 3’45” 5′ 5′ 6′ 10′
Announced 5′ 7′ 6′ 8′ 12′
72B Pape to Union
April 2020 19′ 21’15″‘
Announced 8′ 9′
72C Pape to Commissioners
April 2020 8’45” 9’45″‘
Announced Nil Nil
74 Mount Pleasant
April 2020 15′ 19′ 17′
Announced 18′ 25′ 18′
90 Vaughan
April 2020 5′
Announced 7′
94A Wellesley to Ossington Stn
April 2020 15′ 15′ 17′
Announced 12′ 12′ 12′
94C Wellesley to Wellesley Stn
April 2020 15′ 15′ 17′
Announced Nil Nil Nil
105 Dufferin North
April 2020 11′ 11’30”
Announced 17′ 11′
111 East Mall
April 2020 12′ 11′
Announced 15′ 13′
124 Sunnybrook
April 2020 8′
Announced 9′
160 Bathurst North
April 2020 20′
Announced 25′
163 Oakwood
April 2020 11′ 11′ 13′
Announced 12′ 12′ 14′

In some cases the published service plan is different from the originally announced change.

AM Peak PM Peak Midday Early Eve Late Eve
6 Bay
April 2020 5′ 12′ 7’30” 15′
Announced 7′ 12′ 7’30” 20′
Published 10′ 17′ 10′ 15′
14 Glencairn
April 2020 16′ 16′
Announced 17′ 13′
Published 20′ 24′
15 Evans
April 2020 13′ 14′
Announced 15′ 20′
Published 15′ 16′
26 Dupont
April 2020 14′ 20′ 18′ 24′
Announced 14′ 22′ 17′ 30′
Published 24′ 24′ 24′ 24′
40A Junction to Kipling
April 2020 25′
Announced 20′
Published 15′
40B to Jane
April 2020 25′
Announced Nil
Published Nil
45 Kipling
April 2020 11′
Announced 15′
Published 18′
49 Bloor West
April 2020 9′ 12′ 13’30”
Announced 13′ 30′ 30′
Published 13′ 13′ 13′
50 Burnhamthorpe
April 2020 11’15” 15′
Announced 15′ 20′
Published 12′ 17′
62 Mortimer
April 2020 16′ 22′ 16′ 20′ 20′
Announced 20′ 20′ 20′ 18′ 18′
Published 20′ 22′ 22′ 20′ 20′
66A Prince Edward to Humber
April 2020 20′ 20′
Announced 20′ 24′
Published 20′ 30′
66B Prince Edward to Lakeshore
April 2020 9′ 20′
Announced 13′ 24′
Published 10′ 30′
71/77 Runnymede/Swansea
April 2020 9′ 13’30” 9′ 13’30” 17′
Announced 9′ 13’30” 10′ 15′ 25′
Published 15′ 12′ 10′ 15′ 20′
76A Royal York South to Lake Shore
April 2020 5′ 5’40”
Announced 6′ 7′
Published 6′ 8′
89 Weston
April 2020 6’30” 11′ 10′
Announced 5’30” 9′ 7′
Published 6’30” 11′ 10′
110C Islington South
April 2020 12′
Announced 13′
Published 15′
116A Morningside to Conlins
April 2020 30′ 30′
Published 30′ 30′
116 Morningside to Kingston Rd
April 2020 17′ 13′
Announced Nil Nil
Published Nil Nil
116C Morningside to Finch
April 2020 16′ 8′
Published 7’40” 8′
124 Davenport
April 2020 16′ 23′
Announced 25′ 25′
Published 22’30” 22’30”
129A McCowan N to Major Mac
April 2020 25′ 16’30”
Published 28′ 15′
129B McCowan N to Steeles
April 2020 8’20” 5’30”
Published 7′ 5′
161 Rogers Road
April 2020 13’15” 21’30” 15′
Announced 13′ 23′ 13′
Published 20′ 25′ 23′
168 Symington
April 2020 5’20” 12’30” 7′
Announced 6′ 12′ 6’30”
Published 10′ 20′ 12′

501 Queen:

  • The announced service is every 10 minutes from Neville to Humber all day.
  • The scheduled service is every 7 minutes.
  • Actual service is operating with the streetcars concentrated between Neville and Humber, and buses between Humber and Long Branch.

