|Termini||Neville Loop (East)
Long Branch Loop (West)
|Daily ridership||43,500 (2011)|
|Operator(s)||Toronto Transit Commission|
|Depot(s)||Russell, Roncesvalles |
|Rolling stock||CLRV, ALRV|
|Line length||24.43 km (15.18 mi) |
|Track gauge||4 ft 10 7⁄8 in (1,495 mm) - TTC Gauge|
|Electrification||600 VDC Overhead|
The 501 Queen is an east-west streetcar route in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). At 24.8 kilometres (15.4 mi), it is the TTC's longest surface route, the longest streetcar route operating in North America and one of the longest streetcar routes operating in the world. It stretches from Long Branch Loop (just west of Browns Line, adjacent to Long Branch GO Station) in the west to Neville Park Loop (just west of Victoria Park Avenue) in the east, running on Lake Shore Boulevard, in a reserved right-of-way at the median of The Queensway, and on Queen Street. The route was first instituted in the mid-to-late-19th century by private operators as a horse-drawn line, was later electrified, and was assumed by the TTC upon its creation in 1921. Service is provided 24 hours a day, though the route number changes to 301 Queen late at night.
The 501 Queen is one of the routes regularly operated with the TTC's double-length ALRVs. It runs with a combined service of five minutes during rush hour, four to ten at other times, and 10 to 30 overnight from approximately 1:00 a.m. until 5:00 a.m. The route is split into two branches, one running from Neville Park to Humber Loop on the Queensway, and the other running all the way to Long Branch. Every other streetcar is scheduled to go to Long Branch. The route interchanges with the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line at Queen and Osgoode stations.
Former Route 507
Route 501 used to run only as far west as Humber Loop, which until 1973 was a fare zone boundary point. Another route, 507 Long Branch, ran from Humber to Long Branch. The TTC decided in the 1990s to amalgamate the two routes and create today's continuous route.
- 501 Neville Park/501 Long Branch: Neville Park Loop to Long Branch Loop
- 501 Humber: Westbound from Neville Park Loop to Humber Loop
Critics of the TTC's management of this line argue that small delays at one end ripple into 30-40 minute waits at the other. Like route 504, there is much demand at either end of the route, and along the downtown middle stretch. Transit proponents such as Steve Munro have long claimed that Route 501 would be better off if it were split into two or three overlapping segments. A report presented to the Commission for its January 23, 2008, meeting cites steps taken to improve performance on the line, including consideration of splitting the route into multiple routes with overlap in the middle. A report is expected by summer 2008 with a trial implementation in the fall. At the Commission's May 2008 meeting, the TTC discussed measures implemented and future plans. Six supervisors are to be hired and placed along the route. As well, the TTC is actively considering plans that would split route 501 into two or three segments. Potential options include restoring and/or extending the 507 route, or overlapping segments through the downtown core.
2009 trial route splitting
The TTC conducted an experiment of splitting the 501 streetcar route into two overlapping segments, as recommended by the critics to alleviate bunching, gaps and short turns when delays occurred.
During the experiment streetcars from the Neville Park Loop ran west on Queen as far as Shaw Street, and from Long Branch Loop or Humber Loop east as far as Parliament Street.
In January 2010 the commission received a report analyzing several of the experiments done in 2009 to increase service reliability. It was determined that splitting the route actually increased short turns, required more streetcars and resulted in poorer service, and was therefore considered an unfavourable option going forward.
Sites along the line (from east to west)
- Neville Park Loop
- The Beaches
- Moss Park
- Moss Park Armoury
- Queen station
- Yonge Street
- Eaton Centre
- Old City Hall courts
- Toronto City Hall, Nathan Phillips Square
- Osgoode Hall
- Osgoode station
- Four Seasons Centre
- 299 Queen Street West (Home to Much Music, CTV Globemedia)
- Trinity Bellwoods Park
- Ossington Avenue
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
- Drake Hotel
- Gladstone Hotel
- High Park
- Humber Loop
- Long Branch Loop
Short turn locations
Every second car heading west is short turned at Humber Loop at the mouth of the Humber River. The most common locations for short turns outside of the schedule are Sunnyside loop just west of Roncesvalles Avenue beside the Roncesvalles Carhouse, and in the east, Woodbine Loop, just east of the junction of Queen Street East, Eastern Avenue, and Kingston Road.
