The TTC’s New Website

Updated November 22, 2021 at 8:30pm

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.

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.
  • 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 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

Problems That Have Been Partly Fixed

  • 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.
  • 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.

Problems That Have Been Fixed

  • 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).

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”.

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.

18 thoughts on “The TTC’s New Website

  1. The 913 Description hasn’t been updated since Feb when they changed the routing to go through Progress Ave only:

    “These buses operate from Centennial College Loop via west on Centennial College Driveway, south and west on Progress Avenue, north and west on Corporate Drive, south on Consilium Place, south on Grangeway Avenue, west on Bushby Drive, north on McCowan Road, and west on Triton Road to Scarborough Centre Station.”

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  2. I hate to say it, but this (dis)functionality reminds me of theory of good enough software. If you read about this theory, then you’d find out that it indirectly states that combination of costs, additional costs, functions, risks, delivery dates, postponed delivery dates and so on may be so BAD, that it is better to put to production (that is, to customers’ purview) an incomplete product rather than spend additional month to really do a good job.

    Steve: I suspect that there was a politically motivated order to push the site out the door because it had been delayed so long, and because there had been some bad press about the cost of the old one recently. The fact that a lot is missing from the new one is a sad tale, but I expect the TTC to crow about the new site rather than admit and correct its failings. After all, they just got a CUTA Marketing and Communications Award, but it was for their Black History Month Campaign last February, not for their overall comms program.

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  3. The information about how to get to Pearson is not easy to find. If you put Pearson in the search box you get info on the night bus (with links to other buses that also stop there). If you try Airport you get only the 900 (Airport Express). The Riding the TTC section has a page with Airport info but without a Site Search I doubt many will find it.

    They have also not properly noted that the 65 Parliament bus now runs the opposite way around the Front/Berkeley/Princess loop. This is not temporary and is because the City has started The Esplanade/Mill bike route traffic changes – this IS noted on the “Service Advisories” but it’s not a temporary change (at least, not unless the TTC follows through on bringing the 65 to Queens Quay as announced for 2022.

    As you say, the kind of thoughtful and careful planning with all the work checked that one expects from an organization that puts the customer first. Most of us who comment here (and certainly you) WANT to praise the TTC but it’s hard to do so.

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  4. My thoughts on the new website:

    They finally removed the untendered front page advertisement for Transit App that I have been complaining about for years.

    The news and rider alerts rss feeds has been removed, but there is easier to parse JSON data available. The site uses several APIs. I wonder is there is any chance documentation would be made available to 3rd party developers.

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  5. The CEO and Annual Reports are available here.

    Steve: Thanks. I will update the main article. Looking at those pages (and especially the Planning page), their content is badly out of date. They have not migrated the current versions.

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  6. In the “Routes & Schedules” section there is a search box with a prompt to enter a “route, stop or station.” I thought it was the kind of modern advance search where I could enter something like “king bay” and it would find the related ones and display them, but no. Not only can it not do that, it expects you to enter the full stop location in the exact way they have it, with full street names and directions, like “King St West at Bay Street” which is ridiculous. If you omit the “West” or put in “Street” instead of “St” it will not locate the stop. The Triplinx planner does not have this issue. Did they build their search separately from the ground up and not copy, or “borrow,” the Triplinx one?

    This is the kind of flaw in a search I would be surprised by even in 2011, never mind 2021.

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  7. Re “filming” on the TTC: I would think that photographing in the subway stations could be risky, for example, being confronted by some irate individual who does not want his picture taken because he is with someone else’s wife. It’s never happened to me, but then, I very rarely take pictures in stations. On the other matter, perhaps it’s time to press TTC management to send out a directive to relevant employees that tourists etc. ARE allowed to take pictures on the property. At one time people were requested to not use tripods or flashes in the subway, for obvious reasons.

    Steve: The page has reappeared under “Doing Business With the TTC”. It says:

    “Tourists, families and individuals filming or photographing within the public areas of the transit system for non-commercial purposes, are not expected to contact the TTC to obtain permission or a permit so long as such filming/photographing does not interfere with the safe and orderly operation of the transit system and/or our customers.”

    The relevant part of Bylaw No. 1 states:

    “3.17 No person shall operate any camera, video recording device, movie camera or any similar device for commercial purposes upon the transit system without authorization.”

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  8. Hi Steve. The TTC is lying about the 121. It has removed the westbound stop at The Esplanade and George St S and the eastbound one it calls “Frederick” (which was midblock between George St S and Frederick St. I don’t know how to add photos to a post, so I’ll email you pictures.

    On the Frederick stop, the bus stop post has been removed. There is a sign saying the stop is being “relocated” to Jarvis and Esplanade. Since there was already a stop there, this is a removal, but I guess that word doesn’t exist in TTC Newspeak. The westbound stop has no notice posted. The sign just disappeared from the stop.

