Service Cuts Coming in 2011? (Updated)

Updated January 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm:

CITY-TV reports that according to TTC Chair Karen Stintz, the City’s budget allocation for operating subsidy to the TTC will remain at the same level in 2011 as in 2010.  This would be an increase over actual spending in 2010 because the TTC ran a “surplus”, at least on paper.

From the Chief General Manager’s Report up to the end of October 2010 we know that the projected subsidy requirement was running about $60-million below the originally budgetted level.  Of the expected $430m subsidy, only about $370m would actually be needed.  Some of this “surplus” arises from better than expected riding and fare revenue, and partly from some operating cost savings that may not be repeatable (an unexpected dip in fuel cost, for example).

If the TTC had been required to take a 5% cut relative to budget levels, this would have meant a $21.5m cutback in subsidy, but since they actually only used $370m, they would still be ahead of the game.  Getting the whole $430m is a bonus.  However, the total TTC budget is about $1.37-billion, and a 5% increase would not be unexpected given the combined effect of wage, service and materials increases.  That would eat up roughly $64-million.

Stintz confirmed that there will be some service cuts in 2011.  One important budget pressure is the “Customer Service” file which will trigger new spending in many areas.  This is a challenge for the TTC and a delicate balancing act — if service gets worse, it will be hard to deliver that service with a smile.

The bigger challenge for the TTC and for Council is the multi-year view of budgets.  There won’t be a big “surplus” (actually underspending relative to budget) in coming years, and real dollars will have to be found either on the revenue or expense side of the ledger.  Council is supposed to be moving to multi-year budgeting, but there is not yet anything definitive on this nor on the effect for medium range transit policies.

As I write this, a special TTC meeting to deal with budget matters is rumoured for next week, but it has not yet been publicly announced.  The City Budget Launch meeting on Monday, January 10 may provide more details.

The original article from December 23, 2010, follows below.

A notice has appeared at Wilson Division with information apparently taken from the TTC’s Intranet indicating that a proposal for service cutbacks will be at a special TTC meeting on January 12, 2011.

Although I do not have all of the details, it appears that changes made in late 2008 to extend service on all routes until 1:00 am will be rolled back.  The changes would take effect with the March 27, 2011 schedules.

If anyone has further info, please leave it as a comment in this thread.

From a budgeting point of view, the full hours of service are low-hanging fruit.  Many of the routes operated late at night or on some weekend periods have low ridership, and they are an easy target for cost-cutting.  “Fat” some would call it, although there was a bona fide reason for implementing full service.

The problem is that the next time someone wants a budget cut, they will say “see, we told you there was fat, and you cut it so easily in 2011”.  Meanwhile what happens for routes where ridership is growing?

Let’s see how this story evolves even though the pols are on vacation.

74 thoughts on “Service Cuts Coming in 2011? (Updated)

  1. Tom,

    The problem with that is that you end with the situation that is present in Ottawa and many other cities. People who are taking buses that are traveling on the same corridor (but different branches) are forced to wait for their particular route rather than taking the first bus that goes in the same direction on the same corridor as they are.

    This means that you end up with:

    *More buses entering the city centre during the AM peak
    *More buses waiting in the city centre during the PM peak
    *poor service in between the peak hours
    *more congestion on routes because of larger numbers of buses required for the branching routes
    *more people stuck downtown waiting for their buses
    *a need for larger space to accommodate the buses in the city centre

    And particular to Ottawa, you have infrastructure (Transitway stations) that is built but underused.

    I think that separating the branch routes and “community” routes from the trunk lines is a more effective system – the challenge is to ensure that connections/transfers are scheduled properly and the buses are able to stick to the schedule.

    In my own experience, my teenage life in Mississauga improved greatly when Mississauga Transit started breaking up their “branching” routes (like 26 A & B Burnhamthorpe, or 1 A,B,C + 81 Dundas) and introducing separate community routes.

