TTC Service Changes Effective March 27, 2022

Service on several bus routes will change on March 27, but overall the amount of service operated is almost unchanged from the February 13, 2022 schedules.

There is no change in subway service, and the only planned changes for streetcars are those beginning in early April for reconstruction at Dundas West Station.

The table below shows the budgeted overall service expressed as weekly operator hours compared with the scheduled and actual values. It is clear that the budget planned to ramp up service substantially by late March, but with the less-than-expected ridership recovery thanks to Covid, this has been deferred.

Planned regular service for the new schedules is 6.8 per cent below the budgeted level. Construction-related service is also below budget, but this has somewhat less effect on the operating deficit because much construction service is funded through the associated capital projects.

The next round of schedules will take effect in mid-May, and by that time the usual seasonal cutbacks start to kick in. We will not really see the degree to which the TTC ramps up to budgeted service levels until September. As a point of comparison, the budgeted regular service in January 2020 pre-pandemic was just under 186,000 hours/week.

Many routes will see a mix of service cuts and improvements through reallocation of hours and vehicles between periods of operation. Some “reliability” improvements involve longer travel times and layovers than in current schedules often with wider scheduled headways (the time between buses). Some of these routes will become candidates for a comparative analysis on this site of before and after service reliability later in the spring.

An important change for the March 27 schedule period is that the number of “biddable crews” (work that is scheduled but for which no operator is pre-assigned) has been reduced from about 160 to 55. This reflects an improved balance between operator staffing levels and the scheduled service. These crews are filled on an overtime basis, or possibly by spare operators or re-assigned “run as directed” (RAD) buses. When these crews are cancelled, this translates into service gaps unless the remaining buses on affected routes are adjusted to run on a wider, but even headway. This has been a pervasive problem on some routes as shown in recent articles here about service reliability.

The number of RAD crews will increase notably on weekdays from 53 to 75 8-hour crews. These buses are used to supplement service, and they also serve as shuttles for service interruptions and subway shutdowns.

Summary of Changes

RouteDetails
19 BayAM and PM peak service reduced.
24 Victoria ParkAM peak and early evening service reduced, PM peak service improved.
37/937 IslingtonAdditional running time during almost all periods to provide better reliability. In most cases headways are widened, but in some periods vehicles are added.
40 JunctionRerouted to Lansdowne Station as part of the Dundas West reconstruction project.
41 KeeleSunday service reduced during daytime periods, but improved during the evening.
42 CummerConstruction between Bayview and Leslie shifts eastbound traffic to the north side of the road. Westbound service continues to divert via Finch.
44 Kipling SAM and PM peak service reduced, evening service improved including an added bus.
46 Martin GroveWeekday midday and early evening service reduced, late evening service improved.
52 LawrenceWeekend service adjusted for reliability with longer running times and some added vehicles. Service reduced on the 52G Westway branch during many periods.
63 OssingtonAM peak service improved, PM peak service reduced.
64 MainRunning times changed for reliability during all periods. Headways will be wider in almost all periods except AM peak, Saturday late morning and Sunday afternoon.
74 Mt. PleasantService improved during AM and PM peaks, and weekday early evenings.
86 ScarboroughRunning time extended and headway widened on 986 express service in the PM peak. Saturday morning and afternoon local 86 service reduced, and early evening service improved.
87 CosburnAM and PM peak service improved.
89 WestonAM peak and Saturday afternoon service improved.
97 YongeRoute restructured to split existing service between the routes via Yonge and via Yonge Boulevard between Glen Echo and York Mills.
102 Markham RdWeekday midday and evening service reduced, PM peak service improved. Saturday morning and late evening service reduced, afternoon and early evening service improved.
109 RaneeSchedules during all periods changed to rebalance driving time and terminal layovers. Headways are unchanged except during the PM peak when they are widened.
124 SunnybrookSchedules changed with longer running times and, in some cases, an additional bus to correct a problem with too-tight travel times.
168 SymingtonRerouted to Lansdowne Station as part of the Dundas West reconstruction project.
329 Dufferin NightThe first two southbound trips from Steeles will divert to Sheppard West station to pick up passengers from late evening subway trains running back to Wilson Yard.

Fleet Utilization

The bus fleet continues to be underutilized. According to the February 2022 CEO’s report, there are 2,114 buses in the fleet.

The number of buses scheduled is considerably smaller. In the PM peak, 1,483 buses are scheduled including RADs and extras for construction out of a garage capacity of 1,674 buses. This leaves a total of (2114-1483) or 631 buses or 42.5 per cent of the fleet as spares. This is double the typical industry average of 20 per cent, and shows that the TTC has a lot of headroom to operate more service without buying more buses.

