TTC November 2021 Service Changes Update

This article follows on from TTC Announces Widespread Service Cuts Effective November 21, 2021. When that article was written, the TTC had published an overview of the service changes, but many specifics were omitted.

Since the article appeared, more details have been released both through the TTC’s standard memo describing service changes, and by the detailed schedules available on NextBus. Another source, the GTFS version of schedules used by many apps, has not yet been updated on the City’s Open Data website as of 7:30am on November 22. The TTC’s Scheduled Service Summary usually appears on their Planning page a few weeks after a schedule change, and it is not yet available.

Using the available information, I have updated the spreadsheet of changes (below). Because there is so much detail showing existing and planned service, as well as data for periods where there is no change, the cells with new headways (the time between vehicles) or new vehicle assignments are shown in bold italics.

Types of Schedule Changes

The TTC has described these changes as an effect of their staff shortage accentuated by Covid vaccine mandate.

As a result of operator workforce shortages, Line 2 Bloor-Danforth, one streetcar route, and 57 bus routes will experience temporary service reductions and/or period of service suspensions.

There is definitely a reduction in total scheduled level of service as shown in the table below.

Source: TTC Board Period Service Memo for November 21, 2021

For most of 2021, the regular service has operated at 3-4 percent below the planned level, although this is partly offset by a requirement for more construction-related service than planned. In November, the regular service will be about 11 percent below the planned level with a small offset in construction service. The reduction in the holiday schedules (“December” in the chart) is lower because there would normally be less service then.

In past months, the TTC was already short-staffed and cancelled some crews rather than filling them using overtime.

A change that reduces operator needs but does not affect service levels is that One Person Train Operation (“OPTO”) which will be introduced on Line 1 Yonge between Vaughan Centre and St. George Stations. This has been used as a trial since August 2021 on Sundays, and this will expand to 7 days/week.

Bus – The bus service hours include 190 open crews that will be assigned on overtime.

Subway – In the November 2021 board period, on Line 1, one-person train operation will be implemented on weekdays and Saturday in addition to Sundays which was implemented in the August board period. The reduction in service hours represents a reduction in operator requirements. There is no change to service levels on Line 1. This service change was budgeted to be implemented in the December 2021 board period.

Source: TTC Board Period Service Memo for November 21, 2021

Another change is that the “Run As Directed” crews which required about 100 operators per day have been cancelled.

Some schedule changes do not involve a reduction in the number of vehicles (and hence operators) assigned to routes, but are due to schedule revisions that would normally be described as “reliability” updates.

In those cases, scheduled travel times are adjusted, usually increased, to reflect on street conditions. When this occurs with no change in vehicle assignments, headways get longer. For example, if a route were served by 10 buses on a round trip of 50 minutes, the headway would be every 5 minutes (12 per hour). If the round trip is changed to 60 minutes with no additional vehicles, the buses would come every 6 minutes (10 per hour), but with no change in staffing.

In some cases, the previously scheduled travel times were too long causing vehicles to bunch at terminals, and new schedules trim back the running time usually with a reduction in vehicles, but not necessarily a reduction in service level.

Changes to running times would not be backed out when the TTC restores service levels.

A related issue is that traffic congestion is building on major routes and this will require longer scheduled travel times and more vehicles over the coming year, in addition to whatever service is needed to cope with return of demand to pre-pandemic levels. This is an added pressure on the need for operators, but not (yet) vehicles as the TTC has a surplus of equipment in all modes going into 2022.

The total number of buses in service will drop with the November schedules as shown below. Note that the “Max In-Service Capacity” reflects garage capacity and the fleet is actually over 2,000 vehicles. The TTC is only using about two-thirds of its fleet and has a wide range for service growth without buying any new buses. The real problem for some time has been a shortage of operators.

Source: TTC Board Period Service Memo for November 21, 2021

For the streetcar fleet, peak requirements remain at 140 vehicles out of 204. By sometime in 2022, the major repair project for the Flexitys will complete, and the TTC will be able to operate more of its streetcar network with streetcars. Delivery of an additional 60 cars on order from Alstom will not begin until 2023.

The remainder of this article gives a route-by-route overview of the service changes, and the fine details are in the spreadsheet linked below:

Route-by-Route Overview

1 Yonge-University-Spadina

No change in service levels. One person crews will be used between Vaughan Centre and St. George to reduce staff requirements.

