The TTC’s New Website

Updated December 10, 2021 at 10:30pm

For ease in finding recent updates, they will now be colour coded in red as in the line above.

On October 23, 2021, the TTC’s new website went live.

The old site can be accessed on the Internet Archive. (Note that parts of the site such as schedule lookups do not work because they are not archived, and other archived pages are a tad long in the tooth.)

I have already flagged some issues with it to the TTC, and I am sure regular readers will find others.

An important reference page for readers who take photos on the TTC is under a “Doing Business With the TTC” linked from the footer on each page. It is vital for dealing with obtuse TTC staff who think that photography is not allowed on the TTC. It is banned “for commercial purposes” under section 3.17 of TTC Bylaw Number 1, or more generally if it interferes with “with the safe and orderly operation of the transit system and/or our customers”.

Major Outstanding Problems:

  • There is no search function. If you don’t know where something is, you may never find it.
    • October 25: The TTC advised: “We have disabled search deliberately until our site is indexed by search engines. This process can take a couple [of] days. When a website first launches, the pages need to be indexed (found) by search engines.”
    • Updated November 16: Attempts to locate TTC reports through Google generally do not bring pointers to the new website. It is possible that Google does not “chase” links through the dynamic menus that populate lists of meetings and reports.
    • Updated December 10: The TTC has populated its sitemap.xml file (a file that explains the site’s directory layout to search engines) with pointers to individual meetings, but some of these are dead links because the meeting date (and hence the URL) was changed. It appears that the sitemap file is not being maintained, and this will lead to drift between what is on the website and what search engines can locate.
      • Although there is an entry for the December 8, 2021 Board meeting, searches for reports on the agenda on Google bring no hits on the TTC’s site. Conversely entries on my own site are indexed within hours of publication because WordPress actively announces them.
  • There is no redirection for the many broken links that will now be encountered as people click on search engine results and links from any website pointing to a TTC article, report, etc. There is not even a website map to give a hint where things might have moved (if they are there at all).
  • Added November 21:
    • There are many posts under the Service Changes page dating from October 2021 that have been modified or reversed by changes effective November 21.
    • All of the November 21 changes are included in a single, long post that is not linked to any of the affected routes.

Other Outstanding Problems

  • There is a page for the 5 & 10 year service plan and outlook, but it is out of date with content from 2019. The 2022 plan has its own page.
  • Myttc profile problems:
    • The ability to subscribe to alerts for all routes has been removed.
      • New routes (e.g. various 9xx express bus routes) and those that have been renumbered (e.g. Bay and Avenue Road) must be manually added to the subscription.
    • The “delete a route” function (garbage can beside route names in the edit dialog) does not work.
    • Some streetcar routes (5xx) are listed in both bus and streetcar route dropdown selections.
  • Route map problems (reported by reader Jelo G. Cantos):
    • 913 Progress Express shows the pre-Feb 2021 routings. (Also flagged in a comment by Austin J)
    • The 938 Highland Creek Express map and description are not shown in the website.
    • 129 McCowan North and 167 Pharmacy North have shown the older maps.
    • Some routes that have connections with the 60 Steeles West did not update to include the 960 Steeles West Express.

Problems That Have Been Partly Fixed

  • December 10: Most of the 501 Queen issues listed below have in many cases been corrected, although the description of where the Queen streetcars and buses actually go remains out of date because of changes in recent days (with more to come soon).
  • It is not clear whether the absence of links to multiple related articles was fixed manually, or if the site contains a mechanism to automatically populate such links as articles are added or removed.
    • November 16:
      • There is a problem which, in part, was carried over from the old site where notices related to the same route appear on different pages, and they are not necessarily consolidated as links from the pages for affected routes. They could be found under:
      • Construction notices
      • Mode-specific Service Advisories (Bus, Streetcar, Subway)
      • Service Changes
      • Service Alerts
  • There was no map nor route description for new express services 943 Kennedy and 968 Warden.
    • As of October 26 at 7:45am, a map for the 943 has been added.
    • As of October 27 at 9:10am, a map for the 968 has been added.
    • November 16: This point is, for now, moot as these services will be suspended after November 21.

