6 Bay

Another Leased Edmonton Coach Posing on Bay, near Queen

Coach 9155 picks up passengers on Bay Street, near Queen. One of the 40 vehicles the TTC leased from Edmonton, these would be the last trolley buses to operate in Toronto when 6 Bay and 4 Annette were given a brief reprieve. Photo by Roger DuPuis, reprinted with permission.

A History of the 6 Bay Trolley Bus

Text by James Bow.

From Electric to Diesel and Back Again

The 6 BAY bus started life on February 28, 1963 with the opening of the UNIVERSITY SUBWAY line. On that day, streetcars stopped rolling on the DUPONT streetcar route, and diesel buses started serving Bay Street. At the time, Bay Street was a secondary commercial street and, located between two subway routes in close proximity, it was felt that diesel buses would be enough to handle passenger traffic.

They were, for ten years. In 1973, an oil embargo by OPEC drove up the price of gasoline to astonishing levels. It was the first shock that western nations received as a result of their oil dependency. With the majority of the TTC’s fleet now consisting of diesel buses, the commission began to rue earlier decisions to abandon most of its streetcar network.

To deal with the high cost of fuel, the TTC commissioned a report on which bus routes could be converted to electric operation. A number of suggestions came forward, including most of the diesel bus routes operating within downtown Toronto.

Of all the proposals to convert diesel buses to electric operation, 6 BAY was the only suggestion to bear fruit. After the initial proposals were logged, the City of Toronto and the TTC entered in deeper study of the Bay project. The bus route was quite busy. With the office towers south of Queen Street providing an urban canyon collecting exhaust fumes, the line was ideal for conversion.

It is interesting to note that, initially at least, the idea of converting the line back to streetcar operation was considered as seriously as trolley bus operation. However, as the TTC had surplus infrastructure and equipment available from the 97 YONGE route, which had been converted to diesel operation in 1973 with the extension of the YONGE SUBWAY to York Mills, it made most sense to apply that material to 6 BAY. Work began in 1975, and the route opened for service in 1976.

The Route

Operating from an on-street loop via Davenport, Dupont and Bedford, trolley buses operated via Davenport, Bay and Queens Quay to Jarvis Street (looping via Freeland, Lakeshore and Jarvis). 6 BAY became the busiest trolley bus route on the system, with 30 vehicles providing 1-2 minute service during rush hours.

There were several short-turn loops along the route, including on street loops at Davenport at Bay, via Yorkville and Yonge (listed as Bloor), Edward via Elm and Elizabeth (listed as Dundas) and Wellington via Front and Yonge (listed as Front). The route had five signed branches in addition to the main route, including 6A (Bloor-Jarvis), 6B (Bloor-Front), 6C (Front-Jarvis), 6D (Dundas-Jarvis) and 6E (Dupont-Dundas). Of these branches, only 6A, 6B and 6E saw irregular additional rush-hour service. 6C did operate for an extended period during the construction of the Harbourfront LRT, but it operated as a diesel bus shuttle, as Bay Street was closed off, and no trolley wires were strung along the diversion route.

In the late 1980s, the TTC experimented with transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Bay Street, which significantly improved service for the trolley buses.

Final Days as a Trolley Bus Route

The Bay trolley bus led something of a charmed existence, receiving more reprieves from conversion back to diesel operation than any other trolley bus route. In the late 1980s, the City of Toronto pursued a proposal that would have made Yonge Street and Bay Street complementary one-way streets, thus making trolley bus operation impossible. It was only after a court injunction, sought by local merchants a week before August 6, 1988, when the one-way operation was to come into effect, that trolley bus operation was able to continue.

6 BAY then fell to diesel buses on January 18, 1992, along with the rest of the trolley bus network. It regained the trolley buses that September when the TTC found it could not back out of its lease of trolley buses from Edmonton. Operation continued for another year using these leased vehicles, until the lease ran out and the route was reconverted back to diesels. Diesel buses have been operating on the line ever since.

Remnants of trolley bus service remained for years after dieselization in the form of poles around the Front Loop and the Bloor Loop (along Yorkville Avenue), but these have gradually been removed.


A Chronological History of the 6 Bay Route

Compiled by Peter Coulman

6bay.png

February 28, 1963

New bus route inaugurated replacing part of the DUPONT streetcar route on the openng of the new UNIVERSITY SUBWAY.

