South Spadina Headways: What the Riders See

The matter of service on Spadina south of King has been before the TTC on two previous occasions, most recently in March 2011.

In brief, local riders and their Councillor, Adam Vaughan, complain that service is poor and riders are packed into streetcars.  TTC staff reply that the average load on a streetcar south of King is 29, and therefore additional service is not justified.  This matter was held down in March in order to get updated riding counts on the route.

The problem with the TTC’s analysis is that it looks at overall averages, not at the specifics of actual experience on the route.  Most importantly, if a service that is supposed to run every 7’30” is badly disrupted and unreliable, then wide headways will be common.  Because more riders accumulate waiting for long gaps than short ones, the “average” rider’s experience will be a long wait followed by an overcrowded car.  This situation exists on many TTC routes, but it is particularly troubling if that is the case on a short route with an entirely private right-of-way.

First, let’s have a look at how well behaved headways are in this area.  Before you even open the file, I will warn you that it’s a real mess.  The intention is to show the mess before attempting an analysis.

South of King Northbound Headways February 2010

Those of you familiar with my previous analyses of TTC’s vehicle monitoring data will recognize this chart as a scatter diagram of headways by time of day.  Each dot represents one car.  The vertical position on the chart is the headway as seen just south of King Street northbound, and the horizontal position is the time of day.

If the service were well-behaved, these points should be clustered on either side of the scheduled headway through the day.  However, the points appear as a cloud with little discernible concentration.  This means that the actual headways seen by customers are essentially random, and they are spread over a wide range.  Many cars run close together, and gaps over 10 minutes are common.

My next step was to break down this information based on the TTC’s standard that service ±3 minutes of schedule is considered to be “on time”.  Of course riders don’t care about the schedule, only the headway, and it is the headway that determines the wait time and average load on a car.  For the purpose of this analysis, I subdivided the information about each car into three categories:

  • Early (headway less than 4.5 minutes on a 7.5 minute schedule)
  • Late (headway greater than 10.5 minutes on a 7.5 minute schedule)
  • On time (headways between 4.5 and 10.5 minutes)

It’s worth noting that, assuming a uniform arrival rate for passengers, that a car carrying a 10.5 minute headway will have over twice the passengers than one carrying 4.5 minutes.

Headway Distribution ±3 minutes South Of King Northbound February 2010

There are four pages for this chart, one for each half-hour interval from 0700 to 0900.  The vertical bars represent each weekday, and the rightmost bar averages the values over the month.

The dark red portion of each bar shows how many cars were “on time”.  The cream and blue portions are the “early” and “late” cars respectively.

On a 7’30” headway, there should be 4 cars in each half hour, although minor variations may give us 3 or 5 where a car expected in one period actually arrived in an adjacent one.

Between 0700 and 0730, things are fairly well behaved, but the service becomes less reliable as the AM peak continues.  At least half of the service fails the TTC’s own “on time” test, even averaged over the entire month.  For some periods and days, most of the headways lie outside of the acceptable range.  This means that a large proportion of the riders on the south end of Spadina receive far worse service than is advertised, or even what is considered acceptable by the TTC’s own standards.

If we considered a tighter standard allowing only ±2 minutes, the situation is even worse.

Headway Distribution ±2 minutes South of King Northbound February 2010

When the TTC reports its riding counts, it does not include any information about the reliability of service.  Moreover, if short turn trips are mixed in, these may be counted and dilute the average even though they are not of use to all riders.

In the case of northbound service at King, this isn’t an issue.  However, short turns southbound do affect the quality of service on Queen’s Quay eastbound to Union Station, as well as westbound for riders wishing to travel northwest to locations on Spadina.  During the AM peak, almost all of the scheduled service reaches Union Station, albeit on an erratic headway.  However, starting about 9am, short turning at Queen’s Quay Loop becomes fairly common and disrupts service reliability on Queen’s Quay.

York Eastbound Headways February 2010

This chart contains five pages.  The first is the monthly headway scatter diagram similar to the one shown above for service northbound at King.  Once again we see a cloud of data points spread over a wide range of values.  It is worth mentioning what the scheduled headway is supposed to be here:

  • AM peak: 7’30”
  • Midday: 5’40”
  • PM peak:  6’00”
  • Early evening:  6’00”
  • Late evening:  6’00”

The next four pages of the chart break down the cloud of data into individual weeks and add trend lines for each day.  These lines show how the typical headways are, overall, higher than the scheduled value.  This is due to short turns at Queen’s Quay Loop.  The variation in headways with many values well over 9 minutes (the high end of the “on time” standard for a 6 minute headway) shows just how far actual service quality is from what the TTC advertises.

