Buses vs LRT: “And”, Not “Or” (Updated)

Updated September 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm:

Anna Mehler Paperny of the Globe and Mail writes about the difficulties of getting around on a bus network where service leaves much to be desired.

The better way? Don’t get Janet Fitzimmons started.

The East Scarborough resident lives less than five kilometres from her work in the Kingston Road-Galloway Road area. But the bus ride takes a good 40 minutes – once the Lawrence Avenue bus comes, if it isn’t full. If the weather’s nice, her commute is faster by foot.

“But I’m lucky: I’m able-bodied and healthy.” And, she adds, “my commute isn’t bad for Scarborough.” A colleague of hers takes three buses to traverse what’s barely a seven-kilometre direct trek.

Meanwhile, Tyler Hamilton of The Star tells of the travails of attempting to use service on Kingston Road in The Beach.

Last Tuesday I needed to head downtown – Bay St. and King St. – for an event. […] It was rush hour. I seemed to have plenty of time, so I decided to take the 503 Kingston Rd. streetcar route. Checked the schedule. Walked to my stop and arrived what I thought was 10 minutes early.

No streetcar. Twenty minutes later, no streetcar.

This is rush hour, remember. Finally a bus that would take me along Queen St. arrived and the driver encouraged me to get on. “The 503 won’t be coming. Take Queen St.,” he says. “It will get you close. Hop on.”

I hop on. A man sitting across from me leans over and says, “TTC, eh… it means take the car.” I offer a forced chuckle. The bus drives along Kingston Rd. for five minutes and then reaches Queen St. “Time to get off,” the driver says. Huh? I join a herd of passengers exiting the bus. Apparently I should have known about transferring onto a Queen St. streetcar.

Confused, I wait. I wait. I don’t see a streetcar. I see a cab. Hail it. It will be worth the $20 at this point – enough money, mind you, to drive half a month in my Honda Civic.

I share my frustration with the cab driver. “The TTC is good for the cab business,” he replies with a smile.

Of course, a regular rider would know that there is no such thing as a 503 car, at least not until September 7 when streetcar service returns to Kingston Road.  The scheduled bus service is every 12 minutes on the 502 and 503 providing a supposedly blended 6 minute headway.  Take the first thing that comes along if you’re going downtown.  If it’s a 502, change to the King car at Broadview if you want King rather than Queen Street.  This is the sort of survival tip a regular will know, but a novice won’t.

By the way, the streetcar services will run every 15 minutes, with an allegedly combined service of 7’30”.  Don’t hold your breath.  A big problem with both of these routes is that they are short-turned and wind up missing the very customers they are intended to serve.

Add to this the appalling off-peak service and you have a recipe for driving away customers.  The 502 bus or streetcar is scheduled every 20 minutes, but only a few days ago I waited 36 minutes for one to show up.  I had not just missed one, and so the gap was easily over 40 minutes.  By the time we reached Queen Street westbound, we had a light standing load even on that wide headway, and we had also passed two eastbound 502s.  That’s right:  3 of the 4 buses on the route were east of Coxwell.  This is called “line management”.

The real irony is that the 12 Kingston Road bus comes and goes at Bingham Loop every 10 minutes.  There is better service east of Victoria Park than west of it on weekdays.  Evening and weekend service on the 22A Coxwell is better than on the 502.  This is one of the few places in the TTC where weekday service is worse than at any other time, and that’s assuming the weekday service is vaguely on schedule.

An important part of improving bus services generally is that the TTC must stop thinking of the outer parts of lines as places where short turns and unpredictable, infrequent service are acceptable.

Original Article from September 2 at 12:26 pm:

Two interviews on today’s Metro Morning discussed the question of transit for “service workers” and for suburban travellers in general.  The jumping off point for this was a new research paper from the Martin Prosperity Institute and the Cities Centre at UofT: “The Geography of Toronto’s Service Class and What It Means For the City of Toronto”.

