November 2008 Service Improvements (Update 2)

Update 2:  The TTC now expects to have all posted schedules updated by Christmas Eve, subject to delays caused by the weather.  Please hold your cards and letters, folks, about places they have missed at least into mid-January.

Original Post:

This Sunday (November 23) will see a large number of service improvements both during peak and off peak periods to implement the next major step in the Ridership Growth Strategy.

The three major changes in this round are:

  • Restoration of service during all operating periods (except overnight) on almost all routes.  This will eliminate the “does my bus run now” problem faced by riders on many parts of the system.
  • A maximum 30-minute headway (a proposed 20-minute maximum will be examined for possible implementation in late 2009).
  • Improvement of loading standards so that the acceptable average maximum load on buses is lower than previously with the result that more buses will serve crowded routes.

The details of the changes have been discussed before on this site, but what I am interested to learn via comments is rider experiences over the next few weeks on the affected routes.

  • Is there a noticeable reduction in crowding?
  • Do the new off peak services run reliably especially if their headways are 20 minutes or more?  Do buses run on time, or on a non-schedule making it hard to plan trips to meet the posted arrival times for buses?

For Queen 501 riders, there will be a new schedule designed to simplify route management.  The two services, Neville-Humber and Neville-Long Branch, will be scheduled separately (although headways are supposed to be blended) rather than having cars switch between the two branches.  What has your experience been on the 501 for the past month or so, and is there any difference with the new schedule?

Finally, here is the November 23, 2008 Service Summary for those who want all the gory details of the operation.

Update 2 (November 22):  To give some idea of the magnitude of the change, here are comparisons of the numbers of buses in service by time period before and after.

Weekdays:

  • AM Peak 1411/1505
  • Midday 844/879
  • PM Peak 1328/1401
  • Early Evening 714/749
  • Late Evening 395/492

Saturdays:

  • Early Morning 502/549
  • Late Morning 729/778
  • Afternoon 739/788
  • Early Evening 525/585
  • Late Evening 296/399

Sundays:

  • Early Morning 370/421
  • Late Morning 572/641
  • Afternoon 575/647
  • Early Evening 378/466
  • Late Evening 256/372

The changes in streetcars in service are quite small, and in some cases removal of vehicles that had been added for construction offset some of the service improvements.

Update 1 (November 20):  This afternoon, the TTC issued a press release as follows:

TTC announces service improvements

Sets record of 465 million rides

Beginning this Sunday, November 23, customers of the Toronto Transit Commission will now be able to take almost any bus route in the city between approximately 6 a.m. and 1 a.m., seven days a week.

As part of the TTC’s service improvement plan, all bus routes will now align with the hours of the subway. Routes that used to only operate during peak periods, or midday, will now run during the same hours that the subway operates, with a maximum of 30 minute waiting times. An increase in the number of buses during peak periods will mean an increase in service for customers across Toronto.

Customers have been requesting the TTC to increase services in areas of the city that require reliable transit at all times of the week. For example, the 32D Eglinton West via Emmett route will now operate every 30 minutes or better, seven days a week until 1 a.m., servicing
residents on Emmet Ave. who previously had a lengthy walk to and from TTC services.

A full list of new and improved TTC services can be found here.

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