Editorial Archive

TTC’s Blue Night Network ensures 24-hour transit service across the city

6/21/13 6:00 AM

Last week, I ventured out to sample the TTC’s Blue Night Network – the late-night bus and streetcar service that criss-crosses the city after the subway closes each night. Every month, I shadow a different job role to see life through a staff member’s eyes.

Overnight services began before the TTC was even officially formed in 1921. During the Second World War the service was expanded to provide additional transit options for workers travelling to and from shifts at 24-hour factories that were part of the war effort.

The overnight network remained largely unchanged between the 1950s and the 1980s, but a major review in 1987 saw it expanded and rebranded as the Blue Night Network.

A further expansion was delivered in 2005, with new overnight services on routes, such as Steeles East, Lawrence East, Lawrence West and Sheppard East. Today, eight streetcars and approximately 80 buses are used to operate the 24 routes (22 bus/two streetcar) that make up the Blue Night Network.

So basically we’re running a 30-minute service with more frequent service on the key subway replacement routes – 320 Yonge and 300 Bloor-Danforth – as well as all-night service to Pearson International Airport.

In fact, service has been steadily added in the last few years to the very busiest overnight routes, such as 320 Yonge and 300 Bloor-Danforth. These now run every few minutes.

It was good to spend time with our dedicated, professional night staff, and to be able to get feedback from customers about what they thought of the service. The Request Stop Program, for example, where customers can be dropped at any location along a bus route  – where safe to do so – was particularly appreciated.

Many large American cities offer very little transit service outside peak hours, but the TTC proudly provides service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There is still plenty more to do to transform the TTC, but my experience last week suggests we are building on some very good foundations.

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