On September 30, 2014, the TTC’s Bloor-Danforth subway suffered a shutdown from just before 8:00 am until about 3:00 pm on the segment between Ossington and Keele Stations. The problem, as reported elsewhere, was that Metrolinx construction at Bloor Station on the Georgetown corridor had punctured the subway tunnel. While the weather was dry, this was not much of a problem because, fortunately, the intruding beam did not foul the path of trains. However, rain washed mud into the tunnel to the point where the line was no longer operable.
In the wake of the shutdown, there were many complaints about chaotic arrangements for alternate service, although any time a line carrying over 20k passengers per hour closes, that’s going to be a huge challenge. The point of this article is not to talk about that incident, but to something that showed up the next day.
According to the TTC’s internal measure of service quality, the BD line managed a 92% rating for “punctual service”. This is lower than the target of 97%, but that it is anywhere near this high shows just how meaningless the measurement really is.
The basic problem lies in what is being measured and reported. Actual headways at various points on the line and various times of day are compared to a target of the scheduled headway plus 3 minutes. This may look simple and meaningful, but the scheme is laden with misleading results:
- On the subway during peak periods, service is “punctual” even if it is operating only every 5’20”, or less than half the scheduled level. Off-peak service, depending on the time and day, could have trains almost 8 minutes apart without hurting the score.
- There is no measurement of the actual number of trips operated versus the scheduled level (in effect, capacity provided versus capacity advertised). Complete absence of service has little effect because there is only one “gap” (albeit a very large one) after which normal service resumes.
- There is no weighting based on the number of riders affected, period of service or location. A “punctual” trip at 1 am with a nearly empty train at Wilson Station counts the same as a train at Bloor-Yonge in the middle of the rush hour. There are more off-peak trips than peak trips, and so their “punctuality” dominates the score.
An added wrinkle is that the TTC only includes in its measurements periods of operation when the headway is unchanged. With the service being so often off-schedule, it would be difficult to say just what the value of “scheduled headway plus 3” actually is at specific points along the route during transitional periods.
All the same, we have a measurement that has been used for years in Toronto and it gives a superficially wonderful score. Sadly, the formula is such that falling below 90% would require a catastrophic event, and some silt in the tunnel does not qualify.
I have talked with the TTC’s Deputy CEO Chris Upfold about this problem before, and do know that the TTC is working on a better way to measure service quality. Upfold is quite open about the challenges:
The numbers are credible in the way they are measured. They are the true reflection of the measure. It’s the measure that is . It’s a standard measure across all properties in N.A. But that doesn’t make it better. The easy way to interpret 92% (and I know you know this) is that 92% of the trains we ran were within 6 minutes of each other. That is credible as a result for a very bad measure. If we ran 1/2 our trains from 7-10 (or so) we could still get 99%. But we know how bad it would be.
We’ve talked about this many times and, trust me, no one at the TTC slaps themselves on the back when we even hit our 96 or 97.
[Private email, October 2, 2014, used with permission]
That may be the case, but the real issue is that this is what the TTC publishes for public consumption, and the numbers are taken as gospel by politicians including members of the Commission. A more subtle issue will be that any new measurement scheme will almost certainly result in lower (even if more meaningful) scores, and that will set off a round of questions about “why are we so bad now”.
It’s rather like reporting on the weather by scoring for days when the sun shone, somewhere, for at least five minutes, and then wondering why people complained about the rain.
Meanwhile Up On The Street
Things are rather different with surface routes where the scores for bus and streetcar operations were 60% and 66% respectively versus targets of 65% and 70%. Without question the bus network would have been affected on September 30th by the number of vehicles poached from various routes to provide subway shuttle service.
All the same, the idea that “reliable” service consists of being within three minutes (either way) of the scheduled headway roughly 2/3 of the time is quite laughable. Put another way, if the service can be outside of the target range 1/3 of the time, then over the course of a week’s commuting or 10 trips, the likelihood that at least one trip won’t be “reliable” is over 98%. (This does not allow for treating each link of a trip as a separate opportunity for unexpected gaps.) Indeed, the probability falls below 50% simply for one day’s travel.
[The math here is straightforward, akin to flipping a coin, but with an uneven possibility of heads or tails. Suppose that “heads” (acceptable service) comes up 2/3 of the time. The chance that this will happen for one trip each way is 2/3 times 2/3 or 4/9 (44%). For ten trips to all come up heads (2/3 to the tenth power), the result is under 2%. In other words, the reliability of every trip must be quite high to avoid a situation where the compound effect of a substantial probability of “tails” doesn’t guarantee at least one below-standard trip a week or more.]