2 Bloor-Danforth

Service reduced during all weekday periods. Note that the originally announced reduction to 8 minute evening headways was due to rounding by the TTC that service would change “from every 6 to every 7 to 8 minutes”. The scheduled headway will be 7’15”.

501 Queen

As previously reported, the east end bus replacement for overhead reconstruction has been reduced to the section between Woodbine and Neville Loops, with the bus shuttle running only to Coxwell, not to Leslie. There is little change in streetcar service levels. Between Spadina and Dufferin, track construction continues to require diversions that are adjusted as needed.

504 King

With the move to phase 2 of the King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles, the King West shuttle bus is able to operate as a single route rather than splitting at Queen. There is no change in scheduled service.

505 Dundas & 506 Carlton

The 506 Carlton streetcars now turn back at Broadview due to sewer construction on Coxwell. The 505 Dundas streetcar has been extended east from Broadview via Queen to Woodbine Loop to avoid conflicts with Carlton cars laying over on their temporary loop. In theory, this extra travel time would allow 505 streetcars to return to Broadview Station if the water main construction now underway completes, but there is nothing definite on such a change.

The 506 Carlton shuttle bus operates between Main Station and Parliament looping at Castle Frank Station.

512 St. Clair

Weekday service and vehicle assignments have been reduced except in the late evening.

7 Bathurst

Weekday headways are now every 10 minutes all day (less frequent except for late evenings), and some peak period runs have been converted from articulated to standard buses. The artics have been reassigned to 89 Weston. Running times have been increased in some periods.

9 Bellamy

One bus has been removed during each peak period, but pm peak running times have been trimmed so that the effect on headways is not as severe proportionately.

10 Van Horne

This peak-only bus service has been cut to a 30 minute headway using only one bus in each period.

14 Glencairn

Service has been reduced during several periods (see the spreadsheet for details), but most changes are for reliability with the only bus reductions coming in the peak periods.

15 Evans

Weekend service will now operate every 30 minutes at all times. This is a reliability change and there is no reduction in the number of buses.

20 Cliffside

Service has been reduced during several periods. On weekdays, there is a reduction in bus requirements, but this is mainly a reliability change.

23 Dawes

Service has been reduced during several periods to allow for longer travel times as a reliability change. There is no reduction in vehicle requirements.

24 Victoria Park

Weekday early evening service has been reduced with the removal of one bus. There is no change at other times, and the 924 Victoria Park Express is not affected.

25/925 Don Mills

Weekday pm peak service is improved through a combination of trimmed running time and the addition of one bus. Late eveing service is reduced by the removal of one bus.

Weekend service will see a big change with suspension of the 925 Don Mills Express service which accounted for about half of the service during the mornings and afternoons. There are adjustments to local services that primarily trim running times to reduce bus requirements.

26 Dupont

Service on Dupont will be reduced during peak and other periods by the removal of buses partly offset by trimmed running times. During some periods, the shorter running times produce more frequent service.

28 Bayview South

Weekday service through the peaks and midday has been cut to half-hourly with the removal of one bus.

29/929 Dufferin

Weekend service on 929 Dufferin Express has been suspended. This is largely, but not completely offset by improved headways on the 29 Dufferin local service.

32 Eglinton West

Service on weekday peak and midday periods will be reduced by the removal of buses from all three branches of the route.

34 Eglinton East

Weekday service will be reduced in most periods by removal of buses. This primarily affects the 34A Kennedy Station service, and there is only a small cut to 34C Flemingdon Park service in the am peak.

937 Islington Express

This peak-only service will operate slightly less frequently but with the same number of buses to provide more running time.

38/938 Highland Creek

Peak and midday service on the 38 local route will be cut by the removal of buses, and this will be compounded by the suspension of the 938 Express service.

39/939 Finch East

The 939 Express has been suspended on weekends. The 939 accounts for up to half of the service on Finch East during the periods it operates, and there has been no offsetting improvement to the 39 local service.

41/941 Keele

Weekday service on the 41 Keele local route has been reduced by a reduction in buses during all periods, and the 941 express service has been suspended in the midday. This is offset, partly, by a change in vehicle type on the local service from regular to articulated buses, and assignment of standard buses to the express service when it operates.

43/943 Kennedy

The express service on Kennedy that was introduced in October 2021 has been suspended, and the local service has reverted to the September 2021 schedules.

45 Kipling

An operational change for the 45B Disco Road service allows passengers to be dropped off before buses take their north-end layover for trips before 3 pm.

48 Rathburn

One bus has been removed in the am peak with a resulting wider headway.

