ttc service cut

TTC buses and subways will soon start arriving less frequently

The TTC is set to drastically cut service hours on public transit starting May 10, with the overall reduction resulting in roughly 16 per cent fewer hours of weekly service. 

The changes come after the transit agency announced they'd be laying off roughly 1,200 employees following an 85 per cent drop in ridership and a loss of $90 million in monthly revenue. 

According to a notice posted to the TTC's website, the majority of service will remain unchanged but vehicles of all kinds — including trains, buses and streetcars — will arrive less frequently. 

"Almost all modes and all routes have seen some form of reduction in the form of slightly increased gaps between vehicle arrivals at most times of day with no cancellations. We are also holding back on some seasonal services like trips to Bluffer's Park and the Toronto Zoo," said TTC spokesperson Stuart Green in an email.

"As our CEO has indicated, our plan is to match service with demand. Ridership and revenues are currently at 15 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels."

The specific details of all the service cuts on each route have yet to be publicly released by the TTC, but transit reporter Steve Munro posted some fairly in-depth information on the reductions to his website today based on the number of vehicles in service. 

"Broken down by mode, the change in hours is greatest on the streetcar system at 20.7 per cent, then the subway at 15.7 per cent, then buses at 10.2 per cent. There is no change in SRT service," Munro wrote.

"Another way to look at this, at least for peak periods, is the number of vehicles scheduled during the two peaks. Both the bus and streetcar fleets fielded for service will decline by about 20 per cent."

Meanwhile, Green said the transit system started adjusting service in late March to account for changes in ridership and revenue, and that the latest changes in the schedule "formalize current levels of service at around 85 per cent of normal." 

He said the approach will allow the transit system to balance their financial challenges with the needs of Toronto residents who are still relying on the TTC to get to work, appointments and to access essential goods and services. 

Many in Toronto have been critical of the TTC's moves to lay off employees and reduce service since photos have continued to emerge of crowded buses with little to no space for social distancing.

But Green says the Transit Control Centre will be managing service in real time and redeploying vehicles if and when they're needed most. 

"As this was a sudden and dramatic reduction in demand, these changes are temporary and designed to both address higher demand routes and to be scaled back up as ridership returns to normal," he said.

The TTC is expected to release further details about the schedule changes in the coming days.

Lead photo by

Ashton Emanuel

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