Quarterly reports on route performance have been discussed and tracked on this site, and some of the numbers are very uncomplimentary to the TTC’s ability to manage service, even in the middle of the night.
There are numerous problems in the measurement of service quality that have been discussed before here, but the overwhelming point here is that the “standard” was chosen to match the numbers the service was achieving historically, not on the basis of carefully considered policy decisions about what the TTC’s goal should be or an analysis of what might be achieved.
Surface routes operate on a wide variety of headways, and they are also subject to short turns, something that is comparatively rare on the subway.
Riders are subjected to a variety of problems:
- As with the subway, bus and streetcar routes with scheduled frequent service can be severely bunched or be missing large numbers of vehicles without violating the ±3 minute headway target.
- Reported values are averaged over various time periods and locations on a route with the result that very poor service at certain times and locations can be masked by better service elsewhere.
- A span of six minutes in acceptable headways can produce very wide ranges in vehicle crowding, with a good chance that some capacity will be wasted on vehicles running close behind their leaders.
- Irregular vehicle spacing leads to slow, heavily loaded “gap” cars and buses, followed by one or more lightly filled vehicles. Riders always try to pack on the first car lest the second one be short-turned and leave them waiting in yet another gap.
- Where headways are not so frequent, riders are much more susceptible to problems with on-time performance. However, the TTC does not measure this, nor does it make much effort to ensure that vehicles on infrequent services actually operate “on time”.
- Scheduled departure times and vehicle spacing are commonly ignored, as are intermediate time points (something one might reasonably depend on for less frequent service).
- The TTC route map advertises many routes as having 10 minute or better service (almost all streetcar lines and many major bus routes). This is not qualified by any indication that much service may not ever reach parts of these routes, and what does can be quite erratic.
The reasons for this situation are complex. Some arise from a long-standing abdication of the need to actively manage service in the face of “traffic congestion”, a long-standing TTC blanket excuse for all that ails humankind. Some are a direct result of “TTC culture” that does not monitor or penalize operators for providing erratic service. Some is bad scheduling with running times that bear no relationship to typical conditions. Some is the basic fact that the primary “job” of route supervisors is to keep vehicles, or more importantly, operators “on time” to minimize premium overtime pay.
In such an environment, any measurement system that does not produce information directly related to the quality of service seen by the riders is, at a minimum, worthless if not outright deceptive.
As with measures of subway service, the TTC is working on a system to provide more representative information about surface routes. However, the exact details have not yet been announced. One scheme they do look to adapt from London (UK) is a “Journey Time Metric” which would track the length of various sample trips on the network as an overall index of network behaviour.
That’s a start, but we need more. At a minimum:
- Statistics should be available at a route by route level with breakdowns by route segment and time of day. Telling people that the “average” service scored 80% is meaningless to someone who just waited for over 20 minutes on a route with a scheduled 5 minute headway.
- Statistics should remain online for a period so that more than “yesterday” is available for review.
- Weekends, now omitted from the process, should be included. Some of the route analyses I have published (as well as much unpublished material) shows that weekend evenings have some of the worst service quality.
- The statistics should include a comparison of the number of trips actually operated at various points against the scheduled count. The points should be chosen so that the figures are not distorted by trips that short turn just beyond the reference points.
- On time performance should be measured for any service with a headway over 10 minutes, and this should be done not just at terminals but at major timepoints enroute.
This sounds like a vast amount of data, and if this were a daily printed report, it would be a lot to compile. However, with computer systems, all of this number crunching can be automated once the basic parameters are in place, and the information can be placed online for review by anyone who is interested.
The TTC owes its customers, the riders, much better information about the quality of service they receive, if only so that management’s feet are held to the fire to explain and correct poor performance.
Service quality is more than service frequency and trip times. These things are good to measure, but another important measure of service quality is overcrowding. It is bad service if my trip looks like this.
And, of course, this kind of crowding provides perfect cover for sexual gropers. Many, many of my female friends and relatives have been sexually groped on the TTC. But this quality of service issue is not exactly a top priority for the TTC.
The TTC’s own customer surveys never include a question such as “Have you ever been sexually touched while travelling on the TTC?” Looks like they don’t want to ask the question because they are afraid of having to deal with the answer. More information is at grist.org.
