TTC Announces Streetcar Diversions and Bus Replacements (Updated)

The TTC has posted several notices on its website detailing recent and planned service changes on several streetcar routes.

Updated November 21, 2021: Modified to pick up new and replacement pages on the TTC’s website.

King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles Project

The TTC’s KQQR page has been updated to reflect the new routings implemented over the November 13-14 weekend.

With the south leg of the intersection now closed and Queen Street open for east-west traffic, the 501/301 Queen bus service now operates straight along Queen Street.

The 504/304 King bus service diverts westbound via Dufferin and Queen as it has done for many months, but now runs through to Dundas West Station. The eastbound service from Dundas West heads east on Queen to Triller and south to King.

This map does not show the diversion implemented for the track work at Queen and Shaw Streets that requires the 501/301 services to divert both ways via Strachan, King and Dufferin. That project also requires a diversion of 63 Ossington via Queen, Dufferin and King.

There is also a TTC page under their Construction Notices (as opposed to Service Advisories) for the KQQR project. This page is extremely out of date.

Queen East Overhead Conversion for Pantographs

The 501 Queen Streetcar currently operates as far east as Russell Carhouse (east of Greenwood) during overhead upgrades on the east end of the route. The 503 Kingston Road car continues to operate over its full route to Bingham Loop. A 501N shuttle provides service between Leslie Street and Neville Loop.

On November 21, this arrangement will change, and the 501 Queen cars will be extended to Woodbine Loop at Kingston Road. The 501N shuttle bus will loop via Eastern and Coxwell Avenues. The 503 service will remain as is.

This change will remain until January 2, 2022 when streetcar service to Neville Loop should be restored.

Other 501 Queen Diversions

Two diversions are in progress for the ongoing track replacement project on the central part of the Queen route:

  • 501 buses divert between Bathurst and Spadina via the Richmond/Adelaide pair.
  • 501 buses divert between Dufferin and Strachan via King during track replacement at Shaw & Queen.

501 streetcar service will be restored to Queen Street between Neville Loop and Wolseley Loop (at Bathurst) on January 2, 2022.

The map for the diversions is in this notice. That page is now partly out of date due to the extension of the 501 streetcars to Woodbine Loop on November 21, 2021.

Photo by Raymond Lee

506/306 Carlton / 505 Dundas Changes for Sewer Work on Coxwell Avenue

From November 21 until mid-February 2022, the Carlton streetcars will turn back at Broadview via Broadview, Dundas and Parliament. This loop is currently used by the 505 Dundas car due to water main work on Broadview north of Gerrard.

The 505 Dundas service will be diverted and extended to Woodbine Loop via Broadview and Queen Street while the Carlton car is looping at Broadview.

Queen/Shaw Intersection Replacement Begins (Update 2)

Work began on November 15, 2021 on the replacement of special work at the intersection of Queen and Shaw. Based on past experience with similar projects, this should last about three weeks.

Updated November 19, 2021 at 2:45 pm: Track replacement has begun with the eastern leg of the intersection, and foundation work is in progress for the other two legs.

Updated November 21, 2021 at 1:40 pm: Links to TTC diversion notices added.

The service diversion now embraces changes for multiple works along Queen Street West:

501 Queen Bus: Initially, the diversion was via Dufferin, King and Strachan both ways. However, extension of the tangent track replacement west of Bathurst now requires buses to divert both ways via Dufferin, King, Bathurst, Richmond/Adelaide, and Spadina. (Updated November 19)

63 Ossington Bus: Diverts both ways via Queen, Dufferin and King. The buses loop through Liberty Village on their normal route via Strachan southbound and Atlantic northbound, but then turn west onto King for the northbound diversion.

Elsewhere on Queen, there are diversions and bus replacements. (Updated November 19)

  • Streetcar service runs between Russell Carhouse (east of Greenwood) and King & Spadina (via Parliament) due to track and overhead work on the central section of Queen, and overhead work in The Beach. It will be extended east to Woodbine Loop on November 21.
  • A bus shuttle runs between Neville Loop and Leslie/Commissioners. This will change on November 21 to operate between Neville Loop and Coxwell.

