TTC Service Changes: August 1, 2021

Updated July 20, 2021 at 11:00 am: An explanation from the TTC for the routing choice for the 504C King West shuttle has been added at the end of this article.

The schedule changes for August 2021 primarily bring adjustments to running times and headways on several route. Continuing a recent pattern, the TTC has started to trim back extra travel time that buses do not require. This results in a combination of effects including:

  • Identical service is provided by fewer vehicles
  • Better service is provided by the same or fewer vehicles
  • On only a few occasions are headways widened

The affected routes are:

  • 28 Bayview South
  • 30 High Park
  • 37 Islington
  • 50 Burnhamthorpe
  • 52 Lawrence West
  • 55 Warren Park
  • 60 Steeles West
  • 64 Main
  • 65 Parliament
  • 95 York Mills
  • 120 Calvington
  • 952 Lawrence West Express
  • 953 Steeles East Express

For details, refer to the spreadsheet linked at the end of this article.

Royal York Station Construction

Remedial work is needed at Royal York Station left over from the Easier Access Program. For the period of the August schedules, bus routes will not loop through the station, and service south and north of Bloor Street will be interlined. The hookups are the same as during the previous construction work: 15/48 Evans/Rathburn and 73/76 Royal York North/South.

One Person Train Operation Trial on Line 1

On a trial basis, trains on Line 1 will operate between Vaughan Metropolitan Centre and St. George Station with one person crews on Sundays.

Track and Watermain Construction on Queen

As previously announced, the track on Queen will be rebuilt between Bay and Fennings (near Dovercourt). Work will be done in stages with complete shutdowns of the street including auto access and curb lane CafeTO installations. For ongoing details, please refer to the City of Toronto’s page for this project, and pop open the “Construction Phases and Details” tab.

The TTC has been upgrading the overhead wiring on Queen for pantograph operation from Parliament Street westward, and it is reasonable to hope that once the track project passes McCaul Street, the 501 streetcars can return to Queen from their current diversion via Parliament and King. There is no announced date for this.

Watermain Construction on Broadview Avenue

For those who might have been wondering about the lack of activity on Broadview, the problem was a widespread shortage of materials and this deferred the start of the watermain replacement. Work began recently working north from Hogarth toward Danforth. The southern part of this project, to Gerrard, will follow.

The TTC plans to replace the track on Broadview between Gerrard and Danforth in 2022. In the previous round, a little over two decades ago, the street was rebuilt to modern standards with a full concrete base and steel ties. Only the top layer of concrete will have to be removed, and the rails will be installed onto the existing ties and foundation. The same type of work is now underway on Queen.

The cycle time for track replacement is measured in decades, and we have now reached the point where most of the tangent (straight) rails are laid on a modern foundation. Intersections started later, and so there is still some special work where more extensive reconstruction is needed. Renewal projects on modern track are simpler because the street does not have to be excavated to the depth of a new foundation.

King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles Project

The changeover to the Phase 2 configuration was originally anticipated for Wednesday, July 21, but the project is running late and this has been deferred.

When the area is ready, the replacement bus services on King and Queen will be reconfigured as shown in the map below, and track work will shift to the King Street leg of the intersection.

Service on the 501/301 Queen bus will run through east-west on Queen on the normal route rather than diverting via Dufferin and King.

The 504C King shuttle will amalgamate the existing Roncesvalles and King West shuttles into one route between Dundas West Station and Princes’ Gates Loop. 504C buses will run westbound via Queen, eastbound via Triller and King.

Updated July 20, 2021 at 11:00 am: A reader asked in the comments why a street further west was not used for the westbound trips to shift north from King to Queen so that bidirectional service could be provided on more of King Street. The TTC replied:

Wilson Park and Beatty were not acceptable for use by buses for the following reasons:

Both Wilson Park and Beatty are narrow one-way roads. There is on-street parking on the west side of both roads which severely limits clearances for buses on these roads and leaves little room for error which is a safety concern.

TTC’s Policy On Traffic Calming And Speed Humps opposes transit service on roads with speed bumps. Similar to many side streets west of Dufferin that were considered for potential use, Wilson Park and Beatty were eliminated as options since both roads have speed bumps.