In short, there is a lot more to customer service than trip times. Not being jammed in like sardines and not being sexually groped are also important.
Steve: “Average load” stats for surface routes can mask two problems. As noted in the article, riders will try to jam onto the first vehicle of a pack to reduce their chance of being short turned and dumped into yet another gap. Also, the fact that “n” vehicles pass the measurement point does not guarantee that they will all actually reach a useful destination — think of the many 504 King cars passing Yonge that short turn at Church.
If they can’t do the analysis themselves, they should just provide route by route location data for each bus for each day going back a week … host it on Amazon, download it from nextbus every 30 seconds … as we’ve both shown, the public is more than competent at analyzing the data and putting it in useful formats.
I’m almost thinking it would make sense to crowd fund a site for a few of us to host this data on … (although seriously it only would be a few dollars a week for the data, and a bit more for the bandwidth) … five years they’ve had the data from Nextbus and done next to nothing with it.
Steve: Recently the TTC has been making more internal use of the tracking data (which actually flows from the TTC to Nextbus, not the other way around), and they are building new systems to improve on their analysis and reporting. But yes, this is very long overdue. Sadly, the idea that tracking data could be used to improve planning was a premise of the original monitoring system a few decades ago, but it was cut out of the project because TTC operations didn’t think it was important.
Steve I am a big believer in delivering information that shows the shape of things.
There is always a presumption that things [are] close to the average and normally distributed.
I would love to see the loading and on headway vs scheduled headway information provided on a distribution basis. I understand that individual bus loading would be hard to do, however, this would be useful in a number of other ways.
It would be very informative to the public to see while the average may be say 55 riders on a bus. There were say 25% of buses close to 70, and 20% were under 30 at peak.
Headway distribution graphs on bus routes would be informative. The observations could be accumulated into 30 second or 1 minute periods for display. However, this would mean you would be able to see how this compared expected service, and the peaks would be apparent. It would highlight parades as a problem, as they would create 2 sets of out of bounds visible conditions. Graphs would need to be broken up for peak and off peak to show compared to difference in scheduled service.
Same should be done with subway where, it would be apparent when there was a disruption, with a couple of massive outliers.
This would still under report gaps in service (completely missing vehicles, although perhaps they could be shown in red or something going below the line), but would at least allow users and the TTC to show outliers in both directions, and the degree to which service is not really clustered close to promised headway.
Steve: I have already published charts of headway distributions and they are always quite revealing in that it is hard to tell which route one is looking at — in other words, the scattering pattern is common across many routes with a mixture of very short and very long headways. That is simply a classic bunching into pairs and triplets.
What is equally telling is that this applies right at the ends of routes where, in theory, service should depart fairly evenly spaced. As one progresses across the route, the peaks and valleys become more pronounced, but they were there are the outset, and even on quiet Sunday and holiday mornings when there is no plausible excuse.
As for getting down to one-minute snapshots, that’s tricky because the polling cycle for vehicle locations is only 20 seconds and so a vehicle’s real location “now” could be off by up to 19 seconds’ worth of movement relative to other vehicles polled at different moments through the cycle.
Loading info is harder to come by in real time because there are automatic passenger counters on only part of the fleet, and these buses would have to be dedicated to a route to get the full sample needed to expose variations between vehicles running in packs.
It has been clear for a long time that the ‘on time’ figures put out by the TTC do not reflect the experience of customers and it is good that the ‘new team’ at the TTC finally seems to be trying to produce figures that reflect reality. I am actually surprised that with a lot of TTC data freely available there have not been more amateur number-crunchers trying to produce more meaningful figures and reports.
The public availability of vehicle location information has allowed the production of several very useful ‘journey planning” tools – all created at no cost to the TTC. Is there data that the TTC does NOT make available that would help volunteers who might want to look at the (clearly complex) issue of ‘reliability’. (Your extensive analyses of, primarily, streetcar routes certainly give a very useful ‘historic’ view and your reports flag specific problem areas/times/routes but having something that offered real-time and daily reports is surely what is really needed to fairly quickly improve service and even actually MANAGE routes.)
Steve: The data that is accessible to and used by various third party apps is the real time location of vehicles provided through NextBus. The underlying data, especially on an historical basis, is available only on request. The outgoing Giambrone commission actually passed a motion directing staff to put this data online, but it never happened because the upheavals of the Ford administration blew away a lot of the Miller-era initiatives.
