Read these daily “on schedule” posts to find news and other information that affects your daily commute. You’ll learn about public meetings, special events and construction projects that affect transit services today.
The TTC is closing its Line 1 (Yonge - University) subway between Downsview and St George stations this Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26.
Line 1 subway trains operate only between Finch and St George stations this weekend.
While this part of the line is closed, TTC crews continue their ongoing work to test and install the new automatic train control system. According to a TTC news release, “When installation is complete in 2019, ATC will result in a more modern and reliable signal system that will allow for a 25 per cent increase in the number of trains operating on Line 1.”
The TTC is operating shuttle buses to partially replace subway service — but only between Downsview and Lawrence West stations. Three construction projects delayed shuttle buses when the TTC operated them south of Lawrence West station during last year’s closures.
This TTC video provides more information about ATC and explains the alternate service plan that the TTC is using to move passengers during this closure.
Instead, the TTC is encouraging passengers to ride connecting routes to stations on the Yonge arm of Line 1 or to Line 2 (Bloor - Danforth) stations. It will double regular service along ten bus and streetcar routes Saturday and Sunday:
- 7 Bathurst;
- 14 Glencairn;
- 32 Eglinton West;
- 29 Dufferin;
- 52 Lawrence West;
- 84 Sheppard West;
- 96 Wilson;
- 109 Ranee;
- 127 Davenport; and
- 512 St Clair.
To improve bus service, the City of Toronto will temporarily ban parking on
- Lawrence Avenue West between Lawrence West and Lawrence stations; and
- Bathurst Street between Barton Avenue and Bloor Street West.
The TTC is also operating extra subway service along the rest of Line 1 during the closure and along Line 2 from 3 until 11 p.m.
Wheel-Trans buses operate to and from Downsview, Lawrence West and St George stations, if you use a wheelchair or mobility device or otherwise need accessible service. Ask TTC staff at these stations for Wheel-Trans.
Dupont and Glencairn stations will be closed. All other stations will be open so you can buy tokens, tickets, passes and other fare media and connect with buses and streetcars.
This weekend, crews are testing the new ATC system between Wilson and Spadina stations. The TTC also expects to have finished all ATC work on Line 1 north of Dupont Station by the end of 2017.
This is the second of 14 weekend closures affecting this part of Line 1 this year, mostly resulting from TTC crews installing and testing ATC. The TTC previously closed the line between Downsview and St George Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22.
Upcoming weekend closures for this part of the line:
- Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10 - Downsview to Lawrence West - track and switch work;
- Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, October 21 and Sunday, October 22 - Downsview to Wilson - ATC;
- Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5 - Downsview to St George - ATC; and
- Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3 - Downsview to Wilson - ATC.
Learn how to get around during the closure if you’re traveling to or from Yorkdale.
- BlogTO post, “This unfunded TTC program could significantly improve your commute”, here.
- BlogTO post, “There’s now WiFi at 54 TTC stations”, here.
- BlogTO post, “10 fascinating secrets of the TTC”, here.
- Canadian Press article, “TTC dismisses 73 people over alleged multimillion dollar benefits fraud scheme” (from the CBC News Toronto website), here.
- CBC News report, Are shields the answer? Fatal stabbing has bus drivers calling for safety barriers”, here.
- CBC News report, “Conservative MPs laugh at Amarjeet Sohi’s past as [Edmonton] bus driver”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Here are 3 different futures for King Street”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Toronto’s auditor general to probe Scarborough subway complaint”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Metrolinx to consider fare based on distance travelled”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Tory not ruling out sales, gas tax for Toronto, if he can get province on board”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Should GO Transit abandon its York U stop? For 1 student, it would be a ‘disaster’”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “From TTC commute to wedding bells - how a bus driver and rider fell in love”, here.
- CityNews Toronto report, “Metrolinx considers fare by distance for GTHA transit users”, here.
- CTV News Toronto report, “TTC delays in 2016 amount to 26 days of lost service”, here.
- CTV News Toronto report, “Neethan Shan wins Ward 42 byelection”, here.
