TTC Service Changes for November 23, 2014

The service changes effective November 23, 2014 primarily deal with the end of many construction programs and the return to “normal” schedules. There are a few minor service improvements as well as reversals of cuts related to the bus shortage, but overall the service now on the street is what Toronto will see for the remainder of 2014.

Service improvements that had been planned for fall 2014 have been deferred because there is a shortage of vehicles, and this is compounded by greater than planned construction-related service.

Regular service hours per week are up 1.2% for November-December 2014 over the corresponding period in 2013. However, unplanned construction services consume resources that otherwise could have provided a further 1% improvement in regular service.

To reduce the scheduled requirement for streetcars, some trippers on 504 King will be replaced by buses. This sets the stage for the resumption of 501 Queen service west of Humber Loop on December 22 when, for the first time in over two years, the entire streetcar network will be in operation. The problem will persist until deliveries of new streetcars resumes and allows full streetcar operation. (As I write this, a revised delivery and implementation schedule has not been published by the TTC.)

Other factors in actual-vs-budget comparisons for November-December include:

  • The delayed retirement of high-floor, lift-equipped buses with low floor vehicles. This would have required more service to compensate for the lower capacity of the low floor buses.
  • Additional running time on the subway introduced in the October schedules. This increased the number of trains in service during peak periods.
  • The reduction in service hours due to articulated bus roll outs has been less than expected because the order of route conversions is different than planned, and running times on converted routes proved to be longer than expected requiring more vehicles to maintain headways.
  • Conversion of the 501 Queen and 504 King routes from ALRV to CLRV operation to permit retirement of the ALRVs has not happened. This would have required more service hours by the smaller CLRVs.

2014.11.23_Service_Changes

26 thoughts on “TTC Service Changes for November 23, 2014

  1. An articulated bus holds substantially more people than a standard bus, but there is still only one driver, by which all passengers must pass to pay their fares. How much longer are the lines as more passengers queue to get on the bus? Does this affect schedules? What improvements could be made by using POP and all-door boarding on routes with articulated buses?

    Steve: Yes, if the bus stays with front door loading, stop service times go up, running times will get longer, and the effective capacity replacement ratio will fall below 1.5. POP and all-door loading will certainly help and will improve utilization of the space inside vehicles.

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  2. Steve,

    In his recent twitter session Andy was asked about the new cars. Someone asked when we would see new cars on Spadina.

    Andy replied:

    @MkoRoy Roll-out resumes shortly. I am pressing Bombardier but we want quality vehicles too ^AB

    I assume you saw that but it goes to show even brass are getting a little upset with Bombardier over the rollout.

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  3. Steve:

    … the first time in over two years, the entire streetcar network will be in operation.

    Well, other than the diversion off King Street East from Parliament to Queen, which closed for 2 months on September 9, 2013, and is now not scheduled to open until February 2015 according to TTC (though given the City just changed the road closure sign from Fall 2014 to Spring 2015, I expect this will now be extended yet again). For amusement here is the original TTC announcement that it would re-open in November 2013 can be found on archive dot org. I tried linking to it, but it blocked me for Spam! I guess that sums up the situation🙂

    Though this doesn’t diminish the demand for streetcars – in fact it even increases it a bit.

    On one hand, this detour seems trivial. On the other, it adds 5 minutes during rush-hour, given how long it takes to make a left-turn at Parliament/Queen, and the congestion/lights on Parliament. I reckon it’s added about 40 hours a year to my commute!

    A simple advanced green at Queen/Parliament would have helped at least the westbound service.

    Steve: This is a perfect example of the small-scale changes to traffic signals that should exist — advance greens for transit left turns whether they are “regular” moves, long term diversions or short turns. Another location that was a major pain in the butt was west to south at Queen and Spadina during the TIFF diversion in September. The whole thing is further complicated when an electric switch is out of service because the traffic controller does not “know” that a car needing a priority phase is sitting there.

    I have removed archive.org from the blacklist. It must have been associated with some unsavoury comments left here once upon a time.

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  4. I certainly hope the councillors who get appointed to the TTC board will be more pro-transit than when the previous administration came in. It was the previous board (under direction of the all knowing Rob Ford) basically penny-pinched the TTC to where it is now. Would the citizen board members continue or will they be “new” members as well?