Soon, the bus network will switch over completely to GPS-based vehicle tracking, and the data stream is supposed to be made public.  Whether this actually happens depends in part on the success of TTC managers, who prefer to hide information about service quality, in convincing the new Commission of the need for this secrecy.  In our new era of “Customer Service” and “Transparency”, there will be no excuse, and we may finally start to see just how bad service is on the system as a whole.

Meanwhile on Spadina, TTC staff will again claim that there is lots of service.  The problem is that it does not run reliably.  Capacity could be provided out of thin air simply by spacing cars regularly so that wait times were predictable and loads accumulated more evenly.  However, that would require the TTC actually do something about its service rather than gripe about the cost of more service, the lack of equipment or traffic congestion.

29 thoughts on “South Spadina Headways: What the Riders See

  1. Steve – be fair – you know that it is impossible to run a streetcar in mixed traff….”.
    Oh ya. I forgot. Just like when I am actually standing on the “exclusive ROW” for up to twenty minutes for the arrival of 5 or 6 cars.

    Last time I rode from Union to Spadina, my car was overcrowded to the point of dysfunction – leaving people behind and with loading and unloading paralysed by the crowds. After I got off at Spadina, I noticed there was another car waiting in the tunnel. After it pulled into the station – so my car was loading and the waiting car was unloading – I noticed another car waiting in the tunnel. I watched in amazement as 9 cars in a row – all nose to tail – followed each other into the service gap. The weather was normal and there were no road closures, parades demonstrations or other excuses for disrupted service.

    Steve: What is particularly bad about bunches like this is that the first two or three cars, at least, should be sent out empty and express to a point at least south of College. Of course, the Supervisor in the station does not know he has a queue of nine cars because they took that nice video map away on the wall. Mind you, if he had an iPad, or some such, he could pull up the same info from Whereismystreetcar.

    The foot dragging at the TTC in providing their supervisors with the most basic information about the state of routes they are “managing” is disgraceful. I have listened in on conversations between operators and supervisors, and been able to get all the info they would need in less than a minute on my Blackberry.


  2. Unreliable service south of King on the Spadina line has been an issue for a while. I once saw 16 510 cars short turn at Charlotte Loop in a row, with no service going to the waterfront for almost half an hour.


  3. Well said, and I think you covered this point quite well last year. I think the best summary for your argument can be found from Humantransit (Which references your previous article):

    “Nobody cares about average frequency, any more than they care about average lateness or average crowding!”

    Take that to the TTC and let’s see how they respond!

    Steve: I put this info up (and some updates are still to come) as background on the inevitable debate that will arise at the TTC over “average” versus “actual” experiences. The TTC has a bad habit of presenting their staff opinion as gospel and expecting that the Commission will back them up, no matter what. Many times they are right, but it’s the exceptions that harm both the organization’s and the Commission’s credibility.


  4. There used to be a woman supervisor who worked the line from either Dundas or Queen. She seemed to have a better idea about what was happening but then she was in the middle of the line and could see everything from College to King. God forbid that the supervisor should have to stand out in the weather.

    Steve: A fairly common report I hear from various lines is that some Supervisors really know their stuff and make an effort, and this shows up in the quality of service. However, the fact that this is hit-or-miss suggests that the TTC does a poor job of training new Supervisors, and that there is no underlying ethos nor a general sense of how things should and can be done well.


  5. Here’s a suggestion, have you ever considered taking your recommendations directly to Ford’s administration? For him this would be perfect, the ability to effectively improve service with little in the way of expenditures and it also falls into the realm of improving customer satisfaction.

    It’s clear to me that among the many other issues the TTC face, one of the large ones is internal in nature — it really does seem things need to change in the TTC from the inside.

    It seems there a ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality that has someone how arisen of the last 5/10 years, us being the TTC and them being citizens.

    Steve: It’s a lot older than that. As for City Hall, there’s a lot of “us” and “them” in the new administration, although I try to remain cordial with anyone who will talk to me. The problem here is that any pol who would take on both TTC staff (over operational issues) and City traffic engineers (over transit priority) has a huge uphill battle.

    This isn’t the only route that’s plagued by such issues, many of the bus routes are as well. Yes, managing a route with sub 5min frequencies must be difficult (I’m thinking of the 36, 39, 60, Don Mills, Dufferin, … the list goes on) but it seems extremely bad at times.

