[Those of you who want oodles of details won’t find a complex spreadsheet or chart here, and you will have to take some of the numbers on faith. Trust me. The reason for this post is to stimulate discussions and to ask the question “Why Not?”.]
We all know that service on the King and Queen routes leaves a lot to be desired, but little is done about the situation beyond the usual complaints of congestion and the need for an exclusive right-of-way. Although major changes won’t happen until we have a larger fleet, improvements are still possible if only there is the will to make them.
I have been looking at a number of route configurations (some of you will know of my schemes for the Long Branch car), but believe that in the short term the first issue we must confront is the assignment of vehicle types to these two routes and the number of cars available for service.
My proposal, briefly, is that the King line operate exclusively with ALRVs and that Queen run with CRLVs. Service and capacity would be increased in both cases.
The following discussion concerns the AM peak when service is at its height. All other times of day would be adjusted accordingly.
The King and Queen Cars Today
King now operates with a 4-minute headway of CLRVs with 29 cars on a 116-minute round trip. 8 minutes of that is for layover time, and my examination of the route’s actual operation shows that this is excessive, certainly for the AM peak.
On top of this basic service, there is a one-hour long wave of extras that also runs a 4-minute headway for a combined 2-minute service. This lasts from roughly 7:30 to 8:30 am inbound through Parkdale. 16 cars are assigned to this service of which 7 are ALRVs.
Three Lake Shore cars come in from Long Branch to downtown via King using 3 CLRVs.
Queen now operates with two branches each on a 9’45” headway using ALRVs. 13 cars provide the Neville to Humber service, while 18 operate Neville to Long Branch. The combined service east of Humber is 4’52” on the schedule.
The total service requirement for these routes is 41 CLRVs and 38 ALRVs.
Spares in the Fleet
The CLRV fleet is 196 cars. If we look at the service before the construction season got underway, the total requirement for service was about 158 cars. This means that 38 cars, or 19.4% of the fleet, were available as maintenance spares.
The ALRV fleet is 52 cars, of which 38 are required for service. The spare ratio for these cars is 27.9%. Clearly there is some room for additional service with the ALRVs, and we may be able to squeeze more out of the CLRV fleet as well.
King as an ALRV Route
If the current schedule were modified by reducing the layover time from 8 minutes to 4 minutes (one car), the basic Dundas West to Broadview service would require 28 ALRVs. To this we would add 16 ALRVs as extras for a total of 44.
This increases the total ALRV service requirement from 38 to 44 leaving 8 spares or 18% — tighter but not unreasonable.
The headways would stay the same, but the capacity during the 2-minute wave would go up by:
- 20% during periods where CLRVs and ALRVs alternate today, and
- 50% during periods where service is all-CLRV.
Capacity on the route during all operating periods would increase by 50% due to the use of larger vehicles on the existing headways.
Queen as a CLRV Route
The existing 9’45” ALRV headway is equivalent to a 6’30” headway of CLRVs. This service would require 46 cars (19 on the Humber service and 27 on Long Branch) compared with the 38 in service in King today.
If a further 4 cars were available, the headways could be reduced to 6’00” on each branch for a combined service east of Humber of 3’00”.
Adding 8 CLRVs to the service requirements would leave 30 spares or 18%, and if we add 12 (to get the improved headway) the spare ratio drops to 15%. This would be a challenge for the TTC but we need to know what a realistic level is.
Moving to CLRVs even on a 6’30” headway will improve the frequency of service seen by riders even if it doesn’t increase theoretical capacity because cars will come more often, and the gap caused by short-turns won’t be as large. If we can get the headway down to 6’00”, this represents about a 10% increase in capacity.
Alternate Route Structures
Although it is simple to work through various changes in route structure on Queen and King, the underlying problem with most proposals (such as splitting Queen into two routes) requires more cars due to overlapping services. This is definitely worth looking at when the new, larger fleet arrives, but for now we must make do with the CLRVs and ALRVs.
Given the lead times for decision making and scheduling, the earliest this could possibly happen is October 2007, more likely November. I can hear the complaints now about why it can’t be done.
Riders on these two major routes deserve as much service as the TTC can squeeze out of its fleet. The challenge is to make it happen.