Historically the Long Branch streetcar has been the link that tied together the villages of Mimico, New Toronto, and Long Branch.
However the increasingly erratic 501 streetcar line service is adversely affecting this link, driving many existing and potential customers to take a bus to the subway or to buy a car.
The Lakeshore Planning Council (LPC) unanimously recommended in our September 2009 meeting that the TTC reinstate and extend the 507 Lakeshore streetcar route between Long Branch loop and Dundas West Station. This would extend the eastern terminus along The Queensway and north on Roncesvalles Drive.
This will improve service reliability along Lakeshore Blvd and the Queensway, so that the Lakeshore community streetcar riders will no longer be dependent solely on the unreliable 501 streetcar.
In addition, passengers would no longer have to wait to transfer at the isolated and unsafe feeling Humber Loop.
This extended 507 route would also provide connections to the 504 King car and other streetcar routes, greatly reducing the 507 route’s traditional dependence on the erratic 501 streetcar.
The old 507 route’s eastern terminus at Humber Loop is problematic as when the 501 Queen service is backed up in town, Lakeshore passengers are left stranded there.
We understand that the TTC announced that it will trial a split of the 501 Queen route in the October 19 2009 board period to try to improve the 501 line’s reliability. The 501 route split will split the route intown, not along Lakeshore, with the overlap between Dufferin/Lansdowne.
As the split 501 route to Long Branch will still consist of the downtown portion of the route from Parliament Street, there is still very much opportunity for streetcar delays, bunching, and accidents.
Current 501 riders along the Queensway would still retain their one seat ride into town, as the 501 would still serve Humber Loop. However the 507 route will also give such riders a direct one seat ride to the subway at Dundas West station. Thus the extended 507 route will give an effective and reliable option for such riders to travel east into town and back, and no longer captive to the unreliable 501 Queen car.
Also, as many 504 King streetcars are short turned downtown and never make it to Roncesvalles, 507 streetcars will provide much needed service along this street.
The restored and extended 507 Lakeshore line would provide much more reliable and regular service along the Queensway, and provide a second all day and evening streetcar line along the Queensway and Lakeshore Blvd.
The current 501 line is the only all day and evening link between Humber Loop and Roncesvalles Avenue. When the 501 line is delayed east of Roncesvalles, riders on the Queensway and Lakeshore Blvd are greatly impacted.
A second all day and evening streetcar route is therefore needed to provide reliable and regular transit service for the 11 km of the streetcar route from Roncesvalles to Long Branch loop.
A second such streetcar route would also maximize effectiveness of the Queensway rapid transit right of way.
The 94 Wellesley bus route is one of the lines proposed in the Transit City Bus Plan for minimum 10 minute service. Currently this 94 route carries about 10,000 passengers a day, and is just over 6 km long.
In comparison, the 501 Queen car west of Humber Loop carries more passengers and is just under 8 km long, but has less frequent and much less reliable service.
Current 501 Queen Service on the Humber to Long Branch section is:
• Weekdays between 10 min 40 sec and 20 min 00 sec all day
• Saturday less than every 10 minutes only in the afternoon, otherwise between 12 min 30 sec and 18 min 00 sec
• Sunday between 11 min 00 sec and 20 min 00 sec all day
(all figures from Stevemunro.ca)
Why do riders of the Wellesley bus get much better service than riders of the 501 Queen car in Lake Shore?
Why should the Lakeshore community put up with years of LRT construction for such lousy service, if the TTC’s not willing to improve Lakeshore streetcar service now?
How can the TTC and City argue for ‘rapid transit’ LRT service along the Lakeshore in the future, when they won’t run streetcar service to Transit City Bus Plan 10 minute minimum service now?
The Lakeshore Planning Council also has an issue with poor streetcar line service management. Most dramatically this was felt when the 507 line was temporarily re-introduced 2 years ago because of track construction, and resulted in bunching of many streetcars, even though there was little traffic congestion along the route to cause such bunching.
Service reliability is much more important than a one seat ride. If the 501 streetcar doesn’t arrive or is significantly late, the one seat ride becomes a no seat ride.
The Lakeshore Planning Council (LPC) asks the TTC Commissioners if there is an interim report on the timed transfer is being piloted on St. Clair Avenue.
Feedback in the Lakeshore community has been very favourable to the timed transfer idea. So the Planning Council (LPC) requests a similar pilot for the current 501 streetcar route along Lakeshore Boulevard.