From Dupont and Davenport, looping via east on Dupont, south on Bedford, east on Davenport, south on Bay, looping at the south end via west on Harbour, south on York, east on Queen’s Quay, north and east via TTC Loop, then north on Bay and northwest on Davenport.

Daily, Saturdays & Sundays; first bus from Dupont & Davenport, 5.10a.m. Last bus from Ferry Docks 2.00a.m.. First three buses on weekdays and Saturdays enter service from Christie & Dupont at 5.05, 5.15 and 5.25a.m. Operated by Davenport Garage.

BAY

6

D U P O N T
D  O  C  K  S

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

May 2, 1963 — June 18, 1963

Service diverting via west on Lakeshore, south on York St. to route due to closure of Harbour St. between Bay St and York St for work in conjunction with Gardiner Expressway

June 19, 1963

Commencing at 5.30 a.m. this date the BAY bus service resumed new south end looping facilities via the Ferry Docks Loop, which has been paved to accommodate both streetcar and bus operation.

August 27, 1963

Route altered to loop south on Bay, west on loop property south of Harbour St, south, then east (north of Queen’s Quay) exiting via north on Bay St.

September 7, 1965

Ferry loop abandoned. Looping on the south end via west on Lake Shore, south on York, east on Queen’s Quay to Bay due to closing of Ferry Loop

February 28, 1966

Coincidental with the opening of the Bloor-Danforth Subway, a short turn service was introduced on the BAY bus route which is intended to work in conjunction with the through route between downtown to the Bay Subway Station. Service to operate 5 days a week, Monday through Friday (Holidays excepted) Rush Hours Only. Buses to operate north on Bay, west on Yorkville, south on Bellair, east on Cumberland and south on Bay to route.

BAY

6

D U P O N T
D  O  C  K  S

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

BAY

6A

D U P O N T
F R O N T

Occasional short turns

BAY

6B

B L O O R
D  O  C  K  S

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

May 12, 1966

With the cessation of the summer season extension of the DUNDAS CAR service to the Ferry Docks for the heavy inland traffic, the regular BAY bus service was augmented by a shuttle bus service operating Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays for peak hours between Front St. and the Ferry Docks.

Service loops via south on Bay, west on Lake Shore, south on York, east on Queen’s Quay returning via north on Bay, east on Front, north on Yonge, west on Wellington to Bay to route. Service to end on Labour Day.

BAY

6

D U P O N T
D  O  C  K  S

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

BAY

6A

D U P O N T
F R O N T

Occasional short turns

BAY

6B

B L O O R
D  O  C  K  S

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

S P E C I A L

Summer weekends and holidays

May 22, 1967

Ferry Docks shuttle service resumes, ending on Labour Day.

May 20, 1968

Ferry Docks shuttle service resumes for the third year, ending on Labour Day.

December 7, 1970

Between the hours of 6.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m., Monday to Friday(Holidays excepted) the schedule for the BAY service is arranged for certain trips to loop through the southern loop via east on Harbour, south on Yonge, west on Queen’s Quay, north on Bay St. to route. Remaining trips to loop to the west as formerly.

B A Y   V I A
LAKE SHORE & YORK

6

D U P O N T
D  O  C  K  S

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

B A Y   V I A
HARBOUR & YONGE

6A

D U P O N T
D  O  C  K  S

Monday to Friday, rush hours and midday

B A Y   V I A
LAKE SHORE & YORK

6B

B L O O R
D  O  C  K  S

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

B A Y   V I A
HARBOUR & YONGE

6C

B L O O R
D  O  C  K  S

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

January 22, 1972

Service on Harbour, Yonge and Queen’s Quay loop reduced to Monday-Friday rush hours only (between 6:36 a.m. and 9:39 a.m. and between 2:33 p.m. and 5:33 p.m.) Two days later, hours of operation for this looping arrangement extended to 9:04 p.m.

April 16, 1972

Service at the southern end rearranged, with the west loop (6) operating west on Lakeshore, south on York, east on Queen’s Quay returning north on Bay, twelve hours a day, Monday to Friday (except holidays). Service on the east loop (6A) extended, operating south on Bay, east on Queen’s Quay, looping north on Freeland, east on Lakeshore, south on Jarvis returning west on Queen’s Quay. This branch operates 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. The trial was declared a success and made permanent at the TTC Commissioners’ meeting on November 14th, 1972.