49 Bloor West

Weekday midday and early evening service has been reduced to half-hourly with the removal of one bus during each period.

50 Burnhamthorpe

Service had been reduced during many periods primarily by the removal of buses.

51 Leslie

Weekday service is reduced during most periods through a combination of fewer buses and increased running time. Saturday daytime service is very slightly improved by a reduction in running time.

53/953 Steeles East

Service on the 953 Steeles East Express has been suspended except during peak periods. Service on the 53 Steeles local bus has not been improved to compensate, and changes to the 53 are primarily to give buses more running time.

55 Warren Park

The afternoon peak service has been widened to 30 minutes with the removal of one bus. This was the only period when the route had better than half-hourly service.

57 Midland

An originally announced change in the north end loop of this route has been postponed according to the Service Change page.

On weekdays, service has been reduced in all periods by the removal of buses. On weekends, service has been reduced to allow longer running times, but using the same number of buses.

60 Steeles West

A new 60C local service has been added during weekday peaks and midday between Pioneer Village Station and Kipling operating every 15 minutes. This supplements the 960 express buses which operate as locals over the same segment at headways varying from 6 to 9 minutes.

61 Avenue Road North

One bus has been remove from weekday peak and midday services with a resulting widening of headways.

63 Ossington

Headways have been widened in some weekday periods through a combination of bus removals and travel time changes.

64 Main

Schedules on 64 Main have been adjusted to increase running times that were too tight. This required addition of one bus to the am peak and early evening service.

On weekends, headways are wider in all periods so that the buses assigned to the route can make their scheduled times.

68/968 Warden

The peak period express service has been suspended, and local service has been improved although the total number of buses serving the route has declined.

During other periods including weekends, there are wider headways partly to reduce bus requirements but mostly to provide added running time.

73 Royal York

Buses have been removed during most periods of service bringing wider headways.

74 Mt. Pleasant

Buses have been removed during many periods of service bringing wider headways.

75 Sherbourne

Due to construction on Shebourne requiring a diversion via Jarvis, buses have been added to the route during all periods. There is no change in service level. The weekend evening interline with 82 Rosedale has been dropped.

76 Royal York South

Weekday midday and early evening service has been reduced to provide more running time for buses. Weekend daytime service has been cut both to save one bus and lengthen running times during affected periods.

78 St. Andrews

Peak period service has been cut to half-hourly with the removal of one bus.

82 Rosedale

The weekend evening interline with 75 Sherbourne has been dropped due to construction (see above). This actually improves headways from 30 to 20 minutes because the route is now served by its own bus rather than by one shared with route 75.

85/985 Sheppard East

Weekend 985 Express service is suspended, but most local 85 trips will operate with articulated buses. This represents a net increase in service provided that that the artics are actually deployed on Sheppard. Uneven vehicle capacities could add to crowding and bunching problems.

86 Scarborough Zoo Shuttle

The shuttle for Terra Lumina will operate on Friday and Saturday evenings.

88 South Leaside

Peak period services are reduced by the removal of buses.

89 Weston

Headways are widened during all weekday periods by the removal of buses. This is partly offset by the reassignment of articulated buses from 7 Bathurst to replace standard sized buses on some trips.

94 Wellesley

Service is reduced during many periods by the removal of buses.

97 Yonge

Service is reduced to half-hourly at all times, and the route is consolidated to operate as a single service between Steeles and Davisville Station with a peak period extension to Queens Quay. All service now operates via the Yonge Boulevard and Wilson routing, and there is no service on Yonge between the two.

100 Flemingdon Park

Weekday service is reduced except in late evenings by the removal of buses. Some scheduled bunching occurs for reasons that are unclear.

102 Markham Road

Weekday service is reduced during all operating periods by the removal of buses, although the effect varies between the branches of the service.

106 Sentinel

Service is reduced during many periods by the removal of buses.

111 East Mall

AM peak and weekday early evening services are improved by a reduction in running time with the same number of buses. PM peak service is reduced by the removal of buses.

118 Thistle Down

Headways are standardized at 30 minutes all day (up from 20-25 minutes), but running times are also trimmed. This allows the route to be operated with only 2 buses during all periods (down from 3-4).

120 Calvington

Peak period and Saturday afternoon services are reduced to half-hourly by the removal of one bus.

127 Davenport

Headways are standardized at 22’30” during most periods mainly by reductions in travel time. One bus is removed during the peak periods.

