Updated June 28, 2021 at 6:10 pm:
The TTC has filled in some of the details on 51 Leslie, 88 South Leaside and 354 Lawrence East Night. See the individual sections of this article for details.
The TTC has launched public consultations for its 2022 Service Plan. This will be a difficult year in which ridership is expected, at best, to climb back to 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Budgets will be tight because the transit system plans to be operating close to 100 per cent of is former service (building up gradually on the buses for January 2022, then streetcars and finally the subway) even though fare revenue will be at a lower level. The TTC recognizes that it needs to provide good service to attract riders back to the system.
For the week of June 4-11, boardings on each of the TTC’s networks by vehicle type are still below 50 per cent of January 2020 values:
- Bus: 40%
- Streetcar: 27%
- Subway: 23%
- Overall: 31%
Trip occupancy for buses is generally below the target level.
- 4% of trips are over 50% full
- 0.6% of trips are over 70% full
- 0.3% of trips are over 80% full
An important distinction about crowding measurements is that as ridership recovers, a the definition of a “full” bus will rise from 25 riders today, to 35 and then to the “standard” full load of 51. Service levels and crowding in 2022 will be measured and allocated against this shifting target. In the short term, service will be provided at a crowding level below pre-pandemic times.
Crowding levels reported now are all day, all route, all week values, and they hide problem areas in the system. The TTC still does not break out reports on crowding or service quality by route, location or time of day. Their “On Time Departure Report” has not been updated in several years, and although there is still a link to it from the Customer Service page, the link is dead.
The 2018 Customer Charter is still linked and it includes a commitment, carried forward from the 2013 Charter:
Posting the performance of all surface routes on our website so you know how your route is performing.
One might ask why Rick Leary, the man Andy Byford hired to improve service, is incapable of producing reports of service quality beyond the extremely superficial level found in his monthly CEO’s Report. The TTC have detailed crowding data and use them internally, but do not publish them. As for on time performance or headway reliability, I have written extensively about problems with service quality and these metrics. Even though service is the top of riders’ desires, it is not reported by the TTC probably because the numbers would be too embarrassing.
This is a gaping hole in TTC Service – the absence of meaningful reporting and measurement of service quality as experienced by riders.
Although the TTC plans to return to 100 per cent service, this does not mean that the service patterns will match those of early 2020. Demand patterns have changed both in daily patterns (peaks or their absence) and location (heavier demand to suburban jobs in sectors where work from home is impossible). To the extent that peaks are smaller or non-existent, this works in the TTC’s favour by allowing a higher ratio of service hours to driving hours (buses spend less time, proportionately, going to and from garages). This also, of course, spreads out demand and can reduce crowding.
A new phenomenon is the early morning peak caused by commutes to jobs outside the core. This produces crowding even on some Blue Night Routes, and the TTC is looking at how this can be resolved.
There is a page on the TTC’s site including a link to a survey about planned changes including some new and revised routes, as well as the plan for route restructuring to accompany the opening of Line 5 Eglinton Crosstown. Tentatively, that line is expected to begin running on July 31, 2022 according to the TTC, but that is simply a planning target, not a hard date.
In this article, I have grouped the planned changes geographically to pull together information on related routes rather than numerically as they appear on the TTC’s site. I have also included information on some changes planned for later in 2021 to put the proposed 2022 route structure in context.
There is a separate consultation process launching soon regarding the future service design for the period between the shutdown of Line 3 Scarborough RT in mid 2023 and the opening of the Line 2 Scarborough extension in fall 2030.
There are three major components in the 2022 plan:
- Optimize the network to match capacity with demand.
- Restructure the network for the opening of 5 Eglinton Crosstown.
- Modify the network to respond to customer requests, evolving demand patterns and new developments.
All maps in this article are from the TTC’s website.
Restructuring the Network for Line 5 Eglinton Crosstown
This is the system map showing all routes with changes. It has been revised slightly from a previous version based on earlier rounds of feedback from riders.
The 32 Eglinton West route has been broken in three so that it branches now have their own route numbers an, presumably, there is no longer any pretense about integrated scheduling.
The primary alternate route has become 158 Trethewey, and it will originate from Keelesdale Station at Keele & Eglinton where the Trethewey branch of Eglinton splits off of the main route today. The route will be extended north via Weston Road to Knob Hill Drive.
The Emmett branch will become 170 Emmett originating at Mount Dennis Station, as will the main 32 branch.
When the Trethewey bus was once a separate route, it used number 83, but that has since been inherited by 83 Rexdale and now 83 Jones. The old number is not available for recycling.
Service on Jane Street will be revised to loop through Mount Dennis Station in both directions. This represents a considerable diversion for anyone making a trip crossing Eglinton Avenue, or a forced transfer.
