How Bad Is TTC Service: A First Quarter Report

Among the TTC’s many promises under its Customer Charter is the provision of quarterly stats on the reliability of each of its surface routes.  This information recently went online on the TTC’s website, although you have to dig to find it.

The path is from Customer Service on the top navbar, then to Customer Charter on the side bar, then to Quarterly reports, and finally scroll down.  Or you can just click here.

This table covers the first three months of 2013, and lists the reliability of every surface route.  “Reliability” is defined roughly as:

  • If the distance between a vehicle “B” and the one preceding it “A” is within three minutes of the scheduled headway, then the vehicle is within the acceptable window of reliability.
  • The measure is taken at various points along a route (we don’t know the locations or number for any route), and summed across an entire quarter’s operation.  This will smooth out everything but very large scale, long-lasting disruptions, and will tend to give an index that tracks the overall behaviour of the route.

The system-wide target for streetcar routes is 70% punctuality (within the headway window), and for buses it is only 65%.  Looking at individual routes, there are huge discrepancies.

No route gets over the 90% line, although several are in the mid to upper 80s.

  • 8 Broadview
  • 31 Greenwood
  • 44 Kipling South
  • 78 St. Andrew’s
  • 510 Spadina

Of these routes, four are relatively short bus routes where congestion is not an issue, and with only a modicum of effort, operators should be able to stay on time.  The Spadina car is a special case because it runs with a very short scheduled headway for much of the day, every day of the week.  It is physically difficult for cars go get more than (H + 3) minutes apart, and impossible for (H – 3) because this would be a negative number.  Service that meets the target is very easy to achieve even if the line appears chaotic at times simply because there are so many vehicles close together.

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How Much Does Toronto Want to be Taxed for Transit?

The City of Toronto adds its voice to the debate over transit revenue generation with a report at its Executive Committee meeting on April 23, 2013.  There are actually three sub-items on the agenda:

  • The main staff report giving background information and proposing the revenue tools that staff recommend Council endorse.
  • A summary of the consultation conducted by the Planning Department under Phase 1 of their “Feeling Congested” campaign.
  • A summary of the poll taken by Ipsos-Reid to survey city residents on their attitudes to new revenue tools.

Staff recommend that seven new revenue tools be implemented in two phases.  The first phase would include:

  • Fuel tax
  • Sales tax
  • Commercial parking levy
  • Development charges

The second group would not kick in until the so-called “first wave” of Metrolinx projects (to be funded mainly from general provincial revenue) are completed, likely about 2020.

  • Highway tools
  • High Occupancy lane tolls (HOT)
  • Vehicle registration charge (VRT)

The premise for the staged implementation is that new taxes affecting motorists exclusively are inappropriate (and politically impractical) if an alternative to driving does not exist.

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