These are not trivial datasets, and after years of working with the data, I am still honing the routines to deal with unexpected behaviour both of vehicles on the street and of the data itself. If you have not already seen it, I recommend my article about the underlying methodology of my analyses.
It would be nice, if the TTC were using and publishing these metrics in this fashion (as opposed to it falling to you Steve). It would mean that the public would see a reflection of the service they received in the metrics. It would encourage management to look at what the public experiences a little more closely. There is always the Demming issue, you address the issues that you measure.
I understand this ongoing issue, and of course the Presto conversion not having tap off will not address this. It would be great if the TTC could actively measure vehicle loading, for others reasons as well (integration of more sophistcated TSP, and vehicle dispatch). This could be important management and resourcing information. Knowing the frequency, location, and timing of no board, or near no board conditions would also help to manage where and when additional buses needed to be run (and staged), in some cases starting partway down the route, to be positioned to pre-emptively address disruptive loads, like end of day at schools, or shift end for employers.
So the simplest way to get 100% is to run two trains five minutes apart.
The measure should [be] against the schedule, not against trains actually run. Otherwise, the figures will go up if more trains are cancelled, which is absurb. A cancalled train should equate to “not on time” train.
Steve: That’s why I want service operated versus service scheduled to be reported as a separate metric.
I think the only way to make this happen is with a TTC Chair or Board Member who actually takes a direct focus on TTC service. The Board needs to resolve to request/direct the TTC to provide these data as described above, and explain these data at Board meetings. One or two Board Members should also be focusing their attention on each of the particular issues & challenges the TTC faces. That way, we could be assured (well, semi-confident at least) that 1-2 people on the Board would review the data before the Board meetings and actually ask TTC’s Chief Customer (Service) Officer to explain the results in specific areas, not in general. Those expectations of accountability will run down the line of management and perhaps to the service too.
The problem is obvious .. .with the Board members either politicians busy with their own political interests, or “civilians” who are not interested in pushing hard and disrupting what looks like a nice sinecure (as described in this January article about the Board), the Board is not going to push for these changes.
Short of putting you on the Board, Steve (which you have repeatedly said no to), the only thing I can suggest is that you find a credible Board member or two (Heisey, for example) and educate them on how they can be “Really Useful” rather than “Useful Idiots”.
Steve: It is odd that boards like the TTC routinely have a Budget and Audit Committee which are supposed to delve more deeply into the financial side of an organization, but not committees whose job it is to ask about how the real business of the organization is working.
Over the last five years I have had the need to ride the Bloor Danforth night bus from Ossington Avenue to just west of Victoria Park every Sunday morning in the 7:00 a.m. ish area and I can attest to the fact that this route is not a “quiet Sunday and holiday mornings” line! Seldom in those five years have the buses been on time (seldom meaning 50% of the time). When they do come it can be in twos and threes. The lead bus is usually full and the second bus, if it doesn’t have any passengers to offload, may skip around the bus servicing the stop even if there is more room in it.
It is rare to get a seat until Yonge street and about 10-15% of the times, the bus is so crammed full, intermediate stops between the main drags will be missed because the bus is too packed to pick up any more riders. 10% of the time too, when those full buses make the main North South stops, awaiting passengers will be left with their mouths agape because they are unable to be accommodated. Is this insulting and contemptuous activity measured?
With feeder buses (the North South routes), which do fit the lazy Sunday a.m. criteria (Yonge Street excepted), running at FS (frequent service, 10 minutes or less) and generally on time, feeding the Mainline route, which has published times of 6 to ten minute head ways, it’s not surprising that the 300 is crammed full. And don’t even think about an early start marathon running in the City with many of its participants riding the night bus to get there. Talk about overcrowding. Sheesh!!! After Yonge Street, this route usually has a standing, though not crush load, and a full seated load from Broadview to Coxwell is typical. From Coxwell to Main it is frequently almost a full seated load.
Shortening the headway and providing better management of this line would minimize its problems, but replacing the crappy little 1/2 low floor buses as this route’s sole service providers with a larger vehicle would be a quantum leap forward to assist in the service being more reliable and desirable. Never, ever thought I’d miss a fishbowl or PCC bus, but they would certainly be appreciated here.
Happily, I have not been subjected to any ill thought out short turns in the last few months, but wait, it hasn’t been cold and raining yet! Which begs the question that you raised in the article, ‘are those who are put off a vehicle at a short turn accounted for in the service measurements for their inconvenience and extra time required in waiting for the next one’? Ah, to anticipate that kind of punishment. I guess I should consider short turns atonement for having impure thoughts about our former Mayor eh!
