Analysis of 36 Finch West for November 2011 & March 2012 (Part I) (Updated)

Updated May 28 at 17:35:  The graphs showing the “percent ontime” information have been updated to clarify some of the headings, and to add summary pages showing the percentages separate from the other displays.  Commentary about this has been added to the end of the article.

We hear a lot from the TTC about “customer service”.  A fundamental part of the TTC’s “product” is the actual movement of people to and fro in the city.  Clean vehicles, friendly staff, detailed and accurate web information — these are all part of the package.  But without reliable service at the bus and streetcar stops, the rest is window dressing, an elaborate stage set for a theatre without a show, a supermarket with stale food on half-empty shelves.

In many past articles, I have reviewed the operation of various streetcar lines, but it’s worth looking at some of the major bus routes too.  These are routes with extremely frequent service and heavy passenger demands.  Some are candidates for LRT.  How do they operate?  What is their service quality given that they are unconstrained by tracks and overhead?  Over the next few months, I hope to review a number of routes to see their similarities and differences.

This is a long and rather technical article, but I wanted to include a fair amount of detail as an alternative to simply saying “the service is screwed up”.  This affects how the service is operated, how it is perceived by riders, how it might be analyzed by the TTC, and most importantly that a catch-all explanation such as “traffic congestion” is too simplistic a response to complaints.

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