The 503 Kingston Road car continues to operate between King & Spadina and Bingham Loop at Victoria Park.

Photos on November 19, 2021

King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles Moves to Phase 2

After a long delay thanks to construction issues and utilities that were not located where they were expected to be, the King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles project has moved into its second phase over three months later than planned.

This affects routes 501 Queen and 504 King.

The 501 Queen bus service was formerly diverted via Dufferin and King to Roncesvalles. It now operates both ways via Queen Street following the normal streetcar route in the west end. Separate diversions remain in place elsewhere on the route for track work east of Bathurst, and for overhead work in the east end.

The 504 King shuttle bus had been operating in two sections. One ran on Roncesvalles Avenue between Dundas West Station and Roncesvalles Carhouse. The other ran from the eastern entrance of the Exhibition via Strachan to King, and then over a large counterclockwise loop formed by Dufferin, Queen, Triller and King.

The 504 bus now operates between Dundas West Station and the Exhibition as one route with the two former segments now connected at Queen and Roncesvalles. Westbound buses continue to operate via Dufferin and Queen, while eastbound buses run via Queen, Triller and King as shown below.

Note that this arrangement means that there are no westbound buses on King west of Dufferin, just as there have been no eastbound buses on Queen since this project began. Queen Street now has two-way service.

At the time I write this (7:00 pm, November 14), the TTC has not updated its website to reflect the new routings.

Service Reliability on 94 Wellesley: September 2021

This article continues a series reviewing service quality on some of the TTC’s shorter routes.

Apologies to my regular readers who must be saying “Oh No! Not More Charts!” My intent here has been to show that poor service quality affects many routes and time periods, and occurs even on relatively simple shorter routes in the network.

When the TTC’s IT systems all come back online, I plan to continue with another (smaller) group of short routes: 12 Kingston Road, 62 Mortimer, 64 Main, 87 Cosburn, 92 Woodbine South, 121 Esplanade/River and 124 Sunnybrook. Later in the year I will return to major routes including some I have not reviewed recently or at all including: 7 Bathurst, 41/941 Keele, 43/943 Kennedy, 68/968 Warden, 89/989 Weston and 95/995 York Mills.

Overview

Route 94 Wellesley operates with both a short and long version:

  • The 94A operates over the full route between Castle Frank and Ossington Stations.
  • The 94B operates on the eastern half of the route between Castle Frank and Wellesley Stations except during evening periods on all days.

September 5 brought new schedules and improved service during many time periods.

When there are two branches, they have a common headway and are supposed to be blended. During certain periods, buses are scheduled to alternate between the branches (any time in the table above where there are “half buses” allocated to a branch). This makes both services vulnerable to disruption when there is a missing bus, or a delay/interruption on the western branch throws buses there off schedule.

All of the problems we have seen on other routes are present on 94 Wellesley including:

  • Buses missing from the scheduled service leaving gaps.
  • Traffic congestion that is sometimes predictable, but sometimes much worse than usual, with schedules that cannot accommodate the disruption.
  • Headways that are dispersed widely beyond the target range implied by the TTC’s Service Standards.
  • Buses running in pairs (or worse) for extended periods on a route that does not have many vehicles overall.
  • Irregular headways caused by two services that are scheduled to blend, but which do not do so reliably at many times.
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Service Reliability on 72 Pape: September 2021

This article continues a series reviewing service quality on some of the TTC’s shorter routes.

Overview

The Pape bus operates two branches one of which has a peak period extension:

  • The 72A operates from Pape Station to Eastern Avenue during all periods except the weekday peaks.
  • During the peak periods, the 72A is extended south and west as 72C to the Don Roadway via Commissioners Street.
  • The 72B operates during all periods except early Sunday morning to Union Station via Queens Quay and Yonge.

