There are comparatively few changes for the June-July schedules in 2020 because service is already operating at a reduced level due to the Covid-19 emergency.
Production of a table comparing old and new service levels with this change is tricky because the “before” situation included a lot of ad hoc operations by the TTC. I will try to pull something together and will update this article at that time.
During the May schedules, quick adjustments were made on many routes by removing previously scheduled crews rather than completely rewriting the schedules. This produced scheduled gaps which show up in the published timetables and in the data feed used by various trip planning applications. Many, but not necessarily all of these will be fixed for the June schedules.
On the bus network, there will be scheduled trippers overlaying the regular service on routes where there have been crowding problems. The table below is taken from the TTC’s memo detailing the new service arrangements. There are 90 AM and 87 PM trippers.
In addition to these trippers, a large number of crews will be provided for additional service as needed and to cover subway shuttle operations. There will be 180 weekday, 208 Saturday and 148 Sunday crews. Note that a crew is not the same thing as an additional bus because more than one crew is required to operate one vehicle if it is in service for more than 8 hours.
On the streetcar network, the current four crews for extra service will be expanded to eight. Half of these cover the morning and early afternoon period, while the other half cover the afternoon and evening
Bathurst Station Construction
The streetcar loop at Bathurst Station will be rebuilt, and all bus operations will shift to the surface loop at Spadina Station. This arrangement is planned to be in effect until the schedule change on Labour Day weekend, but if work completes sooner, service will revert to Bathurst Station earlier.
- 7 Bathurst will divert both ways via Dupont and Spadina to Spadina Station.
- 511 Bathurst (which is already operating with buses due to construction at Front Street) will divert via Harbord and Spadina to Spadina Station.
- 307 Bathurst Night will divert both ways via Dupont, Spadina and Harbord. The route will also be changed to operate via Fort York Boulevard at the south end of the route so that the night bus route matches the one used by the 511 buses during daytime service.
- 512 St. Clair will operate from Hillcrest as a temporary yard because the line will be physically isolated from the rest of the streetcar system while track work on Bathurst Street is underway.
Bathurst will remain as a bus operation until the end of 2020 while various construction projects along the line are completed.
Conversion of 506 Carlton to Bus Operation
Several projects will take place affecting 506 Carlton over the summer and early fall. These include:
- Track replacement and paving at High Park Loop and on Howard Park Avenue west of Roncesvalles.
- Replacement of the special work at Howard Park and Dundas.
- Replacement of the special work at Dundas and College. Work at this location includes addition of traffic signals and reconfiguration for pedestrian and cycling crossings. There is a diagram of the new arrangement in an article I published earlier this year.
- City of Toronto work on the Sterling Road bridge.
- Modification of all overhead from High Park Loop to Bay Street for pantograph operation where this has not already been done.
- Construction at Main Station.
506 Carlton buses will operate to Dundas West Station instead of to High Park Loop. The 306 Carlton Night route will also operate with buses on its usual route to Dundas West.
Through-routed 501 Queen Service to Long Branch
When the May scheduled were implemented, an inadvertent error did not provide enough running time for streetcars to make the full Neville-Long Branch trip as planned. Buses were substituted on the west end of the route. Effective June 21, through streetcar service will be provided all day long, rather than only at late evenings and overnight.
All Queen service will operate from Russell Carhouse.
Streetcar Service on 503 Kingston Road
With the removal of streetcars from 506 Carlton, the 503 Kingston Road line will return on Monday June 22 operating to Charlotte Loop at Spadina & King. The TTC plans to switch this back to bus operation in the fall when streetcars return to 506 Carlton. The 22 Coxwell bus will revert to its usual arrangement running only to Queen Street during weekday daytime periods.
- 92 Woodbine South will receive additional service in anticipation of higher riding to Woodbine Beach.
- 121 Fort York-Esplanade will be extended as usual to Ontario Place and Cherry Beach.
- 175 Bluffers Park will operate during the daytime weekends and holidays on the same schedule as in March 2019.