    Steve: There will be new citizen members appointed, but it is unclear what the status of the old ones is until this happens, or if the board will operate only with the Council members in the short term. Personally, I don’t think that the “citizens” contributed much during their term, although to be fair, Karen Stintz did a good job of isolating them from any real information and input.

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  5. Steve said:

    Personally, I don’t think that the “citizens” contributed much during their term, although to be fair, Karen Stintz did a good job of isolating them from any real information and input.

    As discussed in earlier comments in another post, the issue is perhaps that the “citizen” board members do not have to do anything and the board itself does not have to do anything service related except set up an audit committee which focuses on finances.

    Perhaps there are two steps that need to be taken … ideally with direction from the mayor-elect when he identifies the TTC Chair he wants Council to select … first step is to give the Board a bit more direction to focus on service management (maybe creating a Service Audit Committee) and second, bring back “Transit Camp” as an opportunity for TTC management, staff, board members, politicians and interested stakeholders to get together and identify directions and routes (pun intended) for transit improvements over the next 4 years.

    I would personally like to see the collective development of a set of guiding principles, agreed to by all stakeholders to be applied over the next 4 years, including:

    *Analysis of GPS tracking data and applying it to line management;
    *Creation and promotion of different “sub networks” within the TTC’s overall network (e.g. Rocket Network, Blue Night Network, Frequent Service Network, Rapid Transit network etc);
    *Bringing forward the TTC’s transit expansion proposals
    *Pushing Metrolinx and the Provincial government for the funds to offer 2 hour service windows that include Toronto;
    *Better service cooperation with 905 agencies;
    *A vehicle purchase and fleet renewal program that does not involve begging … or waiting until all the vehicles are on their last legs (wheels?) and held together by “spit and baling wire” before replacing them.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: It is clear from reports in the media that Tory’s priority is SmartTrack, SmartTrack, SmartTrack.

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  6. I was going to make the same comment as nfitz about the King diversion. I think the 5 minute delay comment is being too kind. Add a drop of rain and it skyrockets. Bonus Delay: The go slow order for streetcars while crossing the Don Bridge along Queen. Sigh.

    Of course, this doesn’t just impact the 503/504’s … there is also the knock-on impact to the 501/502 cars queued behind the 503/504’s trying to turn left to go south down Parliament.

    I (I’m sure along with others) look forward to the bridge being fixed.

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  7. Of course, there is another issue with articulated buses than the wait times for passengers to board: unless articulated buses replace the ‘regular’ buses on a 1:1 ratio, service levels will decrease and people will be turned away from using transit.

    Steve wrote:

    “Conversion of the 501 Queen and 504 King routes from ALRV to CLRV operation to permit retirement of the ALRVs has not happened. This would have required more service hours by the smaller CLRVs.”

    This is a non-issue, Steve. There are only two Flexity Outlook streetcars in operation, so the TTC surely has not retired any ALRV streetcars.

    Steve: The issue is that the budget assumed that this would happen. Therefore, the fact that it has not affects actual operating stats versus a budget drawn up in July 2013. And, yes, I do get out often enough to know that there are only two Flexities on the property, and that no ALRVs have been retired.

    Steve wrote:

    “Personally, I don’t think that the “citizens” contributed much during their term, although to be fair, Karen Stintz did a good job of isolating them from any real information and input.”

    That’s because they did not speak up and insist on their right to know everything in order to perform their duties.

    Steve: I know they were unhappy, but the attempts by one of them (Alan Heisey) to bring even simple matters forward were generally stonewalled. The entire purpose of the TTC was to get Karen Stintz elected Mayor, and to cut spending so that RoFo could keep taxes down. Oh yes … and to support subway construction plans.

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  8. Service on artic buses will never improve until moron riders stop exiting by the front door (unless packed full) thus preventing waiting riders to stand back. Two large double rear doors get rusty from lack of use.

    To reduce this stupidity I suggest Operators manually open ALL doors at busy stops. Maybe, just maybe a few of these ignorant people will get an idea there is actually another way to get off the @#@#@#&&^ BUS!

    Operators need to announce EXIT by REAR DOORS!