The Institute uses a breakdown of jobs into three broad classes (I make no apologies for the political correctness, or not, of these terms, nor for the makeup of each group):

  • The “creative class” includes managers, professionals (doctors, teachers) and computer programmers.
  • The “service class” includes many job types whose principal characteristic is that they have less scope for independent action (cashiers, food preparers, administrative assistants).
  • The “working class” includes those jobs which build things (manufacturing and construction) as well as truckers who move equipment and goods around in support of this class.

This breakdown is plotted by census tract to show the concentration of jobs by place of work (not by residence) for each class and to map this against the location of the transit system’s core routes (the subways).  Although GO is not mentioned, it principally serves Union Station which is already within “subway” territory.

The report argues that more could be done to improve transit with better bus services as these could easily be implemented and would cover a much broader territory.  However, the report is silent on the subject of travel patterns and of demand for cross-boundary 905-416 trips.

Without question, better bus service would improve the lot of suburban riders.  Indeed, the TTC Transit City Bus Plan intends to do just that, but City Council refused to approve implementation of this plan due to budget constraints.  The plan isn’t perfect, but it is a starting point for discussions about how the surface network can be improved.  If this doesn’t show up as part of the 2011 TTC budget materials, at least as a proposal, I will be very disappointed.

In some quarters, advocacy of buses (like advocacy of subways) is treated as an either-or debate relative to LRT.  This is a fundamental flaw.  The question for any debate turns on projected demand, road capacity, operational constraints and financial viability.

Many corridors will never have sufficient demand to justify LRT, but they could support intensive bus service.  Is the real debate one of giving up road space for LRT?  Bus services running in mixed traffic have their problems, and BRT could address these, but at a substantial cost in lost road space.  So-called “BRT Lite” is a sham involving mixed traffic operation with selected use of queue jump or reserved lanes where they can be fitted in without upsetting motorists too much.

If we are going to give over road space to transit, then the questions become which mode is appropriate for the route and whether specific technologies impose constraints or provide unique options.  An example of the latter is LRT’s ability to operate underground and in trains.  Many transit studies have been compromised by looking at all modes for an identical alignment and implementation.  This effectively rules out options that could not reasonably be built with one of the modes and limits the alternatives under discussion.

I welcome the report’s focus on the capabilities of surface transit, but warn readers, especially those who would use the conclusions to downplay LRT alternatives, that the real issue here is the lack of transit to large sections of the 416 (not to mention the 905) and its implications for people working in jobs that are located in poorly-served areas.

26 thoughts on “Buses vs LRT: “And”, Not “Or” (Updated)

  1. In fact, the whole “start with buses, upgrade as necessary” approach has been debated ad infinitum, at least as far back as the original Transit City proposal.

    Reading the Institute’s report, it’s almost like they just thought of this themselves, and are completely unaware of all the previous discussion on the topic. (They wouldn’t be the first to not have done their homework … our Mayoral candidates seem to specialize in this.)

    I really wonder if anyone from the Institute has ever put in serious seat time on buses in the suburbs. (Being members of the “creative class” by definition, I suppose not.) There are a lot of problems that more buses won’t solve (we’ll just see more bunching). Even dedicated bus lanes, as on Don Mills, do little to make a long ride on the 25 anything like pleasant.

    What the Prosperity Institute doesn’t discuss is fare policy. The current flat-fare arrangement helps the “service class”: they’re the ones with unappealingly-long commutes from one suburban location to the other. Downtown people can whine about having to pay a flat fare to ride three stops on the streetcar, with the presumption that their fares would fall under a fare-by-distance policy. This implies (because TTC funding is so often a zero-sum game) that long-distance riders will have to pay more than at present. And those long-distance riders with poor service who will be paying more are exactly members of this “service class.”


