In response to budgetary limitations, the TTC will be modifying service on several routes in two waves of changes. The first will occur on Sunday, March 26 and the second on Sunday, May 6. Details of the second wave are not yet available.
The first wave is detailed in a report to the TTC Board for its meeting of February 28, 2023.
This report shows the changes in headways and service levels on affected routes. It is not as detailed as the Service Memo that will come out just before these schedules are implemented, nor as the Scheduled Service Summary. When the fine details including changes in travel time and vehicle allocations are available, I will publish the usual breakdown.
Updated February 23, 2023 at 9:00am: A table consolidating old and new headways where changes occur has been added. The times in this table is shown in “mm:ss” format rather than in decimal minutes as in the original tables. The new version is at the end of the article.
Updated February 23, 2023 at 10:00pm: The tables in this article have been consolidated for simplicity. All times are now shown in mm’ss” format. The new version is at the end of the article replacing the version that was added earlier.
My apologies for the constant reformatting. With the widespread desire to see what the changes would be, I pushed the original tables out faster than I might otherwise, and my readers got to watch as I tweaked the format. The intent is to have a standard chart that will be used for all future comparisons of service.
Changes of Special Note
Within the list of changes, there are a few worth highlighting:
- Service on 2 Bloor-Danforth will improve slightly in the AM peak, but will drop in other periods notably late evenings when trains will operate every 8 rather than every 5 minutes on weekdays.
- Service on 4 Sheppard will be cut from 4 trains at all times to 3 with a corresponding widening of headways from 5’30” to 7’20”.
Service will be suspended on the following routes and periods:
- 935 Jane Express weekday evenings
- 941 Keele Express weekday midday
- 943 Kennedy Express peak periods
- 984 Sheppard West Express weekends
In most cases, the local service will not be improved to compensate, and indeed there are local service cuts as well.
501 Queen Streetcar
Weekday service on 501 Queen will be reduced considerably except late evenings.
60/960 Steeles West
The 60C peak period service west of Pioneer Village Station to Kipling will be suspended.
The 128 Stanley Greene bus was approved by the Board in the 2021 Service Plan, but was not yet implemented. It will begin operation during peak periods on a half-hourly headway.
The 335 Jane Night Bus will operate every 20 minutes rather than half hourly Monday-Friday (which effectively means Tuesday to Saturday).
The 336 Finch West Night Bus will operate every 10 minutes rather than half hourly after 5am Monday-Friday.
These changes are presented in the context of improvements to Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. The same cannot be said for the many service cuts affecting NIAs.
Here are the planned changes shown as percentage change in capacity, and change in headway (the time between vehicles). These charts can be opened as a gallery by clicking on any page, or for a full set in pdf format, click here.
The source data from the TTC report is in a different format, and there are some caveats about it. I have reproduced the pages in question here for easy reference.
My presentation differs from the TTC’s in the following ways:
- Headways in my version are shown in decimal values so that 30 seconds is 0.5 rather than 30″. This simplifies calculations of changes.
- Where there is no change in the headway, my chart shows no values. This filters out cases where the TTC makes a schedule change (typically by trading off driving time for terminal layover time) that does not affect the service level.
- The TTC shows the percentage change in frequency. This is not the same as the change in capacity. For example subway line 4 Sheppard will now operate every 7’20” rather than every 5’30”. This is shown as a 33% change in the TTC table (waits increase by 1/3) but as 75% in my version indicating a 1/4 reduction in capacity. (In future versions of my table I will include both values.)
- The TTC table shows an “Early Morning” period for some routes. However, the Scheduled Service Summaries do not include this period, and I usually omit the comparison from my tables. This typically refers to service before 7am on weekdays.
- There are a few cases where the “before” headway shown by the TTC does not match the value in the February Scheduled Service Summary nor the online schedules. My table includes the published versions.
- There is a column and count on the TTC chart listing 116 cases of “same or shorter wait” for riders. It is self-evident that if the wait does not change, riders will not see a difference unless the change also involves service reliability they can actually “feel”.
- Many of the service “improvements” listed by the TTC are the result of schedule adjustments addressing operational issues such as adjusting travel times, not as contributions to better route capacity.
When the second wave of changes is published, I will format those changes in the same manner, and will also include a comparison with January 2023 so that the cumulative effect of February through May changes is visible on one chart.
