Route 501 Queen in December/January 2007/08 (Part 3: Headways)

The 501 Queen car is a mess — that’s no surprise to anyone.  In the past two posts, I have looked at where the cars go.  More, to the point, I have looked at where they don’t go thanks mainly to short- turns.

Riders are frustrated not just by the unpredictable destinations of Queen cars, but by the lack of reliable headways.  The schedule may say there’s a car every 6 minutes, but this is at best a general average.  TTC “on time” goals say that an error or plus-or-minus 3 minutes is an allowable margin, and this means that gaps of up to 9 minutes, followed by only 3 minutes , is “on time” performance. 

This ignores the fact that the gap car will carry 3 times the headway, be much more heavily loaded, and the average rider’s perception of the service will be much worse than the average implied by the schedule and the loading standards.

If the service actually stayed within 3 minutes of the advertised schedule, life would be annoying, but tolerable.  There might even be a car in sight much of the time, if not the “always” of the TTC’s slogan for good service from the 1920s.  We should be so lucky. Continue reading

Route 501 Queen in December/January 2007/08 (Part 2: East vs West)

In the previous post, I presented the information about the destinations of cars on 501 Queen with details over the month.  One issue right at the end of that post was the eternal east-vs-west debate:

Does the Beach get more service than High Park?  Are more cars short-turned in the west end than the east end to keep the Beachers happy?

Although there appears to be some indication this might have developed in late January, overall the level of short-turning is quite bad at both ends of the line, usually in equal measure. Continue reading