Have Your Say on the TTC’s Plan for Lawrence and Leslie Bus Services

Updated Aug 21/21 at 5:00 am: Link to survey corrected.

Updated Aug 22/21 at 12:05 pm: For some unknown technical reason, the survey closed sooner than it should have done. The TTC is working with their vendor to get this fixed.

Updated Aug 22/21 at 10:00 pm: The survey is available once again.

The TTC plans to restructure the 54 Lawrence East, 954 Lawrence East Express and 51 Leslie routes as part of the changes for introduction of Line 5 Crosstown late in 2022. They are conducting a survey of rider opinions on their proposals that is open until August 30.

Route 54 now operates between Eglinton Station and Orton Park / Starspray via Eglinton, Leslie and Lawrence. The proposed new route will begin at Science Centre Station (Don Mills & Eglinton) and will run north on Don Mills, then east on Lawrence. Note that there is a separate proposal as part of a Scarborough route reorganization to split off the Orton Park service as a separate route.

Route 954 now operates during peak periods express between Starspray Loop and Lawrence East Station. The proposed route will be extended to Science Centre Station over the same route as the local 54 Lawrence East service. There is no word on whether hours of service will be expanded beyond the peak period. Note also that after mid-2023 when the SRT shuts down, there will not be an RT service from Lawrence East Station to Kennedy Station, although plans are now underway in a separate study for reconfiguration of routes after the RT closes.

Route 51 Leslie now operates between Eglinton Station and Leslie/Steeles via Eglinton and Leslie. Route 56 Leaside now operates between Eglinton and Donlands Stations via Eglinton, Laird, Millwood and Donlands. The proposed route would combine 51 Leslie with 56 Leaside to provide one route from Donlands Station to Leslie/Steeles. (A peak period short turn would duplicate the existing Leaside via Brentcliffe service, and only about half of the 51 Leslie buses would run north of Eglinton.)

The combined effect of these changes would remove routes 51, 54 and 56 from Eglinton between Yonge Street and Don Mills (except for the short jog between Leslie and Laird by the combined 51 route). Only the 34 Eglinton bus would remain.

Also, service on Lawrence between Leslie and Don Mills would be provided only by the infrequent 162 Lawrence-Donway bus which does not directly serve the intersection at Don Mills.

For further info on the 2022 service plan, please see TTC 2022 Service Plan Consultation.

13 thoughts on “Have Your Say on the TTC’s Plan for Lawrence and Leslie Bus Services

  1. Clicked the link but the survey says “invalid request.” Any idea what’s going on there?

    Steve: Sorry about that. I have corrected the URL in the link.

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  2. Too bad the Toronto Botanical Gardens will remain to have lousy TTC service to reach it from the rapid transit lines. Compared with the Montréal version (close to the Pie-iX station), it remains small potatoes.

    Steve: Leslie & Lawrence is not exactly the centre of the universe for transit demand. Now if you put a stadium in The Bridle Path, you might have a rough equivalent!

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  3. Are you aware of any serious complaints about the loss of service between Don Mills and Leslie? Besides Edward’s Gardens I can’t think of any major trip generators on that stretch.

    Steve: No. No stops are missed with the change, but the service level goes down a lot because the 54 Lawrence East is removed.

    However, as a consultation effort the removal of that link should be explained in case there are people affected, Otherwise, you get the “but you never told me” effect.

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  4. Maybe the residents of the Bridle Path could set up concerts along their street to increase the tourists along their street? (insert laugh track here)

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  5. As things currently stand, I consider myself extremely lucky if the #51 Leslie or #56 Leaside is actually running on schedule; I’ve made numerous complaints about this to the TTC over the years, but nothing has changed. If these two routes are combined as proposed, what will be done to ensure that the buses will actually run on schedule?

    Steve: The TTC’s answer probably would be that both routes are subject to all manner of delays from construction on Eglinton even though, in theory, their schedules are padded to allow for this. We will have to see what happens next year, but based on routes where the Crosstown project cannot be used as an excuse, I would not be too hopeful.

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  6. Hi Steve, if the 51 Leslie service is combined with the 56 Leaside, what’s the possibility the TTC would switch the operation on the new 51 Leslie/Leaside route from McNicoll garage to possibly Eglinton garage?

    Steve: I have no idea where the routes will wind up.

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  7. If the 954 come to Science Centre Station probably better to use the DVP than Don Mills. Wonder if TTC might delay this since the Scarborough RT is getting decommissioned in 2023. If 51 Leslie continues to Donlands station will McNicoll division still keep this route. And the 162 Lawrence Donway, will service increase west of Don Mills. The ones who will be jogging will be the ones North of Lawrence and West and East of Don Mills.

    Steve: It’s too soon to consider which division might host routes when more important issues regarding whether the proposed network “works” for riders. The 954 is interesting because there will be an interim period when the RT is closed before a busway could be operational on the RT right-of-way to Kennedy, but once that is in place, it’s hard to understand why the 954 would go over to Don Mills. As for the DVP, that chunk north of Eglinton can be really congested and I’m not sure it buys anything. Then buses would have to run in mixed traffic along Eglinton parallel to the Crosstown with a less direct access to the loop at Science Centre Station than coming in from the north.