    While the stops are rather close together, they did serve two large housing cooperatives. A disabled friend lives in one. Both buildings have large numbers of seniors and multiple disabled residents who must now get to these stops. It’s also worth noting that for the eastbound, the TTC does not list Lower Sherbourne and Esplanade as an accessible stop, meaning the next is at Princess.

    My friend, who sometimes travels by Wheeltrans and sometimes by regular bus, says that adding an extra 200 metres of walking to her round-trip journey means she is less likely to take the regular service.

    I suspect that the stops were removed because they’re adding a bike lane as part of the rejiggering of the street. Whereas car drivers would travel slowly or even stop when they saw someone crossing midblock, the powers that be know that the elderly and infirm could expect no such courtesy from bicyclers.

    Steve: Yes, the TTC appears to have fouled up the whole business of implementing the new route and changing its marked stops on the old part of the route. The idea of stops just disappearing with no posted alternative is not good. It’s interesting that the City ran consultation on this rearrangement for some time, and I cannot help wondering if stop relocations came up.

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  9. 121 route. The removal of the westbound stop at George South (which did not have a shelter) WAS announced and (I think) reported to the TTC Board. I have never seen any talk about or announcement of the eastbound stop at Frederick (which has a shelter) being removed. The concrete pad on the grass boulevard at this stop was also upgraded a year or so ago. I saw the signage on the shelter but assumed they had put it up in error. (The eastbound stop was quite heavily used, as Singapore Bill says, there are lots of nearby residents. The westbound stop at George was far less used.)

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  10. > Whereas car drivers would travel slowly or even stop when they saw someone crossing midblock

    Drivers on Esplanade seem nice! Could we trade some of them for drivers in west end if we take some of the bicyclers? No one drives cars slowly here.

    While passengers on Esplanade now have 100 m more to travel, stops on the new east part of the route are up to 500 m apart (Front/Bayview to Queen eb or to Cherry wb)

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  11. As always, you are ahead of the crowd! :->
    The TTC’s New Website
    Updated October 28, 2021 at 7:45am

    Steve: Fixed, thanks!

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  12. The new website lists neither the downtown express buses (140-145) nor the 508 Lake Shore streetcar. I take it that these have now been definitively terminated.

    Steve: No, they have not, although I would not hold my breath for return of the 14x buses. As for the 508, we will see what happens once the city and TTC put the west end of the line back together and the fleet comes back up to full strength. Remembering that both the 14x and 508 serve demand into the core which is not strong these days, it’s not as if there is a strong need to resume operation yet.

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  13. The 502 Downtowner service had been delisted on the TTC website by January 2020. So is the 503 status the same as for 508 – alive in spirit but not in operation?

    The November 2019 edition of Coupler magazine said “The consolidation of service on Kingston Road on 503 Kingston Rd will continue on a trial basis.” The Service Summary for October 10, 2021 says “502 DOWNTOWNER and 503 KINGSTON RD: Temporary streetcar operation during construction work impacting 501 QUEEN, 504 KING, and 505 DUNDAS”.

    Steve: The 503 is very much in operation and has been for quite some time. It is the 502 that is on an extended vacation.

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  14. I checked the maps Steve. I have gathered what is missing and not updated in regards to the maps:

    – 913 PROGRESS EXPRESS shows the pre-Feb 2021 routings
    – The 938 HIGHLAND CREEK EXPRESS map is not shown in the website.
    – Two of the McNicoll routes, 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.

    The Coupler section in the new website is not showing up. However, the older version of the website (mobile.TTC.ca) is still online which includes the updated service summary and other things.

    Steve: Thanks for chasing these. The new site has the updated service summaries now. I reported the missing Coupler section earlier today to TTC Customer Service.

    The old mobile site does not have links to many parts of the full site, and the link it does have points to a page that no longer exists.

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  15. On October 23, 2021, the TTC’s new website went live, and on the evening of October 28, a ransomware attack commenced against the TTC. Did a security flaw in the new website allow the attack, or was this a coincidence? I am missing the next bus displays.

    Steve: It’s anyone’s guess where the security hole was, or how many of their systems are affected. I am not going to speculate.

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  16. i tried to submit a complaint on 2 different dates in November and keep getting a Forbidden Message meaning my complaint will NOT get submitted or received.

    ridiculous

    Steve: I just tried myself as a test, and it is still broken.

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  17. Seems the new Coupler website is now online. However, some parts of the website are still recovering from the ransomware attack a week before. The service summaries are now updated.

    Steve: Yes, the Service Summaries are on the new Planning page.

    Like

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