TTC Service Changes: October 10, 2021

Planned service changes taking effect on Thanksgiving weekend include improvements on many routes and new or restored services on express bus routes. Construction on the 501 Queen route will continue to disrupt service there until year-end.

There are no subway service changes in October because Lines 1 and 2 are operating with a transitional combination of scheduled, gap and extra trains while the TTC determines how strongly ridership returns. See How Much Has Subway Service Improved? (II) for details.

Updated September 24, 2021 at 6:15 pm: Planned construction work at WIlson Station and at Kipling/Lake Shore has been deferred.

Express Bus Changes

Several routes will have new or expanded express service. Where this happens, service on the local branch will be reduced, but the combined express and local services will improve over existing local-only schedules.

The affected routes are:

  • 929 Dufferin Express: Sunday morning and afternoon service added.
  • 943 Kennedy Express: New peak period service between Kennedy Station and Steeles.
    • Northbound stops: Kennedy Station, Lawrence Avenue East, Ellesmere Road, Progress Avenue, Antrim Crescent, Village Green Square, Sheppard Avenue East, Finch Avenue East, McNicoll Avenue, Steeles Avenue East, Midland Avenue.
    • Southbound stops: Midland Avenue, McNicoll Avenue, Finch Avenue East, Sheppard Avenue East, Village Green Square, Antrim Crescent, Glamorgan Avenue, Ellesmere Road, Lawrence Avenue East, Kennedy Station.
  • 953 Steeles East Express: Service to Staines Road will be added weekday midday and early evening, and on weekends during the morning and afternoon. Service will run via Yonge and Steeles rather than the route via Bayview used by the PM peak express buses.
  • 960 Steeles West Express: Service to HIghway 27 added on weekend mornings and afternoons.
  • 968 Warden Express: New peak period service between Warden Station and Steeles.
    • Northbound stops: Warden Station, Deans Drive, Comstock Road, Eglinton Avenue East, Ashtonbee Road, Lawrence Avenue East, Ellesmere Road, Sheppard Avenue East, Finch Avenue East, McNicoll Avenue, Steeles Avenue East, Warden/Steeles bus loop.
    • Southbound stops: Warden/Steeles bus loop, Steeles Avenue East, McNicoll Avenue, Finch Avenue East, Sheppard Avenue East, Ellesmere Road, Lawrence Avenue East, Ashtonbee Road, Eglinton Avenue East, Comstock Road, Fairfax Crescent, Warden Station.

A few routes will have minor changes to improve on-time performance:

  • 900 Airport Express
  • 937 Islington Express

501 Queen Restructuring for Construction

This route will be affected by several new and ongoing construction projects. Working from west to east:

  • The approach to Long Branch Loop westbound will be rebuilt including a queue jump lane to aid streetcars entering and leaving the loop, revised signalling and improvements for pedestrian safety.
  • The intersection at Kipling and Lake Shore, as well as Kipling Loop will be rebuilt. This will require a diversion of the 501L Queen and 44/944 Kipling South service with dates and routing details to be announced. Deferred with no new scheduled date.
  • The King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles project is, as I write this on September 9, stalled due to Toronto Hydro problems. The date for a move to “Phase 2” with through running across Queen and closure of King Street east of the intersection has not been announced. The “Phase 1” routings will continue operation in the meantime.
  • In October, the west end of the Bay-to-Fennings reconstruction project will begin working east from Fennings (east of Dovercourt). This project includes replacement of the intersection at Shaw Street on dates to be announced.
  • The central Queen diversion of service via King to Charlotte Loop will continue until year-end rather than having streetcar service revert to McCaul Loop in October. Overhead conversion work is not yet complete for pantograph operation on this portion of the route. In January, streetcar service will return to Queen, but will operate only to Wolseley Loop at Bathurst Street because the KQQR project will not be completed.
  • Service east of Russell Carhouse (effectively from Greenwood) on Queen to Neville Loop will be converted to bus operation during overhead conversion for pantographs. Initially streetcars will turn back from the carhouse while a 501N Queen bus operates from Neville to Lake Shore Garage (at Commissioners and Leslie) as a replacement service. In November, the TTC expects overhead conversion for pantographs will be complete far enough east that streetcars can operate through to Woodbine Loop, and the 501N will operate west only to Coxwell. This arrangement implies that 501 Queen will convert to pantograph operation.
  • 503 Kingston Road cars will continue to operate using trolley poles as the overhead on Queen will be in hybrid format. The date for pantograph conversion on Kingston Road has not been announced.
  • 301 night service will be provided by buses over the entire route to provide a transfer-free trip.
  • The nomenclature for various parts of the Queen route will be:
    • 501L to Long Branch westbound
    • 501H to Humber westbound
    • 501B to Broadview eastbound
    • 501N between Commissioners and Neville, later between Coxwell and Neville