  2. If we are going to give over road space to transit, then the questions become which mode is appropriate for the route and whether specific technologies impose constraints or provide unique options. An example of the latter is LRT’s ability to operate underground and in trains.

    The other side of the coin, which I know you’ve raised yourself before, particularly with respect to Lake Shore, is that it has the flexibility to be in mixed traffic where space is tight.

    As for GO, GO primarily serves Union Station right now, but that’s not to suggest that it will always be that way. Of course, it is a fundamentally different business model that is well outside of “familiar territory” for certain staff, but it can address major challenges that currently exist with the system.

    Some people, including some in the mayoral race, dismiss the DRL, pitching it as an “or” with GO, but it’s not “or” there either, it’s “and” like bus and LRT. Every mode has a role to play, and to state the obvious: We need more of everything!


  3. The report overlooks two key aspects:

    1. Service class jobs tend to be more widespread and interchangeable. A nurse at one hospital can easily move to another hospital closer to where she lives. That goes double if you’re a shop clerk or waitress. Creative class jobs are usually more unique, and the options of finding a job closer to where you live are small.

    2. This is key. The study only looks at the relative proportion of different types of jobs – it doesn’t look at the overall job density. The downtown core has thousands of jobs in every block, the burbs do not. So our current core-focused system actually moves a lot more service workers than suburban BRT or LRT ever will.

    Steve: I am always disappointed when a study comes out from a respected organization (actually two in this case) and misses such obvious points. It’s as if having proved their thesis, they stopped thinking about the implications or the validity of the conclusion.


  4. I wonder if any candidates have been asked if they support the Transit City Bus Plan, or other improvements to surface service — such as signalization improvements.

    Steve: I doubt any of the candidates, including Pantalone, even know they exist.


  5. The problem with any mode of transportation, no matter what that mode is, is the tendency of at lest some of each mode’s advocates to make that mode out to be the be all and end all. there isn’t a mode in the world that’s the answer to everything yet every mode ever invented has someone out there who who thinks that their favored mode is just it.


  6. Hasn’t the TCBN report/proposal just been shoved to the back wall in favour of the mayoral candidates aggrandizing Transit City? I remember the fanfare that was met with the TCBN report back then, but now it’s just a small blip in everyone’s mind. What a shame. This (TCBN) was the one with the most promise for everyone no matter where you are in the city. Almost all people (motorists, commuters, etc…) across town are touched in some way by the bus.

    At least for some comfort, they did extend service hours for the bulk of bus routes to 1 a.m., with minimum headways of 30 minutes or less. I hope that the thinkers at City Hall will figure out that suburbanites live in Toronto as well.


  7. I hope the Transit City Bus plan gets funding for a lot of the projects I read in that report. In particular a new bus route to leave the improving Victoria Park Station and heading east on Danforth/Kingston Rd to maybe St. Clair or Eglinton I think. This route would give Cliffside Village area much faster times to get to Victoria Park Station. Also in the Transit City Bus plan were plans to increase the indoor shelter space at the improved Victoria Park Station. I am grateful for the improvement to VP station but I wish that their were more sheltered areas to wait for our connecting bus. I was very dissappointed that this plan didn’t get all of the funding it requested.


  8. How about XOR? That’s the way the general public sees it Steve. To them, a streetcar or an LRV is simply a bus with steel wheels. I have had tourists ask me why there’s a streetcar on Bathurst but a bus on Dufferin and the only response I can give them is a … “I don’t know”.

    I think the community bus idea on residential streets would be a great idea — especially in the burbs where the nearest bus stop can be a long walk.

    Steve: “Exclusive or” is the meaning I intended by the title, without confusing readers who don’t have the IT or math background to know that “or” actually includes “and” in logic theory. I think the meaning is clear enough.

    As for Dufferin, the answer is obvious. The Dovercourt car served this corridor for years, and was subsequently replaced by the Ossington trolley coach. The TTC thought so little of transit service on Dufferin that they didn’t even include a loop at the subway station. Artic trolleybuses would look really nice on Dufferin, provided that you can convince Downsview air base to relax the rules about overhead wires on Wilson Ave.

