Riders, check your timetables. Not only is this a holiday weekend, but the TTC also begins its belated anti-crowding measures on Sunday. The commission has been keeping the details under wraps, but will today announce a swath of bus frequency increases that may change the times vehicles are scheduled to arrive at your stop.
But first, are you ready for Family Day? The brand new holiday falls on Monday, but if you still have to work please check with your transit provider. GTA transit systems are running weekend-type service so I hope no commuters will be caught off guard. Burlington Transit, for example, won’t be operating at all.
GO Transit plans a “Saturday schedule” (which means trains will roll only on the Lakeshore line), and the TTC will run “Holiday Service.” What does that entail? The official website ttc.ca says, “All TTC routes will operate on their Sunday service schedules, but will start earlier, at approximately 6 a.m. Any routes that do not normally operate on Sundays, will not operate on the holiday.”
Volunteers at the unofficial transit.toronto.on.ca site have done a great job by listing a synopsis of Family Day service at all GTA agencies — with links. Too bad the official websites don’t make it as easy to find details about the holiday.
Beyond an extra day off, I think TTC riders are ready for some good news — especially considering how the weather has been making it so tough to get around. Snow has been slowing trains, streetcars and buses as well as fouling up the switches for GO Transit and the Scarborough RT. Drifts and ice have made walking to bus stops and boarding vehicles a challenge; some people have even been stuck at home.
So treat Sunday’s TTC service improvements — set to be unveiled this morning — as a welcome, if overdue, gift. The long-awaited extra buses may not exactly cause you to love Toronto’s transit network (in fact, the system’s overall cleanliness and customer service seems to be inspiring the opposite sentiment lately), but keep an open mind. Over the next weeks see if you notice buses arriving more frequently or a reduction in crowding. With this extra service, which includes enhanced night bus service, our transit mobility is about to expand.
But please prepare yourself for new timetables. Service changes regularly occur every six weeks and usually kick in on a Sunday. Since the number of improvements is so wide-ranging, hopefully there will be a lot of publicity. Note that a great deal of bus stop schedules may need to be replaced along affected routes. During some lesser-travelled periods arrival times could be quite different.
Ed Drass has been covering transportation issues in Toronto since 1998. He has a degree in urban studies from York University and regularly rides transit in the GTA and elsewhere.