Updated January 20, 2011 at 9:30 pm:
The table showing the route cuts linked in this article contained an error, and this has been corrected. In the original table, I calculated the imputed cost/hour and cost/passenger of the services under review by dividing the annual vehicle hours saved and passengers affected into $7-million. However, that saving would only have taken place over 9 months, and its annual value would have been about $9.33m.
Therefore, the imputed values, corrected for full-year savings, are $70.74 per vehicle hour and $7.16 per rider. Some reports have claimed that the current subsidies are $30/rider, and this is not borne out by the TTC’s own numbers. The actual values will vary from route to route and day to day, but the average is about 1/4 of this claimed value. Indeed few of the services up for cancellation reach the $30/rider subsidy level as is evident on the updated and expanded spreadsheet.
The link to the table is reproduced here for convenience.
In other news, I have now learned that the service improvements implemented in January 2011 are to be funded out of the savings from the late night cuts. These improvements have an annual cost of about $4m, leaving only $3m for fall 2011. However, about $1m will be lost to the delayed implementation of the cuts, leaving only about $2m for service additions in late 2011.
Updated January 13, 2011 at 3:05 pm:
It is worth noting that some routes appear on both maps indicating that they have a proposed service cut in one period to pay for an improvement in another, although we don’t know exactly what that may be yet.
[The original article follows below.]
Proposed Service cuts on “under performing” TTC routes have been put off for a few weeks while politicians cover their butts, “consult” their constituents, and then reluctantly approve management proposals.
The pols always like simplistic ways to make decisions and formulas that justify their actions. This gives a “businesslike” approach, a hands-off mechanism that, in theory, avoids political interference.
Because the detailed number-crunching that went into the proposals didn’t come out until the TTC meeting was already in progress, there was no opportunity to check whether the results were accurate or reasonable. With the decision delayed until February 2, we now have that chance.
First let’s have a look at the numbers.
This table contains the same data as in the TTC’s list published yesterday, but with additional columns to validate the methodology. [List of columns updated January 20, 2011]
- TTC Pass/VHr: These values show the TTC’s claimed boardings per vehicle hour as published by them. Many cells are blank, and that’s how they appeared in the TTC’s spreadsheet. The criterion for a route to be cut is supposed to be that it has fewer than 15 boardings per hour.
- Recalculated Hrs: The number of hours in the period (end time minus start time).
- Recalculated VHrs: Vehicle count times number of hours.
- Recalculated Pass/VHr: Daily boardings divided by vehicle hours.
- Ratio Ann/Dly: The ratio of annual boardings to daily boardings.
- Ratio Lost/Ann: Lost riders as a percentage of annual riders.
- Sat 10 Hrs: Saturday demand restated on a presumption that service before 9am is very lightly used.
- Annual vehicle hours: Daily vehicle hours times the number of days/year
- Annual cost: Average cost/hour times annual vehicle hours
- Cost per rider: Annual cost divided by annual riders
5 Avenue Road: Sunday daytime service carries 295 riders over 10 hours (9 am to 7 pm) on 1.5 buses (the route is interlined with 56 Leaside). That’s just under 20/hour, and the service does not meet the criterion for being cut.
This begs the question of Saturday service, and this shows two additional problems.
- First, the period in question runs from 6 am to 7 pm even though weekend demand is likely to be low in the early morning. If the 322 riders actually use the service over the shorter period starting at 9 am (comparable to Sunday service), the passengers per hour goes up from 12.4 to 16.1. Similar issues arise on other routes.
- Saturday daytime service on this route is not interlined and it requires a full 2 buses rather than the 1.5 assigned during other periods such as Sunday. The reason for this is that service on Avenue Road runs every 20 minutes. If the Saturday operation matched Sunday’s, the passengers/hour would be over 20, although some riders would be lost to the widened headway.
59 Maple Leaf: Weekday late evening service carries 14.3 boardings/hour, not 9.5 as stated by the TTC. The calculation appears to have been done as if there were 3 buses on the route, not 2. Saturday early evening service carries 16.5 boardings/hour while Sunday early evening service carries 27.0! Neither of these meets the criterion for a service cut.
96 Wilson (Tandridge/Thistledown): Weekday midday service carries 16.3 boardings/hour, not the 14 shown in the TTC’s chart. Saturday service would carry 15.6/hour if demand is assumed to begin at 9am. Saturday early evening service carries 20.5.
Other Cases Where Boardings/Hour Meet the Criterion
This group of services appears to have been sideswiped by poor performance during one period (say weekdays) leading to cancellation of other time periods.
- 6 Bay: Saturday late evening (21.5)
- 122 Graydon Hall: Saturday late evening (15.8) (The weekday value is 14.7, only slightly below the cutoff.)
- 43B Kennedy via Progress: Saturday late evening (17.3)
- 130 Middlefield: Saturday late evening (16.4), Sunday late evening (16.2)
- 72 Pape: Saturday late evening (18)
- 101 Downsview Park: Saturday early evening (89!), Sunday daytime (17.3)
- 80 Queensway (east of Humber): Early evenings M-F (18.1)
- 115 Silver Hills: Saturday early evening (15.3)
- 98 Willowdale Senlac (on Willowdale): Sunday early evening (17.7) (The Sunday daytime value is 14.8)
Other Saturday Services Where Boardings/Hour Meet the Criterion if All Demand is From 9am Onward
- 33 Forest Hill (17.1)
- 101 Downsview Park (17.6)
- 60 Steeles West (west of Martin Grove) (19.0)
- 98 Willowdale Senlac (on Willowdale) (19.4)
How Many Days in the Year?
Generally speaking, the ratio between daily boardings and annualized values is 251 for weekdays, 52 for Saturdays and 62 for Sundays/Holidays. However, in a few cases the ratios are different suggesting that the calculations were not done on a uniform basis. This does not affect the evaluation of individual periods.
How Many Riders Will We Lose?
Overall, the TTC estimates that 21.2% of the 1.3-million rides dis-serviced by these changes will be lost. I will leave it to readers to apply their knowledge of individual routes to checking the reasonableness of this assumption.
In any event, a lost off-peak ride probably has a counterpart in another time period, and the total loss will be greater than the numbers shown here.
The TTC’s analysis shows the hallmarks of something pulled together quickly as a way to satisfy a demand for cuts without taking care to look at what is happening or to validate the accuracy of the calculations.
In coming weeks, TTC staff should review their analysis to reconcile the inconsistencies here. This will still leave many services facing cuts, as well as the philosophical question of whether we should run transit service on all routes, all of the time.
The cuts will, at best, save $7m per year while their purpose is to fund service improvements with an annual cost of three times that amount. This is simply bad budgeting, and begs the question of what cuts will come in 2012 to satisfy the desire for “efficiency”.