- 86 Scarborough will operate an early evening shuttle between Meadowvale Loop and the Zoo.
- Planned service increases on 510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront will not be implemented, but the routes will be monitored for crowding and extra service will operate if necessary.
Pantograph Operation on 505 Dundas Streetcars
With the conversion of all overhead on the 505 Dundas route to pantograph-friendly suspension, the full route will operate with pans. Previously, a switch to/from poles was required at Parliament Street, the eastern end of pantograph territory on this route.
506 Carlton will be the next route to convert to pantograph operation. 504 King and 501 Queen cannot convert until after the reconstruction of the King-Queen-Roncesvalles intersection planned for 2021.
Steve. the 511 bus diversion might have a typo. You have the detour to be ‘Harbour and Spadina to Spadina Station’. I think you mean the detour is ‘Harbord to Spadina to Spadina Station’.
Steve: Thanks! You and another reader, Stan, spotted this. Fixed.
I find it odd that they would INCREASE service to the beaches and bluffers park knowing that Social distancing would limit the amount of people going there. Same with service to Ontario Place and Cherry Beach given that Budweiser Stage is closed.
You would think that they would save some money and stop the planned increases in service for routes that will not see as much use as they did in previous years.
Steve: Have you looked at any parks on recent weekends? I don’t think the amount of service they plan to provide is going to starve for business.
A few questions:
I believe that Hillcrest was previously used as a streetcar storage yard in 2008 when the 512 St. Clair line was cut off from the rest of the system because of track replacement. (I believe another blog posting refers to that situation.) Do you know how long the 512 line will be isolated in 2020?
Steve: Until Labour Day at the latest. The track work is supposed to finish sometime through the summer. Back in 2008, some cars were stored at Hillcrest, but most were stored on the line overnight.
Will the elimination of 501L (the quasi-507 Long Branch route) be permanent or just temporary until the end of the pandemic?
Steve: This is temporary. Eventually the 501 will go back to being two separate routes east and west of Humber Loop.
Route 503 Kingston Rd seems to have two route versions. If streetcars are serving the route, the western terminal is Spadina Avenue, but when there is bus replacement, the western terminal is York Street. So will this pattern continue later in 2020?
Steve: I’m not sure, and I suspect the TTC isn’t either. This represents a service increase because of the 503 trips that vanished when the route was cut back to being a shuttle, then replaced by the Coxwell bus. Plans for the fall schedules are still up in the air, in part because of uncertainty re funding and the level of demand.
How do you get your copy of the latest service summary or equivalent? I could not find a service summary online dated June 21.
Steve: The detailed memo on service changes is available to media by arrangement. This is not the same as the service summary document which is posted on the TTC’s Planning page.
Thank you for any info that would satisfy my curiosity.
In response to Richard White and Steve’s comments above: I don’t know about Bluffer’s, but the lakeshore parks around Rouge were packed last weekend.
By the time the Roncy/King/Queen intersection is ‘re-wired’ (late 2021?) will ALL of the network finally be pantograph ready and will poles finally become a ‘historical curiosity’? (Of course that raises questions about the historic cars….)
Steve: I have not done an exhaustive review of all of the non-revenue trackage to see if all the bits and pieces are completed, but if they can’t finish the rest of the system by late 2021, something is very wrong. A lot of King and Queen are converted already. As for the historic fleet, there was talk of putting pans on them, but who knows where this sits in the current environment.
Hopefully the new schedule lets the Queen car operate well, not too quickly, not too slowly.
Currently I see a mix, mostly buses doing Humber-Long Branch, but the occasional streetcar as well. I have seen streetcars that are doing Humber-Long Branch same as the buses, though I don’t know what proportion of them are like that. Then I have also seen Long-Branch-bound cars sitting on the Queensway ROW, blocked by a Neville-Humber car laying over at the loop. It’s quite a mess.
