Holes in the Road

Service on 501 Queen, 504 King, 29/929 Dufferin and 503 Kingston Road has been affected by two major water/sewer repairs both of which struck over the weekend of January 21-22, 2023.

Updated: The south end loop for the 29 Dufferin local service has been extended into Exhibition Place.

Updated: 501 Queen streetcars are now looping via Sunnyside Loop rather than around Roncesvalles Carhouse.

The intersection of King & University is closed due to a water main break which both undermined the road and flooded St. Andrew Station. The station was closed for a time, but reopened on the afternoon of January 22. The station is not currently accessible due to water damage of escalators and the elevator between the platform and concourse levels.

Dufferin is blocked north of Springhurst (the north side of Dufferin Gate Loop) due to a sewer failure. This affects the 29/929 Dufferin bus routes as well as the 501 Queen streetcar which has been using Dufferin Loop as a western terminus during the King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles project.

501 Queen

The Queen car has been rerouted west to Sunnyside Loop Roncesvalles where it loops using the carhouse runaround track. Sunnyside Loop is not yet available as a terminus. (Updated Jan. 25/23)

29/929 Dufferin

The Dufferin bus services are making a long loop around Liberty Village instead of running south to Dufferin Loop.

Update: This loop has been revised for the 29 service to include Exhibition Place. Also, although the 929 express service is shown as operating east to Strachan, some buses make a shorter loop and turn south from King closer to Dufferin.

504 King

The King streetcars and buses are operating on a much-modified route due to the closure at University Avenue.

  • 504A cars would normally operate between Dufferin Loop and Distillery Loop. They are running between Broadview Station and Distillery Loop
  • 504B cars would normally operate between Exhibition Loop and Broadview Station Loop. They are running between Broadview Station and Church Street looping as shown below.
  • 504C buses are in theory providing service to River. However, many of these never get east of Bathurst Street (their normal terminus) due to congestion over the diversion route. Parallel service through the construction zone operates eastbound via Adelaide and westbound via Wellington as shown below, and these buses terminate at River Street.

Information in vehicle tracking/prediction apps is rather scrambled because many vehicles are not where they are supposed to be on the schedule, and extra buses operating on the 504C are not tracked at all.

503 Kingston Road

The 503 Kingston Road streetcars are currently operating as buses and their normal loop downtown would be via York, Richmond and University. This has been changed to run via York, Queen and Bay.

There are no firm dates for reopening the streets and resuming normal service at either location.

Apologies for the soft images here. This is what the TTC provides on its site.

TTC Service Changes January 8, 2023

The TTC will modify many routes on January 8, 2023, although most of the changes are small tweaks rather than a significant overhaul of service. Current changes are achieved mainly by reallocation of vehicles, modification of running times and headway adjustments.

Updated January 3, 2023 at 4:35pm: A table showing the number of replacement buses on streetcar routes has been added.

In the January schedule period, the planned weekly service is down from November 2022 levels. That is the appropriate comparison because the “December” schedules only cover the holiday period when service is reduced. All of these reductions have been reversed in the January schedules, and some school trips have been added beyond the November level.

Service in the latter part of 2022 ran below budget because riding had not rebounded as quickly as originally hoped across the system. January 2023 continues at a similar level, and a service budget has not yet been published, let alone approved.

Hours/WeekRegular ServiceConstruction ServiceTotal
Nov 2022 Budget182,0164,492186,508
Nov 2022 Planned173,2494,187177,436
Dec 2022 Planned170,7083,779174,387
Jan 2023 Planned171,8025,175176,977
Source: TTC Service Change Memos for November/December 2022 and January 2023

Subway Service

There is no change in subway service for January 2023.

Streetcar Service

506 Carlton will return to its normal route over its entire length after an extended sojourn on Dundas Street. The 306 night service will return to streetcar operation. Construction of streetscape changes on College Street is not yet complete, but this will not require a diversion in 2023.

Some streetcar routes will have new schedules:

  • 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina will be modified to reduce layover conflicts at Union and Spadina Stations.
  • Service on 509 Harbourfront will be reduced to match demand in some periods.
  • Sunday early evening service on 510 Spadina will be changed so that all cars operate as 510A to Union rather than a split service with 510B turning back at Queens Quay. This matches the Saturday service pattern.
  • 512 St. Clair service will be reduced to match demand during some periods.