129 McCowan North

Headways are widened in all weekday periods by the removal of buses.

134 Progress

Headways are widened in weekday peak and midday periods by the removal of buses.

161 Rogers Road

Headways are widened during most periods through a combination of bus reductions and lengthened running times. There is a service improvement on Sunday afternoons.

168 Symington

There are headway, running time and vehicle allocation changes during most periods. Service is less frequent as a result with a few exceptions.

189 Stockyards

One bus is cut in the pm peak and through the weekday evenings. This is partly offset by reduced running times so that the peak headway does not change. Evening service is less frequent at half-hourly.

600 Run as Directed

All “RAD” crews have been cancelled so that operators are available to fill regular crews.

13 thoughts on “TTC November 2021 Service Changes Update

  1. Would have been better if they’d kept operating 60+ CLRVs until the flexities were in good order. C’est la vie! Cheer, Andy

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  2. Great sheet Steve, but you missed one route on the list: 21 BRIMLEY. The schedules may be the same as last board, but the route has recently switched from Malvern division to McNicoll division that opened a few months back unless they fixed up new schedules. I think this is the only route transferred this board, unless there are others.

    Steve: I am reporting changes in service levels, not where routes operate from. I just double checked and there is no change in the service level on 21 Brimley.

    According to an operator of McNicoll, they provide the shuttles for the 506 CARLTON. Any garages are still doing the streetcar shuttles for this board to January?

    Steve: 501 Queen shuttles come from Birchmount (16), Eglinton (24) and Queensway (9). 504 King shuttles (both ends) come from Wilson (30). The 506 Carlton shuttles come from McNicoll (13). (AM peak counts)

    Last year, the pandemic cancelled free TTC service for New Years, but with vaccination rates increased, will they reinstate that program which the TTC is free this year? In addition to vaccination rates, the Ontario Supreme Court had rejected ATU 113’s request to demand the TTC to dismiss unvaccinated workers.

    Steve: There is a small provision for added New Year’s Eve service, and the City has announced that there will be an event at Nathan Phillips Square, but there is no word yet on free service.

    And lastly, as mentioned earlier, the proposed Stanley Green and Brimorton buses were supposed to be implemented this board, but due to cuts, they can’t set a date in early 2022 where to implement them along with the new midday service on 12D KINGSTON ROAD and 119 TORBARRIE. I guess it’s on the backburner for now.

    Steve: Yes. I am waiting to see what the final version of the 2022 Service Plan looks like when it goes to the TTC Board.

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  3. Would reduction be reversed in the January 2022 board period changes?

    Steve: This depends on staffing levels according to the TTC.

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  4. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your analysis. With One Person Train Operation being introduced on Line 1 in November 2021 requiring only one employee onboard a train, what will happen the the surplus of line 1 employees? I would assume they are/will be trained in another mode (i.e. bus).

    Steve: At this point, OPTO is only between Vaughan and St. George, although it will eventually extend over the whole line. As for surplus employees, yes, they can be redeployed to other work.

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  5. Hi Steve,

    What is the purpose of the new 60C local service? Doesn’t the 960 run the exact same route?

    Also, I thought the 97B (Steeles to Queens Quay) was just back a long time ago due to traffic delays? I’d love to see how late that 97B route will be in the coming winter months.

    Steve: It has the feel of a quick fix to put extra service west of Pioneer Village station and relieve overcrowding on the 960 without completely rewriting its schedule.

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  6. I’ve given up on 110C which is now every 24 min, and often longer than that… one day the bus app was offering me 42 min for the next 110C. Any info on this line? It’s always been iffy, and now it’s avoid at all cost.

    Steve: The 110C is supposed to run every 12 minutes, with the other branches every 24. That south end route structure is a recipe for big gaps if there is a bus missing. There was no change in the schedule for this route, but as I pointed out in a number articles on other routes, the TTC has a big problem maintaining regular service.

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  7. Steve, the summary sheet shows all service on 97 running via Yonge Blvd are they running all buses both ways via Wilson and Yonge Blvd? Are they essentially removing all service from Yonge between Yonge Blvd and Wilson?

    Steve: Yes, that is correct. I will update the article to make this clear.

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  8. TTC has more workforce available, and some divisions have an excessive amount of operators in report.

    With the amount of operators on spareboard, TTC can increase service levels right now for January.

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  9. I wonder if there are fewer streetcar cuts because there is a higher vaccination rates in those divisions due to operators who choose to drive streetcars tend to be more… progressive.