Updated May 11, 11:00 pm: Late evening service runs through to Long Branch just as it did in the April schedule. The problem is that the May schedule used a running time from Humber to Long Branch much shorter than it is possible to achieve (well under 10 minutes). This schedule cannot be operated, and so the service turns back at Humber until mid-evening. The same problem affects the weekend schedules, but on Victoria Day, the scheduled service is on the “April” pattern with a separate streetcar service from Humber to Long Branch until mid-evening.

504 King, 505 Dundas, 506 Carlton and 509 Harbourfront:

  • These routes have the same scheduled level of service in May but with fewer streetcars than in April. It is not yet clear what headway the TTC will actually operate on these routes in May.
  • Bus trippers scheduled during peak periods on Dundas and Carlton have been cut as planned.

510 Spadina:

  • AM peak and midday service on Spadina are scheduled at the same frequency in May as in April.
  • PM peak service had two cars every 9’40” alternating on the Union and Queens Quay branches in April, but only one car every 10 minutes to Union on the schedule.

512 St. Clair

  • AM peak service changes from every 4 to every 6 minutes on the schedule.
  • PM peak service changes from every 4½ to every 6 minutes on the schedule.

9 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, May 10, 2020 (Updated)

  1. Yesterday (Sunday May 10) the TTC website said that 501 buses were running on Lake Shore due to “operational issues”. That service advisory has vanished today. I wonder what the reason is for the bustitution?

    Also, I may have heard streetcars running overnight….so 301 is all streetcar?

    The 123 Sherway (née Shorncliffe) running time has been incredibly padded over the past decade, to the point that many buses on the Long Branch-Kipling routes (123B, 123C) take a nice five to ten minute break in the midpoint at Sherway. Traffic and construction were the reasons the TTC gave for the increased running time. The construction is long gone, and Sherway Gardens is a ghost mall, so it’s more than reasonable to speed the 123 buses up.

    (Traffic problems were really only in certain times of the day, but all running times were padded….so a 6:30 AM run would still be scheduled as if it was peak shopping time.)

    Steve: Please see my reply to another comment re problems with the original Queen schedule. This does not apply to late evening and night cars, and so they can run through as scheduled. We will see how well that works with the main patr of the line running on headways. The through cars to Long Branch need to be in the right place for the changeover.


  2. Yesterday (May 10), the TTC posted on its service alerts page that the bus replacement on 501 between Humber and Long Branch was due to an operational problem. Would you know anything about that problem? It seems to be sudden and ongoing. The TTC’s 501 schedule pages shows almost no scheduled times for Long Branch service. Today, the service alerts page makes no mention about the bus substitution. NextBus does not show any service between Humber and Long Branch.

    Steve: The problem appears to be that the schedule originally designed for 501 Queen was simply not workable. Although it was designed as a 7 minute headway, it was originally announced as a 10 minute headway Neville to Long Branch which represents a major service cut. The line is operating between Neville and Humber on a more frequent headway with the available cars and buses out on Long Branch. The schedule has been thrown out of the window.

    There is an ironic effect of co-existence of the original schedule with what is actually operating. Cars approaching Humber Loop westbound are shown as predicted arrivals at stops on Lake Shore because the version of the schedule NextBus is using assumes that they will continue beyond Humber.


  3. Thanks for your analysis, Steve. I also noticed that service on the 118 and 120 is now at a 30-minute frequency during weekday peak periods.

    Do you know any changes to the 53A to Staines? I ask as rush hour service to Staines is provided solely by the 953A, which has been cut for some time now. I assume they have RAD buses during rush hours filling in and providing service to Staines?

    Also, I noticed that the 45A Kipling service going north and south to Steeles during am rush hour is particularly sparse now, with only two scheduled trips at 7am and 8am. Was this always the case on the 45A?

    Steve: Both of these cases appear to be that Service Planning made no provision in the “local” schedule for the removal of the “express” services. The 45A local only ran every 26 minutes in the April schedules. I am following up on this with the TTC, and will also look at other cases where the local services might be suffering from the absence of the express buses.

    Updated: The gap in 53A service is being covered by extras at the divisional level. No word yet on the 45A.


  4. Steve said: The plan is for Transit Control to manage service by running these lines on headways appropriate to the number of vehicles available.”

    Is ‘managing the route’ not what Transit Control is supposed to do all the time? If so, we all know how good they are at it!