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6

D U P O N T
Y  O  R  K

Monday to Friday, midday

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6A

D U P O N T
J A R V I S

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6B

B L O O R
Y  O  R  K

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6C

B L O O R
J A R V I S

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

October 15, 1972

Service to York Street improved to 16 hours a day, Monday to Friday (excluding holidays).

June 24, 1973

All BAY branches operate to Jarvis Street, with service on York Street provided by an extension of the 77 SPADINA bus route.

June 25, 1973

Monday to Friday rush hour short turn service looping via Yorkville, Bellair and Cumberland changed to loop via north on Bay, east on Davenport, south on Yonge and west on Cumberland to Bay on a trial basis. Trial made permanent after six months.

March 14, 1976

In conjunction with the opening of the new Wilson Garage, and due to the route’s impending conversion to trolley bus operation, 6 BAY operation transferred from the St. Clair (Davenport) Garage to Lansdowne Garage.

September 4, 1976

Last day of diesel bus operation. Service replaced by the 6 BAY trolley bus route. Trolley bus service opens with short-turn loops at “Bloor” (looping via Davenport, Yonge and Yorkville), “Dundas” (looping via Elm, Elizabeth and Edward) and “Front” (looping via Front, Yonge and Wellington). Trolley buses operate with the following rollsign exposures:

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6

D U P O N T
J A R V I S

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6A

B L O O R
J A R V I S

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

BAY

6B

B L O O R
F R O N T

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6C

F R O N T
J A R V I S

Occasional Short Turns

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6D

D U N D A S
J A R V I S

Occasional Short Turns

BAY

6E

D U P O N T
D U N D A S

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

June 25, 1984

Rush hour service provided between Bloor and Front only (Davenport Loop) by 6B buses, with service reduced between Front and Jarvis.

March 30, 1986

Monday-Friday evening service between Dupont & Davenport and Jarvis & Queen’s Quay reduced to 20 minutes.

September 6, 1987

Due to construction of the Harbourfront LRT, 6 BAY service is split, with trolley buses running between Dupont and Davenport and Front and Bay, with additional rush-hour service provided between Bloor and Dundas. Neither of these branches have exposures on trolley bus rollsigns, and new rollsigns were not created for this temporary route change.

Diesel buses operate a shuttle service (6C) from Front and Bay to the existing loop at Jarvis. Buses operate northbound on York and southbound on Yonge. Delays in construction cause the TTC to reintroduce this service on January 3, 1988

January 3, 1988

Trolley buses operate between Dupont and Davenport and Front and Bay, 20 hours a day, 7 days a week with additional rush hour service between Bloor and Dundas. 6C BAY/HARBOURFRONT SHUTTLE buses run from Front and Bay in a clockwise loop via Front, Yonge, Queen’s Quay, York and Front, 20 hours a day, 7 days a week.

May 1988

Service begins on BAY SHUTTLE BUS, running from Union Station east on Front, south on Yonge, east on Queen’s Quay, north on Freeland, east on Lake Shore, south on Jarvis, west on Queen’s Quay, north on York and east on Front, 18 hours a day, 7 days a week.

June 20 to July 4, 1989

The TTC takes delivery of fifty leased trolley buses from Edmonton. Many ply the 6 BAY route. The new buses require new rollsigns, which leads to some new exposures on the 6 BAY route:

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6

D U P O N T
J A R V I S

Temporarily suspended due to Harbourfront LRT construction.

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6A

B L O O R
J A R V I S

Temporarily suspended due to Harbourfront LRT construction.

B   A   Y

6B

B L O O R
F R O N T

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6C

F R O N T
J A R V I S

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
(diesel buses don’t have this rollsign and use blank exposure)

B A Y

V I A   D O C K S

6D

D U N D A S
J A R V I S

Temporarily suspended due to Harbourfront LRT construction.

B   A   Y

6E

D U P O N T
D U N D A S

Occasional short turns

B   A   Y

6F

D U P O N T
F R O N T

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

B   A   Y

6G

B L O O R
D U N D A S

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

June 23, 1990

The Harbourfront LRT opens. Through trolley bus service from Dupont to Jarvis resumes.

