Toronto Transportation Commission

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Toronto Transportation Commission bus, circa 1923

Before 1954, the Toronto Transit Commission was called the Toronto Transportation Commission.

History[edit]

Toronto's first public transportation company was the Williams Omnibus Bus Line and owned by undertaker Burt Williams. The franchise carried passengers in horse-drawn stagecoaches along Yonge Street between the St. Lawrence Market and the Village of Yorkville for sixpence in 1849. The city granted the first franchise for a street railway in 1861 to Alexander Easton under the franchise of Toronto Street Railways (TSR) and Metropolitan Street Railway of Toronto (MSR) in 1885. In 1891, the franchise was passed onto William Mackenzie's Toronto Railway Company for 30 years. Outside of the city there were a number of other operators, including:

Prior to the establishment of the TTC, the City of Toronto operated its own system under the Toronto Civic Railways (TCR). However, the TCR routes were operating in areas not served by the private TRC. In 1920, a Provincial Act created the Toronto Transportation Commission (TTC) and, in 1921, the Commission took over and amalgamated nine existing fare systems within the city limits. Between 1921 and 1953, the TTC added 35 new routes in the city and extended 20 more. It also operated 23 suburban routes on a service-for-cost basis. It abandoned money-losing radial railway line (known as 'interurbans' elsewhere in the continent), North Yonge Railways.

The Great Depression and the Second World War both placed heavy burdens on the ability of municipalities to finance themselves. During most of the 1930s, municipal governments had to cope with general welfare costs and assistance to the unemployed. The TTC realized that improvements had to be made despite the depression and in 1936 purchased the first of the newly developed PCC streetcars. The war put an end to the depression and increased migration from rural to urban areas. After the war, municipalities faced the problem of extending services to accommodate the increased population. Ironically, the one municipal service that prospered during the war years was public transit; employers had to stagger work hours in order to avoid overcrowding the streetcars. Toronto continued their program of purchasing PCC cars, running the world's largest fleet, including many obtained second-hand from U.S. cities that abandoned streetcar service.

With the creation of Metro Toronto in 1954 and the building of the Yonge subway line, the Toronto Transportation Commission was renamed the Toronto Transit Commission.

Streetcar[edit]

The Toronto Transportation Commission was mainly a streetcar operator and this remained the core operations before 1954:

All remaining Toronto Railway Company cars as of 1921 and all Toronto Civic Railways cars as of 1921 was absorbed into the TTC. Some older wooden cars were retired due to wear and replaced by Peter Witt orders.

Product list and details (date information from TTC)
 Make/Model   Description   Fleet size   Year acquired   Year retired   Notes 
Preston Car Company Birney Car single truck double end car N/A N/A N/A ex-TCR
Canada Car and Foundry/Brill Peter Witts - Large with trailers single end double truck electric streetcar 575 1921-1923 1965 Small Peter Witt 2766 retained for private charters
Canada Car and Foundry/Ottawa Car Company Peter Witts - Small Witts single end double truck electric streetcar N/A N/A N/A
St. Louis Car Company and CCF President Conference Committee Car A1 single end double truck electric streetcar N/A N/A N/A
St. Louis Car Company PCC A2-8 single end double truck electric streetcar N/A N/A N/A
St. Louis Car Company PCC A9-10 single end double truck electric streetcar N/A N/A N/A ex-Cincinnati
St. Louis Car Company PCC A11 - single end double truck electric streetcar N/A N/A N/A ex-Cleveland
St. Louis Car Company PCC A12 single end double truck electric streetcar N/A N/A N/A ex-Louisville
St. Louis Car Company PCC A13 single end double truck electric streetcar N/A N/A N/A ex-Brimingham
St. Louis Car Company PCC A14 single end double truck electric streetcar N/A N/A N/A ex-Kansas City
St. Louis Car Company PCC A15 single end double truck electric streetcar N/A N/A N/A A8 rebuilds

Buses[edit]

Buses are a large part of the TTC operations today, but before the 1960s they played a lesser role to streetcar operations. Bus service in Toronto started in 1921, but it was not until the creation of the TTC that buses become a part of public transit. There were a few independent bus operators that continued to provide inter-urban bus services:

  • Hollinger Bus Lines (East York and Scarborough 1921-1954)
  • Danforth Bus Lines (Scarborough, North York and York 1926-1954)
  • West York Coach Lines (York, Etobicoke and Malton 1946-1954)
  • Roseland Bus Lines (York, Weston-Woodbridge 1925-1954)

Here is a list of historic and current buses used by the old TTC:

Product list and details (date information from TTC)
 Make/Model   Description   Fleet size   Year acquired   Year retired   Notes 
AEC 404 double-decker bus 1 1922 1940s? upper level was removed in 1925
Fifth Avenue Bus Company L and J double-decker bus 4 - L, 6 - J 1921, 1922 1940s? 1 preserved at Canada Science and Technology Museum
Pierce Arrow Z diesel bus 2 1922 1940s?
Tilling-Stevens TS4 diesel bus 1 1922 1940s? N/A
Veteran K diesel bus 1 1927 1940s? N/A
White Motor Company 50A diesel bus 6 1924 1940s?
White Motor Company 50A diesel bus 5, 10 1927, 1929 1940s? 1929 purchase from Highway Queen Bus Lines; 2 sent to Gray Coach
White Motor Company 50B diesel bus 5 1927 1940s? N/A
Packard ED diesel bus 1 1922 1940s? N/A
Yellow Coach Y-Z (227, 229) diesel bus 5, 6 1925 1940s? N/A
Yellow Coach Y diesel bus 1 1925 1940s? N/A
Yellow Coach Y-O-254 diesel bus 1 1927 1940s? N/A
Yellow Coach Z-AQ-273 diesel bus 4 1926 1940s? N/A
Yellow Coach Y-U-316 diesel bus 3 1927 1940s? N/A
REO 96HTD diesel bus 5 1946–1947 1950s-1960s ex-Hollinger Buslines
REO W diesel bus 3 1928 1950s-1960s? N/A
Fitzjohn FTG diesel bus 6 1951, 1953 1950s-1960s? ex-North York Bus Lines
Fitzjohn Falcon N/A N/A 1950s-1960s? ex-Hollinger Buslines
Fitjohn Hercules JXLD gasoline bus N/A N/A 1950s-1960s? ex-Hollinger Buslines
Ford Transit 19B, 29B diesel bus 2, 4 1941, 1942 1950s-1960s? N/A
Aerocoach P-46-37, P-47-37 diesel bus 2, 1 1947, 1948 1950s-1960s? N/A
Aerocoach 371 diesel bus 1 1948 1950s-1960s? N/A
Prevost 50-PI-33 diesel bus 1 1950 1950s-1960s? N/A
Fagoel/Brill Twin Coach 44S diesel bus 2 1950 1950s-1960s? N/A

Suburban and inter-urban buses[edit]

Gray Coach Lines was suburban bus operator founded in 1927 by the Toronto Transit Commission. Gray Coach used inter-urban coaches to link Toronto to outlying areas throughout Southern Ontario. In addition, Gray Coach operated tour bus operations in association with Gray Line tours. The main terminal was at the Toronto Bus Terminal on Elizabeth Street, downtown.

Here is a list of historic and current buses used by the Gray Coach:

Product list and details (date information from TTC)
 Make/Model   Description   Fleet size   Year acquired   Year retired   Notes 
AEC/CCC Ranger Coach suburban coach 4 1932–1933 N/A later to Gray Coach
Flxible Clippers 29BR-series suburban coach N/A 1940s-1950s N/A acquired by Independent Bus Lines and later to Gray Coach
GM Highway Parlour Coach PD4104 suburban coach 7 1950s N/A later to Gray Coach

Trolley bus lines[edit]

One of TTC's 151 Flyer E700A trolley buses

The TTC once operated trolley buses on 10 routes, mostly on downtown routes and a few in the northern limits of the City of Toronto. The first route began operation with four buses on June 19, 1922 from a shed on Merton St. This early trolley coach operation was replaced by a streetcar line. In later years, many of these routes replaced streetcar routes, using the old overhead power system which was adapted to dipole service. The buses consisted of a standard bus platform with electric motors with two trolley poles connected to electrical lines above. The whole system was scrapped abruptly, apparently due to high operating cost and the age of the vehicles used; this decision has been criticised by some, who note that the prices of gasoline and natural gas have increased dramatically in the subsequent years.

Routes served by trolley buses:

  • 4 Annette
  • 6 Bay
  • 40 Junction
  • 47 Lansdowne
  • 61 Nortown/Nortown West
  • 63 Ossington
  • 74 Mount Pleasant
  • 89 Weston Road
  • 97 Yonge
  • 103 Nortown East

Here is a list of Toronto trolley bus types:

Trolley bus types and details[1]
 Make/Model   Fleet size   Year built   Year acquired   Year retired   Notes 
Packard/Canadian Brill ED 4 1922 (new) 1925 Retired and sold as scrap 1928; # 23 survived and now at Halton County Railway Museum in Rockwood, Ontario
Canadian Car & FoundryBrill T44-T1, T44-T2 and T44-T3 85 1947–48 (new) 1970–71 Rebuilt as Western Flyer E700s (with completely new bodies).
CCFBrill T48A 40 new; 5 secondhand from Ottawa 1953; ex-Ottawa units 1951 40 new; ex-Ottawa units 1959 1970–71 Rebuilt as Western Flyer E700s (with completely new bodies).
Marmon-Herrington TC48-T5 15, all ex-Cincinnati 1948 (1953) 1971  
Marmon-Herrington TC44 8, all ex-Cleveland 1947–48 (1963) 1971
Western Flyer Coach/Flyer Industries Ltd.* E700A 151 1970–72 (prototype built 1968) (new) 1992 Bodies built new, but fitted with electrical equipment and some other components from retired CCF-Brill trolley buses. Also, 23 CCF-Brill T44 and T44A were purchased in 1970 from Cornwall and Halifax and used for parts in this program to build the Flyer E700s.
Brown Boveri & Company (with GM New Look body) 40 1981–82 (1989–90) 1993 Leased from Edmonton Transit System

* = Western Flyer Coach changed its name to Flyer Industries Limited in mid-1971.

Island Ferry[edit]

Main article: Toronto Island Ferry

In 1926 the City of Toronto purchased the ferry services operated by the Toronto Ferry Company. The fleet was transferred to the TTC, which engaged in a modernization program, retiring the smaller older vessels, and purchasing modern, diesel-powered ferries which still provide the backbone of today's service to the Islands.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Porter, Harry; and Stanley F.X. Worris (1979). Trolleybus Bulletin No. 109: Databook II, pp. 52–53. North American Trackless Trolley Association (defunct).
  • The TTC Story by Mike Filey
  • Not A One Horse Town by Mike Filey
  • Reflections & Recollections Transfer Points January 2005
  • Independents Take Over - TTC Goes Metro Wide Transfer Points August–September 2004
  • Toronto Transit Commission Goes Metro Wide Transfer Point December 2004
  • TTC Archives

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Toronto Civic Railways and Toronto Railway Company
Public Transit in Toronto
1921-1954
Succeeded by
renamed Toronto Transit Commission