    Also, of course, you need an Ontario bus builder fallen on hard times that Queen’s Park can throw the work to on a sole source basis. Remember CNG?


  9. I heard the two interviews and while both were interesting, the second one raised a couple of what appear to be “off the radar” issues – the impact of fares on access to transit, especially for those on low incomes. Might be interesting to hear how the various mayoral candidates would respond, as well as those running for council.

    Another thing that I’ve found lacking in many of the discussions and debates around transit overlook the impact that urban planning has on transportation. Much of the development in the GTA for the past 60 years has been low-density single-use suburban sprawl that is difficult to serve with public transit. (Thankfully I’m starting to see growing interest in intensification, but alas, developers seem fixated on huge condo towers). Also travel patterns are such that more trips are not to the downtown core, but either reverse commutes or crosstown (e.g. Whitby to Mississauga). It’s all fine and good to draw routes on a map but do the proposed routes help serve existing and potential demand? Have there been any recent studies looking at travel patterns (origin-destination) that might help guide where service should be improved or expanded?



  10. Back to the Dufferin bus, a loop at the subway would be a useless time sucker because so many people travel from north of Bloor to the Dufferin Mall (which, for our east-end friends, lies a couple of blocks north of College and and a couple of blocks south of Bloor) that buses would be full of people not getting off at the subway but waiting for their bus to start the circle around the loop and then waiting again to turn back onto Dufferin).

    Dufferin did not have a bus route on it until the opening of the Dufferin Mall (which was originally a humongous strip mall); south of Eglinton, Dufferin is mainly residential. It was the west-end equivalent of Jones Avenue, also a four-lane residential street.

    Steve: I mentioned this loop only to indicate how inconsequential the TTC thought the route would be. As for Jones Avenue, it didn’t get bus service until the locals stormed a TTC meeting (leading to the recognition that such meetings were open to the public by law) in 1972.


  11. The locals stormed a TTC meeting in 1972? Pitchforks and lanterns alonside I presume? What was the result of the lynch mob?

    Steve: They got their bus, and the TTC finally respected the terms of the Municipal Act making meetings bodies such as it open to the public.


  12. “Back to the Dufferin bus, a loop at the subway would be a useless time sucker”

    Tell that to the poor 512 riders that still deal with the ponderous meander through St Clair West Stn, instead of having a Queens-Quay style straight-through station more befitting an “LRT”. I realize there are structural constraints to doing this, but when they were running straight through the station a few years back it was so much better.

    This same situation exists on the Spadina subway stations for most routes. The biggest offender is Downsview, where they happen to have the space to build a straight-through bus station but condemn Sheppard and York U buses to a 10 minute diversion at the station. I actually think a Dufferin-style roadside layby would actually benefit many east-west through routes, and with PoP technology you remove the irritating fare validation step such transfers entail.

    Thankfully the Transit City proposals have the LRTs running straight through.


  13. The title of this is something I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen.

    Transportation is an “And” not an “Or”. Enough of this Bus VS LRT. Enough of this LRT VS Subway. Enough of this Transit VS Car. Enough of this Bike Lanes VS Car Lanes. We need AND not OR.


  14. One big omission in Martin Prosperity Institute’s report caught my attention: it doesn’t address the issue of shift work, which is a common aspect of service jobs, and the implications that has on planning transit service over the service day.

    Most of the creative class are comfy Monday-Friday 9-5 type office jobs downtown or on the Yonge subway (the maps in the report bear out the locations if not the hours) that most transit service is planned around. Even if it was possible and politically desirable to increase bus service across large parts of the city to benefit service workers, the fact that the workday for many service jobs isn’t confined to traditional office hours otherwise there wouldn’t be much improvement for people working afternoon, overnight, and weekend shifts.