November 26, 1990

Extra Monday-Friday rush hour service provided, every few minutes between Front Street and Bloor with service between rush hours improved to every 5 minutes between Dupont and Jarvia & Queens Quay.

January 18, 1992

Trolley bus operation ends and diesel buses return.

September 2, 1992

With leased trolley buses from Edmonton still available until July 1993, trolley buses granted reprieve on 6 BAY and 4 ANNETTE. A test run operated on this route in anticipation of resumption of trolley bus service, two days later.

July 17, 1993

Trolley bus service ends permanently. Coach 9151 departs Jarvis and Queens Quay at 12:40 a.m. on the morning of July 18, 1993, arriving at Dupont and Davenport at 1:10 a.m. and running into Lansdowne Garage at 1:29 a.m.

November 21, 1993

6F Bay rush-hour branch which used to loop via east on Front, north on Yonge and west on Wellington altered to operate east on Front, south on Yonge and west on Lakeshore.

February 18, 1996

Due to the elimination of public transit subsidies by the provincial government, service severely cut back on this route. No service after 10 p.m., Monday-Friday. No service after 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Monday-Friday rush hour frequent service reduced.

February 14, 2000

Service adjusted and branches revised. In addition to normal 6 BAY service between Dupont and Jarvis, 6A (between Bloor and Lakeshore) and 6B (Bloor and Dundas) add service during rush hours. 6A and 6B buses hold at a special bus stop southbound on Bay at Bay station until their scheduled departure times.

NORTHBOUND

 

SOUTHBOUND

6

B A Y

 

6

B A Y

TO DUPONT
VIA DOCKS

TO JARVIS
VIA DOCKS

Monday to Friday, daytime and early evening
Weekends, 5 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

6A

B A Y

 

6A

B A Y

TO BLOOR

TO FRONT

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

6B

B A Y

 

6B

B A Y

TO BLOOR

TO DUNDAS

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

September 3, 2000

The schedule of the 6 Bay route changed in the morning peak period fso that buses operate on only two branches: the 6 (Dupont-Jarvis via Docks) and 6B (Bloor-Dundas). The 6A (Bloor-Front and Lake Shore) branch no longer operates in the morning, but continues to operate in the afternoon peak period.

May 11, 2003

The 6 (Dupont-Jarvis via Ferry Docks) branch renamed 6 (Dupont-Queens Quay & Jarvis via Ferry Docks) branch, and the 6A (Bloor-Front and Lake Shore Blvd) branch renamed 6A (Bloor-Queens Quay & Yonge) branch, to more accurately describe the southern terminals.

NORTHBOUND

 

SOUTHBOUND

6

B A Y

 

6

B A Y

TO DUPONT

TO QUEEN’S QUAY & JARVIS
VIA DOCKS

Monday to Friday, daytime & early evening
Weekends, 5 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

6A

B A Y

 

6A

B A Y

TO BLOOR

TO QUEEN’S QUAY & YONGE

Monday to Friday, afternoon rush hours only

6B

B A Y

 

6B

B A Y

TO BLOOR

TO DUNDAS

Monday to Friday, morning rush hours only

February 13, 2005

Service reduced during the morning peak period and the midday from Monday to Friday. During the morning peak period, the combined service between Bay Station and Dundas Street changed from every 2 minutes 30 seconds to every 3 minutes 15 seconds. Service north of Bay Station and south of Dundas Street changed from every 5 minutes to every 6 minutes 30 seconds. During the midday, service changed from every 7 minutes 30 seconds to every 10 minutes.

September 6, 2005

Service increased between approximately 9:00 and 10:00 a.m., from Monday to Friday, from every 10 minutes to every 5 minutes

March 26, 2006

Service currently operates seven days a week, until 10:45 p.m. Monday-to-Friday, and 7:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

November 23, 2008

As part of the TTC’s Ridership Growth Strategy, late evening service is added, seven days a week. Buses now operate whenever the subway is open.

September 6, 2010

Service made accessible with the provision of low floor buses. Buses on this route also equipped with bicycle racks.

May 8, 2011

As part of a general reallocation of resources, service after 10 p.m. on Sundays and holidays eliminated.

