The extreme cold will affect Toronto Transit Commission streetcar service for this afternoon’s rush hour. The TTC is advising that afternoon rush hour will see a shortage of 15 streetcars across the network. The TTC normally operates about 200 streetcars during peak afternoon service.
The 503 Kingston Rd and 508 Lake Shore routes will be replaced by buses so streetcars can be used on the TTC’s busier streetcar routes. Additional buses will be used to supplement streetcar routes where necessary.
Even with supplemental bus service, the afternoon commute will take longer than usual. Customers should use nextbus.com to see when their next streetcar or bus is due to arrive at their stop. The TTC is preparing for another cold night and will have buses on standby first thing tomorrow morning.
The age of the streetcar fleet and equipment – over 30 years in many cases – does not respond well to extreme cold. Specifically, pneumatic air lines that provide braking and door operation, for example, can see moisture build up in the lines that then freeze, causing a streetcar to be taken out of service. Crews will work overnight to maintain the streetcar fleet as best it can to help ensure as many cars possible can meet morning service. The TTC has 247 streetcars in its fleet.
The new fleet of low-floor, accessible streetcars that begin service this August, and phased in over a six-year period, will not be susceptible to extreme cold as the current fleet is. They use a combination of electrical and hydraulic systems, rather than pneumatic.