    I worked a service job for a number of years to pay my way through school and experienced plenty of long bus rides to many far from the subway job locations with odd start and finish times, done an 8 hour shift, and wound my way home again at the end. There’s nothing worse than having to get to the middle of nowhere or home again on a weekend or after hours when bus service is limited to weekdays or daytime hours only. Realistically, from that experience, I don’t think the people with the political pull to get transit service improved for the benefit of service workers are interested in doing so since they’re largely indifferent at best towards the hired help.

    As for the article title, instead of XOR, I was going to go for shock value and suggest 74LS86 but that’d probably give people nightmares about CLRV electronics and leave a lot of people sleeping with one eye open and the lights on tonight.


  15. Before the disappearance of zone fares, one had to show a transfer to board a Zone 2 Jane bus. With the disappearance of zones, both Islington and Royal York were reconfigured so the buses now enter fair paid areas. Not so with the Jane buses.

    Now when the buses let off passengers, the buses wait empty as the drivers take their pit stops. Passengers have to stand as their wait for their driver to return and then pull their buses up, and then the passengers have to enter at the front door showing their transfers. A great waste of time.

    Hopefully, this may change with the POP system, and only if the buses pull up so the passengers can enter as the drivers take their pit stop.


  16. “An important part of improving bus services generally is that the TTC must stop thinking of the outer parts of lines as places where short turns and unpredictable, infrequent service are acceptable.”

    And that means they must stop thinking scheduled time and start thinking headway, throughout the complete route. At least for the frequent service routes.


  17. On drivers and pit stops. I’ve noticed that drivers will often not even pull up to the stop until their scheduled departure time, whether or not they need to make a stop for washroom use.

    I’ve spoken to a few drivers and they have told me that they do this because if they don’t, passengers begin to get upset at them and ask when the bus will start moving.

    Steve: So instead, the passengers get upset by being made to wait to board. This is a very “TTC” excuse, and another example of how the customer is always wrong.


  18. The map showing “intensity of transit service” is interesting and would be a useful resource even isolated from the discussion of “employment class”. However, I believe it falls on two points:

    1) Its weighting of streetcar service as twice as attractive as bus service. (The methodology weights streetcar and subway service higher than equivalent frequency bus service, which leads to the revelation that areas closer to streetcar and subway lines tend to have higher scores!) In the Toronto context I believe that a more effective measure would be travel speed, not vehicle type (which would still result in a premium on subway service).

    2) Its use of census tracts as the base measure. The census tract pattern (and the transit network) has a finer grain downtown than in the suburbs. Moreover, the suburbs are more likely to be be developed with high-density uses along the arterial network (and on the outskirts of the census tracts) and low-density uses away from the main streets (and at the centre of the census tracts). The study’s methodology measures intensity of transit service related to the centre of the census tracts. This results in things like the transit intensity along Finch East corridor showing up as being “low” or non-existent, despite being the busiest bus corridor in Toronto in terms of number of buses per hour.

    If Finch East shows up as “low” or non-existent, then the report’s suggested policy of implementing express buses / BRT along key routes would have no impact, at least on that specific map.

    Perhaps a better graphic depiction of accessibility would be to use walking distance to stops along the street network or public pathways, in combination with some measure of number of vehicles serving each stop (with subways weighted a little more heavily). This should be reasonably feasible to folks with a reasonable amount of GIS knowledge, using the street network and TTC stop/schedule data available at toronto.ca/open.


  19. Nearly 20 years ago I started to take the bus to school and my trip involved 3 different bus routes on the 3 different corridors.

    The combination of Route 30 Lambton*, Route 35 Jane, and Route 32 Eglinton West and the challenges of taking those 3 buses and finding the most efficient, low-hassle way to get onto those buses, while carrying a full backpack + musical instrument and dealing with bus drivers, other passengers and older teenagers, are fully ingrained in my memory though it was only for 2 years.