Steve: On the March schedules, the round trip driving time from Neville to Humber, AM peak, was 164 minutes, and from Humber to Long Branch 71 for a total of 235 minutes. There was also 21 minutes of recovery time between the two branches. On the June schedules, the round trip driving time from Neville to Long Branch, AM peak, will be 224 minutes plus 16 minutes of recovery time.
I will include comparisons for all periods when I publish the full table, probably later this week.
I have the CIS data for May, but not the Vision data yet, and so I cannot create a full picture of 501 operations for the month yet. Thanks for the heads up on how things are actually behaving.
Good to see the extra 92 summer service restored. I was surprised walking up Woodbine near Danforth around 6 pm on a weekday last week to see how crowded the 92 northbound is – as it’s southbound that’s supposed to be the busiest at PM peak. I wouldn’t say it was overcrowded (given the current situation), but it was certainly around capacity.
That’s only going to get busier, especially on weekends. Perhaps even more so this year, with fewer people working, and very few summer programs for kids.
It’s unfortunate that people who neither rely on the 92, nor are observing the ridership, make suggestions that put people at risk in overcrowded buses.
Would the replacement of the special work at Dundas and College mean bus replacement for 505 Dundas as the intersection is part of College Loop on Lansdowne Avenue?
Steve: The service design has not been decided. Busing both Dundas and Carlton would be a stretch. One option would be to loop Dundas cars via College and Ossington with buses covering the west end of the route. To be announced.
It is my understanding that with pantograph operation, the streetcars get a better electricity flow, especially with air-conditioning. How much better, I’ll leave it to the electricians to calculate.
Steve: Yes, the AC throttles itself back because with poles there isn’t enough contact surface between the carbon in the trolley shoe and the wire and the car is limited in the current it can draw.
Bus route 89 Weston is also crowded. I spent over an hour each day before I get a bus that’s not crowded . It’s frustrating not being able to get to work because of this.
Ah. This would explain why through the summer rush hours last year the interior air temperature of the Flexity cars on the 504 felt even hotter than the outside air temperature; the air conditioning couldn’t keep up with limited power. I missed the CLRV windows for the air flow. Hopefully there is an improvement whenever it converts to pantographs.
Will the 503 operate with Pans?
Steve: No. The intersection at Coxwell/Queen and all of the leads to/from Russell Carhouse have not been made pan-friendly yet, and there is no sign of imminent construction such as new poles or spans awaiting installation.
Not to obsess over pantographs but …. I think that since the recent work on Broadview, the whole of the 504B route (Broadview to Dufferin) is now rewired. Why can it not now switch to pantos and get the a/c up and running?
Steve: I think there would be an issue with the mixture of cars on 504 King and the fact that some trips don’t stay captive to the “A” and “B” branches especially at start and end of service. Whether the TTC would want to dedicate a ground crew at Dufferin Street as they did at Parliament and Dundas, I don’t know. However, unlike Dundas, no overhead on King has been switched to pan-only with self-tensioning overhead and breaks in the contact wire that poles cannot navigate.
Also, there may be problems with (shhhh, don’t tell anyone) commonly used short turns for the 504 that may not be completely converted yet.
Only heat I noticed last summer in 501 and 504 when it was over 30 and humid outside, was what was coming in through the doors, which sit open for extended periods at all stops.
A/C was fine … seems like an urban myth to me.
What about the 30B High Park bus that goes into High Park during the summer? Is that service going to resume on June 21st?
Last month, it was announced that this year’s Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) will be cancelled; and so will the Canadian International Air Show which runs Labour Day weekend. The reason for this is the COVID-19 pandemic and this event, if it were to go ahead, would provide an ideal environment for the spread of this highly infectious disease. Many people take the TTC to get to and from the CNE, and the most popular route is the “511 Bathurst” streetcar route. This route has been operating with buses since Monday, April 20, 2020, and will do so for the remainder of this year. The reason for this temporary bus replacement is track work on three sections of Bathurst Street. The construction on the Bathurst Street Bridge requires buses to detour (via Front Street, Spadina Avenue, and Fort York Boulevard which is currently in progress; the tracks at Bathurst subway station requires a detour via Harbord Street and Spadina Avenue to Spadina subway station.