Excellent work Steve on holding their feet to the fire.
And kudos to Chris Upfold for not running away from having one’s feet held to the fire!! It does give one hope …
This kind of dialogue hopefully will benefit everyone in the end.
Legally, incorporated boards have to have both a budget procedure (not necessarily a committee) and a separate audit committee.
As for asking those questions, those are the difference between an activist board who want to know what’s going on and an oversight board who prefers executives to do while they set policy. As politicians can’t make up their minds which approach the TTC board should be, it doesn’t surprise me the TTC staff are assuming a role which makes their lives easier – reporting what is asked but not bringing up anything unless it is to staff’s advantage.
Seriously, why are provincial Conservatives in Ontario stupid when it comes to understanding LRT? Ed Stelmach and Alison Redford all supported expanding LRTs in Alberta.
And are there no local conservatives that support LRTs in Toronto? Ralph Klein supported LRT when he was mayor of Calgary.
Steve: To the Tories, LRT is “not their system” and therefore not worthy of consideration. It’s easier to bash the Liberals for embracing an “inferior” system.
I can’t imagine what the Eglinton line will look like on a day like this. The low capacity of costly underground light rail cannot withstand Bloor-Danforth line closures, or major accidents on the 401, or 401 traffic due to snowstorms, etc.
Steve: The capacity of a line is a function of the fleet available to operate it, the station size and the minimum possible headway. We see this on the subway all of the time when demand rises above the available capacity. Your argument is a generic one, but it presumes that demand on Eglinton would rise by a huge factor during a major system outage. That could be used to “justify” either overbuilding every route in the city, or of building nothing at all because the effort is hopeless.
An Eglinton subway would be like Sheppard, running with infrequent service and shorter trains. Unless there was a large standby pool that could be easily deployed, it would have the same overload problems.
The effort is hopeless, if you are trying to build a system where the impact will not be seen. Eglinton could act to move some of the load, and there would be a back up, and a long surge on Eglinton and the buses that should be available to provide bridging service. Of course if you had enough capacity so there was no back-up at all, people used to being able to sit on the subway would be upset, because they were forced to use a service that was standing room only.
Far better to realize that you need to build an appropriate to demand system, and have stand-by capacity in buses that can be shifted where required, and accept that like a car, when shit happens you will be inconvenienced a little. The tunnelled sections of Eglinton should be able to accommodate 18k per hour, which I believe is well in excess of the expected demand, so they have left lots of room to grow.
If you are really worried about capacity to allow Bloor to be shut down, how about building the Waterfront LRT, so there was more than 1 parallel route, and you might also be able to provide more service than just insurance.
Steve: Another important point about any parallel routes is that people have to somehow get to them. All those folks using the west end of the Bloor subway when it closed east of Keele do not originate at locations that conveniently could redirect trips to an Eglinton line (which, by the way, ends east of Jane Street). Think of Islington and Kipling stations. Transit riders cannot just shift around the network the same way car drivers do (or at least think they could if only it were not for the clogged roads that have no spare capacity).
No matter what you do in terms of parallel capacity, you would need bus, to transfer people between the 2 routes, or at least additional buses running the routes at the equivalent stations, even if Eglinton ran the full length. It would easier to simply run buses between the 2 closest stations still operating.
Planning parallel routes, should be done to provide better service both with more direct route and shorter bus rides. It cannot reasonably be done to provide insurance. Drivers cannot shift when you lose a major route (say the 401) as all parallel routes slow to a crawl. You can only shift when a single street is closed (and not a major one at that).
Steve, I thought bus fleet and drivers is another point at which we should really talk about. While better management of headway, and more advanced TSP are really important to achieving high quality service. To help deal with this type of issue it is critical to have a substantial amount of flex in your bus fleet and driver complement. If you have a large complement of buses to run between a couple of close stations around a closure, you can minimize the damage of a temporary subway closure. If you do not have reasonable slack in that fleet the ripple effects of trying to contain the damage in one area will quickly have an impact on service in a much larger area of the city.
While parallel capacity may allow some riders to move around an issue, most of the impact needs to be dealt with by the most flexible form of transit, that would be in most areas buses. They can be redeployed reasonably quickly. This requires having a good amount of slack capacity at hand. Maintaining a high quality service delivery, means not running right at max capacity, as too many things can go wrong. A fender bender can wreak havoc with a streetcar or bus route, an event may require a large number of buses on short notice. Then you have sudden large demands like this.