    In contrast, public transport use dropped heavily during my time in Kuala Lumpur after the public transport operator RapidKL “rationalized” the routes and cut service in 2007, all the time claiming that this was what passengers wanted. Ironically, the CEO at the time was an accountant who had previously worked at Arab Malaysian Bank and had no transport experience whatsoever.

    Cheers, Moaz

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  2. To my mind, a bus carrying 4 or 5 people late at night means

    4-5 fewer cars on the road that could possibly be driven by drivers who are sleep deprived or under the influence (somewhat).

    Just yesterday or the day before the CAA released a poll saying that while 95%+ of respondents oppose drinking and driving (and many want harsh penalties), nearly 25% admitted to driving after drinking alcohol – even approaching the legal limit.

    I would hope that MADD and the Ontario Safety League and WHMIS would wake up and start mentioning that late night public transport service is better for overall community safety.

    And given the time of year when transit operators are about to offer extended service hours for New Years’, they should be shouting loudly to get the message across.

    Better transit = safer roads.

    Regards, Moaz

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  3. This bring me back to the campaign pledge by Ford about replacing streetcars with buses. Is the city going to spend money on new vehicles or as I suspect a majority of them will be taken away from other routes?

    Steve: Replacing the existing streetcar service with buses would require at least 300 buses, or about 20% of the existing peak bus service. This does not allow for the backlog of service on streetcar routes that cannot be provided because there are not enough cars available, nor for growth anticipated over the coming decade thanks to redevelopments along streetcar routes and expansion into the waterfront. New vehicles, and two new bus garages would be needed to make this change.

    For those who might quibble with my figure of only 300, this is to replace existing scheduled service, and presumes that there would be no running time penalties as I calculate on a service planning capacity basis at 3:2 for bus:CLRV and 2:1 for bus:ALRV. Higher figures for a new bus fleet have been based on the proposed fleet of 204 LFLRVs which includes provision for growth, new routes (Waterfront east) and spares. If we use a 3:1 ratio for buses to LFLRVs, then you would need 612 buses to replace 204 LRVs.

    These numbers are not as far apart as it may appear because one must adjust for the different base in each case. Taking 300 buses as a starting point (January 2011), you would need to add about 15% for the backlog of demand (45 vehicles), and then 2% per year over 10 years (about 25% compounded, or 86 vehicles) bringing us to a total of 431 at the start of 2021. To this add spares at 15% (another 65) and we are up to 496. Then there’s the waterfront service. It’s not hard to get up to the capacity of the proposed LFLRV fleet by the mid 2020s, the era at which this larger fleet is aimed.

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  4. “We have already heard from Councillor del Grande, the budget chief, who was quoted as saying that some buses have to be cut so that more service can be run on busy routes. The real question will be whether we see both the cuts and the adds, or only the cuts.”

    If these service cuts will be used to bolster service on busy routes, then I call that “good public policy”. Nothing frustrates riders more than cramming into already packed buses on a busy route and seeing a bus with no one on it go to a place that does not need the service. Hopefully by this time, the TTC has had enough time to analyze the service levels to see what truly is a waste and what routes truly benefit riders with its extended service time. I expect many routes to maintain some form of extended service. Another confusing issue is branches of many routes getting extended service when the route that it travels covers other routes as well.

    Some examples of routes/branches that probably won’t need the extra service:

    120 Calvington
    96C Wilson
    116A/E Morningside
    86D Scarborough
    162 Lawrence Donway
    98 Willowdale Senlac
    115 Silver Hills

    These routes I would consider the worst performing and the frontrunners for these cuts. Even an extra bus on a busy route like 39 Finch East goes a long way to making things better for a large number of commuters.

    And as a present user of York Region Transit, I don’t consider service levels to be “pitiful”. Present service levels allow me to get to and from work without much difficulty.