The allocation of routes to carhouses will change slightly to balance resources. The table below includes a long absent route “507 Long Branch” and the temporarily suspended “508 Lake Shore”, but not the “502 Downtowner”. Make of that what you will.

The number of buses operating on streetcar routes for construction projects is shown in the table below.

Bus Service

Routing Changes

29/329 Dufferin

Due to construction for the Ontario Line’s Exhibition Station, the 29 and 329 Dufferin services will be rerouted as shown in the maps below.

43B Kennedy and 985A Sheppard STC Services

These routes will be modified to access Scarborough Town Centre via a different path in order to provide connecting stops with the temporary GO bus terminal.

95C York Mills and 996 Wilson Express Service to Ellesmere Station

The 95C York Mils branch will be dropped, and in its place the 996 Wilson Express will be extended east to Ellesmere Station.

The levels of service in the “before” and “after” configurations are compared below.

Buses/HourAM Pk PreAM Pk PostMidday PreMidday PostPM Pk PrePM Pk Post
95A Pt Union7.563.365.56
95C Ellesmere Stn7.53.35.5
995 UTSC5.553.83.85.55
996 Ellesmere Stn6.74.86
Total to Ellesmere Stn20.517.710.414.616.517
Total to UTSC13117.110.81111

Other affected bus routes

  • 600 Run As Directed: The number of scheduled RAD buses is deeply reduced with only 6 weekday crews and none on weekends. Divisions will assign buses locally depending on operator availability.
  • 19 Bay: An AM peak tripper to handle demand to the waterfront will be created by diverting one 503 Kingston Road bus to run eastbound as a Bay bus to Dockside Drive and Queens Quay, then deadhead to Broadview and Queen to resume service on the 503.
  • 20 Cliffside and 113 Danforth: Headways will be standardized so that an evenly blended service can operate from Main Station on these overlapped routes.
  • 25 Don Mills: The split branch structure north and south of Don Mills Station will be extended into the early evening on weekdays.
  • 925 Don Mills Express: Trips added during peak periods to match demand.
  • 939 Finch Express: Midday and PM peak service improved, evening service reduced.
  • 41 Keele: Service reduced to match demand.
  • 44/944 Kipling South: Some early express trips will be replaced with local buses. Two school trips from 44 Kipling South will interline with 76 Royal York South school trips.
  • 945 Kipling Express: AM peak service improved.
  • 48 Rathburn and 112 West Mall: PM school trips serving Michael Power Saint Joseph HS will be changed to match dismissal times.
  • 52 Lawrence West: A new trip will be added from Westwood Mall at 6:52am to accommodate demand. A new trip will be added between Lawrence and Lawrence West Stations in the early PM peak. This is a hook-up with an existing school trip.
  • 57 Midland: Service reductions to match demand.
  • 60C/960 Steeles West: Service between Pioneer Village Station and Kipling on the 60C branch will be reduced in peak periods to match demand. This will be offset by improvement to the express service.
  • 960 Steeles West Express: Early evening service reduced.
  • 63 Ossington: Service modified for resiliency and to match demand (mainly reductions).
  • 68/968 Warden: Schedules adjusted for reliability with less frequent service during many periods.
  • 79 Scarlett Road: Service reduction weekdays in peak and midday periods.
  • 86 Scarborough: Zoo shuttle will operate only on Saturday to serve Terra Lumina. Sunday service dropped.
  • 95/995 York Mills an 96/996 Wilson: 996 Express service extended to Ellesmere Station replacing the 95C local service (see map above). Service changes during many periods to improve reliability with a mix of frequency changes.
  • 102/902 Markham Road: New trips to serve school demand to R.H. King Academy and Centennial College.
  • 116 Morningside: New PM school trips from Morningside & Ellesmere to serve Jack Milner PS and Sir Wilfrid Laurier CI.
  • 122 Graydon Hall: All trips will now enter service eastbound at Don Mills.
  • 130 Middlefield: New school trips to serve Henry Kelsey Senior PS.
  • 165 Weston Road: Service reliability changes primarily through longer running times and additional buses.
  • 168 Symington: Service reduced to match demand.

Peak bus service

The Details

Details of these changes are in the spreadsheet linked below.

TTC Service Changes 2023.01.08 (Revised)

Construction Projects

TTC Service Changes Effective November 20, 2022 (Updated)

Updated November 20, 2022: Information regarding diversions for 504 King and 503 Kingston Road has been updated with current details.

