March 28, 2021, will see revenue service begin from the TTC’s new McNicoll Garage. This will entail the reassignment of many routes between all garages as the TTC rebalances it fleet and service to relieve crowding and minimize dead-head times.
There are few service changes associated with this grand shuffle. The primary effect is that garage trips at the end of peak periods will change to reflect the shift of some routes to a new home in northern Scarborough.
For example, north-south routes that formerly had transitional peak-to-evening service southbound will go to evening service levels sooner because buses will dead head to McNicoll rather than making a southbound trip before running back to Eglinton or Birchmount Garage.
- 17 Birchmount
- 43 Kennedy
- 57 Midland
- 68 Warden
- 129 McCowan North
The short-turn point for 39 Finch East and 53 Steeles East off-peak garage trips will change so that buses do not double back on themselves. These trips will be shortened to end at Kennedy rather than at Markham Road. Trips on 39C to Victoria Park will end at McNicoll & Victoria Park rather than at 480 Gordon Baker Road.
The 45 Kipling and 945 Kipling Express move from Queensway to Arrow. Trips to the garage after the AM and PM peak will no longer make southbound trips. Trips at the beginning of the PM peak will no longer travel north from Queensway.
The old and new garage assignments are at the end of this article for those who are interested.
Fleet utilization continues to be well below system capacity. In January 2020, the total AM peak buses in service was 1,625. In March 2021, it will be 1,527. This does not include buses used in Run As Directed (RAD) service. Although the TTC now has an additional bus garage, its capacity is not included in the table below.
For comparison, here is the January 2020 (pre-pandemic) table.
The number of buses used on streetcar routes continues to be high. These vehicles are included in the counts above, and represent additional capacity available for bus routes when the construction projects now underway finish. 506 Carlton will return to all-streetcar operation in May, but other routes will be affected by construction for much of 2021 notably at KQQR and on Broadview north of Gerrard (starting in May).
Here is the streetcar peak service table. Note that there is an error in the afternoon peak “base going into Mar 2021” column where the streetcar total should read 127, not 142.
During the construction of McNicoll Garage, all trips on 42 Cummer were operated as 42A to Middlefield. This will continue, and the 42B and 42C services will remain suspended. An eight month long water main project on Cummer will require that westbound service divert via Leslie, Finch and Bayview. New farside stops will be added southbound on Leslie at Cummer, and westbound on Cummer at Bayview to serve the diversion.
At the King, Queen, Queensway, Roncesvalles intersection (KQQR) construction work will block transit service beginning on March 31. This will affect all services that pass through this busy location.
- 501 Queen buses (501L Long Branch and 501P Park Lawn) will operate via King and Dufferin Streets to route. The official east end of the route will remain at Jarvis Street. In current operations, many runs have been extended as far east as River because the schedule is very generous in anticipation of construction traffic delays that have not yet materialized. Buses are also taking extended layovers at Long Branch Loop because they arrive early.
- The 504 King west end shuttle will be broken into two parts.
- A 504G King shuttle will operate between Dundas West Station and Roncesvalles Carhouse (entering and leaving via the North Gate).
- A 504Q King shuttle will operate between Triller and Strachan. The west end loop will be via Dufferin, Queen and Triller. The east end loop will be via Duoro and Strachan. This is a change from the current shuttle terminus at Shaw.
Operation of the 506 Carlton bus shuttle will be officially changed to use the loop that was informally implemented almost immediately after this service began in January. All buses will loop via Gerrard, Sherbourne and Parliament. Full streetcar service will resume on 506 Carlton with the May 9, 2021 schedules.
Miscellaneous Route Changes
Weekday scheduled round-trip travel time on 1 Yonge-University-Spadina will be shortened from 161 to 154 minutes in recognition of time savings with Automatic Train Control. This will address some of the train queuing problems at terminals. Headways will also be widened slightly to reflect lower demand.
43C Kennedy service to Village Green Square will be modified so that all trips begin and end there. Half hourly service will be provided northbound from Kennedy Station from 6:30 to 8:30 am, and from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. Southbound service will leave Village Green from 5:58 to 8:28 am, and from 3:30 to 6:30 pm.
The Amazon Fulfillment Centre at Morningside & Steeles will be served by two routes:
- 53B Steeles service to Markham Road will be extended via Passmore to the cul-de-sac at the site. This operation is already in place.
- 102 Markham Road service will be routed north on Markham Road, east on Select Avenue, south on Tapscott Road, east on Passmore Avenue to cul-de-sac, west on Passmore Avenue, north on Tapscott Road, west on Steeles Avenue, to south on Markham Road. This route will be changed when the the intersection of Steeles & Morningside fully opens later in 2021.
Trip times on 167 Pharmacy North will be standardized so that the weekday and Saturday schedules are the same. The first trips will run northbound from Don Mills Station and southbound from Pharmacy Loop at 5:30 am. Service at all times will be on the half-hour (:00 and :30).
Articulated and regular buses will shuffle between routes:
- Three artics now used on 60 Steeles West will be changed to standard buses. The artics will return in late May.
- Most runs on 89 Weston will switch from artics to standard buses. In late May, all 89 Weston local buses will be standard-sized, but the 989 Weston Express service will resume.
- Six standard buses now used on 929 Dufferin Express will be changed to artics.
310 Spadina night service will be cut to half hourly. This route was missed in January when other night services reverted to a 30 minute service (previously every 15 or 20 minutes).
Details of the changes and service plan comparisons are in this spreadsheet.
Is the 42A extension to Middlefield service all day permanent?
Steve: The service memo says that it “will continue to be suspended at this time”. Ergo, it’s still temporary.
How about the Blue Night Routes and the Streetcar Replacement Bus Routes?
