As someone who remembers the 507 Long Branch car, which ran between Long Branch Loop and Humber Loop in southern Etobicoke until its merger with the 501 Queen car in the mid-1990s, I’d like to talk a bit about the service.
Since its merger into the 501, service along the Lake Shore has suffered with half of the westbound 501 streetcars scheduled to terminate at Humber – something that tends not to occur. Steve Munro has an interesting article on service headways on the 501 streetcar, and was partly an inspiration for me writing about the 507 streetcar.
In recent years there has been talk about restoring the 507 Long Branch streetcar. The main option is to restore the 507 streetcar, but between Long Branch Loop and Dundas West subway station. A streetcar operating on the new 507 route under this option would depart Long Branch Loop heading east along Lake Shore Boulevard to Humber Loop. However, unlike when the route was abandoned, the streetcar would continue to run east along the Queensway Right-of-Way (ROW) to Roncesvalles Avenue, where the streetcar would turn north and head to Dundas West subway station.
This option would allow for several advantages. These include:
- The option to short turn cars at Humber. As a lot of passengers, especially midday, use the streetcar for local service along the Lake Shore, these short turned cars would meet the demands for local service.
- The extension to Dundas West station would provide a connection to the subway, without entering the busy downtown core.
- The 504 King streetcar, which like the 501 Queen streetcar also suffers from delays downtown, would beneift as well. Some 504 streetcars could be operated to turn at Sunnyside – which would help improve service along King Street, while also making sure there is space at Dundas West station.
- The 501 Queen streetcar would now not have to serve the Lake Shore, yet there would still be some overlap of service – along the Queensway between Humber Loop and Roncesvalles Ave. This would still allow for a transfer between the two routes for anyone wanting to head east along Queen Street.
The only real disadvantage would be the loss of a of one-seat ride from Long Branch Loop to downtown. However, there are already options to deal with this:
- The 508 Lake Shore streetcar operates during the rush hour between Long Branch Loop and downtown via King Street. Although there are only three times during the morning rush hour and four times during the evening rush hour, the option to increase this service is possible.
- The 501 Queen streetcar could still operate west of Humber Loop during the rush hour, preferably in conjunction with the 508 streetcar.
- Passenger already have the option, through the 123 Shorncliffe, 110 Islington, 44 Kipling South, and 76 Royal York South buses to connect with the Bloor-Danforth Line, and eventually reach downtown.
- The 145 Downtown/Humber Bay Express bus provides service from 15th Street and Lake Shore Blvd. W. and downtown.
- GO Transit between Long Branch GO station (and Mimico GO station for that matter) and Union Station.
The last option – GO Transit – is a fast and viable option, but as there is no co-fare offered on by the TTC (as other local agencies do), the cost of taking GO vs. taking the TTC has to be considered as well.
In conclusion, I believe it is time for the TTC to reinstate the 507 streetcar. They should follow the option discussed above and operate the route between Long Branch Loop and Dundas West station. However, one or two streeetcars should be dedicated to the Lake Shore midday and only operate between Long Branch Loop and Humber Loop to meet local demand.