Except for peak periods, the A and B branches operate on a common headway and should in theory provide a blended service on the common portion of the route between Eastern Avenue and Pape Station. This does not occur, and the service is a mixture of wide gaps and very short headways at almost all times.

During the peaks, the 72C Commissioners headway is almost but not half of the headway of the 72B Union. This makes it impossible to schedule a one-bus-in-three blended service even assuming that the 72B could stay on time and merge gracefully into the 72C service. The result is scheduled gaps and bunching on the common portion of the route under even the best conditions during peak periods.

Here is the scheduled service southbound from Pape Station in the AM and PM peak periods in early November 2021. Note the scheduled headways of only one or two minutes between “B” Union Station and “C” Commissioners buses.

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Service Reliability on 70 O’Connor: September 2021

This article continues a series reviewing service quality on some of the TTC’s shorter routes.

Overview

The O’Connor bus runs north from Coxwell Station and branches into a lopsided Y-shaped route. One branch, the 70A/B, goes north via O’Connor to Eglinton while the other, 70C, goes to Warden Station via St. Clair. The Eglinton service loops north of Eglinton except late evenings weekdays and Sundays.

This service design was changed in October so that all Eglinton trips operate as 70A, and the 70B Eglinton Square turnback has been dropped. However, for this analysis, it was still operating. For that reason, the screenline for southbound headways on this branch is set south of the common point for both the 70A and 70B services.

Two years ago, I reported on severe problems with bunching on 70 O’Connor.

At its meeting of December 12, 2019, the TTC Board endorsed a motion by Commissioner/Councillor Bradford whose ward includes the O’Connor bus:

Notice of Motion – Review of 70 O’Connor Bus Route

TTC Board Decision

The TTC Board, at its meeting on December 12, 2019 adopted the following:

That the Board directs staff to investigate and report back by Q1/2020 on the 70 O’Connor bus route reliability, in response to Steve Munro’s published analysis on his website stevemunro.ca on November 20, 2019.

The pandemic lockdown intervened, and the requested report did not appear. However, schedules on the route were changed to improve running times and a chronic problem of bus bunching ceased to be a problem as charts in this article will show.

In place of bunching O’Conner’s major problem in 2021 is that buses are frequently missing from service. Because of the branched nature of the route with headways ranging from 18 to 30 minutes on each branch, the effect of a missing vehicle can be quite severe. With few buses on the route, adjusting service by changing the spacing of remaining vehicles is not an option. In many cases, only one bus remains on a branch.

When all of the scheduled vehicles are in service, headways and travel times are fairly consistent, and buses often have generous layovers (considering the length of a one way trip) at both terminals.

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Service Reliability on 75 Sherbourne: September 2021

This article continues a series reviewing service quality on some of the TTC’s shorter routes.

Overview

75 Sherbourne operates between Rosedale and Queens Quay. At the south end, it has an on street loop normally via Queens Quay, Jarvis and The Esplanade. At its north end, the loop reaches to the south end of the Glen Road bridge on South Drive.

For this analysis, the two screenlines used are located at:

  • Sherbourne just south of Bloor. This records the headways at the major subway connection point, Sherbourne Station.
  • Sherbourne just north of Front. This records headways north of the south-end loop.

The service design during September 2021 is shown below. From September 1st to 3rd, the line operated on a summer schedule with less frequent service during the peaks and midday.

Weekend evenings the route is interlined with 82 Rosedale on a 30 minute headway using two buses over the combined route.

In these headway charts, the vertical scale is extended from the 0-30 minute range used in past articles to 0-60 minutes so that all data points will be visible.

75 Sherbourne shows all of the problems seen on other routes including missing vehicles and bunching, and, in some periods, a lack of sufficient running time to provide for recovery from minor incidents enroute. Service is often unreliable.

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Service Reliability on 65 Parliament: September 2021

This article continues a series reviewing service quality on some of the TTC’s shorter routes that generally escape notice when buses like Dufferin and Finch come under fire for erratic operation.