    Steve: The cuts fall mainly on routes that have lower demand, although I am surprised at some of the express cuts with no offsetting improvement to local service.

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  10. If the RADs are gone what will happen to things like frequency and overcrowding?

    Steve: I think that the use of the RADs has been overstated by the TTC. There was a problem across the system with open crews because there was a staff shortage even before recent cuts, and what I had heard was that RADs were being used to plug those holes, not to supplement scheduled service. Tracking the actual use of RADs was next to impossible and the TTC never reported on their use, possibly because that could unmask that they were not working as advertised.

    On one occasion, I obtained a full system sample of bus tracking data in order to filter out the RADs from the scheduled service. A lot of them spend their time sitting around in subway stations waiting for something to do. The TTC is better off using these operators to fill scheduled crews and maintain more reliable service.

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  11. To put it bluntly, I’m surprised and disgusted by how much the TTC cut weekend service on Don Mills and Finch East. I was on a Don Mills Express bus last Saturday and it was fully seated with about ten standees, and buses in both directions were all quite well used. Weekend ridership seems to be rebounding rather quickly because it was less impacted by work-from-home, and this is how the TTC decides to “attract” weekend riders? I am fully supportive of the vaccine mandate, but it is appalling how TTC and the union has been dealing with things.

    Correct me if I am wrong, Steve, but it seems like the TTC could have restored some of the service if they would just trim running times further. I was checking Transsee at Dufferin Station for the 929 last weekend, and almost every bus was more than 10 minutes ahead of schedule. It maddens me that this was happening while the express service was cut entirely for lacking operators.

    Steve: There is a problem across the system with excessive running time whose purpose was, at least in part, to make the short turn stats look good in the CEO’s Report. If they had actually been managing headways to prevent gapping and bunching, they would not need as many buses on some routes to make up for the irregular service. Whether this would completely offset the service cuts, I don’t know.

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  12. In the article, you mentioned “detailed schedules available on NextBus”. Are these schedules available to the general public? Are they more accurate than the TTC schedules posted online?

    The reason I am asking is that the TTC schedules posted online have errors. Specifically, the TTC schedule for route 124 shows a scheduled frequency of 15-16 minutes on weekends and 9am-1pm weekdays when the observed frequency is 20-30 minutes. From November 21, the TTC schedule for route 97 shows no service at the Lawrence and Eglinton street level stops on weekends, when there is such service.

    I suspect complaining to the TTC may be unproductive while their internal email system is down.

    Steve: The schedules NextBus uses are available as part of their public interface. There are various queries. but they all return data in XML format. This is completely different from the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) which you can read about in various places. It is a standard by which transit systems could publish schedule data. NextBus has never changed to use GTFS and so the information exists in two formats. You can get the TTC’s GTFS schedule data on the City’s Open Data website.

    As an example a query to retrieve the schedule for 97 Yonge is here shown both as text and as a hotlink:

    https://retro.umoiq.com/service/publicXMLFeed?command=schedule&a=ttc&r=97

    I wrote a small program to reformat the data for my own use, and here is what the XML file’s content looks like formatted as a timetable. Note that there are six sections, one for each direction, and one for each type of day: weekday, Saturday and Sunday. In periods which contain holidays or other special days, they would have their own schedules.

    You will see that the southbound stop at Lawrence is not listed. This is an error by the TTC in the list of stops they have exported. Their online timetables are built from the same source data, and so they are missing the stop too.

    I should mention that the NextBus version of the data is much more consolidated than the GTFS feed which takes some work to assemble from its parts if you do not have a program to do so.

    As for 124 Sunnybrook, yes the schedule shows a 15 minute service. That’s the service it had before November 21, and the TTC’s service memo did not show any change on this route. The problem likely is that one of two buses is missing, a common problem across the system as I documented recently. You can look at a route in real time with a link like this:

    https://retro.umoiq.com/googleMap/?a=ttc&r=124

    Change the route number to get the route of interest.

    You can also get tracking info (real time and archival) on Darwin O’Connor’s site Transsee although (a) some of his functionality is down right now because it depends on the GTFS feed, and (b) some of the more advanced features are available only in the “premium” version as a subscriber.

    The TTC’s email system is back up, although at this point they will not accept incoming mail with attachments as a security measure.

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  13. “short turn stats look good in the CEO’s Report.”

    This Rick Leary clown needs to go, bring us back to the Byford days…
    Leary is an anti-streetcar POS too.

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