    Steve: For what it’s worth, here are the number of buses assigned to these routes in the January 2011 schedules:

    120: 2 at all times
    96C: 4.5 AM peak, 4 PM peak
    116A/E: 5 peak, 2-3 off-peak
    86D: 4-5 peak, 2 off-peak
    162: 2 at all times
    98: 4 peak, 2 off-peak
    115: 2 weekday daytimes, 1.5 evenings and weekends (interlined with 122)

    By comparison, the total buses in service in the AM peak is 1465, and at the fringes of the off peak (eg late Sunday), anywhere from 350-600. Hacking away at your shopping list of buses won’t make much difference in the budget available for service elsewhere, and the next time you need a service increase on, say, Finch, you will have to move the cutoff line for “poor service” higher to get more candidates. Such is the path to service cuts that affect the system as a whole.

    There is a perception that the network is full of underused vehicles. I can point to some even on parts of major routes where they are running counter-peak or where they are at the outer end of their trips. That’s how transit service works. If we waited for trains to Finch to be full before we ran any, they would show up about once every 20 minutes in the evening, and I’m not sure we would run more than one train on the Sheppard line.

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  5. As others have pointed out, it has to do with who’s money is perceived to be spent. Car drivers truly believe that they not only cover all of their own costs, but that they also shell out money for everyone else as well — they are “fed up” with paying for themselves and everyone else’s transportation. That billions of tax dollars have already been spent building and maintaining their very extensive road system, that there are billions in unrealized land values due to the need to provide car storage areas everywhere, that there are uncounted indirect private and public subsidies that they are provided with, etc., these issues are completely lost on them.

    What they see is all they wish to see. Therefore, a near-empty bus that they can see with their own eyes is a travesty and misuse of their hard-earned money. They don’t see that actively using their private vehicle for, what, four hours a day and having it sit empty and taking up space for the other 20 hrs per day, is at all comparable to having transit service available, but perhaps not well-used for all 20 hours a day.

    Steve: Please see my comment elsewhere about empty buses.

    The fact that personal transit, like a private car, SHOULD carry a premium personal cost over mass transportation because of its premium service level, is one that car drivers will never agree to, no matter how logical it might be. They have mostly grown up with the idea that cars are king and everyone else takes second spot. This is reflected not only in road and traffic planning, but in the unpredictable transit funding levels we have seen over the last 20 years. Magically, there should, apparently, be no connection between lack of proper transit funding and lousy service. As you said before, Steve, welcome to the Alice in Wonderland world of transit in Toronto!

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  6. >96C Wilson
    >116A/E Morningside
    >86D Scarborough

    Except that the main part of all three of these routes is heavily used, it is only the ends of these routes which are underused. It might make sense to cut the branch outside rush hour and reallocate the buses to the main route, but it makes no sense to cut service on the branch entirely and move the buses somewhere else.

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  7. I’m lucky enough to be a gashouse green in the older core of Caronto – so I can bike to most places in my life, though it can be a bit suicycle at times, plus rough roads.

    But we need to keep an effective transit system in less-used areas, and yes, it will cost, and that’s what reality is, and the currently dominating crew thinks that cars are not given subsidies, though they are, and we have just given them a Big Gift.

    The Fordites will not be amenable to reason and logic and facts – and this may well include the TTC Commission now. (Toronto Trashing Carmission?) But individual councillors are quite possibly much more responsive and responsible, and all of us need to be in contact with them, especially the middle-burban ones.

    This may not be enough: we may need to play provincial politricks and warn the credit rating agenices of mismanagement in an era of rising oil prices that Mr. Ford may blame on the pinkos in India and China driving more.

    So it may be a Malice in Blunderland shituation, and maybe we need to rename us again – not Caronto, but MFordor, though I’m unsure what the best spelling is. M(f)ordor ; or M(F)ordor or MFordoronto?

    And while it may seem strange to be doing wordplay in such a carisis, the Harristocracy and its Common Stench does resonate in techniques of Mr. Ford. If there are enough examples of anti-democratic practices and enough voices squawking back up to the province, that may be part of our help, though the province also doesn’t plan for transit, but uses transit for more suburban votes.

