The extreme cold continues to affect Toronto Transit Commission streetcar service and will impact afternoon rush hour. The TTC is advising that afternoon rush hour will see a shortage of 35 streetcars across the network. The TTC normally operates about 195 streetcars during peak service. During morning rush hour today, the TTC was short 61 streetcars at its peak.
The TTC is preparing to use buses to supplement streetcar routes. On the 504 King route, 10 buses will be used this afternoon. The TTC will also be using buses only on the 508 Lakeshore. Customers who use the 508, should take the 504 to Roncesvalles then transfer to a 508 bus or the 501 Queen.
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 to help supplement service.
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 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.