This is the final section of a three-part post about link times on the Queen Car. Previous sections dealt with Neville to Yonge, and Yonge to Humber. A detailed description of the concepts used in these analyses is in the first post.
Long Branch has been particularly hard hit by TTC service decisions over the years. Originally a separate route, the 507 Long Branch car ran between Humber and Long Branch providing a 10-minute off-peak service and a 7-minute peak service supplemented by a few trippers than ran downtown to Queen & Church in the AM peak with outbound trippers in the PM.
This changed when the TTC amalgamated the 501 Queen service with the 507, and further with the replacement of CLRVs (50-foot cars) by ALRVs (75-foot cars). The scheduled headway on Lake Shore is now:
- 9’45” AM Peak
- 11’00” Midday and PM Peak
- 14’45” Early evening M-F
- 20’00” Late evening M-F
- Saturday service ranges from 11’30” in the afternoon up to 18’00” in the late evening
- Sunday service ranges from 14’30’ in the afternoon up to 23’00” in the late evening
The posted schedules on the TTC’s website are a complete mess with irregular headways shown throughout the day. This is clearly a problem with their schedule-production software which has been known to produce other gaffes in the generated timetables. The fact that such timetables are created for public consumption with such glaring errors tells us a lot about quality control at the TTC.
It is bad enough that riders on Lake Shore must endure much wider scheduled headways than on many other parts of the system, but as we will see, the actual service provided is much, much worse. When scheduled service is infrequent, provision of on time service, and all of the service, is essential.
The trips from Humber to Long Branch are divided into four links. The first of these consists mainly of Humber Loop measured from the Queensway to the Lake Shore side. This picks up any effects from layovers in the loop itself. Outbound trips tend to be quite short, although there are a few outliers on weekends. Sometimes a Humber car has to get out of the way of a through car to Long Branch that has caught up.
Inbound times at Humber are also fairly consistent, although something obviously caused a delay between 1700 and 1800 on Thursday, December 14. Reviewing the service chart for that date, I can see that there was some major foul-up in this part of town. Several cars short turned outbound at Roncesvalles and a parade went east from Humber.
Trips from the Lake Shore side of Humber loop outbound to Royal York have a fairly consistent running time, although there is a big jump on December 14 corresponding to the inbound delay indicating that wherever event occurred, it blocked service both ways near the loop on Lake Shore. This event also shows up in the link times eastbound from Royal York.
From Royal York to Kipling, the running times are again fairly consistent. A large “wow” in the curve on Saturday, December 2 is caused by an extremely long gap in service to Long Branch and a correspondingly long running time over this segment for one car. Eastbound data over this link is also fairly consistent with only a handful of outliers, notably one early on New Year’s Eve.
Between Kipling and Long Branch, things get quite interesting. Outbound trips are clustered fairly tightly around 5 minutes, and inbound trips sit between 6 and 7. There are some problems with resolution of the departure from Long Branch in the CIS data, and some inbound trips include at least part of the layover time. This effect can be cancelled out by looking at the round trips from Kipling to Long Branch and back.
For weekdays, these are clustered in the 20-25 minutes range, although there is a very wide scatter. This gets even worse on Saturdays with values ranging from 15 minutes to above 45 minutes. We already know from the inbound and outbound link charts that the time needed to make the trip is, generously, about 12 minutes. This means that we are getting layovers from 3 minutes (almost too short for a line this long) up to half an hour! It is common to see more than one car at Long Branch Loop at the same time even when the scheduled headway is quite wide.
As we have worked our way across the city, one thing we have seen in several links is the scatter in values for some areas at some times of the day. Cumulatively over the length of the route, these can produce a wide variation in travel times, and correspondingly large swings in the layovers at terminals. However, the range of layovers we see at Long Branch far exceeds what is needed to keep service on time. Indeed, even with such generous schedules, the inbound service from Long Branch is still uneven as we have seen in the daily analyses.
For those of you have stayed with me to the bitter end, a treat, of sorts. Looking at the link data as well as the daily headway and service charts, I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if I plotted the headway information using the same template as the link times with data for every day on one set of charts. Here is the result:
These charts should bring deep shame to anyone at the TTC who has ever claimed that service is well-managed or reliable. When I first looked at them, I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing, and checked back in some of the source data to see that I hadn’t screwed something up.
For the four sets of weekday charts, you can see that the trend line through the headways sits roughly at 10 minutes, although it wanders a bit showing the effect of some short turning. However, the scatter of the data points is huge and is glaringly visible on page 5 where all weekdays are displayed together.
For a nominally 10 minute headway, the westbound service is a cloud of data points all over the map, gaps of over 20 minutes are common, and there are far too many above 30 minutes. By no stretch of the imagination is this the “frequent service” advertised in the timetables. Saturdays and Sundays are no better with the only difference being that the trend line sits at a higher level due to the wider scheduled headways.
Eastbound, things are a bit better, if we can call headways that generally stay within twice the scheduled values “better”. However, it is an indictment of the on-time performance eastbound from Long Branch where, despite generous layovers, drivers seem incapable of leaving on time and nobody seems to be doing anything about it.
When the 507 was a separate route, the service was reasonably reliable and riding was much better than it is today, despite the direct service to downtown. The route had a lot of local demand, but sane riders today would only take the car if it were there, and then would worry about getting back again.
There is no justification for such atrocious service.