    Thanks to all those who read and commented – it’s very helpful to have thoughtful inputs from a wider variety of users and people in different areas of TO with many of them having different experiences of transit systems elsewhere.

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  8. I perceive a flaw in the idea of pulling buses from low-volume routes to provide more capacity to higher volume routes. The time extra capacity is needed is generally during rush hours, but that is often when the low-capacity routes have the most passengers. The 5 PM rush hour 162 often carries 12-18 passengers from Lawrence Station and once I noticed that most stay on until the Donway. So poaching this route at rush hours would truely be a reduction of service.

    In the off-hours, there would be a surplus of buses so that leaving the buses for low-volume routes in the garage may reduce expenses but not increase capacity.

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  9. The simple answer is thus: build an extension to an underutilized subway line so half-empty subway trains can run an even longer distance at well under capacity. The TTC is a “network” where the surface routes (in the outer city (former boroughs)) feed the subway. Eliminate the surface feeder routes and you will have to extend the subway to be within a fifteen minute walk from everyone’s front door! The minimum surface service standard was to be 15 minute (or better) service no more than a fifteen minute (or better) walk from your residence.

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  10. Stephen Cheung claims And as a present user of York Region Transit, I don’t consider service levels to be “pitiful”. Present service levels allow me to get to and from work without much difficulty.

    So can you go for a week without using the car? Can you make transit trips in the evening to a restaurant, bar, cinema, or whatever it is you go out for? Can you take transit to the subway? (Oops, you probably drive, as your endless squeals about having to pay for parking at the subway demonstrate.)

    I expect that people who are getting by without car usage in York Region would indeed call transit service “pitiful”, because transit riding isn’t just about your routine morning and evening commutes, presumably around similar times, and in fact times you may choose to work with what transit there is.

    Yet you advocate that off-peak transit service, and branches that you don’t apparently much care for, should be cut, because after all those cuts wouldn’t affect you. Sheesh.

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  11. Pols should be back from vacation. Did TTC contact you regarding special meeting?

    Steve: There has not been an announcement yet.

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  12. Spoke with TTC: While not familiar with anything Jan. 12th, they expected to hold a special budget related meeting at some point prior to Feb. 2’s monthly board meeting which will be posted on website (news).

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  13. To add to Richard L’s comment, the morning eastbound 162s are often used by Glendon College and Toronto French School students, mostly due to horrible crowding on eastbound 124 between 8AM and 9:30AM (the two share the same route from Lawrence Station to Bayview). It reinforces the idea of its importance during rush hour.

    I also don’t think the folks on the Bridal Path would appreciate losing their bus… how would their cleaning staff get to work!

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  14. Can’t we re-use the Wheel-Trans vehicles and drivers or at least style concept for some late night low-volume routes? Don’t deticate a bus to each full time, but deticate enough buses/minibuses to cover a call-up from say 5 adjacent subway stops (2 each way from a central location). Yes, you have to wait a bit 80% of the time, but 20% of the time you wouldn’t, and 40% would be outward journey short.

    While we’re at it, can we cut all daytime buses running on Sheppard between Yonge and Don Mills and use this type of service around Bessarion/Bayview and Leslie/Van Horne/Don Mills or VP?

    Steve: You still need drivers, and you don’t save anything on fleet costs because these are all off-peak operations, but you substantially cut service. Are you saying, by the way, that anyplace we build subways from now on, there will be no replacement bus service? There is future for you in municipal politics!

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  15. “Stop the Gravy Train” gives trains and LRT a bad assoication. Can we call it “Stop the Gravy Boat”? Seems more like what Ford wants to do. Don’t spread stop the economic disparity, stem the flow of gravy away from your plate.

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  16. Reducing service is bad customer service.

    Karen Stintz, the rest of the commissioners, and everybody else involved need to keep that in mind because selling less service for the same price, or more if the fare goes up, as an improvement in customer service isn’t going to be easy. I don’t see how anybody could make the claim that getting less for the same price is an improvement and do it with a straight face and expect people to buy into it.