Overview

65 Parliament is a very short route operating from Castle Frank Station on Line 2 BD south to The Esplanade. The 2022 Service Plan proposes extending the route south to Queens Quay to the loop at Corus Quay serving George Brown College.

The service design during September 2021 is shown below:

Although the scheduled headway varies from 11 to 20 minutes, the actual headway operated can at times be well over half an hour either because buses are missing from the route, or because the limited number of vehicles on the route are running in pairs.

In the headway charts below, I have extended the vertical scale from the 0-30 minute range used in past articles to 0-60 minutes so that the data points will be visible.

Southbound From Castle Frank Station

The screenline for the data here is on Bloor Street west of Castle Frank Station.

In spite of this route being short, there is a wide dispersion in headway values as the charts show. In a pattern seen on other routes, the standard deviation of the headways (dotted lines in the first chart) lie between 0 and 5 minutes for the first few hours of service, but rise substantially thereafter. This is a measure of the degree to which headways diverge from the mean value.

Those means show their own variation on a week-by-week basis indicating that the number of trips (and hence the average headway) was not consistent across the month. Day by day breakdowns are in the rest of the charts.

Days with very wide gaps and bunching are not rare oddities, but are a common situation on this route.

Northbound From Front

The screenline for the data here is on Front Street just east of Berkeley which is the start of the south end loop.

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Service Reliability on 63 Ossington: September 2021

This article continues a series about service quality on some of the TTC’s shorter routes.

63 Ossington has a similar scale to the 47 Lansdowne reviewed in the previous article in this series. Although the service is far from ideal, this route is better behaved than its neighbour, even though it is subject to severe traffic congestion at certain times near its northern terminal due to Line 5 Crosstown construction.

All service on 63 Ossington operates between Liberty Village and Eglinton West Station except during peak periods when half of the service turns back at St. Clair via Oakwood Loop.

The schedules were changed on Labour Day weekend, and so data shown here for the first week of September reflects the old schedule, while from Sunday, September 5 onward, the new schedules were in effect.

In most cases running times have been trimmed although in a few periods they have been lengthened. These changes allowed more frequent service to be scheduled without adding buses to the route. This is a reversal of past TTC practice which has seen headways widened as a way to provide more running time at no marginal cost.

The TTC’s goal for “on time performance” is a band six minutes wide (+1 to -5 minutes relative to schedule), and in some periods, much of the service lies within this band. Nonetheless, on headways ranging from 5 to 10 minutes, bunching is possible and shows up regularly with data points near the x-axis of these charts. Wide gaps, especially at evenings and weekends, are common.

Unlike Lansdowne, this route has no branching structure during most of its operation, particularly when headways are wider. Also, as we will see later in the daily analyses, the congestion at Eglinton West Station occurs mainly during the pm peak, and buses have enough running time that they can take layovers there even after being stuck in traffic approaching the station.

Northbound from King

At the south end of the route, buses operate around a long on-street loop through Liberty Village. Their typical layover point is on Atlantic Avenue northbound south of King Street. The screenline used for these analyses is on Shaw Street just north of King where the loop begins.

The weekly headway summary and the week-by-week charts show the schedule change with the shape of the weekly averages and daily trendlines.

Weekend data points are far more spread out than weekdays showing a very different approach to service management (assuming that there is any) especially on Sundays.

Southbound From Eglinton West Station

The screenline for these charts is at Eglinton & Park Hill Road, just west of the Allen Expressway. By contrast with the data at the south end of the route, weekday headways here are more scattered, especially in week 1. The standard deviation of headways begins the day in most weeks at about 3 minutes, but rises in the afternoon and evening as service reliability declines. The SD values at Eglinton West are generally higher than at King reflecting the wider scatter in headway values.

Southbound from St. Clair

These charts are included for weekdays to show the combined 63A and 63B peak service southbound from St. Clair. With all of the service present, the headways are shorter during peak periods, and far more of them are quite short indicating that buses from the two branches probably run in pairs a lot.