35 Jane will operate between Mount Dennis Station west and north to Steeles and Pioneer Village Station, while 27 Jane South will operate between Mount Dennis Station and Jane Station at Bloor Street. The 935 Jane Express will operate over the entire route, but will divert to and from Mount Dennis Station. There is no through service crossing Eglinton Avenue, although someone could ride a 935 and just stay on for the excursion to Mount Dennis and back.
For those with an historical interest, route number 27 was originally the Downtown Bus on Yonge Street.
71 Runnymede will maintain its north end route with a diversion into Mount Dennis Station to connect with Line 5.
161 Rogers Road now ends at Jane and Alliance. It will be rerouted north to Mount Dennis Station. The service it now provides west of Weston Road will be taken over by 171 Mount Dennis.
171 Mount Dennis will be substantially revised to reduce its north end loop, but it will be extended at the south end to cover part of the existing 161 Rogers Road between Weston Road and Jane Street.
168 Symington now ends at Avon Loop at Rogers & Weston Road, but it will be extended north to Mount Dennis Station.
On Weston Road, both the 89 Weston and 989 Weston Express routes will maintain their current overall routes, but they will loop through Mount Dennis Station in both directions.
The 47 Lansdowne route will be split at Caledonia Station with the original route number staying on the southern portion, and the northern portion reclaiming its historical 18 Caledonia number.
A new route 179 Castlefield will operate between Cedarvale (now Eglinton West) and Keelsdale Stations.
34 Eglinton will operate between Science Centre Station at Don Mills and Mount Dennis Station replacing the central portions of the existing 34 Eglinton East and 32 Eglinton West routes.
Service along Eglinton east of Yonge now provided by 51 Leslie, 56 Leaside, and 54 Lawrence East will no longer operate, although the infrequent 74 Mt. Pleasant and 103 Mt. Pleasant North will return to a short section east of Yonge. The former 100 Flemingdon Park service to Eglinton Station will not be restored. The TTC expects that the new route 34 will run every 15 to 20 minutes.
334 Eglinton Blue Night will operate with two overlapping services.
- 334A will operate between Pearson Airport and Kennedy Station replacing the existing 332 service between the airport and Yonge Street.
- 334B will operate between Mount Dennis Station and Finchdene Square replacing the existing 334 service between Yonge Street and Finchdene Square.
This arrangement provides an overlap over the length of Line 5 between the two services.
The 13 Avenue Road route will be slightly altered so that it dodges west via Chaplin Crescent to Avenue Road and then north to Eglinton to connect with Avenue Station rather than heading straight up Oriole Parkway.
Service on Mt. Pleasant Road will be restored to its pre-construction arrangement with 74 Mt. Pleasant running between St. Clair and Eglinton, and 103 Mt. Pleasant North between Eglinton and Doncliffe Loop. Both the 74 and 103 services will run west to loop at Eglinton Station. The 74 will not return to Mt. Pleasant Loop.
Route 51 Leslie will be combined with the south end of the existing 56 Leaside route and the 56 will disappear. The 51 will connect to Line 5 at Laird and Sunnybrook Park Stations, and will operate south to Donlands Station as the 56 does today. The 54 Lawrence East bus will no longer serve Leslie Street. Service to Brentcliffe now provided by the 56B will be taken over by an extended 88 South Leaside and a 51B Leslie short turn service connecting with Laird Station.
Updated June 28, 2021: The TTC advises that:
The Laird and Brentcliffe block is served by both 51 Leslie and 88 South Leaside. The 51B branch, which is a short branch operating from Donlands to Eglinton operates in the peak periods to provide additional capacity on the busiest section of the route. The 88A and 88B are split at the Laird Station area, with the 88A via Eglinton, and 88B via Vanderhoof Ave. The City’s Laird in Focus project is planning for redevelopment of the Canadian Tire block at Laird and Eglinton, with a provision for a pedestrian promenade between Vanderhoof Ave and Laird Station. There are planned bus laybys on Vanderhoof to accommodate a bus-LRT connection via the promenade.Email from TTC Service Planning & Scheduling, June 28, 2021
162 Lawrence/Donway will be substantially changed on the eastern portion of the route. Much of the loop on The Donway has been removed, and the route will be extended south from Barber Greene Road to Science Centre Station.
With the 54 Lawrence East also routed to Science Centre Station, the 162 will be the only route operating on Lawrence between the West Donway and Leslie Street, and there is a short gap west of Don Mills. No stops are missed, but a through ride crossing Don Mills on Lawrence will not be possible. Riders would have to walk the length of the gap (about 260m), or transfer at Don Mills and Barber Greene.