Route 69 Warden South

The naming of the two directions of service will change for consistency with other looping routes. Route 69A will operate clockwise while 69B will operate counterclockwise. This is the reverse of the current arrangement.

Route 70B O’Connor Replaced By Full Time 70A Service

The northern branch of 70 O’Connor will operate as 70A to Eglinton during all hours rather than looping at Eglinton Square as 70B on weekday late evenings and Sundays.

Route 95A York Mills Extended

The 95A service that now operates to Kingston Road & Ellesmere will be extended to Sheppard Avenue & Port Union Road.

Revised 121 Esplanade-River Route

Route 121 Fort York-Esplanade will be renamed as Esplanade-River in line with a substantial change to the route.

  • The route will operate between Bay & Front Streets and Broadview & Gerrard (see map below).
  • The seasonal service to Ontario Place and 121 service west of Bay Street generally will be discontinued.
  • The seasonal service to Cherry Beach will end. Service for 2022 will be announced as part of the upcoming Service Plan.

Service will improve noticeably on weekday daytimes because the extended travel time and headways for congestion between Union Station and the Exhibition will no longer be required.

Other Seasonal Changes

Service to the Toronto Zoo will be cut back because of the reduced hours there over the fall and winter.

The 175 Bluffer’s Park bus will end for the season with the last day of service being Thanksgiving Monday, October 11.

Other Construction Changes

The interline between 28 Bayview South and 14 Glencairn will end because the bus loop at Davisville Station will reopen. At the same time, the schedules of the two branches of 97 Yonge will be modified to improve vehicle utilization during some periods.

The lower level of Wilson Station bus loop will close for repairs until some time in 2022. During construction, a temporary bus loop will be used in a corner of the parking lot east of the north end of the station. The following routes will be diverted to that loop: 29 Dufferin, 929 Dufferin Express, 104 Faywood, 160 Bathurst North. This project has been deferred to the November schedule change.

Service Improvements

Weekday service improvements are planned for 14 Glencairn, 24 Victoria Park, 32 Eglinton West, 34 Eglinton East, 43 Kennedy, and 88 South Leaside. Weekend service will improve on 68 Warden.

Adjustments for Reliability

Schedules will be adjusted on several routes to improve reliability. When this program began a few years ago, the typical adjustments involved longer travel times and, in some cases, less frequent service to compensate. Now, the TTC is trimming some travel times in recognition that they are excessive causing extended layovers and unreliable departure times at terminals.

Running times in some periods have been reduced and service improved on:

  • 20 Cliffside
  • 22 Coxwell
  • 23 Dawes
  • 51 Leslie
  • 56 Leaside
  • 113 Danforth
  • 900 Airport Express
  • 937 Islington Express

Running times are increased and service will be less frequent on:

  • 30 High Park
  • 69 Warden South

Other changes:

  • 8 Broadview: Running time has been changed to terminal layover time during most periods, but headways remain at 30′ except late evenings when they will be 20′.
  • 53 Steeles East: This route is affected by changes in the 953 express service, but running times for the local service in some periods have been reduced.
  • 59 Maple Leaf: Running time has been changed to terminal layover time during many periods, but off-peak headways remain at 60 minutes on each branch.
  • 68 Warden: This route is affected by the new 968 express service in peak periods. Running times for the local service in some periods have been reduced.
  • 73 Royal York: PM peak and early evening service rebalanced between La Rose and Albion Road branches.
  • 97 Yonge: Running times and the interline arrangements between branches have been adjusted during some periods. Peak period service will improve, but off peak service remains half-hourly on both branches.

The Details

Details of existing and planned services are in the spreadsheet linked below.

The spreadsheet has been corrected to show early evening weekend service on 53/953 Steeles East correctly.