Immediantely after the announcement of the cancellation of this year’s fair, work towards the 2021 Canadian National Exhibition has begun, and will run August 20 to September 6, with the air show September 4-6. By that time, there would be a vaccine to protect us against COVID-19 ready and available (and we’d take it). Ridership would have returned to pre-pandemic levels, and the “511 Bathurst” route would be operating with streetcars (again).
Even the 2021 Canadian National Exhibition – scheduled for August 20 to September 6 2021 – could be in doubt as well, same with the 2021 Canadian International Air Show – from September 4 to 6 2021 – if the COVID-19 coronavirus remains a chronic and recurring issue and if no vaccine is available by that time, it could be eventually cancelled as well as was the case for 2020, and the TTC could still be dealing with much lower ridership across the network by that time, if that’s the case. I think at this rate, it will probably be 2022 when the TTC can return to pre-COVID pandemic service levels and hopefully the 511 Bathurst streetcar is reinstated by that time.
Steve: There are many possible scenarios and we cannot predict which ones will actually play out from today’s vantage point. However, what is known is that in Toronto (and elsewhere) ridership on routes serving businesses such as manufacturing where work-at-home is not practical are seeing a faster rebound in demand. Entertainment destinations will be among the last to see a return to their previous attendance, and the associated transit ridership will remain low.
Is the 50% TTC cut coming in September?
Steve: What 50% cut? They are considering various scenarios for increasing service. What is your source?
Your article says that streetcars will return to 506 in the early fall. But I was just walking on Upper Gerrard, and there are new signs on the stops that say that they are replacing streetcars with buses to end of 2020. That seems excessive!
I don’t see any notices on the TTC site yet.
Steve: I quote from the official service memo:
So maybe “early fall” is a tad optimistic. But they really need to get as many buses as possible off of streetcar routes for use on the bus system.
I suppose the end of fall is December 21, so if they restore streetcars to 506 with the December 20 board, it will indeed be fall.
Seems drawn out longer than necessary. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t simply run 506 streetcars into Bathurst Station to cover much of the service, once the minor work at Main Street station and the overhead are completed. Plenty of space in Bathurst Station with the buses on that route.
Steve: That’s perfectly reasonable once the track and paving work at Bathurst Station and environs is completed later this summer.
Hi Steve, when will the TTC express bus service network resume (900-series routes) as is with the premium downtown express bus network (routes 141-145)? Hopefully September 2020?
Steve: The TTC plans to bring back the 900 series routes in the suburbs first because riding is growing faster there than downtown. There is no set date yet for the downtown routes (or the Mimico GO shuttle) because demand to the core is very weak.
Surface Route Aficionado As you said the CNE could be back in August 2021, but as 2020 goes on, it’s likely that large-scale in-person public events in 2021 (such as major in-person sporting events, concerts, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Gay Pride Parade, music festivals, such as the Beaches International Jazz Festival, Veld Music Festival, Caribana, the Canadian National Exhibition – scheduled for August 20 to September 6 2021, the Canadian International Air Show and Toronto’s Original Santa Claus Parade) will eventually be assessed with the same caution as events in 2020, and the TTC could still be dealing with much lower ridership across the network into 2021 as well. I think at this rate, it will probably be 2022 when the TTC can return to pre-COVID pandemic service levels. Your thoughts anyone?
Notice is now up on the site saying buses will replace streetcars June 21 to end of 2020.
Steve: Yes, I saw that, thanks. I also have updates to make to the article now that the detailed schedules are out.
The TTC forgots to add extra buses on routes like 45 Kipling and 95 York Mills. For example the 45A north of Belfield during the morning rush runs every 26 minutes and the 95A York Mills east of Kennedy during the weekday midday runs every 20 minutes. Also the TTC forgot to end the split for 25 Don Mills since there is no 925 Don Mills bus operating.