The service plan is silent on whether hours of service on the 162 will be extended to cover the period when Lawrence Avenue had full service with route 54. As noted earlier, the plan is also silent on the future of the 354 Lawrence East night bus and whether it will continue to operate via Leslie and Eglinton to Yonge, or be cut back to Science Centre Station.
81 Thorncliffe Park will be extended to Science Centre Station via Gateway Boulevard. With this change, the 81 will no longer operate on Overlea Boulevard between Thorncliffe Park East and West.
The 100 Flemingdon Park bus will be routed into Science Centre Station. The former 100B via Linkwood service will be restored replacing the 34C Eglinton East branch that operates there today. The former 100 service west on Eglinton to Yonge will not be restored because this duplicates the new Line 5.
The 54 Lawrence East and 954 Lawrence East Express routes will both terminate at Science Centre Station via Don Mills Road. This cuts back the 54 service now operating to Eglinton station and extends the 954 service that now terminates at Lawrence East Station.
Updated June 28, 2021 at 6:00 pm:
The 354 Lawrence East Blue Night route now operates to Eglinton Station via Don Mills Road. It will remains as is, and will provide a third service on Eglinton from Yonge to Don Mills.
New and Modified Routes
The TTC proposes some new routes, althought given the usual pattern these would probably not be implemented until fall 2022. With the exception of the extended 118 Thistle Down peak service and the seasonal nature of 172 Cherry, there is no information about future service levels.
8 Broadview will be extended south via Coxwell from its current loop at O’Connor to Coxwell Station. This will add service on Coxwell, notably to Michael Garron Hospital at Mortimer, to that now provided by 70 O’Connor. This structure makes three of the East York routes (62 Mortimer and 87 Cosburn are the other two) into U-shaped lines with a subway station at each end.
Waterfront Bus Service
Several routes will change in the waterfront to increase coverage and connectivity. The first of these changes was already approved in the 2021 service plan for 121 Front-Esplanade. After seasonal extensions end this fall, the western leg of the 121 to the Exhibition and Ontario Place will be dropped. The western terminus will be University Avenue. At the east end, the seasonal service south on Cherry will be dropped (see route 172 Cherry below). The 121 will be rerouted to the east end of the Canary District and north on River to Gerrard with a loop east to Broadview. This will bring bus service to many new residential buildings.
172 Cherry is a new seasonal route that will run to Cherry Beach covering the south end of what is now the 121 summer extension from Mill Street south to the beach.
150 Eastern is a new route that will run from King & University to Woodbine Loop via Eastern Avenue. This will bring service to areas in the northern Port Lands that are now served mainly by the south ends of various routes originating at the Danforth Subway.
65 Parliament now loops on street at its south end at The Esplanade. Service will be dropped on this loop, and the 65 will be extended south and west via Queens Quay to George Brown College adding another service to this area. It will also provide a transfer point with Line 2 within a subway station rather than on street corners as with the 75 Sherbourne or 19 Bay buses.
118 Thistle Down was formerly a branch of the 96 Wilson route, but was broken off as a separate service some years ago. The service will be extended in peak periods further northwest on Albion Road to Claireport. This will provide additional service on Albion Road above the existing 73C Royal York bus, but oriented east to Wilson Station rather than south.
The TTC plans to test timed transfers for infrequent Blue Night services that have substantial numbers of transfer riders between them. This would guarantee riders a connection and avoid problems with long waits for a missed bus. Decades ago, when the night route network was smaller, timed transfers were common, but they were lost with the suburban expansion.
More stops will be adapted for articulated buses, but there is no list of where these will be. This work has to fit into TTC plans to purchase more artics in future years and expand the number of routes served by them.
The TTC claims that it will continue to improve service reliability with schedules that allow them to deliver the advertised service. However, in many cases this simply means that headways (the space between vehicles) are widened and padding is added causing buses to bunch at terminals. Some recent schedule changes have finally recognized that some running times are excessive, and the surplus is being clawed back to save buses and/or improve service. This is a balancing act across the system as demand and traffic congestion return at different rates.
A new “queue jump lane” is being installed on Lake Shore Boulevard at Long Branch Loop for the 501 Queen car (when service eventually resumes with streetcars), and one is planned for Eglinton & Jane westbound.
The TTC is collaborating with the City on a more advanced version of Transit Signal Priority, but there are no details on just what this means for transit service.
There will be a follow-up report soon on the result of the Eglinton East “red lanes” project. Study of other bus priority lanes is in progress, but there has been some pushback about the full-time dedication of road space notably on Jane Street. The lanes on Eglinton-Kingston-Morningside were low hanging fruit because of the nature of the roads and the presence of diamond lanes on Eglinton.