In addition to Wilson Park and Beatty, TTC evaluated every road west of Dufferin as a potential turnaround option. Unfortunately, it was determined that none of the roads were suitable for a safe bus operations as similar clearance issues were present on each of these roads. As a result, we determined the only suitable option for northbound bus operations was Dufferin Street.

Email from Stuart Green, TTC Media Relations, July 20, 2021

The Details

Service Changes 2021.08.01

12 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes: August 1, 2021

  1. Do you know what the route would be like for the replacement buses in the east end section of the 501 when the overhead reconstruction begins? Also is it expected to begin in September? Where would the west end 501 buses terminate when phase 3 of the Queen West construction is done and the streetcars are extended back to McCaul?

    Steve: The TTC has not published any of these details. The overhead is pan-friendly as far as Leslie, but that’s a very long turnback to drive south to and around the loop at the Leslie Barns. I can think of arguments for various staging schemes depending on operational priorities. An important point here is that it is not absolutely necessary to shut down service for a lot of this work. Many parts of the network were converted while service remained with only occasional outages.

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  2. I’m late in promulgating this new idea for a small portion of Queen W., but it could save lives, if we value cyclists. (Two have been claimed at the environs of the Dufferin underpass). With the Queen W trackwork, it’s an incredibly rare opportunity to adjust the tracks from around Niagara to go over to Brock St. about a metre or so North, to let a westbound bike lane be created, with what is now the northernmost rail position becoming the second/inner rail for westbound TTC.

    This means foregoing segments 5, 5A and 6 for the time being, and adjusting the contract, but there’s likely double the concrete work in repairing the track margins on the old core system to ensure the surfaces are fit to ride on. The City/TTC kinda ping/pong cyclists off against both of them in terms of ignoring the hazards tracks can pose to cyclists, including just avoiding any data collection about how many cyclists go down and how bad their injuries are. Cyclists are the competition to the TTC in many urban settings; the passage to/fro in the main east-west travel is and has been known to be hazardous for decades, especially in the lower west core. The 2001 Bike Plan admitted to this gap; one reason that Queen was rejected in the 1992 study was the tracks dictating the lane positions.

    This segment is a unique opportunity in that we don’t have any trackage leading north from Queen, since the turning of the streetcars would prune off the too-narrow corners if we did have trackage. Also, there’s an incredible linkage to/from Parkdale (a NIA) via Queen, identified in a 2008-ish consult of cyclists (the West End BIkeways) as being really preferred, though we got sidestreets instead, with lots of stop/start, eventually, about a decade later, and not really the safety where needed eg. the Dufferin underpass.

    And as such a change would be ‘roadical’ for Queen and its merchants/commerce, there’s a set of back alleyways in most all of the affected blocks. And the City has also managed to narrow all of Queen W for on-street patios; and are we in a climate emergency? Yes, and it’s grossly unfair to be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the Gardiner and the SSE and not providing safe passage when lives are at stake, and it’s preventable death/injury.

    Along with the late-in-game ‘new’ idea, it’s complex technically perhaps as what’s below the new track, and politically, since it goes through multiple wards, there’s mywardopia, and far less real leadership from Councillors Perks, Bailao, and Cressy on this, though of course they support a degree of bike safety, just it’s busy, and blah blah blah. I’m negative as the City has known full well of track hazards for decades, and it’s not this generation’s fault a Queen subway wasn’t in place by now.

    And yes, side streets would be nice, but Richmond/Adelaide (also in the 1992 study ant 2001 Bike Plan) end at Niagara (more or less, the RIchmond being more and Adelaide being less ie. the eastbound is circuitous, but almost existing just past the tracks, so I’m mostly insistent on the westbound being absolutely necessary).And other side streets don’t really exist in straight-ish options, and the grid is deformed with only main road access to/from Parkdale.

    The federal level should avoid plowing hundreds of millions in to less-useful projects, which I sorta hate to say is also the Rail Trail – highest best use is transit and it doesn’t really serve the Parkdale community – and since there’s supposed to be some worry about climate change, how about something that actually does a real job of encouraging cycling?

    No, bikes aren’t for everyone, but it has to become safer, and this is another Fail thus far, sigh.