    Steve: In year one of the Ford era, they may get away with little cuts around the edges, especially because the TTC isn’t being hit with a major funding cut. This will be much harder to pull off in year two, three etc. Moreover, we will see whether they can stomach a fare increase to fund service quality, or if a constant decline in funding from both fares and subsidy is their one and only policy option.

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  17. The problem with Mr. Phillips proposal is that there are sometimes “surges” on off-peak routes. For example, an evening church service, theatre or sports event ends. With a conventional bus, a lot more people can board. The TTC has to be able to accomodate “lumpy” demand with conventional busses.

    Steve: Many years ago, there was a bingo hall on The Queensway west of Windermere, and it would let out about 9:30 pm. Queen cars would run early to avoid that rush load. This is not a new phenomenon. People whose personal travel model is car-oriented tend to forget about this sort of thing because they are a surge of one or two, and their car is always waiting for them in the parking lot.

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  18. Thinking about “lumpy” demand…

    Once upon a time, a long time ago (OK, from 1982-1999) I was a Militia officer with The Royal Regiment of Canada based at Fort York Armoury. The troops were dismissed at 10:00 PM on evening parade nights. Many of them promptly went out to the Bathurst streetcar, which was just starting its run. One of its first stops was in front of the Armoury.

    Needless to say, when over 100 men head out all at once, the streetcar went from “empty” to “full” right away.

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  19. Loving the puns. Keep it up.

    Steve: Some of us have a limited love for Hamish’s puns when they get in the way of his arguments. Occasionally I edit them out.

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  20. You have to bear in mind that Ottawa’s system may not work for Toronto, but it works for Ottawa. In an incredibly suburban city, the primary transit demand is going to be commuter based, and the transitway infrastructure is very well used.

    Steve: An excellent example of how one cannot apply a “solution” blindly from one situation to another.

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  21. There is evidence that providing buses later at night increases patronage during the day, because people look at the timetable and have the “option” of returning later in the evening if they want to.

    This “option value” increases patronage, even if you don’t see passengers on the later night services. Buses need to run to about 7pm for this effect to occur.

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  22. Sometimes they sail, sometimes they’re repugnant….

    They can interfere with arguments, thanks for the editing Steve, but isn’t much of this blog and commenting about how facts do not work? We’ve hit 390ppm of CO2 at the end of Cancun….

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  23. You’re right about the rough, lurching rides. I swear that some operators think they’re driving race cars and forget that there are usually several people standing up behind them. When I trained with Mississauga Transit 20 years ago, the instructor put his cup of coffee on the dashboard beside the front door. “If you spill that, you’re buying me a new cup of coffee!” It was a great incentive to drive smoooothly. I have a feeling that there’d be a lot of coffees being bought by these guys today.

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  24. Good frequency and scope of hours is essential for good patronage. Brisbane is one of the lowest density cities in the world. Increasing our bus service hours (6am-11pm all day and weekend, no compromise) and frequency on selected routes (15 minutes or better) increased patronage generally by 100%, with the biggest gains surprisingly being in the off peak and on Sundays (with increases up to 266%)

    Interestingly, it seems the patronage uptake on Brisbane’s high frequency bus routes offset the money that was spent to make them happen in the first place.

    I guess it is obvious, but if you reduce the frequencies and scope of hours, then you are going to lose riders.

    Steve: That was precisely the intention with the increased hours of service implemented as part of the Ridership Growth Strategy. The “bean counters” among the politicians can only see the buses that are not stuffed full of riders, but they don’t understand how important the quality of service all day long is to the overall success of the network. Routes will be very busy some of the time, just like a restaurant will be packed on weekends but stay open on other days to attract business.