501 streetcars are less commonly short turned at, ordered from east to west:
- Russell Carhouse – Exclusively for streetcars that are going out of service. These cars are usually signed "501 Greenwood/Connaught"
- On street loop via Church Street, Richmond Street East, and Victoria Street – 501 Church
- McCaul Loop – 501 McCaul
- Spadina Avenue and King Street (Charlotte loop) – 501 Spadina
- Bathurst Street (Wolseley Loop) – 501 Bathurst
- Shaw Street turning onto King Street and Dufferin Street – 501 Shaw
- Dufferin Street and Springhurst Avenue (Exhibition West loop) – 501 Dufferin
- Kipling Avenue – 501 Kipling
Proof-of-payment fare system
In 1990, the commission introduced a Proof-of-Payment fare system for this route, to speed loading and improve service. Passengers who already have a valid pass or transfer may board at any door of the streetcar without showing their ticket, but are subject to random ticket inspections. Passengers who pay a fare to the driver must take a transfer to show if they are inspected.
The 501 Queen is the only streetcar route where this proof-of-payment system is feasible without a larger-scale redesign of the TTC's fare system, since it is the only one that never enters the fare-paid area of a subway station; even if people did manage to evade paying the streetcar fare, they would not be able to transfer to any other route without paying. The Commission ended the proof-of-payment system in 2000, but it was reinstated after groups such as Rocket Riders successfully appealed the decision in 2002.
Today the Proof-of-Payment system is in effect from 7am to 7pm. Outside of these hours, entry can be gained only through the front door of the streetcar.
Former subway plans
The TTC's original subway plans in the 1940s and 1950s called for the north-south rapid transit line built under Yonge Street (the first section of today's Yonge-University-Spadina line) to be complemented by an east-west streetcar subway under Queen Street, allowing streetcars to avoid city-centre traffic, but come above ground and run on city streets in outlying areas. When the Government of Canada refused to help fund the project, the Queen line was dropped to save money, but a set of streetcar platforms were built under Queen station to allow for further expansion. By the time the TTC returned to the idea of an east-west line, however, traffic had moved north to Bloor Street, and the Bloor-Danforth line line was built there as a dedicated rapid-transit line like that under Yonge.
On April 2, 2007, the Toronto Transit Commission proposed that the 501 Queen streetcar route operate in a transit-only right-of-way similar to the proposal for the 504 King streetcar route announced on March 22, 2007. These plans have been all but shelved; the TTC is now focusing on King street for a transit mall because of objections from merchants on Queen St. who claim their businesses are more car-based than that of King.
- "Ridership and cost statistics for bus and streetcar routes, 2011". Toronto Transit Commission. April 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- Toronto Transit Commission (September 18, 2009). "TTC Service Summary".
- Vanessa Farquharson (2012-03-24). "Riding the 501: The longest streetcar route in North America". National Post. Archived from the original on 2013-02-24. "With nearly 25 kilometres of track, the 501 Queen is the longest streetcar route operating in North America."
- Christopher Hume (2007-12-29). "It's not too good if you're in a hurry, but the 501 does give a wonderful look at city's many faces". Toronto Star. p. A.3. Retrieved 2013-02-24. "Torontonians who ride it daily might not be impressed, butNational Geographic has named the Queen streetcar, the 501, one of the top 10 trolley routes in the world. The honour is included in a new book, Journeys of a Lifetime 500 of the World's Greatest Trips."
- As seen on this 1968 map.
- Kuitenbrouwer, Peter (2007-11-24). "Crown jewel badly tarnished". National Post (Toronto). Retrieved 2008-01-21.[dead link]
- "501 Queen Streetcar Route - Issues and Solutions". TTC. 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
- "TTC temporarily splits 501 streetcar route". CBC News. 2009-10-19. Archived from the original on 2013-02-24. "Toronto transit advocate Steve Munro said that people who are travelling downtown from the outer ends of the city will still be able to make the trip in one ride."
- Thandiwe Vela (2009-10-15). "TTC to split Queen streetcar route". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2013-02-24. "On weekdays between Oct. 19 and Nov. 20, the west portion of the route will run from Long Branch to Parliament St. while the east portion will run from Neville Park to Shaw St., the TTC announced in a statement. Saturday, Sunday and holiday service will not be changed."
- "October 2009 - Service changes effective October 18, 2009". TTC. October 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
- "501 Queen Streetcar Route: Final Recommendations". TTC. 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2012-07-29.
- Tess Kalinowski (2010-01-19). "TTC gives up attempt to divide Queen route". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2013-02-24. "A report before the city councillors on the Toronto Transit Commission on Wednesday shows that splitting the route in half actually increased the number of short turns by 90 per cent overall during a five-week experiment last October and November."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 501 Queen.|
- TTC Official Site
- Route 501 - The Queen Streetcar (Transit Toronto)
- 501 Queen map
- Photo tour of 501 Queen (Transit Toronto)