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Frequently Asked Questions about Toronto's Buses

See Also

What was the TTC's first bus route?

The first bus route operated by the TTC was HUMBERSIDE, operating from Dundas and Humberside and into the residential neighbourhood south of the Toronto Junction. The route was, in many ways, a precursor to today's Dupont (formerly Annette) bus route, as Annette joined together several small bus routes operating between Bloor Street and St. Clair Avenue, of which a descendant of the Humberside route was one. The Humberside bus route was served by four double-decker buses and was enough of a success for the TTC to duplicate the experiment in Rosedale. As the bus technologies improved, and the costs of installing streetcar systems increased, the TTC soon realized that the buses were more cost-effective vehicles to serve the rapidly-growing, lower-density suburbs developing around the city. The rest, as they say, is history.

You can read more about the history of Toronto's bus routes here.

How many buses are there in the TTC's fleet?

According to the TTC's 2012 Operating Statistics, the TTC maintains a fleet of 1,857 40 foot diesel or hybrid buses, all of which are accessible. The TTC is currently accepting delivery of 60 foot-long articulated buses, and the fleet is constantly growing and changing. The TTC's buses operated 124,996,000 kilometres through 2012, an�increase of 1,383,000 kilometres from 2011.

Why did streetcars outnumber buses when the TTC began, only to have the situation reversed today?

The first buses, like the first automobiles, were less than comfortable vehicles. With solid rubber tires bouncing upon uneven roads, buses weren't as popular with passengers as streetcars, nor were they as fast. As a result, the first bus routes were feeder lines ferrying passengers to streetcar terminals. Over time, however, bus and automobile technologies improved, as did the conditions of our roads. Also, the overall ridership of our transit agencies started to drop as passengers were pulled away by the private automobile. Whereas streetcars can carry far more than buses when they travel on private right-of-way, demand is not high enough to justify such infrastructure on most of the TTC's bus routes. As the costs of installing streetcar systems increased, the TTC soon realized that the buses were more cost-effective vehicles to serve the rapidly-growing, lower-density suburbs developing around the city. The rest, as they say, is history.

Why are there places on the TTC where Natural Gas buses are not allowed?

When this was an issue, back when the TTC had compressed natural gas buses in their fleet, we gave an answer that was completely wrong. We would like to thank Keith Littlewood for setting us straight. In his words: "Actually, Compressed Natural Gas is lighter than air. A Natural Gas leak tends to vent upwards and would become trapped on the ceiling of an enclosed structure. Propane, on the other hand, is a heavier than air gas that would collect at ground level. I recall accidents a few years ago with Toronto taxicabs where a propane leak resulted in an excessive concentration of fuel collecting inside the vehcile that ignited when the ignition switch was turned on (not when the engine started!).

The provincial Fuel Safety Branch has recognised this fact and for many years has prohibited the indoor storage of propane fueled vehicles, while permitting indoor storage of natural gas vehicles. The Hamilton Street Railway (where I was employed during the test program and systemwide introduction of natural gas buses) and London Transit operate natural gas buses that are stored indoors.

The TTC operated CNG Orion Vs on 52 LAWRENCE operate into the underground terminal at Lawrence Station. (I saw one on the route last night)."

It should also be noted that the natural gas fuel tank on the top of these buses makes these buses taller than most buses on the system. There are some areas where clearance is an obvious issue.


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