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.
January 2020 Scheduled
September 2022 Budgeted
September 2022 Scheduled
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.
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.
There is no change in subway service.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Routes With Express Service Changes/Restorations
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.
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.
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 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.
Note: These diversions are described in the service memo, but are not reflected in the scheduled service summary.
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.
Service reliability adjustments.
Northern terminus shifted to the Redlea cul-de-sac via Steeles and Redlea.
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.
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
93 Parkview Hills
Service reliability changes rebalancing driving/recovery time with no change in service level:
33 Forest Hill
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For regular readers of this site, it will be no surprise that my opinion of the TTC’s reporting on service quality is that it is deeply flawed and bears little relationship to rider experiences. It is impossible to measure service quality, let alone to track management’s delivery of good service, with only rudimentary metrics.
The TTC reports “on time performance” measured only at terminals. This is calculated as departing no more than one minute early and up to five minutes late.
Data are averaged on an all-day, all-month basis by mode. We know, for example, that in February 2020, about 85 per cent of all bus trips left their terminals within that six minute target. That is all trips on all routes at all times of the day.
No information is published on mid-route points where most riders actually board the service.
Management’s attitude is that if service is on time at terminals, the rest of the line will look after itself. This is utter nonsense, but it provides a simplistic metric that is easy to understand, if meaningless.
There are basic problems with this approach including:
The six minute window is wide enough that all vehicles on many routes can run as pairs with wide gaps and still be “on time” because the allowed variation is comparable to or greater than the scheduled frequency.
Vehicles operate at different speeds due to operator skill, moment-to-moment demand and traffic conditions. Inevitably, some vehicles which drop behind or pull ahead making stats based on terminal departures meaningless.
Some drivers wish to reach the end of their trips early to ensure a long break, and will drive as fast as possible to achieve this.
Over recent years, schedules have been padded with extra time to ensure that short turns are rarely required. This creates a problem that if a vehicle were to stay strictly on its scheduled time it would have to dawdle along a route to burn up the excess. Alternately, vehicles accumulate at terminals because they arrive early.
Management might “look good” because the service is performing to “standard” overall, but the statistics mask wide variations in service quality. It is little wonder that rider complaints to not align with management claims.
In the pandemic era, concerns about crowding compound the long-standing issue of having service arrive reliably rather than in packs separated by wide gaps. The TTC rather arrogantly suggests that riders just wait for the next bus, a tactic that will make their wait even longer, rather than addressing problems with uneven service.
What alternative might be used to measure service quality? Tactics on other transit systems vary, and it is not unusual to find “on time performance” including an accepted deviation elsewhere. However, this is accompanied by a sense that “on time” matters at more than the terminal, and that data should be split up to reveal effects by route, by location and time of day.
Some systems, particularly those with frequent service, recognize that riders do not care about the timetable. After all, “frequent service” should mean that the timetable does not matter, only that the next bus or streetcar will be reliably along in a few minutes.
Given that much of the TTC system, certainly its major routes, operate as “frequent service” and most are part of the “10 minute network”, the scheme proposed here is based on headways (the intervals between vehicles), not on scheduled times.
In this article, I propose a scheme for reporting on headway reliability, and try it out on the 29 Dufferin, 35 Jane and 501 Queen routes to see how the results behave. The two bus routes use data from March 2021, while the Queen car uses data from December 2020 before the upheaval of the construction at King-Queen-Roncesvalles began.
This is presented as a “first cut” for comment by interested readers, and is open to suggestions for improvement. As time goes on, it would be useful for the TTC itself to adopt a more fine-grained method of reporting, but even without that, I hope to create a framework for consistent reporting on service quality in my analyses that is meaningful to riders.
March 28, 2021, will see revenue service begin from the TTC’s new McNicoll Garage. This will entail the reassignment of many routes between all garages as the TTC rebalances it fleet and service to relieve crowding and minimize dead-head times.
There are few service changes associated with this grand shuffle. The primary effect is that garage trips at the end of peak periods will change to reflect the shift of some routes to a new home in northern Scarborough.
For example, north-south routes that formerly had transitional peak-to-evening service southbound will go to evening service levels sooner because buses will dead head to McNicoll rather than making a southbound trip before running back to Eglinton or Birchmount Garage.
129 McCowan North
The short-turn point for 39 Finch East and 53 Steeles East off-peak garage trips will change so that buses do not double back on themselves. These trips will be shortened to end at Kennedy rather than at Markham Road. Trips on 39C to Victoria Park will end at McNicoll & Victoria Park rather than at 480 Gordon Baker Road.
The 45 Kipling and 945 Kipling Express move from Queensway to Arrow. Trips to the garage after the AM and PM peak will no longer make southbound trips. Trips at the beginning of the PM peak will no longer travel north from Queensway.
The old and new garage assignments are at the end of this article for those who are interested.
Fleet utilization continues to be well below system capacity. In January 2020, the total AM peak buses in service was 1,625. In March 2021, it will be 1,527. This does not include buses used in Run As Directed (RAD) service. Although the TTC now has an additional bus garage, its capacity is not included in the table below.
For comparison, here is the January 2020 (pre-pandemic) table.
The number of buses used on streetcar routes continues to be high. These vehicles are included in the counts above, and represent additional capacity available for bus routes when the construction projects now underway finish. 506 Carlton will return to all-streetcar operation in May, but other routes will be affected by construction for much of 2021 notably at KQQR and on Broadview north of Gerrard (starting in May).
Here is the streetcar peak service table. Note that there is an error in the afternoon peak “base going into Mar 2021” column where the streetcar total should read 127, not 142.