The numbers above include buses used on streetcar route, primarily those operating on portions of 501 Queen and 504 King due to track construction. There will always be some amount of construction replacement service, but this number is unusually large, and represents yet more buses that will become available for service when full streetcar service resumes later in 2022. (Note that the 8 buses used on 505 Dundas and 506 Carlton in the AM peak are scheduled trippers that are hooked up with routes that operate to Broadview and Main Stations.)

The streetcar fleet should be back at almost full strength later in 2022 when reconstruction of cars with defective frames by Alstom (formerly Bombardier) is completed. The current peak streetcar requirement is 139 cars out of a fleet of 204. This leaves a margin of about 30 cars within a target spare level of 20 per cent (170 peak plus 34 spares). Many of these would be used for service restoration on Queen and King.

The service changes are detailed in the spreadsheet linked below.

16 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes Effective March 27, 2022

  1. Well.. It is ridiculous that the TTC is still thinking that 4-5 min headway on BD line during the rush hour is adequate. I do commute from Islington to St. Andrew via St. George, and it is now getting to a level which not only the social distancing is impossible but also it becomes jam packed after Dundas West and Lansdowne. I am upset that the TTC is ignoring crowding problems.

    Ridership is growing day by day with more students returning to the campus and more people returning back to the office at least in a hybrid basis. (My office converted to commute to the office for 2 days a week at least.)

    Even YUS line which didn’t get any service cuts is getting crowded day by day.

    Do you think what is the reason behind this?

    Steve: The TTC and City still don’t know how much funding they will get from the Feds and Province for subsidy in the coming year. If the funding does not come through, I don’t want to think what “plan B” will look like. I suspect that they are under orders to spend as little as possible, probably until the fall.

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  2. With nearly all restrictions except masks lifted and little service increases, expect many major bus routes to be overcrowded. Be prepared for that.

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  3. Wonder how much more the diesel fuel costs have gone up because they are not using streetcars?

    Steve: The delta in bus fleet usage is small, and so the amount of additional diesel fuel won’t show up as a big hit on the budget. Also the TTC and City by futures contracts for fuel, and so they are, for a time protected from market gyrations.

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  4. Though it may not be a prime route, I note the reason given for the 502 not running is ‘streetcar shortage’ – clearly not true now most of the fleet is back from the welding repairs.

    Steve: They just haven’t updated the document. I would not be surprised if the 502 disappears permanently especially with the pending diversions for Ontario Line construction.

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  5. I’m a bit confused by the splitting of the 97 without adding extra buses. Sure, the two stops on Yonge now have daytime service, but what good is 60 minute headway doing?

    I guess TTC hopes to kill all ridership on Yonge Blvd as well.

    Steve: They plan to restore full service later this year, but, yes, as an interim it’s not a great arrangement.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Why don’t the Finch express and Scarborough express run on weekends?

    Steve: The TTC has not restored all of the suspended express services, including Finch on weekends. Scarborough never had weekend express service.

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  7. Any idea if/when the Warden express route will be back in service?

    Steve: Nope. With the slower than expected return of ridership this year, the TTC has been slower to restore all services than they originally planned.

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  8. Name one bus route east of Markham road that has decent service.
    I’ll wait.
    The 54 Lawrence east of Orion Park has got to be the worst underserved route in all of Scarboro.

    Steve: Don’t complain to me, complain to the TTC and especially to your Scarborough Councillors.

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  9. I’m glad they are addressing weekend service on Lawrence West. It can get pretty bad on weekends in terms of service gaps and late buses. This is one of the few routes where I see unscheduled short turns occurring on a regular basis. When short turning at Lawrence West Station they are under the guise of the 52G signage. I always found it funny that the 52G had better service in weekends than during the week. Buses often run with no more than 3-4 passengers along The Westway on Sunday afternoons, assuming the bus is on schedule.

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  10. Hi Steve, hope all is well.

    Have you heard anything from the TTC concerning 365 service on weekends? I was in the area Saturday night and no bus showed at all; the last 65 went back to the garage after reaching Castle Frank.

    Steve: I asked and they said that this happened, in effect, by mistake but that as the abandonment of the service was already approved, they would not restore it. They were silent on why the rest of the service is still operating. I will ask again, but they have grown rather silent lately.