    *Alternatively, Route 55 Warren Park

    The thing about buses is that they discourage people from moving around. If you have a streetcar route, you move to accommodate the streetcar. That means you are ready to walk / bicycle to the stop, and if the streetcar is slow/late you walk on ahead, looking over your shoulder occasionally.

    With buses, on the other hand, there is this expectation that the bus should adjust to meet your needs. If you live off the main line there should be a branch of the route (32 A, B, C, D or 35A, B, C, D, E, S) that serves your area, or perhaps a completely separate route.

    Because of this, boarding an Eglinton bus at the corner of Jane & Eglinton was a real challenge – it meant standing at the southeast corner looking in the distance … west along Eglinton for the 32A & B buses, while also looking north along Jane for the 32 D buses. Whichever bus came first, you would have to run – either across Jane St. for the 32A & B (depending on a lucky traffic light) or east along Eglinton towards the bus stop for the 32D – again, carrying the fully-loaded backpack plus musical instrument.

    And yeah, there were many times when I missed any one of the 3 buses, which often meant a lot of stress plus having to hustle to school and face the risk of being late.

    Under those circumstances, I have to say that I am really disappointed that the Transit City Bus Plan, which would have improved service on many of these major long-haul bus routes, streamlining them and improving the frequency, did not receive much attention from the public, the media and the mayoral candidates.

    The new LRT lines and the new LRVs are going to be great, but that combination of streamlined, frequent service and restricted (fully, partially and even barely-restricted) right-of-way for public transit is what is going to make a huge difference for public transport in Toronto.

    By letting the Transit City Bus Plan slide by it seems that the people in charge are forgetting that for the majority of public transport users, service and frequency matter a lot more than the type of vehicle they are using.

    Cheers, Moaz


  20. Please accept my apologies for posting in an unrelated thread.

    In your estimation, is the underfunding of the Waterloo Region LRT project an attempt on the part of the governments to kill it while avoiding the embarrassment of doubling back on announced support? I don’t see how funding shy ~$300M is going to build much in Kitchener-Waterloo.

    Appreciate your analysis as always.


    Steve: Queen’s Park persists in linking its funding to presumed support from Ottawa, and this is the kiss of death for most transit projects. It verges on outright dishonesty for Ontario to make announcements like this when they know that the probability Ottawa will come to the table is close to nil.


  21. And that means they must stop thinking scheduled time and start thinking headway, throughout the complete route. At least for the frequent service routes.

    It means designing a system where the vehicles continue their trip even if the staff originally assigned to the vehicle don’t (not the simplest thing in the world, but very important). Routes are currently managed for the convenience of operators instead of riders (and to be fair, this isn’t the operators at fault).


  22. Regarding the Waterloo LRT: we are actually pretty close to approval, here. The province has committed $300 million; the feds $265 million. The gap is roughly 33%, which is actually close to the original pre-Move Ontario funding formula.

    The ball is in the regional council’s court, now, and this will be an election issue. Over here, we’re organizing to keep support for it on the public radar. Then, hopefully, the regional council will vote to commit funds before the year is out, and we should be a go.


  23. Hmm, Waterloo LRT an election issue, where the Regional Chair has no one running against him, and has been in power for 25 years. And has maintained such a low profile, that he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry.

    And looks like the same old councillors running for Regional council as well.

    Sounds like a sure thing to me.


  24. “So-called “BRT Lite” is a sham involving mixed traffic operation with selected use of queue jump or reserved lanes where they can be fitted in without upsetting motorists too much.”

    I take great offense at this comment considering I am currently using the 77 Highway 7-Centre Street bus from Ansley Grove/Highway 7 to Highway 7/27. Despite this being a local route, the bus is relatively fast and gets me to my destination in 15 minutes. I COULD take the Viva Orange which runs much faster, if only if it ran to Highway 27 (it terminates at Martin Grove).

