This is the first of a series of articles to review service on a number of routes both in the suburbs and downtown. There are three sets of data for November 2011, March 2012 and May 2013. The first two were selected to show the effect, if any, of service cuts implemented in February 2012. All three months had fairly benign weather and this would not have much effect on service. (The winter of 2011-12 was particularly balmy in Toronto.)
Our old friend the Queen car comes in for lots of abuse on this site and elsewhere that transit riders and critics (not necessarily the same group) congregate. For a change, I thought it would be interesting to review a very long bus route, 54 Lawrence East, to see what its service looked like.
Lawrence East is actually longer than Queen (Long Branch), although it operates at a higher speed overall. The express service has a substantially higher scheduled speed, but does not run on the congested inner section of the route.
54 Lawrence East operates three services:
- 54 Eglinton Station to Orton Park (between Markham Road and Morningside)
- 54A Eglinton Station to Starspray
- 54E Lawrence East Station to Starspray Express (peak only, express west of Markham Road)
Peak hour headways are shorter on Lawrence East than on Queen due in part to the size of the vehicles. Although Lawrence East has a 3’00” combined AM peak service, this is only actually available at the few stops between Lawrence East Station and Orton Park served by all three branches. Each of these operates on a 9’00” headway providing an average 4’30” headway over much of the route where only two of them are available.
During off-peak periods, half of the service operates to Orton Park and half to Starspray.
If we are to believe the common wisdom about transit routes, Lawrence East should have more reliable service because it operates in a relatively less constrained environment than the Queen car. In fact, actual service on Lawrence East suffers many of the same problems of bunching and uneven headways differing substantially from the advertised schedule.