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  11. I will ask again, but they have grown rather silent lately. (quoted from your reply above)

    No kidding – I contacted customer service to ask why no increase in either of the two major subway lines, was given the old 30% usage – I asked if Stuart Green the lead touter of the 30% number had ever been around St. George or Bloor/Yonge during the “rush hour” periods – they were way above 30%, and we needed extra peak period service even 5 trains per line would help – and asked if the 30% figure was drawn (by average) at 65%+ peak, 40% mid day, and 15% evening/late service to make the numbers look good – no answer.

    I also asked when they would drop the “please try to stay 2 meters away from other customers and TTC employees” announcements as they were ridiculous at this stage without any help from them to make it possible…. again no answer.

    I think you were right all budget numbers, customers be damned.

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  12. Since you wrote this article, the TTC has added route 124 Sunnybrook to the list of service improvements. In a September 2021 service change, the TTC posted an unrealistic schedule that indicated a 15- or 16-minute frequency in the off-hours when there is only one bus on the route. Previously, the 124 bus ran on a 20-minute frequency during the off-hours, a frequency it usually adhered to. After the September 2021 change, the buses ran irregularly with the driver taking about 22 to 24 minutes to do a round trip. I complained several times to the TTC about the fictitious 124 schedule; hopefully, a correct schedule will be published this Sunday.

    Steve: Actually, it was my error in omitting the 124 Sunnybrook changes from the table in the body of the article. They are already shown in the spreadsheet with all of the details.

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  13. Hi Steve,
    Sorry if this is slightly off topic. Why do the eastbound 52 Lawrence buses not enter Lawrence West station (secondarily, why do so few go east of that station)? I think this is the only ‘major’ east-west route in the city that does not have consistent, fairly frequent service to Yonge (presumably Finch West might have similar issues).

    Steve: The service on Lawrence is partly a leftover from the era when the airport service was a separate route, 58 Malton, that terminated at Lawrence West. The consolidated 52 route now ends only the 52G Westway branch at Lawrence West, and the proportion this represented of the total service varies from one quarter (weekday daytime) down to one half (Sunday morning and afternoon) on the schedule up to March 26. The blending of various branches, as on many TTC routes, does not work very well and there are scheduled gaps in service to Yonge where the 52G buses are missing.

    With the new schedule on March 27, the number of 52G Westway buses on weekends has been reduced and more of the service now runs through to Yonge. However, there is still the problem that there is a double headway where a 52G drops out of the stream at Lawrence West Station.

    If the schedules were redrawn to treat the 52G as a separate route, service to Yonge would not have scheduled gaps, but service west of Lawrence West would be uneven wherever a 52G popped in between buses on the other branches. The TTC appears to have decided that the gappy service to Yonge is the lesser evil.

    As for Lawrence West Station, looping arrangements there have changed over the years due to construction projects and platform capacity issues.

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  14. I was rather surprised to see how much the TTC improved 124 Sunnybrook service. Before March 27, there was only one bus on the route Saturdays, Sundays and weekdays 9AM-1PM and 7PM-1AM; now there are two buses Saturdays and Sundays until 7PM, and weekday evenings until 10PM. During rush hours there are up to five buses on the route instead of three.

    The scheduled round-trip time was increased from 20 to 30 minutes, which means less frequent service in the off-hours when only one bus is running on the route. (The RTT was 20 minutes prior to September 2021.) However, the 162 Lawrence-Donway bus leaves Lawrence Station on the hour and half hour while the 124 leaves a quarter hour later. Thus, there is a 15-minute frequency between Yonge Street and Bayview Avenue, a small improvement in the off-hours.

    Steve: I had originally planned to write about the poor service on 124 Sunnybrook which often ran with erratic service, but as the TTC has revised the schedule, I am holding off for a few months to see how the new one works out.

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  15. Did the 25 route split mysteriously fall off the list of Line 5 construction-induced changes? If so, how come? 🙂

    Steve: The split is only in effect weekdays during the daytime.

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  16. Temporary bus replacement on the “501 Queen” route will continue, although there are now some streetcars running on that route. The reason for the route to operate mainly with buses is ongoing construction projects, particularly in the west end which include the King-Queen-Roncesvalles intersection and also Lakeshore Boulevard in Etobicoke between the Humber Loop and the Long Branch Loop (this stretch of the “501 Queen” route was last done in 2002).

    When is the next shipment of new streetcars expected to arrive, and which routes will we see them on?

    Steve: The new cars should begin to arrive in 2023 and will run on all routes. The delivery is supposed to be complete by the end of 2024.

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