Updated February 23, 2023 at 10:00 pm
The table below includes the new and old headways for affected routes, the percentage change in frequency (and hence capacity), and the change in wait times. Service improvements produce positive frequency changes (more capacity) and negative wait time changes (shorter). Service cuts produce negative frequency changes (less capacity) and positive wait time changes (longer).
The “new” cells are colour coded:
- Green indicates an improvement in service.
- Pink indicates a reduction in service.
- Blue indicates a new service.
- Red indicates a suspended service.
For a pdf version of this table, click here.
In the Appendix A tables for route 101 it says “Route modification” and for 110 “Route extension”. What are the changes that are being referenced?
Steve: There are no details in the report about this.
While the TTC can’t touch a single hair of Line 1, they always try to shave Line 2 to bald..
I am also wondering what is a true logic of increasing a service a bit during the am rush while reducing in during the pm rush?
And that 8 min headway in late evening seems to be ridiculous. There are a lot of people heading home from the downtown after events in the Scotiabank Arena (Raptors, Leafs game or small concerts), and the Blue Jays are starting their season in April and yet the TTC decided to cut service on line 2 just in time for the baseball season.
As a Jays fan living in Etobicoke who go to the game frequently, this change is definitely heartbreaking.. and it is even more heartbreaking that the TTC is not underestimating but completely dismissing such crowds from those events.
Steve: Loadings these days are stronger in the AM peak than the PM, and this is reflected in service levels on some routes with the best service in the AM peak. As for the late evening, I am waiting to see the detailed schedules to know just when “late evening” starts on Line 2. Definitely it is quite busy after 10pm. Interesting that the change does not affect service Saturday or Sunday late evening.
TTC was already the worst transit system in the world. Now it’s really laughable/pathetic. They cry poor, but it’s not true. They’ve been mismanaging funds for years. They need to be audited. They could charge $1 per person & make enough to survive nicely. As it is, no one respects them. Now, it will get much worse. 8 min wait times for subways, means more opportunity for the public to be assaulted or worse. 😡
This idea to change any of the ttc routes is a really bad idea. Toronto budget needs to be increased by 30% and restore child fares.
As Windows users who cannot so much as typeset an apostrophe, neither you nor the TTC is remotely capable of communicating typographically.
Steve: The typography troll is heard from after a long absence. It’s easy to carp, but specifics would be nice.
So this is just the first rounds of cuts. The next board period after will be another round of cuts, and then the usual summer cuts, which is normal for the summer season.
Is it true that every single route will be affected, or is it based in the new formula the new loading standard. The reason I ask this is because some routes already run at a frequency of every 30min. Unless the policy has changed, where the max frequency is 30 min between buses, they can’t make any adjustments to those routes. I remember during the Miller years the policy was to adapt a frequent no more than 30min, has that changed as well? And is that under any threat with the new budget?
As for route 110 being extended, I know there’s planned construction, so route 110 will.be extended to Kipling and Lake Shore.
Steve: The cuts are supposed to be in line with the new loading standards, although these have only changed for the off-peak. The peak cuts are due to a return to the full pre-covid standard, althogh given the routes involved like Dufferin, this is hard to believe.
A fundamental thing about cuts is that the bean counters rail on about “empty buses” but these tend to be on minor routes where it is hard to fill up a bus and headways are already wide. For significant savings they have to go afer the major routes.
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Thanks Steve, I really appreciate you making the details of the changes easy to find. Although I agree with another commenter about the changes to the Bloor/Danforth subway, it does seem like an additional maximum of 3 extra minutes of wait is manageable.
Steve: That extra three minutes means a lot when the line is busy and it will be interesting to see what time the service actually drops back to that level. Also, the TTC still has problems with uneven service, even on the subway where there is no “traffic congestion” to get in the way. Some of those “8 minute” headways will easily stretch to 10 and beyond.
And just to throw a wrench into things, and I was hesitating from commenting since there’s nothing positive I can add…
That’s the good news, here’s the bad:
The TTC upcoming report is linked here.
Steve: That’s the next one for me to write up. It’s a busy agenda and I focused on the service changes first because that is the most pressing issue.
Perhaps this particular thread about service levels is not quite the right place for what I am to comment. All over the news today is the TTC report about violent incidents on the system, up 45% in 2022 over 2021, and so far 2023 is up another 45%.