- Daily Commercial News article, “GTAA reveals plans for Pearson transit centre”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Metrolinx rejects Bombardier’s claims of laxity in wake of court filing”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Rethinking King Street: Is Toronto ready to move forward?”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “No tolls? Tory wants provincial money for DVP, Gardiner”, here.
- Huffington Post Canada post, “Liberal MP accuses Tories of Laughing atAmarjeet Sohi’s Past as a Bus Driver”, here.
- insauga post, “Some changes to MiWay services are coming”, here.
- InsideHalton.com article, “All-day, two-way GO train service won’t come to Milton until 2041”, here.
- InsideHalton.com article, “Metrolinx challenges story about all-day, two-way GO train service in Milton”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “War of words between Bombardier and Metrolinx escalates”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “A transit-first pilot project coming to King Street”, here.
- InsideToronto.com column, “TOINTRANSIT: Don’t believe the budget hype”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Search for female suspect as women beaten, thrown into TTC bus”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Love is on the bus: TTC driver finds future wife on temporary route”, here.
- MyKawartha.com article, “Brock councillors trying to improve transit”, here.
- Oshawa Express article, “Province doubling gas tax funds”, here.
- Railway Tracks and Structures post, “IO, Metrolinx move forward with RFP for rail tunnel project”, here.
- Steve Munro’s post, “The Metrolinx Fetish for Fare By Distance”, here.
- Steve Munro’s post, “The Metrolinx Fetish for Fare By Distance (II)”, here.
- Steve Munro’s post, “2017 TTC Budget Smoke and Mirrors at City Hall”, here.
- Steve Munro’s post, “Transit First For King Street?”, here.
- Steve Munro’s post, “Exhibition Loop Reopens for Streetcars”, here.
- Torontoist post, “Cars Take Up Too Much Space on King Street”, here.
- Toronto Star column, “Wake up Toronto and tackle transportation”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Metrolinx to Bombardier: ‘Stop blaming others’ for your mistakes”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “$80M TTC budget hike not quite at ‘record’ level”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Taxpayer-funded transit report kept secret by city”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Hundreds attend to talk about King St. Transit proposal”, here.
- Toronto Star column, “King St. plans still leave room for cars”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “Time to create a TTC transit museum, councillor says”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “73 TTC employees fired so far in ongoing benefits fraud scandal”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “With urbanity denied in North York, what is Scarborough’s fate?”, here.
- Toronto Star column, “In what world is it laughable to drive a bus for a living?”, here.
- Toronto Sun editorial, “Toronto needs a war on the streetcar”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “Transit, pedestrians will be given priority with new King Street traffic flow project”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “73 TTC employees fired since benefits-scam probe began in 2015”, here
- Toronto Sun article, “Kinnear will have to wait for judge to see if he’ll be restored to power”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “TTC denies report Andy Byford is leaving for Australia job”, here.
- Toronto Sun column, “The Way We Were: Historic radial streetcar barn destroyed”, here.
- Toronto Sun commentary, “Mayor on transit: Keeping Toronto on the move”, here.
- Urban Toronto post, “What Will Driverless Cars Mean for Transit and the Urban Realm?”, here.
- Urban Toronto post, “Durham BRT: New Transit Infrastructure East of Toronto”, here.
- Urban Toronto post, “Photo of the Day: Streetcar Reflection”, here.
- Bradford Times article, “Alternate layover location proposed”, here.
- CBC News Thunder Bay report, “Train on track? Thunder Bay Bombardier plant set to deliver first Waterloo LRT vehicle”, here.
- Hamilton Community News article, “A funny thing happened at Hamilton Coun. Terry Whitehead’s news conference”, here.
- Kitchener Post article, “King - Victoria transit hub will be a decade out”, here.
- MyKawartha.com article, “Peterborough Transit hiring five new bus drivers and extras to fill in”, here.
- Peterborough Examiner article, “Province ups gas tax funding for city, county of Peterborough”, here.
- Raise the Hammer post, “Councillors Punish LRT with Vote Against Bay Station”, here.
- St. Catharines Standard article, “Inter-municipal transit speeds up…”, here.