    And, Notice of Hazard, the stack of tracks is fully occupying lane widths and makes it nasty to try to cycle around them, so the sensitivity of the TTC to cyclists’ safety is like their trackbed.

    Steve: We’ve been over this before, and I don’t agree, but I am not going to rehash the argument.

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  3. Trying to click on link for route details on changes for Steeles east express route. But link does not work.
    Not sure why you would have less buses because that bus fills up at Amazon before it arrives at Markham.

    Steve: There is no specific link for Steeles East, but when I click on the link in the article it brings up the spreadsheet. Service on the 953 is being very slightly improved.

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  4. Hey Steve, just to confirm from the chart: the 73B Royal York branch will be returning on weekend late evenings?

    Steve: Yes, it works into the interlining with the 76 for a combined 10 minute headway.

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  5. It’s nice to see some service reliability improvements that resulted in increased frequencies on some routes.

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  6. I wonder why the 504C shuttle takes Dufferin and King westbound instead of, say, King, Beaty or Wilson Park, Queen, then back onto Roncesvalles. Seems like an easy way to provide service on King in both directions.

    Steve: A very good question especially considering that construction on Queen is complete. I think someone just copied the existing shuttle routing. I will inquire about this.

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  7. Regarding the TTC statement about 504C routing, do they believe they cannot safely operate a bus on Jameson Avenue?

    Steve: Yes, thanks to parking on one side plus two traffic lanes.

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  8. > Steve: Yes, thanks to parking on one side plus two traffic lanes.

    Well, that’s also the format on Lansdowne… But checking now off Esri satellite imagery, Lansdowne near Seaforth is around 10.5 metres wide, while Jameson around Leopold is around 9.6 metres wide, so I guess 3 feet narrower makes the difference. And I guess the right turn off King is easier onto Dufferin because the bus can swing over into the left lane of Dufferin.

    (I suppose I don’t expect the city to inconvenience owners of the 40 private cars that can park on Jameson for the sake of few thousand people taking transit in South Parkdale…)

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  9. > Steve: Yes, thanks to parking on one side plus two traffic lanes.

    And what Jarek said… just thinking of other roads… Symington Avenue at the north end is only 7.5 metres wide, and buses operate on that 18 hours a day and has been since before Line 2 opened by various routes (41 Keele, 168 Symington). And they deem that’s safe but Jameson isn’t safe? And the riders too on King Street…. Did the TTC actually consider Jameson Avenue? Just seems weird that what’s good in one part of the transit system doesn’t work in other parts. Plus – I know it’s not the same turning radius, but don’t school buses, trucks and / or fire engines operate on Jameson all the time? As well as the comment from the TTC about roads being one-way and parking on one side… Triller Avenue is that description.

    Besides, Jameson wouldn’t even be permanent, but it is definitely better suited for buses then other roads are.

    Steve: I published what the TTC gave me. You can judge for yourself how valid their claims are.

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  10. “The cycle time for track replacement is measured in decades, and we have now reached the point where most of the tangent (straight) rails are laid on a modern foundation. Intersections started later, and so there is still some special work where more extensive reconstruction is needed. Renewal projects on modern track are simpler because the street does not have to be excavated to the depth of a new foundation.”

    How long does the foundation last? Presumably at some point we’ll see another cycle where the long construction period is needed?

    Steve: At least for three construction cycles, and so 50-60 years, more for streets with lighter traffic. We’re only now about 20 years into the first of the streets that were rebuilt this way.

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  11. They sure are taking their time with the overhead conversion. It would be so much nicer for customers if the TTC weren’t dragging their feet and got streetcars at least as far west as Church. It’s been several weeks and the intersections are in a half done state.

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  12. I see in the linked construction schedule the Carlton/Church intersection is scheduled to be rebuilt in 2022 and the track is to be reconstructed from Yonge to Bathurst. Will this intersection receive the proposed curves in the SE quadrant? I note there is a significant spalling problem on Carlton from Mutual to Maple Leaf Gardens. Will this be captured by the intersection reconstruction or would it be feasible to extend the track reconstruction from Yonge to Mutual?

    Steve: I have a query in to the TTC about this among other special work projects. As for the spalling, I suspect all you will see is patch repairs.

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