As a frequent TTC customer, I have not directly encountered a violent incident, but most definitely I have seen or been in “most unpleasant” situations.
I have noticed the increase in indigents both on subway and streetcars, sleeping sprawled out over a number of seats, or vomiting, or panhandling, sometimes without proper winter clothing.
I remember somewhere, do not know if it is true, that the TTC allows them to sleep in the trains even after the trains are taken out of service at night.
The vandalism is rampant – smashed glass and panels, ripped or stained seats, etc.
Just the other day, in mid-day, I overheard one official-looking person ask another official-looking person at Wellesley subway station if there were any warming centres nearby.
And, it has been said both here and elsewhere that the TTC is expected to accommodate these people due to the lack of facilities to house them properly.
Co-incidentally, not just service cuts to the TTC, it has also been said also that the City is not providing enough resources for housing, as the City budget was being debated and rammed through by a disgraced mayor.
Housing and public transit go hand-in-hand.
So, is it a co-incidence that violent acts on the TTC are on the rise commensurate with cuts to public services? Hmmm?
Steve: The percentage rise in incidents is not the same thing as the rate of incidents or the probability that riders will encounter one. Moreover this is not just a transit system issue, but one seen across the city and well beyond. Only a few days ago there was a report on CBC about children who are afraid to go to school because of violence there. The media seize on whatever today’s story is and rarely look at the wider context. Transit is taking a beating because that’s where the events are.
I don’t think that there is a straight cause-and-effect link between various social and economic changes, and the behaviour we see in many walks of life. Violence has become a socially acceptable behaviour, especially for those on the political right. Swarms of teenage girls have nothing to do with homelessness. Definitely those whose lives are frustrated one way or another will react in whatever way they can, but there is a mixture here that is not easily untangled.
Unrepaired glass panels? That’s a maintenance cutback, but it speaks directly to the “broken window” theory that windows are more likely to be broken if they are left unrepaired. I know of several that have simply been plywood ppanels for months. They used to be replaced quickly, and seeing them over and over in my travels is a sign of neglect. What else goes unrepaired that we cannot see?
There is an extensive report on many aspects of this on the TTC Board’s agenda for next week. See Community Safety Issues and Response.
I don’t pretend to know “the answer”, but it will take many changes to address all of the problems.
When it comes to the TTC board meeting document about the Transit network expansion update saying “Metrolinx has identified that the potential delay to complete the streetcar detour work will result in
approximately 20 months of shuttle bus service commencing in early May 2023.”, is it replacing the 501 Queen streetcar route with buses in just the downtown section or over the entire 501 Queen route?
Steve: I am waiting to find out more details about this.
I wrote earlier in this comment string [about the 501 Queen shuttle bus].
[Quotation from previous comment clipped]
The point addressed was the massive inconvenience and yet again a failure (on Metrolinx in this instance) to meet an agenda promised, but is there a hidden benefit in this for the TTC to cut costs running a bus instead of streetcar?
It’s an intriguing point that might be somewhat moot even if a bus is cheaper to service than a streetcar mechanically if drivers/operators are paid the same scale. If the TTC still has a bus surplus, it might be a way to stretch the investment in the streetcars by putting the mileage on the buses.
Steve: I suspect this is simply more of the massive incompetence of various agencies for failing to get the work done on time, or to have a published “plan B” in advance.
As to passenger safety on the TTC, and this is to neither add or subtract to the present situation in Toronto, City News has this up on YouTube:
Calgary transit riders concerned about safety on LRT
There’s a very real problem, but it appears to be more than just a Toronto one.
Steve: This is an issue on many transit systems, not just Toronto’s, although each city has its own local wrinkles in the problem and their approach.
Hi Steve, I am just curious about where is the new TTC route 128 Stanley Greene route going to be the Start Location and what is the last stop of that route? Also what garage is operating the 128 Stanley Greene route?
Steve: A map of the proposed route is on page 64 of the 2021 Service Plan report.
Considering that the route runs into Wilson Station, it’s a good bet that Wilson will operate it.
I can confirm for Jo’s benefit that 128 Stanley Greene will be a Wilson route. Wilson Station, west on Wilson, north on Keele, east on Downsview Park Boulevard and loop around the neighborhood.