25 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes: October 10, 2021

  1. One more thing. Are the 953A express service will operate on weekend evenings?

    Steve: No. Only M-F early evenings. I see that I have put the 53A info in the wrong row, and will fix this.

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  2. It will be interesting to see what exactly happens at Long Branch loop. As I posted before, the construction that happened a few months ago (now) simply moved one pedestrian crossing and created a ramp for an east side crossing of Lake Shore Blvd. However, construction has apparently ceased for quite a few weeks now, so there are ramps in the curbs but no sidewalks. Perhaps someone said “uh oh, what we are doing is not what we are supposed to be doing”?

    I wonder what the layout of the rebuilt Kipling/Lake Shore intersection will be. Will the E to N curve be removed? Or will S to W curves be added? Or will the track simply follow the overhead, which has been all pantographed including the E to N curve.

    I also find it funny that the 501 running to Broadview will be signed 501B. Currently, eastbound 501 buses are signed 501J Broadview. There has been speculation that this commemorates Jilly’s. 🙂

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  3. Though I fear I know the answer but is there any chance that the City and the TTC will make more of an effort to provide space for both an eastbound and a westbound stop for the 121 in front of Union Station. If one arrives at Union in (or wants to leave by) subway, GO, VIA, UP it is currently a long (unmarked) walk to a stop. I know there are taxi stands, pick-up parking , Bike shares but ……

    Steve: There is no westbound 121 stop at Union in the new arrangement because buses loop south on Bay and then east on Front. I have no doubt that the eastbound stop will stay right where it is on Front east of Bay.

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  4. Thanks, I was not looking at the map properly; the original plan was to have 121 go west to Simcoe but it is now closed (for next 18-24 months) for a PATH extension, Bay is clearly best alternative. MAYBE when (or if) they use Simcoe as the western end of the route they can get their acts together and actually stop AT Union Station!

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  5. Is there an error in the PM peak period for 68 Warden in your chart? I think I see 68B headway inches a bit more frequent to 23 minutes but the bus count increases from 2 to 6, yet the 68A headway is cut by a third and so is the bus count. This doesn’t appear that way for the AM peak period.

    Steve: The vehicle allocations for the north of Steeles service can look a bit strange. In the “before” configuration, the vehicle count for the Major Mac service is only the marginal number of buses needed to operate the service north of Steeles. However, once the local headway is widened, the TTC is counting the full complement of Major Mac trips over the full length of the route in the PM peak.

    The 68A service has a round trip time of 92 minutes with a 23 minute headway for a 4 bus service. The Major Mac service has a 138 minute round trip time on a 23 minute headway for a 6 bus service. Note that in the AM peak, the Major Mac service is an extension of every 3rd Steeles trip, but in the afternoon they are two services on a common 23 minute headway. In the “before” service, the Major Mac buses were every “nth” Steeles bus in both peaks. It’s all in how the TTC counts and allocates buses.

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  6. So happy to see them implementing a Kennedy Express bus. Hopefully we can get a reserved lane during peak periods in the future like Don Mills.

    Thanks for the reporting!

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  7. Darn it! I had suggested the renaming of the 121 to ‘St. Lawrence – Regent Park.’ An imperfect description of the complete route, but I thought it would look rather good on the luminator.

    Due to the pandemic, I never had the opportunity to experience the interlined 14 Glencairn – 28 Bayview South, but I liked the concept of sort of a diagonal, midtown route between employment areas like the Castlefield Design District at one end and recreational spaces like Evergreen Brickworks at the other . No idea how it functioned in practice though, and I imagine that it didn’t gain any net new ridership either.

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  8. This is horrible! The Esplanade to Fort York accommodated so many people. It was an easy route for my children to go see their grandfather and help him out. They live at Dan Leckie and Fort York, and Him at Sherbourne and Esplanade. This was a route I loved because I hate taking the King Streetcar. Why not do a bus route all along Front street???

    Steve: Service on Front West was discontinued because it was constantly fouled in traffic for events at stadium, Gardiner traffic and whatever might be happening at the CNE.

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  9. The only pieces left in the puzzle in the 2021 ASP are the 54B LAWRENCE EAST, 86D SCARBOROUGH and 178 BRIMORTON which is yet to be implemented in either the November board or the in the future. I wonder if they will implement it when the Line 5 LRT service launches in May 2022 otherwise they will leave the 54B and 86D intact beyond 2021.

