Now that we’ve had a view at what Spadina looks like on the best of days, Christmas, we turn to a sampling of regular weekdays and quite a variation in the character of service.
Generally speaking, the service between King and Bloor is quite frequent, although there are occasional gaps for which there is little obvious reason. A few genuine traffic delays (yes, they do happen even with a right-of-way) show up, and the stairstep pattern we saw at major intersections appears quite regularly showing the delays at these locations.
Friday December 1, 2006
December 1st, as we have seen in analyses of other routes, was not a good day — there was heavy rain and it was cold leading into what would be a snowy weekend. Although other routes showed serious effects from congestion, Spadina is reasonably well-behaved north of King. However, this is due more to the sheer number of cars on the route than on any deliberate management.
Down on Queen’s Quay, we can see that many cars destined for Union actually short-turned at the foot of Spadina with one gap of over half an hour between roughly 17:45 and 18:20 pm at Union. This was not the only long gap on December 1, and more show up in the late evening.
As I mentioned in the first installment, I had thought initially that there was something wrong with my data analysis or with the raw CIS data to yield such inconsistent headways to Union. However, data of the holidays and Sundays are very well-behaved indicating that the basic data collection and charting process is not the problem.
Although Spadina has extremely frequent service, less than a two minute headway at times, the service charts consistently show aggressive short-turning. I can only assume that this is to get cars on time as it does nothing obvious to fill gaps in service northbound from King — there are so many cars that gaps are rare and would simply be normal service headways on any other line.
Cars holding for their place at Spadina Station also show up in these charts. For example, at about 9:25 am there is a light pink line at Spadina Station that takes a very gradual trip out to the street appearing at about 9:50. This car actually sat within the station and the loop, but because CIS does not record these movements, it simply appears to take a long time getting to its first surface observation point. Other similar cases can be seen through the day.
Note also the gap arriving northbound just before 9:25. For some reason, possibly a blockage at Charlotte Loop, several cars went south to Queen’s Quay or to Union that would probably have been expected to turn at King.
At around 16:30, there is a blockage at Harbord holding service bothways. This shows up as extended times to get beyond Harbord in botrh directions.
There are several traces that bounce back and forth vertically. These are “noise” created by CIS’ confusion about the location of a car and the same run is reported as being alternately in two different places on the line in quick succession. It is difficult to filter all of these out of the source data, and I hope that when the TTC moves to GPS-based tracking, this sort of phenomenon will disappear.
Monday, December 4, 2006
December 4 had rain with snow late in the evening, but we have seen on other routes that service was generally well-behaved. This is probably due to it being Monday when there is less casual traffic on the road.
In any event, the service is somewhat better behaved than on December 1, although we still see short-turning at the south end of the route.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
December 13 is a midweek day with early morning rain, but no other weather to mention thereafter. There is one small delay southbound between Harbord and College at the end of the AM peak, and a few extraordinarily long layovers at Spadina Station through the morning.
A gap opens up northbound from King around 16:30 and this may be related to congestion around the Charlotte loop. Most notable about this gap is that nothing was done to space southbound service from Spadina Station, and the gap bounces back from that location after 17:00. Everything is finally sorted out when this collection of runs returns northbound.
Service to Union is still plagued by short-turns during the day, but these vanish once the PM peak is out of the way.
Friday, December 22, 2006
I included December 22 because on every other route analysis, that day has proved a complete disaster for service. The afternoon peak starts at about noon, and the combination of early rush hour and mid-day parking/turning restrictions made a total mess of routes like King. The weather was rainy off and on.
By contrast, Spadina starts with an extremely well-behaved AM peak, moves through the midday and afternoon with some bunching, but nothing too serious. Even the PM peak, although it has some early short-turning at the south end, has far better service than we normally see on the line.
This is a good example of the benefit of the right-of-way because operating conditions are consistent with little regard for the chaos that might exist in the traffic lanes.
Spadina’s not so little secret is the amount of unscheduled short-turning at the south end of the line and the unreliable service along Queen’s Quay to Union Station. The regulars down at Queen’s Quay tell me that they never wait and it’s always faster to walk down Bay, but I try to have faith. It’s sort of like clapping to save Tinker Bell — if enough of us really believe, then a Spadina car will actually show up. Alas, that rumble coming down the tunnel is a car on the vent grate, not a streetcar.
These charts, one page for each day of the month, show the destinations of all southbound cars from Queen Street on the 510. Because the reference point, Queen, is very near the regular Adelaide/Charlotte/King turnback point, many trips are represented by short lines. Some cars were accurately reported by CIS as going only to Queen’s Quay Loop, while others get to about York Street (in the data) before CIS wakes up and discovers that they are really northbound on Spadina. The lines that make it up to the top of the data are the trips that actually went to Union.
Thick dark lines are for two or more runs that run almost together and which map as a single bar.
In this chart, you can see that on some days there was a great deal of short-turning at Queen’s Quay and some major gaps in the service to Union Station. This is a classic example of how the TTC mismanages service and forgets that there are riders on the “outer” part of lines. We’re supposed to be showing the flag for LRT on the Harbourfront services, but you would never know it from the service to Union on the 510.
Note that on Saturday, December 16, there is a gap in data between 13:00 and 14:00. This is caused by a CIS outage where there is no source data for the period. Similarly, in the early afternoon of December 29, there is a gap in the CIS data.
In the next chapters of this analysis, I will turn to weekend service, headway reliability and link times. Also, I plan a quick review of service on 509 Harbourfront and a look at the combined 509/510 service at Union Station.