- Talk Radio AM640 report, “[Hamilton] Councillors vote against LRT stop at Bay Street”, here.
TTC streetcars and buses operating along King Streets East and West between River and Dufferin Streets serve the busiest surface transit corridor in Toronto. They carry as many as 65,000 passengers every Monday to Friday.
Despite the large number of riders on King streetcars, service is often slow and erratic. Streetcars share the street with other traffic and left-turning vehicles often delay the cars. In many cases at many times of the day, pedestrians can walk faster than the streetcars can travel the same distance.
King Street is also an important east-west traffic artery in downtown Toronto, connecting many neighbourhoods with the largest concentration of jobs in the city, region, and country. The King Street corridor will continue to grow significantly in population and employment in the coming decades, leading to further demand on these already heavily congested transit routes.
Moreover, even though most people travel by transit on King Street and very few by car, the design allocates the most space to motorists.
Over the past few years, the TTC has made operational changes to improve streetcar service, including: allowing all-door loading (to become more effective with the new low-floor streetcars); adding supplemental buses; extending turning and on-street parking restrictions; optimizing transit stop locations and route running times; adding route supervisors; and improving night service.
But, staff acknowledge that operational changes can only achieve so much — King Street needs “something bigger” to truly unlock the potential of the corridor.
They’ve studied the street between Dufferin and River Streets to come up with ways to speed up transit service.
They also hope to improve the overall design of the street, while continuing to support businesses on King.
Streetcar speeds are erratic in this area and service reliability is unpredictable especially during the busiest time of the week, Mondays to Fridays before about 7 p.m.
Last Monday, February 13, staff, led by the City’s chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, presented three options for improving the street. The City and its partners intend to develop one of these options as a temporary pilot project, hopefully, by next year.
According to the City’s website, “Pilot projects are an efficient and cost-effective way for cities to quickly test out new ideas… to learn important lessons about what works and what doesn’t. The City can monitor and collect data to measure how [the pilot meets] overall objectives… and make adjustments before [making] a larger investment in permanent infrastructure… Pilot projects also offer an opportunity to [discuss new ideas] with stakeholders and the public.”
The three options (Option B has two sub-options):
Since the east end of the study area has more nearby streets to handle traffic that would usually travel along King, the City has decided to pilot the project between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets — and possibly as far east as Parliament Street. This area is where streetcar ridership on the King corridor is also the highest.
About 300 people attended the first public meeting on February 13. The City and its partners intend to consult further with residents, business owners and members of the public to narrow the three options down to just one. They expect to present a final pilot project plan to the Toronto Transit Commission and then City Council to consider late this spring. They also intend to start implementing the plan this fall.
From the Transit Toronto archives:
Buses and streetcars operating along these routes resume regular service into and out of the loop:
- 307 Bathurst overnight;
- 363 Ossington overnight;
- 509 Harbourfront; and
- 511 Bathurst.
The TTC continues to operate buses, instead of streetcars along the 511 Bathurst route due to a general shortage of available cars and ongoing construction at Bathurst Station.
While the loop was closed TTC and Metrolinx contractors
- rehabilitated concrete on TTC and GO Transit properties , including the eastbound train at Exhibition GO Station);
- replaced a 100-year-old retaining wall with a new barrier wall that separates the respective properties;
- upgraded the drainage system; and
- replaced tracks.
Surveyors are working near Main Street Station, preventing streetcars from entering the station terminal tomorrow, Saturday, February 18, morning.
The TTC is detouring streetcars operating along this route:
- 506 Carlton
from 7 until 11 a.m. tomorrow.
Shuttle buses replace the cars east of Coxwell Avenue.
From 2 p.m. Friday, February 17 and from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19, the TTC is closing its Keele Station parking lot on Indian Road to let crews install electrical cables along the subway bridge. The work also block the eastern secondary entrance into Keele Station off Indian Grove.
Crews use special equipment on a flat-bed truck and portable lighting to complete this work. For safety reasons, they must complete part of this work at night.
You can only enter or exit Keele Station at the main entrance while crews are working.