    Steve: The 54B/178 changes are still under discussion with the local Councillor and affected neighbourhoods. There is also the question of whether the 954 Express service will be routed to Kennedy Station or to Science Centre Station given the planned changes for Line 5. There may be further info on this when the 2022 Service Plan comes out later this year.

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  10. Steve – do you think that the revised 121 has the best chance of success if the northern terminus is extended to Broadview Station?

    Steve: I don’t think that will make any difference. People in the River Street area who wish to get to Broadview Station can do so on the 504 King or 505 Dundas cars which run more frequently. Broadview itself has lots of service (once the streetcars return).

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  11. I noticed in the detailed document you linked to (at the end):

    Proposed Metrolinx Project
    York and Adelaide Streets Ontario Line diversion York becomes 2-way Queen to Adelaide
    Track on Adelaide restored east from York to Victoria
    Status of track from Charlotte to York unknown

    Maybe it is really going to happen!

    Steve: Here is the Metrolinx Article complete with map!

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  12. I find it interesting the re-numbering of the 69A and 69B Warden South to be ‘consistent’. 107A and 107B is the only other one that the A runs clockwise and the B runs counter clockwise. The 88A runs counter clockwise and 88B runs clockwise. If you look at it same with the 59A counter clockwise and 59B clockwise. Do you foresee them making it all consistent with the ‘A’ running clockwise and the ‘B’ running counter clockwise in future months?

    Steve: I have no idea why they are doing this. It’s not as if riders are confused, or that they travel around the system (clockwise or counterclockwise) comparing routes that are miles apart. This is akin to the whole re-lettering of routes that happened without anyone at a senior level being aware, and of course some of the “A” branches are not the primary branch. More recently we are starting to see the “A” disappear on routes where it was never needed in the first place.

    There are so many more pressing problems on the TTC.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Steve: The following three comments which came in back to back from the same IP address have been consolidated despite their different “authorship”.

    I’d never thought I’d live the day to see MY route, the “95A York Mills” extended.
    I’m literally shaking and crying right now, what a colossal moment in transit history.

    I cannot even begin to describe my emotions at this point of time, my mind is literally blown! If I see the new destination sign I think I’m actually going to die!

    Thank you for this amazing news Mr. Monro, I cannot extend my gratitude to you enough.

    Steve: It is not my doing. It was part of the TTC’s 2021 Service Plan.

    For the 95 York Mills extension? How will the bus travel to Kingston/Ellesmere? Will it go there first or will it travel to PU/Sheppard? Since there are no direct connections from Kingston/Ellesmere to Sheppard, the bus would have to take Meadowvale and skip Kingston/Ellesmere all together?

    Steve: I wrote about the 2021 Service Plan a year ago, and that article includes a map.

    So I’m reading the spreadsheet for the 95 and its saying there will be two “A” branches? One to PU and one to Kingston?

    Steve: You are not reading the spreadsheet correctly. There is the “old” 95A to Port Union whose service level is shown for comparison, and the “new” 95A to Sheppard.

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  14. I find this delay to the King-Queen-Roncesvalles intersection reconstruction due to Toronto Hydro to be laughably amusing. Time and time again, the ineptitude of that organization shows itself, and they are late showing up to the party on so many projects it’s just getting ridiculous at this point.

    Unless there is a very good reason from Toronto Hydro for the delay, I don’t see why they are allowed to single highhandedly delay a project for weeks with no justification.

    Steve: They will argue that conditions found on site were different enough from what was expected to require major changes. This is difficult to believe on The Queensway which is a comparatively young street.

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  15. “This is difficult to believe on The Queensway which is a comparatively young street.”

    The Queensway between Roncesvalles and Parkside is quite a bit older then the rest. It was once part of Queen Street.

    Steve: True.

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  16. Is there an expected timeline for the elimination of the duplicated TTC/MiWay service on Bloor and Burnhamthorpe? Are there still details to be worked out between both agencies or are they waiting on the Province to amend legislation on Closed Door Operations within Toronto?

    Steve: Discussions are in progress but no timelines yet.

