Service changes in the event of winter weather
The TTC has established a plan to ensure bus, streetcar, subway and Wheel-Trans service is maintained in the event of a significant snow storm. Significant weather includes:
- Heavy, rapid snowfall, 15 cm within 12 hours
- Heavy snowfall with blowing snow, 15 cm within 24 hours
- Heavy freezing rain, 5 mm, with high winds, 50 kph
- Heavy freezing rain, 5 mm, with large snow accumulation, 30 cm
- Blowing snow with large snow accumulation, 30 cm
In the event of freezing rain or an ice storm, storm trains will operate overnight to keep the power rail clear of ice. Anti-freeze will be applied to the power rails when it begins to rain to prevent ice build-up.
Crews keep switches clear in yards using switch heaters, but also manually ensure that the heaters are working effectively and take action if they are not. Work cars will act as storm trains in the yards to keep the power rails clear of ice.
If the subway is affected by a power outage, shuttle buses will be deployed.
Line 3 changes during a significant snow storm
When a significant snow storm is forecasted, the TTC will determine whether or not the trains on Line 3 should be in service. If the TTC decides that Line 3 trains will not be in service during this weather, shuttle buses will be put into service to replace Line 3 train service. These changes will be implemented approximately two hours before the expected storm.
If Line 3 trains are not running customers can also consider alternate TTC routes available, such as branches of the 16 McCowan, 21 Brimley, and 903 Kennedy-Scarborough Centre Express routes.
The TTC relies on City of Toronto crews to keep all roads clear of ice. We have adequate buses available in the event of a major power outage that knocks out our ability to operate streetcars. If the subway is affected by a power outage, shuttle buses will be deployed.
Some bus stops may temporarily be placed “Out of Service” in areas that are historically known to be impacted by icy conditions, snow buildup or flooding. This will prevent buses from becoming stuck or trapped, improving reliability for customers travelling on the affected bus routes during winter weather.
The affected bus stops may be taken out of service up to one hour before the weather event. A sign will be placed on the stops clearly indicating the nearest in-service stop.
In the event of freezing rain or an ice storm, anti-freeze is applied to the overhead network to keep the wires free from ice so streetcars can collect energy and operate. Overhead crews are on standby, positioned around the city in the event of power loss or overhead wires coming down.
The same anti-freeze used on the overheard is applied to all switches across the network. If it’s really cold or a snow/ice storm is forecasted extra vehicles, not in revenue service, will run overnight, keeping switches free from any ice build-up that the anti-freeze was unable to prevent.
Buses will operate on some streetcar routes (and sections of streetcar routes) so we can keep more streetcars in the downtown core, which will help keep switches and overhead wires clear of ice. Buses will operate on the 506 Carlton, 511 Bathurst, and 512 St Clair routes (as well as sections of the 501 Queen and 504 King routes) to keep more streetcars in the downtown core on the 501, 504, 509, and 510 routes.
Important notice about parking on streetcar routes: Never block the tracks if you park on a streetcar route, even if snowbanks are preventing you from parking closer to the curb. Blocking streetcar tracks can lead to service delays and temporary route diversions. The parked vehicle will also be towed.
We recommend that you only take essential trips whenever there is winter weather or a major accumulation of snow.
If by 3 p.m. the day before you are booked for Wheel-Trans service, the weather forecast calls for a snowfall of 8 cm or more, we encourage you to cancel non-essential rides. If it snows on the day of service, go to mywheel-trans.ttc.ca or call the RideLine at 416-397-8000 for further updates and instructions. Rides cancelled during a snow advisory will not be included in the Late Cancellation/No-Show Policy.