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Service Reliability on 47 Lansdowne: September 2021

This article continues a series reviewing service on relatively short routes within the TTC network in areas where one might expect service reliability to be easily achieved.

Overview

The southern part of the route lies between St. Clair and Queen Street. Every second bus continues north to Yorkdale Station on what was once a separate 18 Caledonia route. (These routes will be split apart at Caledonia Station in 2022 when Line 5 Crosstown opens.) During peak periods, the Yorkdale branch splits at the north end with an alternate route via Orfus to Yorkdale Station.

In addition to the type of problems shown in the previous articles on 22 Coxwell, 47 Lansdowne suffers from having what should be a blended frequent service on the common portion of the route. However, headways are not reliable either from the point where the branches merge at St. Clair southbound, nor at Queen northbound, the route’s southern terminus.

This schedule was in effect from September 1 to 4.

This is the schedule in effect from September 5 onward.

Change-offs, Breakdowns and Crew Changes

A common effect seen across the route is for a bus to disappear from service and, eventually, to be replaced by another in the same relative position.

  • In some cases, the same bus re-appears more or less where it disappeared indicating that it probably sat out of service awaiting a new operator.
  • In some cases, notably early in the day, a bus will remain in service for one trip or less, and then disappear. This implies that the bus was somehow faulty rather taken out of service because of a missed crew change.
  • In some cases, it is possible that a crew change is done by bringing a new bus into service from the garage replacing both the operator and the vehicle. This is not a scheduled event as can easily be seen by comparing operations on similar days (weekday to weekday, for example).

Where buses are missing for even a partial trip on a branch with a wide headway like the 47B Yorkdale service, the resulting gap can be very wide. These events are not reported as part of overall service quality and standards, just as bunching is not reported because it can often occur within the “approved standards” and their considerable margin for exceptions.

Northbound from Queen

Headways from Queen are measured north of Seaforth, the north end of the on-street loop. The averages and standard deviations of headways are well-behaved only for the first few hours of the day, and they deteriorate from 9am onward. There is considerable difference in values from week to week.

Note that because of the schedule change on the Labour Day weekend, the shape of the trendlines in week 1 of these charts are different than in weeks 2 to 5.

The clouds of data points span a range above 15 minutes for most of the day. This corresponds to the point where the standard deviation values rise after the am peak period. There are so many days with very short headways that I will not review each one in detail here, but give a sample. Days with very wide headways are of particular interest because this typically indicates either that buses are missing, or that bunching of more than two vehicles occurs.

This set of charts is particularly important because it shows the service at a terminal before the effects of passenger loads or congestion could disrupt service. This is also, as of September 5, a new set of schedules where any problems with the schedule itself should have been resolved. If anything, the service is worse in weeks 2 to 5 than in week 1, although this could be due to other factors.

Saturdays show bad bunching and gapping throughout the month. Sundays also show very erratic service except, oddly enough, on Labour Day (an honourary Sunday for these charts) when headways lie much closer around the trend line.

Southbound from Yorkdale Station at Bridgeland

The screenline for these charts is on Caledonia south of Bridgeland where route turns east to serve Yorkdale Station. As above, the shape of the week 1 chart differs from other weeks because of the schedule change.

Only half of the service reaches this point because of the 47A scheduled turnback at St. Clair. As at other locations, the SD values are high, but they are particularly so thanks to the wide scheduled headways and greater dispersion of data values. Weekend service is particularly unreliable with headways ranging over a wide span.

Note that some values go above the Y-axis cutoff, that is to say above half an hour.

Southbound from St. Clair

Service at St. Clair includes both the 47A buses originating at Earlscourt Loop and the 47B/C service from Yorkdale via Caledonia. The SD values are typical of a midroute location where branching services “merge” with little regard for each other. The clouds of headway values are spread over a wide range with values far from the average/scheduled service.

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