Toronto Transit Commission bus system

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Buses of the Toronto Transit Commission
TTC 1515.JPG
An Orion VII Next Generation hybrid electric bus stationary in Downtown Toronto
Slogan The Better Way
Founded 1921
Headquarters William McBrien Building
1900 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Locale Toronto
Service area Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham
Service type Local, express, night, minibus, bus rapid transit, shuttle, paratransit
Alliance GO Transit, MiWay, York Region Transit, Brampton Transit, Durham Region Transit, VIVA
Routes 172 total
131 local/regular
22 Blue Night (night service)
8 rocket (express)
6 community
5 downtown express
Fleet
Fuel type Diesel, Hybrid electric
Operator Toronto Transit Commission
Website Bus routes

The Toronto Transit Commission uses buses, as well as other vehicle types, for public transportation. With over 172 bus routes in operation, the TTC attracts over 487 million riders each year.[1] Each route is further divided into branch routes which take slightly different paths from the original route. Express routes are also provided. The system is available 24 hours each day, where during nights, different routes are operated than during the day and are limited. Apart from within Toronto, some bus routes extend beyond the city limits into Mississauga and York Region, where a fare zone takes effect. Almost all buses are accessible while most of them are also equipped with bicycle racks. In 2009, the TTC began its first bus rapid transit service in the city, the York University Busway.

The TTC owns over 2,000 buses as of 2010, holding the third largest bus fleet in North America, behind New York City Transit Authority (6,263) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (2,911). Additionally, the TTC has 693 hybrid electric buses in its fleet, the second largest in North America.

History[edit]

A route 89 TTC trolleybus on Weston Road north of Albion Road/Walsh Avenue travelling southbound in 1987
From 1947 to 1993, the TTC's system included several trolley bus routes, such as this one in 1987.

Bus service in Toronto initiated in 1849, when the first public transport system in Toronto, the Williams Omnibus Bus Line, was launched. The service began with a fleet of six horse-drawn stagecoaches. After ten years, the use of streetcars were introduced in the city as the Toronto Street Railway (TSR) was established in 1861. After a year of competition between the two companies, the TSR had surpassed Williams Omnibus Line in ridership.[2]

Up until 1921, several private and publicly owned transport systems were established and eventually ended up being merged into one another or abandoning. Electric streetcars were widely used in Toronto and surrounding settlements during the new century. After the establishment of the Toronto Transportation Commission (TTC) (predecessor of the Toronto Transit Commission until 1954), streetcar routes were taken over from predecessors in 1921. It ran bus routes by using motor buses for the first time in the city.[3] The TTC also experimented the use of trolleybuses from 1922 to 1925. Gray Coach, an intercity bus line by the TTC, began operation in 1927. As the coach service increased in ridership, the TTC built the Toronto Coach Terminal. By 1933, the TTC introduced the local bus and streetcar stop design, a white pole with a red band on the top and bottom. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, the city began replacing various street railway routes extending to surrounding municipalities with bus routes. Between 1947 and 1954, the TTC acquired new trolleybuses and converted several streetcar routes to use them.

A few private bus operations existed alongside the Toronto Transportation Commission, including Hollinger Bus Lines in East York (1921–1954), Danforth Bus Lines in North Toronto and King City and its subsidiaries North York Bus Lines in North York and Toronto Bus lines which operated north and east of Toronto (1926–1954), West York Coach Lines in York (1946–1954), Hollinger Bus Lines which operated in East York and Scarborough as well as a route to Mount Albert and Roseland Bus Lines which served York and had a route from Weston to Woodbridge (1925–1954). All services were taken over by the TTC on January 1, 1954, making it the sole public transit operator in the newly formed Metropolitan Toronto.

In 1966, plans were made to replace all streetcar routes with buses in the next 20 years. The plan was cancelled in 1972 and streetcar routes were rebuilt. Two years before the cancellation of the plan, GO Transit was established by the Government of Ontario with Gray Coach serving as its operator for most of its routes. The TTC operated its first dial-a-bus services under GO Transit in 1973. In 1975, the first paratransit service, Wheel-Trans, was established by a private operator. The TTC also began using minibuses for minor routes, which would be replaced by regular buses by 1981.

In 1987, the TTC implemented the Blue Night Network, an expansion of its overnight services using buses and streetcars. The following year, the TTC took over Wheel-Trans services. In 1989, the TTC began using buses fuelled by compressed natural gas (CNG). The TTC sold Gray Coach Lines to the Scotland-based Stagecoach Group in 1990, while also introducing "community buses," providing minibus service in a few residential neighbourhoods.[4] In 1993, the TTC ceased the use of electric trolley buses. Accessibility expanded to regular buses in 1996 with the use of lift-equipped buses. This was further improvised two years later when low-floor buses were added to the fleet.

