In this installment, I turn to the question of whether all of the scheduled service actually shows up when and where it is intended during the AM peak. Previously, in the analysis of 504 King, we saw that many cars intended to provide extra service through Parkdale and Bathurst-Niagara eastbound during the am peak either did not operate, or operated badly off schedule to the point where actual service was far different from advertised.
On 501 Queen, I will look at the route at a few points to show how this effect also is present and how it affects the service.
In the charts linked below, the service between 0700 and 0900 is presented for each weekday from December 1 to 21. All of these days operated with the same schedule, and this allows us to make direct comparisons between them.
[The chart for Woodbine westbound includes days based on the Christmas week am peak schedule where the runs appear at different times, but fairly reliably.]
Each scheduled run has its own colour and symbol, and the horizontal lines show the time at which these runs appeared each day. Reliable runs show up every day at more or less the same time. Unreliable ones move around more in time, or don’t show up at all. Some cases of major delays are visible where a number of cars get bunched together and all come through in a pack much later than usual.
Looking at the westbound service at Woodbine, it is easy to see that several of the runs do not show up reliably every day. Notable runs are 24 (gray dots), 6 (brown dots) and 19 (green diamonds) which, among others, are often missing. This causes gaps in service and the headway provided is not what is advertised.
The chart at Greenwood tells a different story, and most runs are present on most days. Runs that were missing at Woodbine magically appear at Greenwood. The reason for this is that cars scheduled to enter service eastbound to Neville from Russell Carhouse go into service late, and start their trips westbound without serving the Beach. My suspicion is that these runs either (a) do not have assigned operators and there is trouble filling the work in time for cars to enter service or (b) there is a shortage of working cars and the later runs leave late because they cannot find equipment that is in good order. In either case, this is a problem of the TTC’s making and has nothing to do with that old chestnut, traffic congestion.
By the time the service reaches Yonge, we also see pairs of runs that habitually operate together on most days.
Eastbound service at Royal York does not suffer from many missing cars, but day-to-day variations in arrival time are evident. However, by the time we reach Parkside, the same missing runs problem that we saw in the east end shows up again. Cars scheduled to enter service westbound to Humber from Roncesvalles Carhouse actually do so eastbound and deprive riders on The Queensway of service.
By the time we reach Wilson Park eastbound, the runs are filled in on most days confirming that these cars entered service eastbound from Roncesvalles.
Eastbound at Yonge, as with the westbound charts, you can see some minor delays on a few days, but overall, arrival times are fairly consistent.
What is the point to all this? Service on the outer parts of the route in the AM peak is less than scheduled because cars that are supposed to provide trips from Humber and Neville do so, instead, from Roncesvalles and Connaught. As with so many other problems on the Queen line, this is a problem of service management, not of traffic congestion.