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TTC staff recommend splitting Queen streetcar route

In a report to the Toronto Transit Commission, TTC staff are recommending splitting the 501 Queen streetcar route into two routes — temporarily, at least.

For a trial period, starting Sunday, October 18, staff are recommending that the TTC replace the long route between Neville Park Loop and either Humber or Long Branch Loops with:

  • an eastern route between Neville and either Bathurst or Shaw Streets; and
  • a western route between Long Branch and either Church or Parliament Streets.

Many regular passengers on streetcars operating along the route complain about inadequate and irregular service, resulting from:

  • streetcars frequently and unexpectedly short-turning before they reach their destination;
  • irregular gaps between streetcars, including both long periods of waiting between each streetcar or bunches of streetcars appearing at a stop within a short period;
  • poor service at the ends of the route — east of Kingston Road and west of the Humber River.

The report also reviews various staff efforts to improve service since May 2008.

You can read the staff report here. (.pdf)

The Toronto Transit Commission will consider the report during its regular meeting tomorrow, Thursday, July 9 at 1 p.m. in the TTC’s Executive Boardroom, seventh floor, 1900 Yonge Street (above Davisville Station.)

The Commissioners are not holding this public meeting in its usual location, City Hall, because of the ongoing City of Toronto labour disruption.

You can read the agenda for the meeting here and the supplementary agenda here.

Commission meetings are open to the public and anyone can attend them. If you are also interested in making a presentation to the Commission, e-mail the Commission’s Coordinator - Secretariat Services at before noon today. You can find out more about making a presentation — or “deputation” — here.

In October, 2007, the National Geographic Society book, Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips identified a trip along the 501 Queen route as one of the world’s 10 best streetcar rides.

According to the book, the Queen streetcar made the list because it is one of the longest routes in North America while showcasing “lively downtown Toronto.”

Tess Kalinowski of the Toronto Star reported about the book and Star columnist Christopher Hume wrote about his trip as he traveled from Neville to Long Branch. You can read their reports here in the Transit Toronto newspaper archive.

The Transit Toronto archives also contain a number of articles by James Bow on the history of transit service along Queen Street and the related services along Kingston Road and Lake Shore Boulevard West.

You can read the history of the 501 Queen route here.

You can read the history of the 502 Downtowner and 503 Kingston Rd Tripper routes here.

You can read the history of the 508 Lake Shore route here.

You can read the history of the former 507 Long Branch route here.

You can also read the history of some of the properties that supported streetcar service along Kingston, Lake Shore and Queen by James Bow here — including articles on Roncesvalles and Russell (Connaught) carhouses and Bingham, Humber, McCaul and Neville Park loops.

(Russell article includes text by Hugh McAuley)

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