    Here’s a question, YRT’s Viva operation, which in peak runs around 10 min frequencies (yes not sub 5min) but either way they seem to do a decent job managing head ways. I say decent as there are issues here as well, but still. Can the TTC learn something here?


  6. Steve there use to be a supervisor on Spadina who would express cars from King to north of Queen. The first operator after express car would get complaint about the last car not stopping. Once a car does get a little down the increase in passenger load just in just one minute down kills the car and leads to the bunching on a ROW. But that is in part because of the success of the Spadina line. Loading the numbers that line does through the front doors only doesn’t help. Unprepared patrons are also part of the problem, the car stops, doors open, patron walks up to farebox and stops to find fare, blocking everyone behind them. Another problem with the line is the lack of short turn locations. I would say 96% of all short turns take place southbound only and they are done at King or Queens Quay. Being able to turn a car back at Spadina Circle would make a incredible difference on the line.

    Steve: When the line was being designed, there was a proposed short turn at Spadina Circle. It was opposed by the UofT who were building a new Earth Sciences building nearby and were concerned about vibration caused by the special work. This was very early in the era of new-style resilient track, and the TTC bowed to the University’s request. I suspect there is more vibration caused by passing trucks.

    The line also needs transit priority traffic lights, there are off the top of my head 35 stops total counting ones in the tunnels. If you take away tunnel stops and near side stops, there are 21 farside stops. You’ll find most streetcars on the line stop and sit for the red light at those 21 farside stops only to power on the green to stop farside to service the stop. If the traffic light would hold and let the streetcar go then change it would change the service completely.

    The Spadina line should be the most relaxing line for an operator and supervisor. But it’s not.

    Steve: Even the TTC’s own Service Planning staff came up with a report about transit signal priority and how it does not need to be changed. There are times I despair of the TTC’s inability to advocate on its own behalf. Now that anything vaguely pro-transit will be painted as part of the war on the car, we won’t see improvements.


  7. I heard after the election Ford said “the war on cars is over.” Was he actually thinking the war on transit and it’s user is now on?


  8. Quick question: do streetcar or bus operators have any direct way of communicating with TTC’s central operations centre? The whole “supervisors on the street” thing suggests they don’t.

    I can’t help feeling that what should be happening is that there should be a handful of people in a central location able to monitor large parts of the system. Then, they tell the operators directly what they should do about short turns/express running etc.

    Failing that, have the same setup, except with supervisors relaying the information.

    Steve: Yes, operators have the ability to talk to “Control”, and do regularly. There has been a to-and-fro debate about central vs on-street monitoring of service. When the Communications and Information System (CIS) was set up, the idea was that central monitors could view the whole route and manage the service, and that on-street supervision could be reduced or eliminated. However, there were two problems. First, the original CIS technology did a lousy job of tracking vehicle locations (I have discussed this at great length in articles about service analysis) especially when vehicles were short turned or rerouted. Control literally did not know where all of it cars were because the system didn’t track them properly.

    Second, people were appointed to route management positions at CIS who had little “feel” for how the routes behaved on the street, and the personal contact with operators was lost. Both customers and operators have horror stories of buses and streetcars being short-turned on very little notice leaving crowds of passengers turfed off into foul weather.

    The cumulative effect of this situation was a move to re-establish on-street supervisors, and to substantially increase the amount of route monitoring (some routes had nobody assigned to look after them!). However, the folks on the street had little more technology than was available to Inspectors (as they were called) decades earlier. They would radio to control to find out where vehicles were. Recently, with the move to GPS vehicle location, the CIS system tracks vehicles much better than before, and this has led both to “official” TTC services such as NextBus as well as third party applications using the open data feed NextBus provides. However, plans to make this info available to supervisors and operators seem to be stalled. It is ironic that someone with a PDA or a wireless notepad can get more information about route conditions than a supervisor.

    I have been waiting for some time for answers to various questions about the rollout of GPS-based bus route monitoring, and it is supposed to launch this month.

    You can make your own deductions of what all this says about the TTC’s commitment to improving the quality of its route management and customer information.


  9. Steve said: “When the line was being designed, there was a proposed short turn at Spadina Circle. ”

    As the track at Spadina Circle is scheduled for replacement in 2012 I suppose there is no hope of seeing this happening? It would seem to be a fairly easy bit of special track-work.

