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Rush hour traffic including TTC vehicles on Spadina Avenue in Toronto on Nov. 29, 2013. The TTC is operating fewer streetcars than usual during rush hour on Jan. 3, due to frigid temperatures.Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

The extreme cold that has settled on the Toronto area is expected to throw a wrench into the evening commute, with the local transit service pulling about one quarter of their streetcars off the road and sending in buses.

The TTC said in a statement Friday afternoon that their streetcars suffer in very cold temperatures, with the potential for moisture freezing in the pneumatic air lines required for operation of the brakes and doors.

It's a problem that should be solved by the introduction of the coming fleet of new streetcars, which are slated to begin to be phased in this summer. These cars "will not be susceptible" to weather in the same way, according to the TTC, because they use electrical and hydraulic systems instead of pneumatic.

The TTC would normally operate a rush-hour fleet of about 195 streetcars but is expected to be about 50 short Friday evening. On routes that lose more than half their normal complement of streetcars, shuttle buses will be deployed to help fill the gap.

The regional service GO Transit is also adapting to the extreme weather. Earlier Friday afternoon they announced plans to keep some stations open until the last train or bus arrives to give passengers a place to stay warm.

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