During the construction of McNicoll Garage, all trips on 42 Cummer were operated as 42A to Middlefield. This will continue, and the 42B and 42C services will remain suspended. An eight month long water main project on Cummer will require that westbound service divert via Leslie, Finch and Bayview. New farside stops will be added southbound on Leslie at Cummer, and westbound on Cummer at Bayview to serve the diversion.
At the King, Queen, Queensway, Roncesvalles intersection (KQQR) construction work will block transit service beginning on March 31. This will affect all services that pass through this busy location.
501 Queen buses (501L Long Branch and 501P Park Lawn) will operate via King and Dufferin Streets to route. The official east end of the route will remain at Jarvis Street. In current operations, many runs have been extended as far east as River because the schedule is very generous in anticipation of construction traffic delays that have not yet materialized. Buses are also taking extended layovers at Long Branch Loop because they arrive early.
The 504 King west end shuttle will be broken into two parts.
A 504G King shuttle will operate between Dundas West Station and Roncesvalles Carhouse (entering and leaving via the North Gate).
A 504Q King shuttle will operate between Triller and Strachan. The west end loop will be via Dufferin, Queen and Triller. The east end loop will be via Duoro and Strachan. This is a change from the current shuttle terminus at Shaw.
Operation of the 506 Carlton bus shuttle will be officially changed to use the loop that was informally implemented almost immediately after this service began in January. All buses will loop via Gerrard, Sherbourne and Parliament. Full streetcar service will resume on 506 Carlton with the May 9, 2021 schedules.
Miscellaneous Route Changes
Weekday scheduled round-trip travel time on 1 Yonge-University-Spadina will be shortened from 161 to 154 minutes in recognition of time savings with Automatic Train Control. This will address some of the train queuing problems at terminals. Headways will also be widened slightly to reflect lower demand.
43C Kennedy service to Village Green Square will be modified so that all trips begin and end there. Half hourly service will be provided northbound from Kennedy Station from 6:30 to 8:30 am, and from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. Southbound service will leave Village Green from 5:58 to 8:28 am, and from 3:30 to 6:30 pm.
The Amazon Fulfillment Centre at Morningside & Steeles will be served by two routes:
53B Steeles service to Markham Road will be extended via Passmore to the cul-de-sac at the site. This operation is already in place.
102 Markham Road service will be routed north on Markham Road, east on Select Avenue, south on Tapscott Road, east on Passmore Avenue to cul-de-sac, west on Passmore Avenue, north on Tapscott Road, west on Steeles Avenue, to south on Markham Road. This route will be changed when the the intersection of Steeles & Morningside fully opens later in 2021.
Trip times on 167 Pharmacy North will be standardized so that the weekday and Saturday schedules are the same. The first trips will run northbound from Don Mills Station and southbound from Pharmacy Loop at 5:30 am. Service at all times will be on the half-hour (:00 and :30).
Articulated and regular buses will shuffle between routes:
Three artics now used on 60 Steeles West will be changed to standard buses. The artics will return in late May.
Most runs on 89 Weston will switch from artics to standard buses. In late May, all 89 Weston local buses will be standard-sized, but the 989 Weston Express service will resume.
Six standard buses now used on 929 Dufferin Express will be changed to artics.
310 Spadina night service will be cut to half hourly. This route was missed in January when other night services reverted to a 30 minute service (previously every 15 or 20 minutes).
Updated January 7, 2021: Comparative service level charts have been added for routes 53/953 and 60/960 showing changes between the November 2020 and January 2021 schedules.
Updated January 5, 2021: Information about express routes 953 Steeles East, 960 Steeles West and 984 Sheppard has been updated in the route summary. Comparative service charts will be added for weekday service on 953 and 960 in a separate update.
Updated December 26-28, 2020: This article has been extensively updated with charts to illustrate the change in service levels on corridors that have or had 9xx Express services. I will turn to other routes in a separate article.
Some of you have probably been wondering where my list of bus service changes for January 2021 has wandered off to.
The problem is that some of the information in the TTC’s service change memo is inconsistent, and a new version to be issued after Christmas. Some information about planned schedule changes is available through the City of Toronto’s Open Data Portal which has the electronic versions of all schedules for use by various trip planning apps.
Because the difference between some new and old schedules is not as straightforward as usual, I have added charts comparing service levels by time of day rather than the breakdown into peak, midday and off peak periods.
Information here should be considered “preliminary” in case the TTC makes further revisions before the new schedules take effect.
Scheduled Erratic Service
The schedules for many routes suffer from build-in irregular headways. If the route runs on time, the buses are not evenly spaced, and “on time” performance is the metric the TTC uses, for better or worse, to evaluate service. This irregularity arises from several factors that can also interact on the same schedule:
The route has branching services that are not on a compatible headway. For example, it is easy to blend two services running every 20′ to give a 10′ combined service on the common mileage. However, if it is a 25′ and a 10′ headway, this is impossible.
For pandemic-era schedules, some trips were cancelled without adjusting surrounding buses to even out the headways. This might have occurred unofficially, but it would take a lot of work to ensure that spacing stayed ideal even if the buses were not strictly “on time”.
For pandemic-era replacement of express services, “trippers” operated usually on schedules that did not blend with the basic service. These buses were typically in service from 5 am to noon, and from 3 to 10 pm.
Some “Run as Directed” (RAD) buses (aka Route 600 series) operated where needed to supplement scheduled service. These do not appear on any schedule nor in a route’s vehicle tracking logs.
My purpose in looking in detail at the January 2021 changes is to show how all of these factors interact.