    Steve: Don’t know. I will ask.

    One operational issue will be that cars turning here will not be able to lay over for their time because they will block the traffic lane around the circle, and the space between the northbound and southbound tracks isn’t long enough to hold a car anyhow.


  10. Almost every time I’ve taken the Spadina streetcar to Union it has been short turned near King St.. If I have to travel south of King I won’t take the Spadina streetcar anymore. In the cases, that I have taken the streetcar and it gets short turned I don’t bother waiting for the next one since the “schedule” is meaningless. I just walk to where I need to go from there.

    In my experience the TTC’s advertised “schedule” is meaningless. On the 39, for example, the TTC advertises a 5 minute headway during the day and every 4 minutes during rush hour but the wait can be anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. I have waited as long as 45 minutes. When buses do show up they all short turn at Markham Rd. Meanwhile, the 199 runs frequently but only to McCowan before it swings south to Scarborough Town Centre. This awful set up results in inadequate service to people who need to commute east of McCowan for whatever reason.


  11. TTC abstracts instead of reality. Steve you should have that embedded in every one of your posts. And Supervisors? What are they? Never seen one. How about any TTC vehicle that comes within 2 blocks of another creates an automatic fine for the driver. Bet bunching would stop real fast.

    Steve: But the bunching is not necessarily the driver’s fault. For example, driver A may be deliberately dragging his butt to run late and get a nice break by being short-turned. It’s not driver B’s fault that he catches up. Also, re-entry to a route is still managed in the time honoured way of having a Supervisor tell an operator to “come out at xxx” even though that may or may not fit properly into the service as it then exists. You can have a short turn that is intended to fill a gap actually create a pair because the gap wasn’t quite where it was expected to be, and the short turn comes out at the wrong time. With real time, GPS-based vehicle monitoring, it should be possible for a central supervisor to dispatch cars from short turns to best effect.

    Don’t get me started on overlapping routes where a “blended service” is nothing of the kind.


  12. It seems that using averages in general is not such a bad metric – if you average over the right measure. For example, they should not average how many people every car has, but rather how many people every person rides with. For example, if cars have 20 then 100 passengers in an alternating pattern, the average car load is 60. But if you consider the average crowd per rider, i.e. weigh the average by the number of people in each vehicle, it’s (20*20 + 100*100)/120 = 87.

    I wonder in how far stop spacing and the fare payment method make the issue worse. I’ve never encountered streetcar bunching on such a level in Europe.


  13. This doesn’t really fall into the scope of the discussion as you’ve framed it, but when I see an opportunity to sound off on a pet peeve, I got for it. =)

    You mentioned the option of a car being “sent out empty and express to a point at least south of College.” I go south from Spadina Station to Front or Bremner every day around lunch time, and I wish *every* signed for south of King would express to College. I wouldn’t send it empty – I’d like to be on it – but it would sure cut down on the massive amounts of people who cram onto a car at Spadina only to get off again in the first two stops out of the station. Most of those people could easily wait 20 seconds for the next car (to say nothing of actually walking there faster!) but those of us going south of King are subjected to lengthy waits before the supervisor at Spadina spins the ‘Wheel of Shortturn’ and reluctantly sends another car south of King. (On especially bad days, the supervisor on the street will later shortturn that one too.)


  14. Doesn’t the Spadina line have signals for the streetcars separate from the general traffic? Even if they are unwilling to implement the much needed signal priority, programming the streetcar signals to hold bunched cars and even out the headway shouldn’t be too hard.

    The route should also be converted to POP like Queen.

    Steve: The signals only give “priority” at a few locations where there are turns needing their own phase. Otherwise, the streetcars just go with the regular flow on Spadina.


  15. Steve, is this information based on the planned schedules vs actuals, and does it take into account Union cars being short-turned and Charlotte cars being extended? To me it looks like everything, which doesn’t show how much of the planning dept’s schedules work (or don’t). I think a better argument could be made with Run deviation data, if it’s available. I do think that it needs a better headway of 7.5 minutes south of King. Lakeshore traffic doesn’t help by blocking the tracks. Also, the old post/transponder CIS is still the primary in both bus and streetcar, with GPS as a back-up–too much scrolling across, I guess.

    Steve: This info is based on actual operations, not schedules. Schedule deviation is meaningless, especially on a line like this. With the scatter of data points, it is abundantly clear that they are nowhere near on schedule anyhow. The location data is all GPS based.