101 to terminate at Downsview Park Station (the loop on the east entrance), west on Carl Hall and John Drury, west on Sheppard, South on Keele, then end in Stanley Greene.
Just like Steve mentioned, 30 minute service on each of the routes, and the 128 will only be out during peak periods, though the schedules have blended the service so a bus is leaving the neighborhood every 15 minutes.
Thanks for all the work you put into putting the data and spin into perspective, Steve!
Steve: You’re welcome!
What solutions does the TTC have on bunching and not adhering to schedules? At the obstacles still there?
What about having REAL transit priority traffic signals? Will the streetcars still have to wait as 3 or 4 single-occupant autos make a left turn ahead of the 100+ onboard the streetcar, on their right-of-ways? Will that same problem happen as well with Line 5 and Line 6?
What about adding traffic signals at ALL the subway station transit vehicle exits (and entrances)? Can’t we give the transit vehicle the power to enter the street, to avoid having to wait 3 or 4 minutes to get permission from a motorist?
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I’ll save my scathing ranting about the 501 (my personal ride to/from most places) until the “By the way we messed up our plans and the next two years will be shuttle busses oops” review…
…but will add a tongue in cheek comment now regardless:
Steve, I think you need to check your math – a 2 minute headway increase resulting in a 25% service decline suggests the 501 currently comes somewhat reliably on a 6 minute headway. If only that were true!!! I’d GLADLY take an actually reliable 8 minute headway over whatever excuse for service they offer now…
Steve: Yes, this is a general problem across the system. The scheduled headway is rarely anywhere near reality, and fewer cars on the line means there will be even bigger gaps as well as no surplus capacity to offset delays. That’s what happens when budgets rule, and an organization pretends that it is already providing good service.
In fact, if the TTC would actually operate properly spaced vehicles, this could offset at least some of the effects of the wider headways. As you say a reliable 8 is better then “sometime today”. But Rick Leary is still hung up on his BS on time metrics at terminals, using a standard that makes some degree of gapping a bunching acceptable. Any gap leaving a terminal grows quickly as the gap car takes heavier loads, has longer stop service times, and is more likely to be held by traffic signals that do not give enough time for stop service.
Let’s throw in the towel.
With the 905 EGLINTON EAST EXPRESS converted to Artic operation and 10 eBuses to enter service from Birchmount, the May board may be in trapeze as the 902 will be extended to Steeles. Steve, listed below how the changes will be impacted:
* Will Birchmount assume operations of 172 CHERRY BEACH and 175 BLUFFER’S PARK? Eglinton/Comstock ran the two routes last year since Birchmount was occupied by the streetcar shuttles.
* What is the status of the 154 CURRAN HALL and 178 BRIMORTON? Have they gone with the Eglinton/Scarborough Golf Club routing? Paul Ainsile, the councilor for the area of the proposed 178, emailed me a while back that the route launch was paused due to COVID impacts.
* Have they finalized the rest of the 2022 ASP: 118 extension, 8 extension? The 150 EASTERN is a little tricky but the Ontario Line construction on Queen would be a challenge.
* With the 2023 ASP completed and is missing from the February board agenda compared to last year, I wonder they will go ahead with the entire changes given the fact Line 5 will open in the summer. There could be concerns regarding routes 151 LESLIE NORTH, 69 WARDEN SOUTH, 135 GERRARD and 117 BIRCHMOUNT SOUTH. The 69 will likely remain on Warden only because the residents there will lose connections to the 12.
Steve: The details for the next set of schedules have not been announced. The 2023 Service Plan (ASP) is not even started, let alone completed. The public consultation round will start soon, but this has not yet been announced. I have no idea what is in it. The lion’s share of route changes will be those triggered by opening lines 5 Eglinton and 6 Finch, and the shutdown of line 3 SRT. Details of the planned route changes have been known for some time. The big thing this year will be a refresh of the five year plan and in some ways that will depend on the next mayor and how aggressively (or not) they support transit recovery.
The February Board meeting focused on the coming service cuts. It would hardly be the time to talk about a 2023 service plan.
The big challenge will be that this year, and likely 2024 will be “austerity” years where any improvements will come from robbing one route to fund another. Various proposed extensions are on hold due to resources. Don’t forget that changes in Scarborough are linked to the SRT shutdown and so you won’t see anything there until November, assuming that remains the target month. 150 Eastern is on hold due to construction in various locations.