The TTC is making a few service changes for the November board period affecting mainly streetcars and the Yonge subway (Line 1).

1 Yonge-University-Spadina

With the complete implementation of Automatic Train Control on Line 1, the full route will switch to one person train operation (aka “OPTO”). Service will be improved during peak periods as well as some off-peak. Some running times will be reduced.

The peak service improvement is achieved through a combination of running time reduction and the conversion of two of the “gap” trains in each peak to regular service trains.

501 Queen

The originally announced service for 501 Queen in October would have seen the route extended to Roncesvalles from Dufferin. This proved impractical, and the route continued as it had been in September. The official schedule now reverts to September’s version for both the streetcar and bus services. There is almost no change to scheduled headways.

503 Kingston Road

The 503 Kingston Road car will be converted to bus operation until March 2023 to allow overhead conversion on Kingston Road. The buses will operate to the “standard” downtown route 503 destination at King & York via Wellington.

Update: The downtown loop of the 503 buses will be via King to York Street, north to Richmond, west to University, south to King and returning east.

504 King

The intersection of King & Shaw is expected to reopen in early December for streetcars and buses. In anticipation, the November schedules are based on the service plan after the reopening.

Update: The TTC has posted a service change notice dated December 1, 2022 stating that the reopening will occur in “early December”. December 1st is a Thursday, and so it is not clear exactly when this change will take place. There is no comparable notice for 63 Ossington which is also diverting around King & Shaw.

Before reopening:

  • All 504 King cars will operate to Exhibition Loop, but they will not serve stops on Bathurst or Fleet Streets.

In practice, much of the 504 King service has not reached Exhibition Loop in recent weeks short turning either at Fleet Loop or at Charlotte Loop (King/Spadina).

After reopening:

  • 504A Distillery cars will operate to Dufferin Loop.
  • 504B Broadview Station cars will operate to Wolseley Loop (at Queen & Bathurst).

This arrangement reduces the number of transit vehicles attempting to use Dufferin Loop while this is still the western terminus for 501 Queen streetcars.

The 504C King shuttle bus was originally scheduled to operate to Exhibition via Strachan, but instead it will run east to Bathurst and King looping via Bathurst, Adelaide and Portland. Additional service will be provided if necessary from the run-as-directed pool.

929 Dufferin Express

All trips will terminate at Dufferin Loop.

Seasonal Changes

  • 86 Scarborough service on Saturdays to the Zoo for Terra Lumina will now end at 9:20 pm to match the planned earlier closing time.
  • 172 Cherry Beach weekday service will be discontinued for the winter (typically until May).

The changes are summarized in the spreadsheet linked below.

Continue reading

TTC Service Changes Effective September 4, 2022

Updated:

  • The spreadsheet detailing all of the changes has been added at the end of this post.
  • The number of the Mimico GO shuttle has been corrected to 176.
  • Transfer arrangements at Queen & Dufferin for the 501 bus and streetcar services have been clarified.
  • Transfer arrangements at Queen & Roncesvalles for the 501 and 504 bus services have been added.

Updated September 5, 2022:

  • The spreadsheet listing all of the changes has been corrected for route 504 King. The original version included a description of the route carried over from the August version. This has been changed to reflect the September arrangements.

The TTC will make many changes to its scheduled service on September 4, 2022 with restorations of previous service levels on many routes. This will not get the system back to 100% of pre-pandemic levels.

An important distinction is between three values:

  • The amount of service scheduled before Spring 2020
  • The amount of service budgeted for 2022
  • The amount of service scheduled for 2022

The TTC plans to be back to 97% of budgeted service for bus, 84% for streetcar and 92% for subway. The overall numbers are compared below.

Hours/WeekRegularConstructionTotal
January 2020 Scheduled185,8257,068192,893
September 2022 Budgeted186,3796,398192,777
September 2022 Scheduled177,9304,965182,895

In the original 2022 service budget, the TTC planned to be back to roughly the same level of service as in January 2020 by September 2022. However, slower ridership recovery coupled with staffing constraints produced a lower scheduled service expressed as hours/week.

There are further caveats:

  • The distribution of hours by time of day might not be the same in 2022 as in 2020 because of changing demand patterns.
  • Changes in running times to deal with congestion or service reliability can mean that the same service hours are stretched over wider headways. Not all vehicle hours are created equal.

All that said, there are many changes in service levels, and with the bus network being back to 97%, the schedules for September 2022 are often based on old versions before service cuts were implemented. Another change for this month is the reintroduction of school trips on many routes.

