Weekend operations on Queen have some problems in common with the weekday service, but these show up at different times and locations. In place of rush hour effects, the line is affected by shopping and entertainment-related congestion that builds and ebbs over longer periods.
On Saturday, the service is reasonably well behaved until early afternoon, but at that point, bunching sets in. As on weekdays, there appears to be no effort to space out the service and pairs of cars travel across the city together. This is difficult to justify especially considering the long layovers most cars get at Humber and Long Branch.
Some artifacts of the CIS system show up in the chart including:
- Cars appear to arrive at Humber Loop westbound, depart immediately eastbound and operate quite slowly at the start of their trip. This is caused by my inability to distinguish the departure from Humber as a distinct event, and only the arrival time is shown. In fact, cars at Humber have a layover.
- Cars occasionally appear to reverse direction briefly because their location, as calculated from the odometer, is slightly ahead of reality. When they pass a signpost, their position is reset .
- In some cases, eastbound cars seem to take a long time make the last part of their trip to Neville (from about Wineva eastward). This is caused by CIS not reporting their progress at intervening locations, and the layover at gets counted into the travel time. This is a similar effect to the one we see at Humber for departures.
One particular event is worth looking at. A gap opens up inbound from Humber at about 11:30 am. An inbound car from Long Branch (green line) sits for quite a while at Humber, along with two outbound Humber cars (blue and brown) while one outbound car (orange) runs through to Long Branch. Those three outbound cars arrived in a pack westbound following what appears to be a dawdler (brown) all the way from Neville. The inbound Long Branch car (green) that clearly should go east ahead of this pack waits at Humber and follows the slow car (brown) who is short turned eastbound at Woodbine Loop.
At no time is there any indication of line management, and this parade of cars sticks together causing a 30 minute gap to Neville. What is worse, they continue westbound and are joined by a short turn coming out of Woodbine (grey) after a respectable layover right in front of the pack rather than into the gap it should have filled westbound.
Headways on Queen are not regular and the operation has the same problem we saw on weekdays that cars do not leave terminals on a regular spacing. Westbound from Neville, headways stay roughly three minutes either side of the average, but this opens up, particularly in the early afternoon when aggressive short turning eastbound at Woodbine Loop begins. Even with the short turns rejoining the line westbound, the headway regular swings the full six minutes within the TTC’s “on time” target, and these swings become more accentuated as pairs of cars cross the city. By the time they reach Dufferin, headways range five minutes either side of the average.
West of Roncesvalles, headways start to open up due to short turns, and west of Humber Loop, service deteriorates badly. Headway swings of 8 to 10 minutes either side of average are common, and pairs of cars operate almost together on a line that is supposed to have 12 minute service. There are two gaps of over half an hour.
Eastbound from Long Branch Loop, the average headway sits quite reliably at 12 minutes for most of the day, although there are some swings away from the target band especially following one long westbound gap. Clearly, the long layovers at Long Branch do smooth out the inbound service in this case, but it doesn’t stay smooth for long.
Comoparing the swing in headways at Long Branch Loop and those further east enroute to Humber, we can see the headways open up and the pairing of cars set in.
By the time we reach Parkside, the average headway should be 6 minutes, but the trend line sits persistently above this peaking at about 3:00 pm due to short turns at Roncesvalles. Even with the merge point at Humber inbound where cars could be despatched on a regular headway, service inbound at Parkside bounces back and forth in a range between 3 and 18 minutes.
East of Roncesvalles, the average is back down to 6 minutes with a swing of roughly 4 minutes either way (2 to 10 minutes). Again, there does not seem to be any attempt to manage service eastbound from Ronces even though the cars are sitting on their own right-of-way at the eastbound stop and could wait for an appropriate time to leave.
As the cars make their way across the city eastbound, the gaps open up and by the time we reach Broadview, gaps of 12 minutes are common.
Once we get into the Beach, the average headway stretches out peaking at 10 minutes about 3:00 pm due to short turns, an equivalent pattern to the one we saw in Parkdale.
I have already discussed the 30-minute mid-afternoon gap to Neville that was the product of poor line management, not of traffic congestion.
The short turn charts present the destinations of cars outbound from Yonge in both directions. The time scale is based on departures at Yonge and the spacing of the vertical lines shows how regular (or not) the headway is at that point. The lengths of the lines show how far each car actually travelled with no regard to how long the trip took. On Saturday morning, you can see a reasonably well behaved mix of Humber and Long Branch cars crossing Yonge westbound, and an almost continuous service of Neville cars eastbound.