The TTC experimented with hybrid electric buses during the mid-2000s.[5] The first hybrid buses entered service in 2006, the same time CNG-fuelled buses were retired.

New TTC Nova Bus LFS Artic in Hillcrest open house.

With the announcement of Transit City in 2007, the TTC announced it would introduce new bus rapid transit (BRT) routes in certain transit corridors. By 2008, the TTC increased service for 31 bus routes, extending operating hours as well.[6] In 2009, the TTC opened its first BRT route when route 196 York University Rocket was rerouted to the York University Busway.

The TTC has ordered 27 articulated buses, nicknamed 'Artics', which should be running in the fall of 2013, but began revenue operation in the spring of 2014. At 60 feet (18 m) long versus a standard 40-foot bus, the Nova LFS Artics hold about 112 people, compared with 65 on the usual bus.[7]

Operations[edit]

A Nova Bus RTS serving the 60 Steeles West route

There are over 172 bus routes, not including branches, that span a total length of 6,934.1 kilometres (4,308.6 mi). In addition to regular bus routes, which operate from 5:00 AM to 1:30 AM from Monday to Saturday and from 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM on Sundays, the TTC also operates rush hour only express routes (usually denoted by an E after the route number though exceptions exist), all day express buses termed "rockets" (190 series), downtown non-stop premium express buses (140 series), a night bus service (part of the Blue Night Network 300 series numbered bus routes), and community bus routes (400 series), which serve a few suburban Toronto neighbourhoods.

A route is referred to by its route number and name (for example, 115 Silver Hills). The name of the route is usually named after the road or community which it primarily serves, though there are few that do not accurately represent the route (a comparatively short section of the 109 Ranee for example serves Ranee Avenue); a branch route is denoted by a letter after the original number (for example, 52A Lawrence West). A branch route travels in the same street and direction as the original route but will take a slightly different path and/or have different terminals. All of the TTC's regular routes, except for two (99 Arrow Road and 171 Mt. Dennis), connect to a rapid transit station.

Fleet and storage[edit]

Shelters[edit]

Prior to the 1980s, the bus shelters on TTC routes were installed and maintained by the TTC and the city. A number of shelters are installed by CBS Outdoor (formerly Mediacom and TDI) and formerly by Transad (now[when?] Transad Outdoor Media). In addition, CBS Outdoor is responsible for all other forms of advertising on the TTC.

Bike racks[edit]

Bicycle on a TTC Orion VII NG bus #8213 with its rack mounted.

In the summer of 2005, the TTC began a pilot project to test bicycle racks on five select routes as a way to boost ridership and to be more environmentally friendly. The folding racks are installed on the front of the bus and can hold two bikes. In the event that both slots at the front of the bus are full, bicycles are allowed to be put inside buses after rush hour periods only.

Bike racks were tested at Wilson garage during 2005 and 2006 using the Orion V, VI and later VII bus models. TTC staff concluded that the pilot project was not a success and that it should be discontinued, but the Commission disagreed, and voted to not only continue it, but to direct that bike racks will be installed on all new buses starting in 2007. The Commission has since directed staff to look into the cost of retrofitting the entire bus fleet with bike racks. The original bike rack model will not be used on newer buses, due to it blocking the high beams on the Orion VII, and a different model from the same manufacturer will be used starting on 2007 deliveries. None of this is included in the five-year capital budget.

The TTC's latest order of hybrid buses came factory-equipped with these racks, and all 200 of Wilson's accessible Orion VIIs are already equipped, or soon to be equipped, with these racks in addition to the remaining Orion Vs. (The Orion VIs were retired in 2006.)

The new articulated buses came equipped with bike racks, but had to be removed, as bikes on the racks can obscure the bus driver's view. During off-peak hours, cyclists can bring their bikes inside the articulated bus to compensate for the removal of bike racks.

Future[edit]

The TTC cannot order new buses because it does not have any more bus storage capacity. The TTC is building the McNicoll bus garage to increase capacity.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Record ridership projected for 2011 budget - TTC staff recommend 10-cent fare increase, service reallocation". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  2. ^ http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/alltime/toronto-on.html
  3. ^ http://www3.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/History/Milestones.jsp
  4. ^ http://transit.toronto.on.ca/bus/8109.shtml
  5. ^ TTC Meeting Minutes 1896M, April 23, 2008
  6. ^ http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/303641
  7. ^ New TTC Buses 02 January 2013