Steve: Try explaining that to a Councillor who is wondering about all those buses just sitting around waiting for something to happen. And again don’t forget that the buses need to be reasonable close to the site of the problem to be useful in the typical timeframe (half an hour or less) they are needed. Extended shutdowns like Sept. 30 are rare.
Yes, and I would not suggest that you have enough buses completely inactive to totally cover such an event (little too much insurance), but enough so that the pain is not crippling. Everybody waits a little, and has to deal with a little extra crowding. However, when your *average* loading is such that a goodly number of buses are operating with loads past the point of efficient service delivery as a normal state you can no longer juggle reasonably, but are forced to essentially drop service delivery to pull buses. I would prefer to see buses staged for known super loads, like school ends etc, and then buses like this could be pulled if required, or juggled around.
I would argue that the system requires about 200 additional buses now to maintain good normal peak operating conditions. This would for buses to be juggled across the system to fill special needs like this. That would mean that most of the buses required to deal with this type of need would normally be being used at peak to simply provide better service than current. Bus users would then experience service only slightly worse than current when something happened. Of course one flaw with this theory is the latent demand that such improved service would release.
With the just done rebuild of much of Bloor St. W., there were more than a few things that weren’t included, like an increase in bike safety/bike lanes, though yes, the smooth road is very nice though everyone now speeds up. Yes, this includes cyclists.
While it’s known that I see bikes as a complement/bikeway relief to the Bloor/Danforth in some smaller way, I only suggested insertion of wires/signals in that new roadworks to be allowing the TTC to flash signs encouraging motorists to go away from Bloor to allow buses better passage in the emergency/urgent situations that can arise. As with bikes, the restricted grid west of Ossington makes it awkward for sure to tell cars to take sidestreets/go elsewhere, but there ain’t a back-up plan nor the interest in trying to develop one it seems, as nope, no answers back/response – just a status quo repaving job, contrary to Places to Grow Act 3.2.2/3.2.3 etc., but what’s provincial planning law, like origin/destination studies, experts etc…
Steve I suspect that this is an area that the new mayor could really place his stamp. Look long and hard at the performance metrics for service, and make sure they represent what the riders experience on the street.
He should also be striking a broader management committee on the reliability and running time for transit. If he made the basic management of service, and the environment within which it operates a daily priority, I suspect that the idea would get across quickly, and it would soon get attention from many others in the daily operations.
While the TTC could look to the Police and Toronto Traffic, for some run time issues, they would need to do a lot to explain headway dispatch issues, and short turns (especially if data analysis could show that the reason for the gap, was a poor dispatch in the first place). A weekly session on performance that did not accept the current metrics as the standard might make a substantial difference over time. This should include a review of the outstanding issues of the week, the overall headway distribution (hopefully using the new vehicle location system graphing data granular enough to show at least 1 minute variances, so it would be possible to plot variances from headway at the 1 minute level). There should also be a review of the worst lines and the worst days, causes and how this can be prevented in future. Ideally if he were really going to push this, it would be a meeting that he and a couple of his most senior staff would sit in on. The actual headway of dispatch should start as one of the key points of discussion.
Steve: It is already possible to plot variations at a 1-minute level. I have been doing it for years.
One other major investment needs to be made if possible, would be a reasonable way for the TTC to actually measure the actual loading of all vehicles along their routes. This too should be a point of discussion, where the vehicles past the loading standard occurred, and what could be done to address this.
If he chooses to personally involve himself in this, I think he will find that management will either highlight what resources they need now, or fix the problems or both. He needs to make the quality of transit service a key point of his administration, and part of this is creating a better measure of service, and then place a regular high level focus on it (ideally his own personal attention). Start with the TTC to show how a active management, can deliver higher quality service and then deliver the resources to show a marked departure from the service cuts of the Ford era. That is making better management deliver better and more reliable service, not resource reduction resulting in overcrowding, and unreliable service. If he really applies himself, Transit should start to experience improvements, even before there are large fleet increase (which will still be required, especially if better service increases ridership growth).
Imagine the impact of the Mayor asking everyday whether all transit priority was working, if better than 90% of all vehicles left within 1 minute of scheduled headway, how many times did we experience overloaded buses in the last 24 hours. What can we do to improve transit service this week?