    Secondly, as I have always maintained, any transit option must not be thought as “forcing people into a mode of transportation” as it should be more of “giving them an option for said mode of transportation”. No car commuter (as my wife now is as she now drives downtown with her carpool) enjoys the prospect of losing a method of transportation at the expense of something that (most likely) would not benefit them. Loss of Metropass parking, loss of lanes for bicycles, loss of lanes for Transit-only use serves only to inflame the car driver against public transportation. Hey, suburbs need public transit too, but it would be better if it was served as an option rather than ultimatum. Nobody likes ultimatums.

    That being said, I applaud York Region Transit for undertaking this transit initiative with Viva. Once the ridership of Viva rises to a more palatable level with better frequencies and service, only then would I not mind losing a few lanes to public transportation corridors. That way, one minimizes the disruption to car drivers who have no other choice but to rely on the car to get where they need to go.

    One other thing: I don’t know if any one of you noticed, but from my end at the Conservative spectrum, it appears that the suburbs seem to be winning out on Transit projects as of late. The Conservative party does appreciate their suburban voters, that’s for sure.

    Steve: I think it’s a question of the point of view on “BRT Lite”. Where the TTC now has very frequent service and may, given the money, overlay an express service, there is no road space, generally, and the main saving will be by skipping some stops. I am thinking of the 190 series of routes like the STC Rocket. Calling them “BRT Lite” is like calling the Scarborough ICTS line “LRT”. It’s stretching a name to fit something that it really isn’t because “Express Bus” just isn’t sexy enough any more. I agree with the idea of giving people better and better service as the idea of using transit catches on, but at some point, the political will must be found to dedicate road space to transit for its own use or further improvements in transit speed and capacity won’t be easy to achieve.


  25. The main issue of the article is that some people need to go 20km in order to go 5, well that’s always going to happen, to someone. The problem isn’t so much the vehicles, but the consistency of the vehicles to schedules. If there is supposed to be a bus every 4 minutes, then there should be a bus every 4 minutes and not 5 buses coming in a herd every 20 minutes with 2 packed like sardines and the rest running empty dutifully behind them with the doors closed at stops (36 Finch West is notorious for this). On less frequent routes buses should never be early, I’ve seen lots of times where run #01 is supposed to come at 8:26 and run #02 is supposed to be at 8:38, and run #01 is 3 minutes early so that passengers miss it, and you know then that run #02 will be 3 minutes late, if you have 14 minutes to spare to get somewhere, that doesn’t help.

    The TTC needs a way to determine when vehicles are off schedule, a route should be reviewed for times at least once a year, where all buses/streetcars are timed, to make sure that they are running on time. A good way of doing this is to set a pair of of cameras one at the station entrance another at the exit, these are triggered by a bus passing over a specific point, so that the reviewer can simply look for a specific route and note the arrival and departure times. These cameras would be always on, but the digital footage ignored when buses are not being reviewed. Drivers would not be told when a review is happening, and the
    cameras can not be used to punish a driver that is off schedule. It’s the schedule being reviewed, not the driver.

    If buses are herding or perpetually late, then the schedule can be reviewed. If it’s changed then the route would be again reviewed after 4 weeks to see if the new schedule is working.

    Steve: As many have seen here from my analyses using vehicle monitoring data, you don’t need cameras. Documentation of bunching is easily obtained from the GPS-based vehicle tracking. You can easily see places where there is genuine traffic congestion (as opposed to the TTC’s inventention to explain all problems, even at 3 am), places where traffic lights hold vehicles, and vehicles that habitually run in pairs or triplets. Will the TTC actually use this information?


  26. “Sounds like a sure thing to me.”

    Yes, and the organization is to ensure that it stays that way.

    The municipal election campaign only really starts today, in any event, so we’ll see what happens. TriTAG has had to fight a rear guard action against a persnickety anti-LRT group that has been pedalling some misinformation on the project.


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