Steve: What’s your question?
How about the garage allocations for the Blue Night Routes and the Streetcar Replacement Bus Routes?
Steve: The TTC did not include the Blue Night routes in the tables in their service memo (which are directly reproduced in the article), but it’s reasonable to assume that the daytime and nighttime assignments are comparable.
As for the streetcar/bus routes, there is a table in the article (again from the TTC memo) showing the allocation of replacement vehicles by route and division.
Are there any changes to the 600 garage allocations?
Steve: Nothing was mentioned in the memo.
It sounds like they’re planning for a shuffle of articulated bus assignments in May. I know corridors like Finch East and Jane among others were proposed to get artics at some point, I wonder if this will happen then. I believe they are also mentioned in a report that they wanted to operate them mainly on express routes since their dwell time at stops is longer. Having them on express routes would reduce that time since there are less stops.
Steve: The only pending change in May that I know of is that 929 Dufferin Express will get artics on all runs.
Thanks for posting this, Steve. It is a bit frustrating that I can learn about detours sooner from a blog than from TTC’s website, but we’re lucky to have your blog.
Steve: The TTC tends to post pending changes closer to their effective date to avoid confusion with recent changes that might have just taken effect. The possible overlap depends on the timing of the detailed service change memos which are in preparation a few months ahead of time, but pop out in their final version usually a few weeks before the changes occur. Also, there are occasional last minute updates. Over the past year, keeping track of this has been challenging within the TTC, not to mention for anyone outside the organization.
Do you know if the 504G will operate with streetcars or buses?
Also, the official current terminus of the King shuttle is at Shaw, but due to the routing of eastbound Duoro to northbound Shaw, it never actually stops at Shaw, and the first and last stops are at Sudbury. The layover/wait location seems to be on Duoro before Shaw (in a bike lane but I digress). Do you know if the new loop will be eastbound Duoro to northbound Strachan (thus stopping Shaw wb) or southbound Strachan to westbound Duoro to northbound Shaw (stopping Shaw and Strachan/Canniff eb), and is there an officially defined layover location at either end of the route?
Steve: According to the service memo: “The east end looping of the 504Q replacement buses will be revised to operate via south/east on Duoro Street, north on Strachan Avenue, and west on King Street West.” There is no info about stop or layover locations.
1. So for Artic Services out of McNicoll, what routes was planned to have articulated bus service.
Steve: If you look at the bus allocation table in the article, you will see that there are 18 artics from McNicoll. If you look at the Scheduled Service Summary, you will find that 953 Steeles East Express, a McNicoll route, uses 18 artics
2. Wilson is supposed to have 4 505 AM runs, what routes will they come off or will the deadhead straight to Broadview or Dundas West Stations.
Steve: The four west end 505 buses have been interlined with 47 Lansdowne for some time. Now that route is at Wilson. The east end trippers are interlined with 100 Flemingdon Park which remains at Eglinton.
Whats the logic taking Kipling 45 and 945 of of Queensway?
Steve: They are balancing routes and vehicle requirements between garages. Also, demand on Kipling is stronger north to south in the AM peak, and therefore it makes sense to have the routes based at a northern garage. Similarly in the evening, buses run northbound comparatively full and then nip to the garage without having to drive all the way back south to Queensway.
Do blue night routes keep the garage assignments?
Steve: The night routes move with their daytime counterparts because much if not all of the service is interlined from daytime runs.
Some of the express routes are misrepresented like for Wilson it says 99 on top of that some say returning 2020 instead of 2021 just trying to help out. On top of that they use to have 10 & 169 interline in a way now they are from two different divisions. To me it will be interesting how buses are allocated to divisions.
Steve: I have corrected the table of express routes. Thanks for catching those errors.
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Will the artics be operating on the 935 Jane in this board period?
Steve: There is no planned change in vehicle type for March, nor in the pipeline for May.
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Steve, It would appear the following night routes are assigned by division:
Arrow Rd.: 336, 339, 352, 384(*)
Birchmount: 300, 322, 324, 365(*)
Eglinton/Comstock: 300, 320, 325, 334, 354
Malvern: 302, 385, 395
McNicoll: 336, 339, 343, 353
Mount Dennis: 300, 320, 335, 341, 396
Queensway: 300, 315, 337
Wilson: 307, 312, 320, 363
(*) – In question. But will these two routes be eliminated next board or leave it as it is?
Steve: I have seen a draft version of the May changes, and it does not mention the 384 or 365 as disappearing. I’m waiting for the detailed schedules to show up in GTFS format at which point it will be easy to figure out what garages routes come from if there is any doubt on the matter. The March version is not posted yet.
Thanks for the list!
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The swap for 35 and 935 to Mount Dennis mystifies me because some of the buses that were moved to Arrow are ones with RapidTO branding which makes sense with the upcoming RapidTO corridor on Jane but now those buses are assigned to an unrelated route and none of the RapidTO branded buses are in Mount Dennis.
Steve: You are assuming that the TTC keeps track of this sort of thing. For as long as I can remember, and that goes back a long way, the TTC has been unable to maintain vehicle assignments the way they claim to intend. A classic problem was to see the old red “G” subway trains in service at all hours even as the TTC complained that they were broken down, unreliable relics. And don’t get me started about routes that are supposed to have artics assigned but get standard sized vehicles. One great thing about the demise of the ALRVs was that the TTC finally had to schedule the 501 on the assumption that CLRV-capacity vehicles would be used. On bus routes, well, just hope that an artic shows up when it is supposed to.
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A history of failure won’t stop the TTC from trying though. See the TTC’s most recent adventures in assigning specially equipped LFLRV’s to the 504A route because of noise concerns at the Sumach turn off.
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