Continue reading

TTC Service Changes Effective June 19, 2022

June 19 will bring the summer schedules on some routes, a return of streetcars at Broadview Station, and various minor changes scattered across the system.

Subway

There is no change in subway service.

Streetcars

With the completion of watermain work on Broadview in May, the streetcar service to Broadview station on 504 King and 505 Dundas will return.

504A Distillery to Dufferin service will remain, but will be blended with the 504B from Broadview Station to Dufferin. The combined service on the two branches will be more frequent in almost all periods than the 504A service now operating.

The 504/505 shuttle bus from Broadview Station to Parliament will no longer operate.

505 Dundas service will operate between High Park Loop and Broadview Station on the same headways as are currently provided just to Broadview. Dundas cars will not return to Dundas West Station until later in the year following completion of new platforms and overhead.

The 504C King/Roncesvalles shuttle bus will return to Dundas West Station, but, like all bus routes there, will loop on street and stop on Edna Avenue (north side of the loop) while work inside the station continues. Other bus routes currently diverting to Dufferin and Lansdowne Stations will return to Dundas West at the same time.

Work on Phase 3 of the King Queen Queensway Roncesvalles project including the North Gate of Roncesvalles Carhouse will begin in September.

Carhouse allocations of 504 and 505 will change with additional 504 cars operating from Leslie, and some 505 cars shifting to Roncesvalles. Allocations will change in August when construction work begins at Russell Carhouse, and again in September with the Phase 3 KQQR work.

There will be seasonal service cuts on several routes:

  • 503 Kingston Road AM Peak
  • 505 Dundas AM Peak bus trippers removed
  • 506 Carlton AM Peak bus trippers removed
  • 511 Bathurst all periods
  • 512 St. Clair almost all periods

See the spreadsheet linked later in this article for details.

From July 11 to August 1, 501L Queen and 301 Queen Night buses will divert westbound from Lake Shore via 15th, Birmingham and 22nd Streets during reconstruction of the intersection at Kipling. Eastbound service is not affected.

With overhead on the central section of Queen now converted for pantograph use, streetcars running between Leslie Barns and routes 510 Spadina and 512 St. Clair will operate via Queen west of the Don River rather than via King.

Buses

Routing Changes Due To Frequent CNE Closures

The following routes will be changed because streets in and near the CNE are often closed during the summer.

  • 29 Dufferin will loop through Liberty Village via King, Strachan and East Liberty.
  • 929 Dufferin will loop at Dufferin Loop.
  • 174 Ontario Place/Exhibition will operate via Fleet, Fort York and Lake Shore for the southbound trip.

30 High Park and 189 Stockyards Interline

Buses on routes 30 and 189 will interline to better use the running time on the combined route.

A new 30B High Park service will operate from High Park Station to the park via West Road and Colborne Lodge Drive. This seasonal shuttle will run separately from buses on the combined 30/189 service.

Seasonal Changes

The following routes are affected by seasonal reductions in demand:

  • 39/939 Finch East
  • 102 Markham Road
  • 905 Eglinton East Express
  • 927 Highway 27 Express

Miscellaneous Changes

  • 21C Brimley service to STC will be adjusted on Sundays.
  • 44/944 Kipling South service will divert both ways around track construction work at Lake Shore from July 15 to August 1.
  • 363 Ossington night service will return to Eglinton West Station Loop.
  • 72 Pape service will be adjusted during all time periods for reliability.
  • 86 Scarborough will have a trip added at 2:13 pm weekdays from Kennedy Station to fill a gap in the schedule.
  • 118 Thistle Down service will be improved in peak periods.
  • 134 Progress service will be adjusted on Saturdays.
  • 172 Cherry service will continue to bypass the Distillery District due to road construction.

600 Run As Directed

The number of scheduled RAD buses has been reduced substantial on weekdays from 40 to 5 crews. On weekends there will be more RAD buses with 39, up from 25, on Saturdays, and 32, up from 21, on Sundays.

Mount Dennis will not have any RAD buses. Details of the crew allocation are in the spreadsheet below.

