On June 15, 2015, the TTC announced the establishment of a “Ten-Minute-or-Better Service Network” comprised of 52 routes in the City of Toronto. Several key routes in South Etobicoke are among those that will see improvements in service. These include the 501 Queen streetcar, the 44 Kipling South bus, and the 76 Royal York bus.
For those who live or work in South Etobicoke and travel to points in central and north Etobicoke, the 45 Kipling bus and 191 Highway 27 Rocket will also become part of the “Ten-Minute-or-Better Service Network.” Together with the Kipling 44, this will establish all-day frequent bus service between Humber College’s Lakeshore and North Campuses and provide students and staff with a reliable way to travel via public transit between campuses.
Importantly, the service level commitment being promised for the 501 streetcar extends to the route’s western terminus at the Long Branch loop. Currently, frequent and often unpredictable short-turning of westbound 501 streetcars during times of peak demand significantly undermines the reliability of the route. If this service commitment is met, any short-turning streetcar should be followed close behind by a 501 Long Branch.
Torontonians will have to remain patient however, as the improvements are being implemented through the end of 2015 and well into 2016. The Toronto Star reports that the TTC is undertaking a major hiring push to ensure it has a sufficient number of operators to provide the improved service.
Implementation of the service improvements on the 501 route in particular will also be contingent on delivery of more of the new flexity streetcars from Bombardier. As the June 22, 2015 update on the original staff report notes [PDF]:
implementation of ten-minute service on the following routes cannot be achieved until later in 2016 when peak vehicles become available for use
However, as Steve Munro notes in his summary of the service improvements, “nothing prevents the TTC from adding off-peak service immediately.” In fact, establishing 10-minute or better service off-peak arguably delivers a more significant improvement than on-peak, since the on-peak headways are just slightly over 10 mins during peak period already. See the table below for current headways on the 501 Long Branch (data reformatted from Steve Munro’s chart [PDF]):
|501 Long Branch|