For those of you who have been wondering, this is the end of the series of posts analyzing service on 501 Queen and related routes. Unless someone comes up with a really interesting question that deserves further public discussion here, I am now going to focus on other lines. [You can stop cheering any time now.]
The Lake Shore Tripper, for those who don’t even know it exists, is a remnant of the old Long Branch to downtown service that was a rush-hour extension of Long Branch cars (before they were called route 507) to Church Street via Queen. Inbound trips operated in the am peak, outbound in the pm peak.
When the Queen and Long Branch routes merged, this service disappeared, but in due course we got a new route, 508 Lake Shore running from Long Branch Loop to Church Street via King. Three trips operate inbound in the am peak, and four in the pm peak, at least on the schedule. This post looks at how these trips behave and how, for the am peak, they merge with the 501 Queen service on Lake Shore.
For inbound service, let’s look first at route 508 itself.
508 Service Eastbound at Kipling Ave.
Here we can see the three runs of route 508 as they pass Kipling eastbound. The location is chosen to avoid position resolution difficulties with CIS at Long Branch Loop. There is no congestion on this part of the line, and the graph is reasonably indicative of the regularity with which these three runs operate.
Run 61 (purple) comes by quite reliably except for two Mondays, Dec. 4 and 18. I would not be surprised to find that the regular operator was not working on those days.
Run 62 (brown) is slightly less reliable, and was missing on Friday, Dec 8. Run 63 (teal) comes by at reasonably predictable times.
In all cases, the swing is greater than the 3-minute “on time” target for TTC services.
Next, we add in the 501 Queen service to see how the 508’s merge in with those cars.
Combined 501 and 508 Service Eastbound at Kipling Ave.
This chart shows the Queen service, warts and all, from 0600 to 1000 eastbound at Kipling. The variation in times and headways is quite evident even though this is the outer end of a line where there is no traffic congestion and a generous layover at the terminal. The three Lake Shore cars are highlighted on the chart.
Run 61 (pink) does a good job of fitting in between two Queen cars except on the two Mondays when this run is off schedule.
Run 62 (yellow) doesn’t do quite as good a job and may run together with a Queen car.
Run 63 (blue) seems to prefer the company of Queen cars more than the gap between them.
With a scheduled headway of about 11 minutes in the 501, having a 508 come halfway between two cars would provide a tolerable 5-to-6 minute headway inbound from about 7:25 to a little after 8:00. However, the way the cars actually run, this is not the service passengers receive.
[The discontinuity in the chart at December 22 is due to the use of a special Christmas Week schedule from then to the 29th.]
508 Service Westbound at Peter St.
For riders awaiting a car outbound during the pm peak, the situation is grim. The chart here shows the service westbound at Peter Street (a few blocks east of Spadina). The lines are discontinuous because cars are often missing even though four are scheduled. The actual times these cars will pass, if at all, are variable enough that people cannot depend on them.
Part of the problem, especially with the later trips, comes from the congestion eastbound on King from University to Yonge that sets in from about 5:00 pm onward. This causes run 62 (dark blue) to have a 20-minute spread in times westbound leaving downtown.
Oddly enough, service on Dec. 27 and 28 ran more or less normally, and shows what the 508 should look like.
[No trips are shown for Dec. 22 and 29 because of the early rush hour on those days.]
Like the Kingston Road Tripper which I examined in a previous post, the Lake Shore service shows that attention needs to be paid to the integration of trippers with primary services. There is little point in running trippers if they are not reliably on the street providing shorter headways at critical times.
This route is useless for the same reasons as the 503 (see my post on that page). The TTC should either get rid of it, or eliminate the 501 west of Roncevalles and put frequent service on the 508 (or a similar route running along Queen).
Steve: And guess what: the plan I proposed quite some time ago does just that — make the 507/508 (whatever we end up calling it) a frequent route running into downtown via King weekdays, and to Dundas West Station evenings and weekends. Sort of a west end version of the 502/22A.
Perhaps the reason the TTC has had such a rough time admitting problems with the Queen car is that they just simply can’t admit it to themselves. I myself was one of those who thought that combining the Queen and Long Branch lines was truly a great idea. Hey, sooner or later we’re all wrong about a few things in life, right? Well I have an idea which may or may not be a good one. I say restore the Queen line to Humber but run at least some Long Branch cars into the downtown core. At least some Long Branch cars might still terminate at Humber but I really don’t think a whole lot of people out on Lakeshore will be too terribly inconvienced by this. The level of service terminating at Humber vs. going downtown is something I’m not totally decided on.
Steve: Several years ago, I proposed operating the “508” on an all-day basis (with a cutback to Dundas West Station evenings and weekends) with the “501” on its original Neville Humber route. This scheme disappeared into a black hole at the TTC because it not only undoes their route marriage, but actually would improve service. One big justification for the original route combination was to save on the total number of cars, and the elimination of the Humber transfer was a by-the-way effect.
It is no longer the mid-90s, and we should be concentrating on running enough service, not on cutting every last car or bus we can in the name of “efficiency”. That approach was proven bankrupt years ago.
Come to think of it, do ALL 501 cars run through to Long Branch? It seems to me that when this route merger was implemented only alternate 501 cars were supposed to run through and now I’m not so sure. What I propose is for the 507 to be reinstated with at least some cars running through to Queen but but turning back in the vicinity of Yonge. I agree 100% with you about running enough service rather than cutting in the name of “efficiency.”
Steve: The amalgamated service was always intended to have half of the cars turn back at Humber. A side effect of this, coupled with the use of ALRVs, is that scheduled headways to Long Branch can be much longer than they were when the separate 507 line used CLRVs.
Essential to any new service design is that the new “507/508” run far enough east to be truly attractive, and that the “501” run far enough west that it will serve the west side of the old city.
Also, the 501 is great for people on the Lakeshore who want to go downtown. However, the locals who may wish to use it on the Lakeshore are therefore forgotten – which is why we need a dedicated Lakeshore car. Also, I find it faster to hop on the GO train to get downtown rather than taking the 501 car. The extra cost is totally made up by the generally more reliable and faster GO train. It may not be practical for everyone, but there are solutions that would benefit people along the Lakeshore.