Detailed Tables of Service Changes

Peak Vehicle Usage

Evolution of Travel Times on RapidTO Bus Routes 2020-2022 (Part 2)

This article is a companion to Part 1 of my update of travel time behaviour on key routes for 2020-2022. That article dealt with routes east of Yonge Street, and this part turns to routes west of Yonge:

  • 29 Dufferin from King to Wilson
  • 35 Jane from Eglinton to Steeles
  • 60 Steeles West from Finch Station to Kipling

These three routes show more variation over time than most of the routes east of Yonge reviewed in the first article. The greater variation implies that they are more sensitive to changes in overall road demand and have less headroom to begin with. They are more likely to benefit from priority measures, but taking road space for transit will be more politically challenging in car-oriented areas.

Any detailed study that purports to establish time savings through red lanes must be careful to be an apples-to-apples comparison avoiding projected savings against conditions (construction projects and future route changes) that will change on their own. Similarly, and by reference to what was done on the Eglinton-Kingston corridor, “savings” due to stop eliminations, if any, should not be counted as a “benefit” of transit priorty.

Continue reading

TTC Service Changes: May 8, 2022

Several of the service cuts implemented in November 2021 will be restored with the May 2022 schedules. This includes express service on several routes. Although planned service will be 6.2% lower than the original budget for this period, the TTC intends to resume restoration of full service through the fall to the end of the year.

Information in this article is taken from the May 8, 2022 Scheduled Service Summary and from a copy of the detailed memo on service changes which was provided by a source. Normally the TTC sends these to various people in advance, but for some unknown reason, the document has not officially been sent to the normal external recipients.

There are some conflicts between information in the two documents and I have tried to reconcile these with my own judgement about which is correct because it is not unusual for there to be discrepancies in descriptions of service changes.

Rapid Transit Services

There are no changes in rapid transit services.

Streetcar Services

  • The 501H/501L Queen replacement buses for service on the west end of the route will be shortened to turn back downtown via University Avenue, Adelaide Street and York Street rather than operating to Broadview & Gerrard or Broadview Station.
    • Eastbound buses will operate as 501U.
    • Bus service will be provided from Birchmount, Queensway and Eglinton divisions.
    • There is no change to the existing 501 Queen streetcar service between Neville Loop and Bathurst Street (Wolseley Loop), nor to the 301 Blue Night Bus operation.
  • Headways on 505 Dundas and 506 Carlton will be blended to allow for the shared terminal at High Park Loop.
    • The 505 Dundas routing change to High Park Loop will be officially recognized in the schedules.
    • Service will be reduced during most periods on both routes as a seasonal change.
  • 306 Carlton Blue Night will operate with buses to Dundas West Station.
  • 509 Harbourfront: Seasonal service increase evenings and weekends.
  • 512 St. Clair: Service increase on weekdays.

Bus Services

Routes With Express Service Changes/Restorations

  • 29/929 Dufferin:
    • Local service improved during most periods on weekdays.
    • Weekend service rescheduled for articulated buses.
    • Weekend express service restored using artics.
  • 939 Finch East Express:
    • Weekend service restored.
  • 41/941 Keele:
    • Local service changed from articulated to standard buses on weekdays with improved frequency of service.
    • Midday express service restored.
    • Express operation changed to articulated buses.
  • 43/943 Kennedy:
    • Minor service reallocation on weekday local service.
    • Peak period express service restored.
  • 52/952 Lawrence West:
    • Service reliability adjustments weekdays
    • Express peak period service improvements
  • 60/960 Steeles West:
    • Seasonal service reductions
    • Reliability changes
  • 68/968 Warden:
    • Reliability changes and some weekend service improvements.
    • Peak period express service restored.
  • 85/985 Sheppard East:
    • All 85 local service on weekends will now operate with standard sized buses rather than with artics.
    • Weekend 985 express service restored.

Diversions

Note: These diversions are described in the service memo, but are not reflected in the scheduled service summary.

  • 31 Greenwood:
    • Effective approximately May 18, service will be diverted to Coxwell Station while the loop at Greenwood Station is closed for Easier Access construction. This work will last about one year.
  • 57 Midland
    • Service reliability adjustments.
    • Northern terminus shifted to the Redlea cul-de-sac via Steeles and Redlea.