The Toronto Transit Commission meets next Tuesday, February 21 at 1 p.m. in the Council Chamber, City Hall, 100 Queen Street West.
The commission is the TTC’s board of directors. It oversees matters of policy and planning, building, maintaining and operating the TTC system and expanding its services and facilities.
Commissioners include City of Toronto councillors and members of the public.
The Metrolinx board of directors is holding its next meeting this Friday, February 17.
As usual, the agenda for the meeting contains both public and confidential items. The board will discuss the confidential items in a private session that starts at 8 a.m. The board then meets in public to discuss the other items on the agenda at 9:45 a.m. At the end of the public session, the board again meets privately.
The meeting takes place in the Peter R. Smith Boardroom, Union Station, West Wing, 4th Floor, 97 Front Street West.
You can view the agenda for the meeting here.
More than 55,000 transit passengers a day in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton currently pay two fares for each trip, creating, Metrolinx says, a “barrier” that discourages people from using public transit. As rapid growth continues in the region, trips between municipalities form an increasingly large share of total travel.
Since local and regional transit agencies and their passengers are increasingly using PRESTO fare-cards, Metrolinx sees more possibilities for new regional fare approaches. Expanding rapid transit will be better with an integrated fare system, it claims.
In a report to its board of directors meeting this Friday, February 17, Metrolinx staff suggest that charging passengers for the distance they travel might be one way to improve the fare structure across the region.
Over the past year, Metrolinx has been considering three other models for charging fares, particularly when passengers travel on vehicles from more than one transit agency. All models depend on all regional and local transit passengers fully using the PRESTO fare-card system.
The three models that it’s already been reviewing:
1.) Modifying the current fare environment to address the most significant issues
With this model, most fares would remain the same, except for passengers who cross municipal boundaries. Instead of paying double fares, as they do now, these passengers would receive a discount for the second (or third) fare.
This would be the simplest model for Metrolinx and the local transit services to set up and would require no change to the current PRESTO system.
However, Metrolinx notes that discounts can’t fairly price the variety of trips across municipal boundaries and that “municipal boundaries still have arbitrary impacts on trip price”. (Staff are referring to passengers who may only travel a short distance - from East Mississauga to Etobicoke by MiWay and TTC, for example - but still have to pay extra because they has to transfer from one transit agency to another.)
2.) Re-introducing fare zones
With this model, Metrolinx would develop a new regional fare structure with passengers paying extra fares as they travelled from zone to zone.
This model would allow transit agencies to charge less for short trips. However, similar to municipal boundaries, zone boundaries have arbitrary impacts on trip price, depending on the position of the trip start and end points with respect to the boundary.
The TTC previously used fare zones until 1973. York Region Transit still uses zones for passengers travelling between north and south York Region.
3.) Using a hybrid model
With this model, Metrolinx would develop a new fare structure with a region-wide flat fare for local trips while charging fare by distance for trips by rapid transit and regional trips. Fares would better reflect the value of each trip, Metrolinx says, independent of location or municipal boundaries. This model would require little change to how passengers use PRESTO to pay fares. However, staff have concluded, it introduces a price discrepancy between long trips on local transit and those on rapid transit and has limited ability to lower pricing for short trips.
It also provides a limited range of practical pricing options to address the loss of fare revenue resulting from region-wide flat fares on local transit.
With this report to the board, staff introduce the new fare-by-distance model for all fares in the region. (GO Transit uses a version of this model in its pricing, but it also adds a premium for express travel.)
4.) Charging fares by the distance that each passenger travels
Staff say that this model provides the greatest consistency in fares across all services and has the potential for high ridership due to lower-cost fares for short trips.
Metrolinx continues to complete a business case for integrating fares. Its vision is to increase passenger mobility, while maintaining the financial sustainability of transit services. When it fully establishes an integrated fare system, Metrolinx says, it intends for commuting costs to be no more than they are today. Integrating fares will remove barriers and enable commuters to perceive and experience transit as one network of multiple systems or service providers.
You can view the full staff presentation on fare integration here. (.pdf)