    Steve: They have to actively stay on top of routes managed to headways, as opposed to making occasional interventions. It will be interesting to watch.


  5. “Finally, some routes will have extra service allocated from a pool of spare buses and streetcars as needed. However, these vehicles will not appear on apps or TTC displays of predicted service because NextBus (the data source for all of the apps) does not track vehicles that are not in the schedule.”

    Ah. This explains why this morning I had a surprise 504 streetcar show up heading westbound at my stop, which was also flagged to short turn at Roncesvalles. Not a problem for me on the east side of the line, but I’m sure that was annoying to others in the west given the headways were obviously several minutes wider today than in recent weeks. My return trip eastbound out of downtown required an eight minute wait at University for a 504 streetcar to show up.

    Steve: As I am not sure when your return trip was to occur and what your destination was, I can’t compare your wait with the scheduled service. However, the midday service on each branch was 7’15” in April and is supposed to be the same now. For the 504B Dufferin service, this could be affected by the extension of the route to Sunnyside Loop due to trackwork at Dufferin Loop.


  6. Hi Steve,

    I think the “express network is suspended” will confuse riders as I see 939A and B’s coming to/departing STC (and I’ve seen 939C’s along Finch), but the signs at STC say that they are suspended and to take the 129 then 39 & that additional 36 service is provided to Finch West Stn. These 939s aren’t tracking on apps – so I assume they are divisional extras? Interesting because I haven’t seen 985s at STC.

    The local correspondents of 939 (39A, B & C) don’t go to STC nor Morningside Heights/follow a different route east of McCowan Rd than the 939s. Why didn’t TTC just cancel the 939 completely to avoid confusion and buses randomly appearing at random times?

    Also – I think it is a waste that they ran so many buses at such frequent headways on the 134C since the state of emergency started and classes at Centennial were halted. On weekdays up until today, they ran 7 buses in AM peak, 4 mid-day and 6 buses in the PM peak (most runs were artics) on the 134 to Centennial College. But I see all these empty buses. I think it would’ve been better for them to cancel these 134C runs or reduce it to 1 bus to and from the college (as they do on Saturdays) and redeploy all these buses to the busier routes. Today, I noticed they reduced the 134C – there are 4 buses in PM peak instead of 7 as they had all these weeks. There is a new artic “run #41”.


  7. And just to add to the confusion, the Queen schedule is showing up with at least 16 trips per hour for most of the day Mon-Fri…??

    Have you heard if the service planning department is daring to issue a Service Summary this board period or if they are waving a white flag?

    Steve: The Queen schedule as published is really messed up. There are three separate stop numbers listed on the page you linked, and I think this is responsible for the extra trips shown in the timetable. The version on NextBus only uses one of the three defined stop locations, and it shows the correct scheduled headway of 7’30”.

    We might see a Service Summary, but with a lot of footnotes.


  8. In regards of the 45A Kipling service, I have witness (the the afternoon rush hour) many unscheduled runs operate in additional to the base schedule to make up for the removal of the 945 Kipling Express. This has been the case for the entire April but those extra runs are now signed 45A instead of 945 (operated as local of course). They are also operated from Queensway division if anyone is wondering.

    NextBus tracking is simply a mess for a route like this. Does one take the next bus or wait? TTC is definitely not helping at all with all these RAD buses.

    Steve: Thanks for the update. I have incorporated this into the main article.

    I know that from NextBus’ point of view, there is a way to make extras trackable, but the TTC has never used it. This requires adding dummy runs to the schedule that are normally not associated with any vehicle. Extras sign on using these run numbers and become trackable. An important part of this is that they must not appear in the GTFS feed used by trip planning applications because they are not guaranteed. It’s a bit of a kludge, but it would work. I don’t know how easily the TTC could implement this because both the GTFS and NextBus data feeds have a common source.


  9. I came across an answer from Service Planning on Twitter re: May’s Service Summary:

    Along those same lines, we will not be publishing a Service Summary for the May Board Period as adjustments were made based on constraints by division and route. We expect to be in a more stable state in June to issue a new Service Summary.

    Steve: This does not surprise me one bit because the service on the street is a mixed bag of new and old schedules, cancelled runs, and extras where they are needed. It’s also in line with what I have heard from Service Planning myself.


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