Other Changes

  • 365 Parliament Blue Night Bus:
    • Weekend service that was removed in error in fall 2021 will be restored.
  • 73 Royal York and 76 Royal York South:
    • Service reliability improvements
    • During some periods, the 73B Eglinton service will interline with the 76B Queensway service.
  • 83 Jones
    • Recovery time reallocated to the south end of the route to reduce conflicts near Donlands Station.
  • 95 York Mills:
    • Stops added on Durnford Road and Rylander Blvd for the 95A Port Union extension. These will be reviewed in advance of the September 2022 schedule changes.
  • Service reallocation affecting some periods on the following routes:
    • 16 McCowan (peak periods)
    • 17 Birchmount (peak periods)
    • 36B Finch West (am peak and early evening)
    • 81 Thorncliffe Park (peak periods)
  • Service reliability changes which generally widen headways during most or all periods:
    • 30 High Park
    • 31 Greenwood
    • 57 Midland
    • 62 Mortimer
    • 77 Swansea
    • 93 Parkview Hills
  • Service reliability changes rebalancing driving/recovery time with no change in service level:
    • 33 Forest Hill
    • 101 Downsview
  • Service improvements:
    • 31 Greenwood (peak periods)
    • 33 Forest Hill (peak and weekday midday)
    • 83 Jones PM (peak periods)
    • 86 Scarborough early evening Zoo shuttle (restored, seasonal)
    • 92 Woodbine South (weekends, seasonal)
    • 996 Wilson Express (weekday midday and pm peak)
    • 175 Bluffer’s Park (restored, seasonal)
  • Service reductions:
    • 75 Sherbourne: AM peak and midday (seasonal)
    • 600 Run As Directed: The number of crews/buses assigned to RAD service will be reduced by about one third as full scheduled service returns.

With the restructuring of bus service in the waterfront and the creation of the 121 Esplanade-River route, there is no existing route to provide seasonal service to Cherry Beach or Ontario Place. Two new routes, 172 Cherry Beach and 174 Ontario Place-Exhibition will operate instead.

172 Cherry links Union Station to Cherry Beach. It will operate from Eglinton Division.

174 Ontario Place links Exhibition Loop to Ontario Place. It will operate from Mount Dennis Division.

Details of the changes are in the spreadsheet linked below.

“Snowmaggedon” and the Dufferin Bus

On January 17, 2022, a record snowfall hit the Toronto area. Yes, this is Canada, and it does snow here, although people who live in areas without the moderating effect of Lake Ontario rarely have much sympathy on that score.

A post mortem report on the event will be discussed on March 29, 2022, at the Infrastructure & Environment Committee. As the City’s report on the event summarizes:

On January 16-17, 2022, the City of Toronto experienced an extraordinary winter storm that involved extreme cold temperatures, very rapid snowfall, and an ultimate snow accumulation of 55 centimetres in just 15 hours. The below freezing temperatures that followed the storm and lasted for more than two weeks created a unique set of challenges for storm clean up.

The effects on transit routes were severe, and there was little or no service on parts of the network for an extended period.

Snow clearing took a very long time:

Ultimately, 179,442 tonnes of snow were removed from 3,471 km of roads, requiring almost 60,000 truckloads. Removal was conducted over a 30-day period; however, operations were suspended when additional snow events occurred, meaning snow was removed on a total of 23 non-consecutive days.

Toronto’s snow clearing practices tend to focus on major streets and often do not include physical removal of snow. This effectively narrows roads and limits their capacity until the snowbanks eventually melt. A history of warmer winters and fewer severe storms has contributed to a somewhat laissez-faire relationship to winter that failed Toronto in 2022.

The report speaks to several changes in approach to major storms that will be implemented in early 2023, and I will not go into these here beyond noting the effect on transit.

Two related problems do leap out.

First, the responsibility for various aspects of snow clearing fall to different groups. Roads and sidewalks were plowed by multiple contractors. Sidewalks were, until this year, the responsibility of property owners, but the city’s fleet of sidewalk plows was not yet at full strength, and subject to breakdowns. Bike lanes might or might not be plowed especially if they are simply painted and have no protective barriers.

The result is both a “who does what” clash and a war for space where snow can be dumped before it is carted away, if ever.

Second, the reduction in road capacity causes congestion both by taking lanes out of service, and by parked cars, to the extent motorists can navigate the snowbanks, encroaching beyond the curb lane. This is a particular problem on streetcar routes, but is not confined to them.

Plowing, when it does occur, may not be accompanied by aggressive towing, or at least by temporary relocation of parked cars so that the curb lane can be fully cleared.

Toronto has a network of designated snow routes for major snow events. Most of the territory it covers is in the old City of Toronto with some outlying areas. When a major storm condition is declared, parking is banned for 72 hours (or more if need be) on the streets shown in red below. Most of the suburban city is not included.