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  25. With respect to smooth operation, all non-hybrid Orion VIIs have an accelerator based retarder. That is, as soon as the operator releases the accelerator the retarder applies. Some buses have stronger retarders than others, however it still produces a jerky ride as the bus is either accelerating or decelerating, never coasting. It is frustrating operating these buses because no matter how hard I try, the ride is still jerky. The TTC needs to move back to brake applied retarders like the older buses (except GMs which neither have nor need a retarder).

    I acknowledge that yes indeed there are some jerky cowboy operators, but fixing the retarders as well as a whole slew of issues like fixing the roads would go a long way in improving passenger comfort.

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  26. The sad thing about all this is that I see in Toronto an excellent willingness to use public transit that does not exist in many places; To quote a Cleveland, OH hotel concierge when asked how to get from Downtown to University Circle, “I don’t do the bus thing.” There was a direct subway route between the two places. In Toronto, I know a lot of people that drive to work but who would have no hesitation about taking the subway downtown if needs be.

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  27. Sorry to be digressing from the subject of Orion busses but isn’t the a similar feature in PCCs? Anytime I’ve ever ridden one in my day it’s always been real obvious when an operator takes his eases up on the power pedal but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a thing in any other type of rail transit vehicle.

    Steve: There is a slight drag on a PPC caused by the “pilot motor” which is operated from the current generated by the main motors turning while the car is rolling. This is supposed to keep the braking system at the correct setting so that when the operator does step on the brake pedal, the correct resistance is placed into the circuit to slow the car without a big jerk. As a result, PCCs never really free wheel the same way a Peter Witt does. In modern cars with solid state controls, the same logical function is produced a different way, and it does not create drag.

    (Also, if the pilot motor is out of whack, then a PCC can have very jerky braking.)

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  28. Thanks for the info, CLRV4037. When my regular route was switched to Orion VIIs some time ago, I had a tough time getting used to the jerkiness of the ride; I felt nauseous every day coming home from work for the first few weeks, and even now it comes back on occasion. I figured it was the specific operator, but now I see that’s only part of the equation.

    Is this something, like the painfully squeaky (squealy!) T-1 brakes, that the TTC could fix fairly easily if they wanted to?

    Steve: The squeaky brakes were supposed to have been fixed in 2010. As we all know, they have not been.

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  29. I’m going to suggest, somewhat seriously, that perhaps the low-lying fruit are actually the long, very high-frequency routes.

    Consider the Don Mills bus. In the morning, there is a 108-minute round trip time, with 34 buses operating a 3’10” headway. Removing one of them would result in the headway increasing by all of 5 seconds. The impact would be imperceptible to riders. Given the amount of bunching we see on the system, probably the main impact would be that instead of one packed bus followed by one half-full bus and one empty bus, we would lose the empty bus at the end of the convoy. Similarly, during the major service increase a year or so ago, Adam Giambrone made a photo op of an additional 3 buses on the Dufferin bus, touting it as a major improvement on that route, when in fact the impact on capacity for that route was marginal.

    (Also note that, on these busy routes, when you have a convoy of 3 or 4 buses, usually the last bus or two is pretty much wasted capacity. With the rollout of GPS arrival data to buses, maybe this will allow supervisors to better manage service to reduce the severity of bunching and increase effective capacity. (I know, you are probably not holding your breath.))

    That’s not to say that the extra buses don’t have some sort of benefit, such as additional flexibility to handle route management during delays, sending out subway shuttles, etc. — but each additional bus sees diminishing gains.

    Compare this to a route that runs, say, every 15 minutes with 3 buses — a one-bus increase, or a one-bus cut, would have a noticeable impact for riders. And of course cutting a route during late-evening hours has the greatest impact on service quality, whether for riders that depend on the late hours or for people that normally travel in peak times but have the reassurance of knowing that the service will be there in the event that they have to stay late at work (or the game goes into extra innings).

    Of course the politics of this approach are horrible, especially when the overarching political sentiment isn’t one to get bogged down in details of rationale (I can see the headlines — “Busy Finch East service cut by one bus to save late-night Woodbine South route”). But if we are facing ten eliminations that can be offset by ten non-noticeable trims, shouldn’t that be under consideration?

