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The TTC is Testing New Maps and Bus Poles

Bus stops may soon sport better, more informative signage.


The TTC’s bus-stop poles have long been a source of frustration for riders, because they often don’t convey basic information, like the route numbers of the buses that stop in front of them. Now, the commission is doing something about it.

The image at the top of this post is a rendering of a new type of bus pole that the TTC has quietly begun testing on the 94 Wellesley route. Accompanying the new poles are new system maps, which you can see examples of if you click through the image gallery, above.

The new poles, unlike the old poles, have clear route markers. They also have colour-coded emblems to indicate whether or not a bus is an express, and whether it operates overnight.

The new system maps are likewise something of a stylistic upgrade. Unlike the current maps, which are bewildering cat’s cradles of bus and streetcar routes, the new maps are pared down. They only show detailed information for a bus shelter’s immediate vicinity. This means the TTC will have to print different maps for shelters in different areas, but the extra effort may be worthwhile. The customization seems to aid clarity.

These new maps and poles are already installed in some places along the 94 Wellesley bus route, and TTC Corporate Communications Director Brad Ross says they should be rolled out along the entirety of the route by Friday. The TTC will be collecting public feedback. If the test run is successful, we could start seeing more of these across the city.

Here are giant-sized, legible versions of the maps in the gallery:

Wellesley Street West and Queen’s Park Crescent East

Harbord Street and Bathurst Avenue

Parliament Street and Bloor Street East

Queen’s Park Crescent West and Hoskin Avenue

Images courtesy of the TTC.


  • OgtheDIm

    Seems the TTC is finally recognising that each route is part of a system that people use to go somewhere, as against a number that drivers are assigned to.

  • Kate Roberts

    I’m interested in the “Next Vehicle Arrival Module” (number 9 in the diagram of the new pole design) – is this a programmed electronic device installed in the pole that will actually let you know the next bus (number) and when it’s coming – if so, then that is awesome and I’m glad Toronto is finally moving into the 21st century – we have the technology, let’s use it! It would also be awesome (if this panel exists), for a bus stop pole to tell you if the bus is delayed or short turning/missing your stop – it happens too much in Liberty Village and I’m often waiting for a bus that has no intention of coming for me :(

    • Testu

      The image isn’t entirely clear, but it’s almost certainly just a sticker with the stop code and the TTC info number that you text the code to, to find the next arrival times.

      It’s the system that’s in place now, except the stickers are integrated into the layout rather than slapped on top where ever they could find space.

      Even the Nextbus displays at stations and a few of the stops don’t seem to have any info on short turns. I’m guessing it’s because those are almost all handled on-route by the transit supervisors, not actually planned in any way.

      • Paul Kishimoto

        One can imagine that the system(s) could be improved to short turn information, if they were actually keen to do so.

    • Busman
  • Melissa

    I have no idea how to read that Route Information box on the map. I’m assuming that this is where I find info about when/how often the bus/streetcar comes, since that info isn’t presented anywhere else on the map. If so, I can’t make sense of it. Or maybe they’ve decided not to provide that information anymore since it tends to be wrong/unreliable and they’re just showing basic hours of operation? Either way, an indication of what the box is about beyond “information” would be helpful. Guess I’ll send a message to the TTC…

  • W. K. Lis

    I would put either a compass point (IE: W) or the trip direction based on the paper transfer (IE: U for up trip) on the bottom red bar.

  • Christopher King

    Welcome to the 20th Century TTC. Too bad we’re in the 21st. Lot of catching up to do.

    • dsmithhfx

      Where in the world would the ttc be instead of Ontario, Canada, if it didn’t receive the rock-bottom lowest transit subsidy in the world?

  • will

    There is a mistake on the map for Parliament Street. It does not show that during route 75A, which runs up to Summerhill Ave. during the late evenings.


    These kind of maps are called ‘spider maps’, and they are used extensively by Transport for London for their many thousands of bus stops. The fact that Andy Byford was a former employee of theirs may or may not be coincidental.

    • IJustGotToBeMe

      Good point. Wouldn’t surprise me.

  • rich1299

    The full system maps will still be needed at least at shelters for those times when you;re out and about and need to get to some other part of the city, or when the subway/streetcar breaks down and you need to find an alternate route to where you;re going. Just showing the routes that service that area is great if you;re not going beyond that area but when you are, or when you’re heading to an unfamiliar area the full system map is essential, after all now everyone has or wants a smartphone to access that info online.

    I hope they aren’t spending too much money on this, the current poles get the job done just fine, I’ve yet to come across a pole that didn’t list all the bus/streetcar routes that stop there or didn’t provide the info I needed, if anything they need to add the full system map to as more shelters, or perhaps provide info on the pole on where hte nearest full system map is located.

  • Megano!

    But what about the signs with the times on it that don’t even have half of the times/is so confusing to read I can’t figured out the times

  • Paul Kishimoto

    I understand a lot of people own smart phones. How about a QR code or two?

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Nobody actually uses QR codes.

      • Paul Kishimoto
        • blearghhh

          That’s saying that the transit co. is deploying it. I think t.r. was saying that nobody uses them to read anything. Which supports what I’ve seen, and what I’ve heard from other sources.

          I’ve never seen any definitive numbers, but I do think it’s more of a thing that marketers and technologists think is cool, but nobody (or not that many people) ever follows.

          • Paul Kishimoto

            Thanks for “not many people”. I just got my first smartphone recently (luddism…) and—not having got the memo about ignoring barcodes—have been scanning all kinds of things.

            Setting aside a particular technology “nobody” seems to like, I would be reluctant to pull off my gloves in Toronto in the winter to text a four-digit stop code to a 6-digit address. Maybe people in this situation already have a preferred app (or, say, voice search) and maybe, now that I think of it, something like a timer on the pole/sign itself is more accessible.

          • torontothegreat

            Toyota loves it! QR codes are great for what they were invented for.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Pulling off your gloves to text a number or pulling off your gloves to unlock your phone, scroll to the camera/scanner app, and then press the virtual shutter release,what’s the difference?

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          I know they’re slapped on all sorts of things, but Comscore data show that less than 20% of smart phone users in North America and Europe have ever scanned a QR code, and (if I recall) 60% of those who have done so do it less than once a year.

    • bittman