After lunch, things fall apart completely. Many westbound cars short turn at Roncesvalles, and a few at Dufferin. Roughly half of the service is short-turned eastbound.
Come the evening, short turning drops off again although headways are a bit ragged (note that these are headways at Yonge, not at the terminals).
The next set of charts show the times taken by cars between various points on the line. Each dot represents one car’s journey between two points. The charts show a number of different pieces of information:
- When the dots stay close to the trend line plotted through them, this shows that every trip over the link took close to the same time, give or take a minute or so, and that there were few random delays that would delay cars.
- The trend line moves gradually up and down showing the changes in link times over the day as passenger and road traffic build up and then ebb.
- Where a major delay does occur, the link times spike because one or more cars took much longer to cover ground than the average.
Looking at the westbound links we see:
- Travel times run between 6 and 10 minutes with a spike at about 12:30 caused by a delay. The hump in the trend line is actually caused by this spike and you can see that without it, the line would have been almost flat.
- Woodbine to Greenwood, and Greenwood to Broadview are both flat with small variations.
- Broadview to Yonge sees the data start to scatter away from the trend line indicating that some cars are having a worse time getting through passengers and traffic than others. I have not yet had a chance to correlate this with headways, although I would expect the longer trips to be for cars that were in gaps.
- Yonge to Spadina does not have too much scatter, but does show the effect of weekend shopping traffic on Queen West with the peak coming just before 3 pm.
- Spadina to Strachan continues the Queen West shopping congestion pattern, and onward from their to Gladstone. The drops to very short link times westbound to Gladstone are a side-effect of problems with the CIS data as Gladstone appears to be a location where the actual location of cars is sometimes reset and they appear to move backwards. This fouls up the link time calculations.
- Interestingly, the section from Gladstone to Wilson Park (just east of Roncesvalles) is almost flat even though this is an area that can be plagued by spillover effects from the Gardiner.
- Running times are quite consistent all the way to Long Branch as we would expect from private right-of-way followed by a wide, uncongested road.
Eastbound links are a bit different:
- The values are flat all the way to Humber as we would expect.
- The graph for the run from Humber to Parkside is not reliable because the ”departure” times at Humber appear to actually be recorded as of when a car arrives. The cars inbound from Long Branch get a layover in the early morning and often in the evening, and this is included in the “link time” to Parkside
- Eastbound from Wilson Park to Gladstone shows a rise in link times to the early afternoon. Similarly there is a slow rise in times in the Strachan to Spadina link.
- The Spadina to Yonge link shows more scatter and peaks mid-evening due to entertainment district traffic.
- Link times east from Yonge are fairly flat. The spikes in the Greenwood to Woodbine link are caused by layovers eastbound at Russell Carhouse for crew changes.
- Times from Woodbine to Neville bounce around a lot because CIS does not reliably report arrival times at Neville. Some of these “link times” include layover time at the terminal.
The point in all this is that running times between various points on the line are fairly well-behaved and predictable. There is some variation in every trip segment, inevitably, but the route should be able to absorb a regular amount of congestion of this type. We will see in a later post an example of a day where congestion got totally out of hand, but that’s another story.
The Sunday service charts are linked below. I won’t dwell on them beyond saying that they exhibit all of the problems found on Saturday but with to a much worse degree. Huge swings in headways are common, with immense gaps in service at the terminals. Pairs of cars travel together over long distances.
Looking at the service charts, you can easily see that there is no traffic congestion to speak of because bunches of lines do not exhibit the characteristic change in slant that severe congestion would produce. This is confirmed by the link time charts which show that westbound, there is some rise in the Neville to Woodbine segment, and also in the Gladstone to Wilson Park segment, but nothing to explain the complete collapse of service quality. Similarly, there is a rise in link times eastbound in the Beach during the evening, but daytime operations are fairly steady.
The short turn charts are intriguing because almost all of this activity occured in the Beach, with few short-turns at Roncesvalles.
This day gives an example of complete abdication of responsibility for line management.
Later in the month, there is a build-up of pre-Christmas shopping traffic, but these two day show how even with no untoward weather, serious congestion or delays, transit service can be a shambles.