Problems That Have Been Fixed

  • December 10, 2021: The Major Projects page is buried several layers down, but is intact.
    • October 26 at 6:10pm: The following pages formerly linked from a “Major Projects” page have vanished:
    • Bloor-Yonge Station expansion
    • Line 1 ATC (There is a summary page about ATC, but this was migrated from another part of the old site.)
    • Line 1 Capacity Improvements
    • Line 2 ATC
    • Line 2 Capacity Improvements
    • New Western Yard
  • December 10, 2021:
    • The text for future meetings now simply says that the agenda is not available.
    • Added November 22:
      • Agenda pages for future meetings contain the text “The meeting agenda will be made public approximately prior to the meeting date.” This has been a problem since the new site went live. The page gives no indication of when the agendas will actually be posted.
  • November 16, updated November 22:
    • Various pages linked from the Service Advisories page might or might not work. Sometimes, all you get is an animated (and very large) “spinner”. Other times you will get a list. This problem also can affect pages that return lists of meetings, and it even appears to have baffled the Internet Archive on occasion. This appears to be a generic problem with list-based pages.
    • Added November 22:
      • The problem with list-based pages stalling on a “spinner” appears to be cured, but until I have not encountered this for several days, I will treat this more as good luck than an actual fix.
  • November 16: There was no diversion/construction notice for changes to the 501 Queen route downtown or in the east end, only for the work at King-Queen-Roncesvalles.
    • The information on 501 and related route diversions is now scattered across various pages under construction, service advisories, service changes and service alerts. These are not all linked to the description/schedule page for route 501, and riders who look only at that page would not know of most of the ongoing work on this route.
  • As of November 22, the following pages related to the Queen car exist. In effect, new pages have been going up for specific changes, but old ones remain in place. Only the second of five items listed below is tagged for inclusion in outstanding service advisories on the 501 Queen schedule page. Riders looking for schedule information will not see most of the notices, current or otherwise.
    • Under Service Advisories – Streetcar Service
    • Temporary route change:
      • This shows the east end Queen bus replacement, incorrectly, and the Bathurst to Dufferin diversion correctly.
    • Temporary route change:
      • This shows the east end Queen bus replacement correctly.
    • Under Construction Notices
      • This is an extremely out of date page about the KQQR project.
    • Under Service Changes
  • The agenda page for the most recent TTC Board meeting (September 15) was listed with “past meetings”, but claimed that it has not happened yet.
    • On October 25, the TTC advised: “We are aware and are looking into this and will correct it this week.”
    • As of October 26 at 7:45am, this has been fixed.
  • The Daily Customer Service Report was for September 16, 2021.
    • As of October 26 at 6:15pm, this page is now current.
  • Three pages which I thought have vanished are now listed under the “Transparency” page, although their content was out of date. Updated pages were online when I checked on October 27 at 9:10am.
    • The Planning page with various stats, service summaries, etc. (The most recent service summary was from November 2019)
  • MyTTC:
    • The password reset page included the text “Verbiage for reactivation!” where one would expect to find instructions.
    • As of October 26 at 7:45am, the list of routes subscribed to is now in ascending order with no duplicates.
  • The map for 121 Esplanade-River still reflected the old Fort York-Esplanade configuration. However, the schedule data did show the correct stop list, or at least the list as it existed before the recent route change due to one-way stretches on The Esplanade.
    • As of October 26 at 7:45am, the map has been updated, but the route description has not.
    • As of October 28 at 2:30 pm, the route description has been updated.
  • I attempted to submit a collection of problems via the “Suggestions” form on the Customer Service page, but it threw up a “Forbidden” error when I clicked on “submit”. TTC advised on October 26 that they are receiving the submission in spite of the error message. As of October 27 at 9:25am, this function appears to work with a shorter submitted text, but there is no indication of what the limit/problem might be.
    • November 16: Suggestions still fail with a “forbidden” error if a long text is submitted.
    • November 22: A long suggestion was successfully submitted.

These problems suggest that the old site was ported over about a month ago and did not pick up recent updates except where they are dynamic (e.g. schedule information).

I hate to say this, but the website migration is precisely the sort of thing I expect from an organization dedicated to “customer service” in name more than substance.

Maybe it will win an award, just like their last website did in a “contest” where sites and developers could nominate themselves, and there were so many categories, it was almost impossible to lose.