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.

Here is a chart showing what is going on.

Percentage of Short Turns by Location

Each page has the same general format.  Dates run horizontally from December 1 to January 31.  There are six sets of data plotted in different colours for each day, and these correspond to six three-hour periods starting at 0600.  This gives us the am peak, midmorning, midafternoon, pm peak, early evening and late evening.  It’s rather a broad-brush approach, but trying to break down the data more finely would create more clutter with little added information.

The first page shows service to Neville as a proportion of the cars that left Yonge Street eastbound and got as far as Broadview.  These are all of the eastbound cars in the previous set of charts from Part 1 with the Church and Parliament short-turns filtered out.

Several points are immediately evident:

  • The mid-December snowstorm had a major and lasting effect on service to the Beach.  Similar but smaller drops can be seen in January and these correspond with snowstorms.
  • Service on weekends in January tends to be better than weekdays.   This shows up with the periodic bunching of the lines in the 90-100% range for January 5/6, 12/13, 19/20 and 26/27.  The same effect is not as visible in December although the general benevolence of Christmas Week shows up with better service.
  • Service in the pm peak (turquoise) leaves a lot to be desired, and it is routinely below 70% of the total.
  • Service through the midday is not much better than the pm peak.

The chart for Humber service plots the percentage of cars that left Yonge, crossed Bathurst Street and actually reached Humber Loop.  This filters out short turns at McCaul and Wolseley loops, but omits any bus extras that operated only on the west end of the line.  In practice this only applies to December 1 when the line was split at Roncesvalles.

The Humber chart tells a different story from the Neville one:

  • The daytime turnback of service from Roncesvalles shows up for four of the six time periods.
  • The weekend improvement seen in the Beach is not as evident at Humber.  This implies more short-turning due to congestion on weekends for westbound service.
  • The chart shifts notably in the latter part of January with less service reaching Humber, even late in the evening, than before.  This suggests that short-turning in the west end became more aggressive.  However, the improvement in the Neville chart for the same period is not striking suggesting that the change was more in response to snow congestion.

The Kipling and Long Branch charts have lower values because, on average, only half of the service is supposed to go west of Humber.

  • The effect of Kipling short turns is evident by comparing the two charts.
  • Service to Long Branch suffers particularly in the early evening.

It is important to remember that these charts group data for three-hour periods and tell us nothing about how well-spaced (or not) the total number of cars operating to any destination might have been.  That can be found in the Part 1 charts and in the Headway Analysis coming in Part 3.

Finally, does the Beach get more cars than High Park or Long Branch?

The fifth and sixth charts show the ratio of the values from previous charts.  For December up to Christmas, the proportion of service that reached Humber was generally higher through the afternoon and pm peak.  This is especially marked on and after the December 16 snowstorm when much service never operated to Neville.  The effects at Long Branch are similar.

By late January, we start to see the shift mentioned above with the proportion for Humber cars shifting down somewhat in comparison to earlier days.