July 27, 2012

Last day of service for the 6B branch between Bloor and Dundas. Buses no longer operate along Edward, Elizabeth and Elm after this day. The following Monday, additional service is provided on the 6A branch operating from the Bloor loop south to Queen’s Quay, increasing rush-hour service south of Dundas, looking ahead to providing extra service to the new George Brown campus in the fall when the first classes start. Buses continue to loop via Freeland, Lake Shore and Lower Jarvis, because the roadways at George Brown aren’t open yet.

It also starts operating slightly more frequent service along the 6A than it did along the 6B and slightly more frequent service along the route as a whole, resulting in a significant increase in service south of Dundas.

Buses drop off and pick up passengers at stops along the route north of Bloor Street West every 8 minutes, instead of every 8½ minutes, Mondays to Fridays, during morning rush hours. They serve each stop every 10 minutes, instead of every 10 minutes 20 seconds, during afternoon rush hours.

Between Bloor and Dundas Streets West, buses serve stops every 4 minutes, instead of every 4 minutes 15 seconds, during morning rush hours. They serve stops every 5 minutes, instead of every 5 minutes 10 seconds, during afternoon rush hours.

South of Dundas West, buses serve stops every 4 minutes, instead of every 8½ minutes, during morning rush hours. They serve stops every 5 minutes, instead of every 10 minutes 20 seconds, during afternoon rush hours.

August 15, 2012

As a result of growing development along the East Harbourfront, including a new campus of George Brown College, service on Queen’s Quay is improved and extended. Buses operate east on Queens Quay East, south on Knapp Lane, east and north on Dockside Drive, ending their trips on Dockside just south of Queens Quay. Service on Knapp is temporary because the east end of Dockside isn’t open yet. Buses no longer operate along Freeland, Lake Shore and Lower Jarvis.

September 2, 2012

Also on this day, as a result of heavy construction on Bay Street near Union Station, and because of increasing demand in the East Waterfront, service on a new branch begins. Due to the ongoing construction on Front Street from the Union Station second subway platform project, buses operate along a temporary route near the station. Southbound buses start from a stop south of Front on Bay — beside the Union Station GO Concourse — then proceed south on Bay, east on Queens Quay and then loop via Knapp and Dockside. Northbound buses return via Queens Quay, Yonge, Wellington and Bay to Union. Buses operate during the day on weekdays and on weekend afternoons (until 7 p.m.).

NORTHBOUND

 

SOUTHBOUND

6

B A Y

 

6

B A Y

TO DUPONT

TO QUEEN’S QUAY & SHERBOURNE

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except late evenings, Sundays

6A

B A Y

 

6A

B A Y

TO BLOOR

TO QUEEN’S QUAY
and SHERBOURNE

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

6C

B A Y

 

6C

B A Y

TO UNION STN

TO QUEEN’S QUAY
and SHERBOURNE

Monday to Friday, daytime
Weekend afternoons (to 7 p.m.)

September 10, 2012

With the completion of roads around the new George Brown campus, all buses now loop counterclockwise via Dockside Drive and west along Queen’s Quay. Buses no longer operate long Knapp.

May 10, 2013

With the end of the academic semester at George Brown College, this is the last day of service on the 6C branch between Union Station and Sherbourne. However, with service improvements over the whole of the 6 BAY route, service on the 6C branch is not restored come September.

June 22, 2014

As part of a system-wide reorganization of route branch designations, buses operating on the 6A Davenport (Bloor)-Sherbourne branch are redesignated 6B, ahead of a planned redesignation of the 6 Dupont-Sherbourne branch to 6A. At or before this date

NORTHBOUND

 

SOUTHBOUND

6

B A Y

 

6

B A Y

TO DUPONT

TO QUEEN’S QUAY & SHERBOURNE

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except late evenings, Sundays

6B

B A Y

 

 

 

TO BLOOR

 

Monday to Friday, rush hours only
(southbound buses use 6 exposure)


6 Bay Image Archive


References

  • Filey, Mike, The TTC Story: The First Seventy-Five Years, Dundurn Press, Toronto (Ontario) 1996.

About this Page

This page contains a chronological history of the 6 Bay bus route.

5 Avenue Road was the previous history in this collection.

7 Bathurst is the next history in this collection.

To see a list of all available bus route histories, return to this page or this page for an overview of all available TTC bus related articles, or the main page for news and other articles in Transit Toronto.