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  30. Would it be possible given the low numbers we are talking to contract with a taxi service to provide call up service on these routes during low volume periods?

    My thought is to open it up to bidding from the different cab companies. Set minimum service expectations. Then set it up such that it works as a bus – “fares” and “transfers” and that the cabs will only pickup from defined ttc stops. Only requirement is you call the ttc to ask for a pickup.

    Any examples of this being done elsewhere?

    Steve: The problem with this scheme is that transit (and cabs) don’t work like that. Even an infrequent route has a published schedule and people plan to be at stops to connect with that service. Ever try to get a cab when the weather is bad? Ever try to get a Wheeltrans booking for a cab on short notice?

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  31. I am not for these cuts at all and I understand the whole need to have these services operating to make the entire system attractive.

    However I think we have to remember that the residents of Toronto will still have access to transit. The cuts do not mean that residents will be stranded, as most of the cuts still have transit service operating nearby.

    That being said, the cuts are still not good.

    If any of you would like to help protest the cuts, then come on down to the Starbucks at Yonge and King this Wed after 7 pm.

    Steve: “Nearby” is a relative term for those who have difficulty walking and/or during bad weather.

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  32. PCC cars are always braking unless they’re accelerating.

    The only difference between coasting and braking is the limit relay’s setting and the state of the F1 contactor over part of the controller’s range of positions. The sequence chart, and I should mention that I pulled out the sequence chart and double checked, for coasting and braking are otherwise identical on a Westinghouse PCC.

    The rubber banding that you feel when a PCC goes from acceleration to coasting is because the controller’s a collection of electromechanical parts that have to physically change position, which takes time. There’s a lag while contactors throw to drop out the 600 volt feed and set up for braking, and the limit relay + pilot motor have to position the controller to begin braking.

    On the solid state cars, there is no logical equivalent to the coasting and braking setup on a PCC car because it’s unnecessary. PCCs set up for braking as soon as the power pedal’s released to move the lag time from setting up to when the power pedal’s released instead of coasting freely and placing the setup lag between when the driver hits the brake pedal and when the brakes begin to apply. Since solid state electronics have much, much, much faster response times than electromechanical equipment, there’s no need to set up for braking until the driver actually hits the break pedal since the setup lag’s tiny so you can coast freely until braking’s actually needed. Of course, that’s just one of several advantages to going to duty cycle control for DC motor control.

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  33. In some locations transit works like this – call a bus systems were used in Whitby when I lived there.

    I think if there was a service level expectation this would solve the weather issues (note we are talking about hours and times when cab companies have lots of spare vehicles – weekends and late at night) – and in fact a lot of cab companies do operate in a similar fasion already.

    I have it on good authority that some taxi companies will guarentee that vehicles will be available at specific locations when a company signs on to use them exclusively (this is why out in the office parks, and outside a lot of downtown businesses you have cabs sitting in front of these companies at 2am in the morning).

    I think a system like this could pay for itself – it would be cheaper than running busses – and it would allow for a reasonable level of service for low end routes – and it would have better metrics, so at a certain point it would be obvious that moving to busses would be cheaper.

    Steve: Look at the list of routes and times where cuts are happening. They are all over the city. There are more buses being removed from service than entire transit systems in some areas around the GTA. Your proposal has a problem of scale. Also, given what we would have to pay the cab companies to carry passengers, it’s unclear what the net saving would be.

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  34. It is interesting that one of the routes chosen for a cut in service happens to run through Rob Ford’s neighbourhood. 73B Royal York. They say 12 passengers is the cut off point. Well, I use this service regularly and Sunday evening 8.15 pm there are far more than 12 psgrs from the subway as far as Eglinton. I see the 8:00 pm 73 and leaves with few empty seats. If the 73B branch goes then those passengers will have to use the next regular 73 at 8:30 pm (30 min headway all evening) and will be SRO.

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