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  8. In absence of the 54 running west to Leslie, for those who would take the 54 east of Don Mills (or DVP) and transfer to the 56 to get anywhere on Laird (or even south to Donlands), they should extend the new 51B east to Science Centre station – it will create a much simpler step-free transfer.

    I don’t know what dimwit would think it is appropriate to terminate a route short of a central hub like that. Even the 81 is being extended to Science Centre station.

    Makes you wonder though, why extend the 81 and not just run the 100 through Thorncliffe instead knowing that the 25 still exists and the Ontario Line will make it a quicker trip to the Line 2 / Danforth?

    Does the TTC have any proposed changes for 25 Don Mills moving forward or will it revert back to the single 25 branch (Pape Stn – Steeles)? They could keep the 25A as is the current branch and then do 25B to replace the “amended 81” as proposed.

    Steve: There are no changes listed in the 2022 Service Plan for 25 Don Mills. It will be interesting to see what changes occur between the draft version (from which the survey arose) and the final version that will go to the TTC Board later this year. Until that comes out, I am not going to speculate on what modifications could be in the pipeline.

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  9. I really do not like the new proposal. I think the entire community would be best served by the Lawrence 54 running out of a Leslie St. Stn. instead.

    Why is that not even an option? Don Mills already has frequent service. Not so much Lawrence Ave. E. or Leslie St.

    Your proposed route completely ignores the needs of of those living between Don Mills and Leslie. The 162 bus only runs on the half hour (if that) which means that you could actually walk to Don Mills or to Leslie, faster – but only if you’re fully mobile.

    I think it’s a terrible proposal.

    Steve: It’s not “my” proposed route, it is the TTC’s. As for a Leslie Station, there is one but there are no provisions for transfer connections with buses there. The connection would occur at Laird Station.

    At one point, the TTC was planning to route the 54 Lawrence service west on Lawrence to Leslie, then south to Eglinton and back east to Science Centre Station at Don Mills, but then they changed their plan to just go straight down Don Mills.

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  10. Guess they’ve had enough responses as the link now leads to ‘survey is inactive’.

    Steve: This has been fixed.

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  11. I read your response to my prior comment, and perhaps I did not make myself clear. I was not referring to the occasional delay caused by weather, traffic, construction, or miscellaneous other causes; I was referring to my consistently being made to wait up to 30-40 minutes or more, at a time of day when the buses were supposed to be running every 15-20 minutes, because the people at the TTC apparently cannot get their heads together and make sure that there are enough buses on these routes to properly cover their respective schedules, which I find completely inexcusable. Until this situation is properly addressed and fixed, I think that combining these two routes as proposed would be a complete disaster.

    I would also like to comment on the proposed elimination of bus service on Lawrence between Leslie and Don Mills. This area includes no fewer than 3 seniors homes, whose residents most likely rely on the TTC because of mobility issues, which would result in a major hardship if bus service along this stretch were to be relegated to the #162 bus, which does not run anywhere close to as frequently as the #54 Lawrence bus. Out of respect for these people, many of whom have most likely been loyal TTC customers for many, many years, I am asking you to seriously reconsider these proposed changes.

    Steve: Sorry, I was not trying to dismiss your comment, but rather to give a sense of how the TTC commonly responds to complaints about service reliability: they are always somebody else’s fault. I recently wrote about their mythology of having buses to fill in when needed and the fact that (a) there are far fewer of these in the crew schedules than they commonly claim and (b) there is no way of knowing where they are especially if one is using a transit prediction app (and that assumes you have a smart phone in the first place).

    Big, unpredictable gaps in service are commonplace across the TTC and they do not deal with them well. Indeed, the metrics by which they judge themselves have a lot of leeway, and their claims of service quality do not match actual rider experiences.

    Complaints come to TTC board members and councillors who are fed the usual nostrums by TTC management. In the pandemic era this is compounded with budget concerns and the sense that everyone is working extra hard just to keep the wheels turning. This does not excuse appalling line management and, quite recently, an ad campaign that suggests people can deal with crowding simply by checking the status of an arriving bus. Once again, they slough off responsibility by assuming you have time to hang around waiting for one of their uncrowded buses.

    The whole business with the 162 Lawrence-Donway is tricky because it has multiple parts. First there is the huge cut in service level it implies unless they are going to substantially improve service on that route. Second, they do not actually remove service from any stops, but shift the connection point south to Don Mills and The Donway and create a break in what is now a through service.

    I hope that you will fill out the survey now that it is available again.

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  12. As a TTC customer who lives off Leslie, north of Eglinton, south of Lawrence, how am I supposed to rely on the TTC. As it stands the service on Leslie Street is great, both routes 51 and 54 run fairly regularly. What a terrible disservice to the TTC customers in this area.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I took the survey. Suggested a short branch #51B, from the Crosstown Leslie Stn up Leslie to Lawrence, then on Lawrence towards Don Mills, and looping arond the Donway. That could offset the loss of the #54 service west of Don Mills, and wouldn’t require too many additional buses.

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