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  17. While I have rarely travelled on the Western half of the 121, I have sometimes taken it over to the the MCC or to SkyDome zone. Cutting it means there will be no East-West route between King and Queen’s Quay. That’s a pretty big gap. I’m particularly thinking about seniors and the disabled. That said, the route is entirely useless between about 15:15 and 18:15 every weekday as the streets are clogged with (largely) suburbanites heading to the Gardiner. Typical Toronto to cancel transit rather than enforcing traffic laws or restricting automobiles.

    Will there be a stop at Yonge and Front NB to allow one to alight and get into the subway at BCE rather than having to ride all the way around to the Front/Bay EB stop?

    Steve: The TTC has not announced whether there will be a stop northbound on Yonge. It would certainly make sense to have one.

    With the closure of the York ramp and now the more eastern ramps, The Esplanade is a parking lot every afternoon. The 121 will remain useless for travel during that time. I’d like to see a bit more War on the Car, please.

    I don’t remember a 70B when I lived on the route. Seems like there’s little advantage to looping at Eglinton Square rather than just going up to Craigton Drive. Was that in response to delays due to CLRT construction?

    Steve: The late night 70B service goes back over a decade, and was, I think, a response to noise complaints on the Craigton Drive loop.

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  18. Steve: The late night 70B service goes back over a decade, and was, I think, a response to noise complaints on the Craigton Drive loop.

    Well, that’s after my time. I just checked it out and that’s ridiculous. Hardly late night. The last 70A seems to run along Craigton by bout 21:30. At that time it runs every half hour and a bus along the street was never particularly disruptive. Certainly not as disruptive as the car alarm that would go off several times a night. Or the people who would start their cars and let them warm up for 10 minutes. Sometimes the bus would sit and idle at the end of the street, near Victoria Park, so for most of the street it was 15 seconds of a bus going past every 30 minutes. No more so than many other streets that have buses on them. Seems like this was the work of a few cranks (with cars) who had connections. After a long day at work, in the dead of winter, popping over to Coxwell and zooming up on the 70 was a lot nicer than a trip to Victoria Park station and jamming onto the 24. Having to either ride the 24 or trudge through the snow from Eglinton Square would make living there even worse.

    That’s the thing about the “secondary” routes in the network. They really do fill a need for a lot of people and make a neighbourhood feel a lot more accessible. Politicians and planners don’t get it. They don’t ride transit every day. When you ride every day and you have no alternative, you have a very different persepctive.

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  19. SingaporeBill said: The Esplanade is a parking lot every afternoon. The 121 will remain useless for travel during that time.

    True, but in early 2022 The Esplanade is to get cycle tracks that will make it a series of one-way segments except for TTC. This will certainly make it ‘interesting” for non TTC drivers but it MAY make the route better for transit. (Currently, left turns from The Esplanade to Lower Jarvis are forbidden but this is totally ignored. If it were actually enforced, much of the current congestion in The Esplanade would move to make Front even worse!)

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  20. In the missing summaries Steve, you listed the Express Bus Tracker section as all the 900s, but you missed the 140s as well because the Downtown Express are part of the Express Network per the stop poles and maps. Consider fixing the sheets with those in the future.

    One would wonder the TTC is set to permanently discontinue routes 903 and the Downtown Express routes for good unless they have an option to revive the latter or have the 143 completely replaced by the new 150 EASTERN. I wonder what will impact the 903 in 2023 when the SRT is set to be decommissioned.

    Steve: The 140s have not been operating since early 2020. Have you not been paying attention? See the September service summary at pp 48-49. By the way, TransSee (if that is what you refer to) is not my site and I have no responsibility for its format or content.

    As for the 903, again if you were paying attention, you would have seen the proposed route map for Scarborough with two options: extend routes south to Kennedy from STC or run a separate shuttle. The obvious number for such a shuttle would be 903.

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  21. “Currently, left turns from The Esplanade to Lower Jarvis are forbidden but this is totally ignored.”

    That’s certainly an understatement. I’ve lived in the area for five years and had no idea left turn to Jarvis was illegal (I don’t drive). All evidence from that period (The Esplanade being a parking lot for three hours per day and dodging left-turning vehicles) seems to indicate this is not so. There might be a sign, but I’ve never seen a cop write a ticket. I guess their too busy blaming pedestrians for getting run over. I expect this will be just as “enforced” as the restrictions on King Street. Heaven forbid that the city should be for the residents, not a speedway for 905ers going back to suburbia.

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