The map below is dated October 2013, and it is due for updating especially if Toronto plans to be serious about the quality of transit service and meaningful schemes for transit priority across the city.

In Brief

The major snowfall on January 17 disrupted transit service, and the effects continued for a few weeks after the event. In some cases, buses had not returned to “typical” pre-storm travel times into February.

The location of congestion problems on routes reviewed here was not distributed along them a a general delay, but could be found at specific locations and times where the effect was “net new” after the storm. This suggests that a detailed study of storm delays will reveal key locations and conditions that should be avoided in the future.

On Dufferin, a major location for delays was northbound to Yorkdale Mall, and this persisted for some time after the storm. Normally, problems on routes like this are assumed to arise from their hilly nature, but that was not always the case in late January.

Continue reading

TTC Service Changes: September 5, 2021

September 2021 will see expansion of TTC service in anticipation of returning demand including in-person learning at schools and universities. Many express bus routes will be improved or enhanced.

In a reversal of past practice, schedule adjustments for “on time performance” will actually reduce rather than add to travel times in recognition that buses do not need so long to get from “A” to “B”, and that they can provide better service running more often on their routes than sitting at terminals.

Full details of the schedule changes are in the spreadsheet linked below.

Continue reading

Service Reliability of 29/929 Dufferin

This article is another in a series reviewing the behaviour of routes where RapidTO “red lanes” exist or are proposed.

Updated August 8, 2021: A reader pointed out that the 929 Dufferin Express existed pre-pandemic, although I did not include any data for it in this article. I was not tracking this route between its debut in October 2018 and February 2020 because historical bus tracking data from the new Vision tracking system were not available until mid-2019. I do have March 2020 data and have added this to the article. It shows very clearly the transition in travel times as demand and road traffic fell during that month.

Previous articles in the series:

The 29 and 929 Dufferin services operate between either from the western gate Dufferin Loop or the eastern gate Princes’ Gate Loop to Wilson Station. Except for the stopping pattern, the routes are identical between King and WIlson Station, the portion of the route reviewed here.

The 929 Dufferin Express bus began operation in mid-November 2020 with standard sized buses, but converted to the larger artics in the second week of May 2021 at roughly the same headway thereby increasing route capacity. The 29 Dufferin local service has been operating with articulated buses throughout the period of the data presented here.

Schedules for both the local and express services were adjusted on May 9, 2021, to add more running time for reliability.

This article deals with:

  • The change in travel times for the local 29 Dufferin Jane service between King and Wilson (the portion of the route proposed for Rapid TO) from pre-pandemic traffic conditions and their evolution through the low point of demand and congestion in 2020 through to June 2021.
  • The difference between local and express services.
  • The reliability of service.

The High Points

Although the Dufferin corridor saw a drop in travel times co-incident with the pandemic’s onset, this effect was short-lived and travel times have grown in the past year, in some cases above April 2018 (the reference date for “before” conditions).

(Why April 2018? This was the point where bus tracking started the transition from the old “CIS” monitoring system to the new “Vision” system and historical tracking data for bus routes were not reliably available for an extended period.)

Dufferin has suffered from construction interference at Eglinton on-and-off for several years, although this effect varies. However, that is not the only location where slowdowns occurred. Any review of red lanes needs to consider which locations will provide the greatest benefit, although these tend to be places where resistance to dedicating capacity to transit will be very strong.

There is a consistent difference in travel speeds between local and express services, although for some periods and locations, the pre-pandemic service was faster.

Headways on Dufferin are quite irregular and much of the service is bunched. In late June, travel times rose markedly due to construction, and headway reliability declined even more. This condition probably persisted into July, and the data for that month are still to come.

Reliability issues occur in the off-peak and on weekends, not just during the traditional peak periods.

An important distinction in discussing transit priority lanes will be the degree to which they contribute to service reliability. The King Street transit mall was a very different location from the bus routes where red lanes are proposed. King Street has very frequent transit service and strong transit demand, not to mention pedestrian activity and crowd-generating events year-round. It also has parallel streets to which traffic could shift.

How much benefit can actually be achieved on Dufferin is quite another question. A political challenge lies in the fact that there are problem areas on Dufferin, but not all of the time. Red lanes are a 7×24 change in a street’s configuration and their overall benefit must be strong enough to survive challenges. A good analogy on King Street is the carve-out for taxis that was implemented and contributed to motorists generally ignoring the traffic rules even before 2020.

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