  16. Now if this line actually had longer streetcars and proof of payment fare system then it would be a lot better. For now, I tend to just avoid the Spadina streetcar and use the University subway instead. This line can be really slow and really overcrowded much of the day.


  17. Maybe the TTC should consider extending most, if not all, of the scheduled King/Charlotte loop runs to Queen’s Quay/Spadina. With the recent condo development at Spadina and Bremner Blvd in the last five years, there has been a big increase in ridership in that area, but without any substantial increase in the number of streetcars. It looks like the number of cars on the 510 to Union Station is still the same as it was in 2001, where there were no condos west of the Rogers Centre/SkyDome.

    Steve: That’s the issue under discussion. Residents south of King and Councillor Vaughan have asked for more cars to be scheduled to Queen’s Quay, but the TTC refuses to do this saying that ridership does not justify the service. However, with the service so irregular, the “typical” rider will be on a packed car that’s in a big gap, and the supposed capacity being provided won’t actually be seen by most riders. The unpredictable waits won’t help either.

    If the service is extended, another issue will come up. The traffic lights at the south end of the line tend to favour cars coming off of the Gardiner in the AM peak, and may not provide enough green time for more frequent streetcar service.


  18. My website, TransSee, show predicted destinations for King and Union cars based on their scheduled destinations (I assume. It’s actually based on if NextBus has a prediction for them at the King and Spadina stop). It would be interesting to know how reliable they are. Then we would know how often Union cars are short-turned and King cars are long-turned.

    Of course, with the diversion this week the results may not be typical.

    Steve: NextBus has no way of knowing where the cars are actually going, and when the line gets screwed up, the schedule does not count for much. The tracking data I have are for February 2010, and so there is no comparable data for “current” predictions that you could use to validate your algorithm against what actually happened in that month. If you can get a copy of the run guide, you would know which trips were scheduled to go to Union.

    All that said, I am not sure it’s a meaningful exercise on a route that is managed on such an ad hoc basis. What is needed, but I’m not sure provision for this is being made, is to capture the code for the electronic destination sign (on the new cars, and on the bus fleet) as part of the CIS data stream so that NextBus will know where the vehicle is actually claiming to be headed. NextBus is working on something like this with DC, I believe, but any new features in Toronto await the implementation of new hardware and software onboard the vehicles to replace the antique CIS “Trump” units.

    We should not have to predict where a vehicle is going when there is already a data source that could give us the info.


  19. One has to wonder, if the TTC can’t provide proper service on an established line like Spadina, then maybe having Eglington underground is not such a bad idea. I could already imagine being stuck at Kennedy because of trains being short turned…

    Steve: There are several crossovers and pocket tracks in the Eglinton design, although if they run it like the subway, they will handle service screwups by having operators change trains across the platform rather than by short-turning.


  20. A couple of things are worth highlighting here.

    First, ant6n’s comment is important. I have made a similar point here and elsewhere: a weighted average would be a better measure of what passengers experience. The difference is that his approach is to calculate the perceived average loading, whereas I am suggesting the perceived average headway. My experience is that passengers are more willing to accept crowding than they are irregular service (not only the wait, but the uncertainty). In his example, if you have an average arrival rate of 10 passengers per minute, you have one streetcar after 2 minutes, and another after 10. The mean waiting time is 4.4 minutes, corresponding to an average headway of 8.8 minutes (8:48). TTC’s method would say this is actually a 6-minute headway, but there would have been 40 people that waited more than that and would disagree.

    Secondly, I wonder if the TTC is making a bigger deal about the extended service than they need to. Consider the following fleet allocations and headways:

    Non-summer service:
    Union: 9 cars @ 51 min RTT = 5:40 headway
    King: 12 cars @ 34 min RTT = 2:50 headway
    Combined: 21 cars, 1:53 “blended” headway

    Summer service:
    Union: 9 cars @ 54 min RTT = 6:00 headway
    QQ: 14 cars @ 42 min RTT = 3:00 headway
    Combined: 23 cars, 2:00 “blended” headway

    If we maintain the same number of cars:

    Revised service:
    Union: 9 cars @ 54 min RTT = 6:00 headway
    QQ: 12 cars @ 42 min RTT = 3:30 headway
    Combined: 23 cars, 2:13 “blended” headway (compared to 1:53 existing)

    While the TTC will say that’s a 10% reduction in capacity, you can look at it the other way and say it’s a 20-second difference that’s well within the range of headway variation that passengers see. Passengers won’t see 7 more riders on the streetcar; they’ll see the same old mix of packed streetcars and half-empty streetcars, except that the half-empty streetcars might be slightly fewer. Is it a worthwhile tradeoff for reliable service south of King? (And, given how much population has grown south of King lately, how much of the “low” ridership is a result of the less frequent, more irregular, and less reliable service?)


  21. Perhaps the answer to the problem is camera phones! A bunch of volunteers stake out the problem area and get every car on video showing date and time as well as the number of passengers waiting and on board. Gather evidence and stick it in their face. (Or, somewhere else!)


  22. Due to traffic congestion, stopped/parked vehicles, construction and interference from 504 cars, it often takes quite a bit of time for 510 cars departing Charlotte loop to navigate the right turns to King and Spadina. The block of King between Charlotte and Spadina might be the slowest piece of track on the system.

    I often wonder, at certain times of day, would it be quicker to run the 510 King cars to Queens Quay?

    Steve: That loop at Charlotte, for which I must take some responsibility having proposed it so many decades ago, has become a real problem also because the blocks around it are constantly under construction with new condos. What is badly needed is a change in the traffic signals at King, but this seems unlikely. Sending all cars south to Queen’s Quay would be practical if the signals down there were speeded up, but they are the source of considerable delay. I will explore this in more detail in a future article.


  23. Laurie says (April 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm) “Ford has his own little joke, I think, saying we will build a Finch subway line in 10 years.”

    The much sadder joke is that Ford is saying that we will build a Sheppard subway line in 10 years without any money or tax increases.


  24. Steve, you talked earlier in this thread about NextBus not being able to know where vehicles are going. I noticed yesterday it has now started reporting vehicle destinations. Is this scheduled info or actual info? If actual is it manually input by someone? As I write this I am westbound cars on St. Clair flagged for Ronces, Keele and Lansdowne.

    Steve: I believe this is from the schedules. NextBus has just updated their data feed, and it now includes internal schedule data (notably the trip number associated with the vehicle). From this, they can get the scheduled destination. There is no mechanism to retrieve the actual destination from the car because this info is not in the data stream.


  25. Steve said that “if they run [the Eginton LRT] like the subway, they will handle service screwups by having operators change trains across the platform rather than by short-turning.”

    So why doesn’t the TTC apply the same concept to buses and streetcars by having operators walk across the road or across the tracks to avoid short-turning?

    Steve: Not quite as simple especially during bad weather.


  26. The item I find most interesting is the fact that Spadina has it worst service during the a.m. rush. This is opposite to just about every other line in the system. I can understand Spadina Avenue north of King being this way because the street is mainly commercial and most businesses don’t get going until well after 9:00 a.m., but south of King most of the riders are people going to work and this group usually has a short, sharp a.m. peak with a more drawn out p.m. rush. I think that the TTC should run every second car at least down to Queen’s Quay to give a 5:00 minute headway in the a.m. If one car is short turned now this results in a 15 minute gap which is way too long for this area.

    I don’t know how many people ride from Spadina north down to Queen’s Quay but perhaps the TTC could run a 7:30 service to King, Queen’s Quay and Union and also beef up the 509 service in the morning. I have not been down there in the early a.m. to see just how heavy the loading is.

    Steve: Traffic from the Gardiner and Lake Shore is a big issue in the AM peak, and the traffic signals are all organized to clear queues of eastbound cars to the degree possible. It’s a problem in the PM peak too, but not as severely because the south to west outbound traffic does not cross the streetcar tracks and the signal timings are different.

    In many ways, the line is being managed just to try to keep service going, but the frequency of cars sent south of King isn’t regular.


  27. I have actually seen at least one case of two streetcar operators swapping cars mid-route.

    Steve: On the crosstown streetcar routes, there are scheduled on-street changeovers between cars that originate at Ronces and those from Russell because some cars swap divisions. Operators who read this blog may wish to comment on whether this tactic is used as a “short turn” alternative.


  28. I’ve seen operators swap mid-route on the 24 Victoria Park on a few occasions as well. Usually it’s somewhere north of St. Clair.


  29. This whole debate proves one thing: the University subway should have been built under Spadina. Sure, a couple of University stations are busy during rush hour, but it’s dead empty any other time. Makes you think of the old saying: “If a subway’s built and nobody’s there, is it really a subway?” The Spadina streetcar is constantly packed, whether it’s rush hour or Sunday at 1AM. Ahh… planning in Toronto.


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