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  9. Ah, to bring back “On The Rocket”. The customer relations talk show by Adam Giambrone, while a public relations stunt for the TTC, it was better than what replaced it, which was nothing.

    It would be a good sign by John Tory, if he supports that Adam Giambrone be one of the “citizens”. Maybe even get Adam and Andy Byford to co-host a new version of “On The Rocket” and have John Tory explain what “SmartTrack” is.

    Steve: One of the first things John Tory needs to do is to actually tour the city and find out just how little of it SmartTrack would actually serve. Those who have told him it would even help folks in North York are incompetent or liars or possibly even don’t know where the line actually runs.

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  10. Finally the entire streetcar network would be fully functional, it would be interesting to see if the TTC can keep up with enough streetcars for service until the new fleet arrives. It’s sad to see how Bombardier isn’t able to meet their timeline and we still have on going TR delivery and 2 Flexity streetcars.

    Hopefully they won’t need streetcar shuttle buses anytime soon cause they drain the bus resources leading to more bus shortages.

    In regards to the articulated buses, I don’t think the TTC would buy any more of them anytime soon considering that they run slower than a 40ft bus even if they ran with a 40ft bus headway. These buses have slower doors and slower acceleration. The Orion VII buses can beat these articulated buses easily. With 5 seconds left before turning yellow, 40ft buses can make it through the intersection, these artics can’t.

    Basically these buses shouldn’t be used for stop-go (local) routes and transit priority should be implemented on all artic routes. Now, why hasn’t the TTC figured this out yet?

    And why isn’t the city interested in installing bus lanes and implementing transit priority? With Tory in place, I don’t see any improvements happening here.

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  11. Steve:

    “The service changes effective November 23, 2014 primarily deal with the end of many construction programs and the return to “normal” schedules.”

    The problem with TTC “schedules” is that they also use TTC clocks that can speed up or slow down as the drivers please. Steve, why don’t you apply to become a route supervisor? I am sure that you can get things running on time.

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  12. Also on Sunday, November 23rd, Bathurst Street track comstruction will be complete and streetcars are expected to return to the “511 Bathurst route, which is currently using shuttle buses. When streetcars finally return to this route, will ALRVs be eventually retired as with the “510 Queen and “504 King” routes (thus being an exlusively CLRV route)?

    This route – “511 Bathurst” – will become the next to use the new LFLRVs. Will it be come the next to use the new proof-of-payment system?

    Steve: The next LFLRV route after 510 Spadina will be 509 Harbourfront, then 511 Bathurst, unless the TTC changes their announced implementation plan. As for PoP, the TTC hopes to implement this on all streetcar routes, at least, early in the new year regardless of the equipment serving the routes. If nothing else this will make official the way that many operators have been handling overcrowding anyhow.

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  13. Steve:

    Yes, if the bus stays with front door loading, stop service times go up, running times will get longer, and the effective capacity replacement ratio will fall below 1.5. POP and all-door loading will certainly help and will improve utilization of the space inside vehicles.

    It’s obvious that proof of payment (POP) for articulated buses would significantly reduce their stop service times but I never thought that it should improve space utilisation as well, I never knew that until I read Steve’s comment but it makes sense since people tend to stand near the front doors of buses and doors of subway trains (due to convenience) even when there is more room available. There aren’t that many articulated bus routes (only a few compared to several streetcar routes) and so when all streetcar routes go on POP, so should the articulated bus routes. Is there any way for you (Steve) to bring this up with top level TTC management? Those Bathurst, Dufferin, and Steeles East articulated buses can get very crowded near the front while there is a lot of room at the back with people unwilling to move back.

    Also how many articulated buses are running on which routes? Are there any more due to be received anytime soon? I like articulated buses since they give a little bit more breathing room. Articulated buses are used heavily by VIVA in York Region, ZĂĽm in Brampton, MiWay in Mississauga and those are much smaller cities than Toronto and so I don’t see why Toronto should not use more of those.

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  14. I am surprised that the TTC has not implemented POP along with the roll-out of the articulated buses. This is something that is longstanding practice in Ottawa with OC Transpo. But this will become imperative with Presto, for Presto slows down boarding.

    The STO (the Gatineau system that come in Ottawa uses RFID payment cards and yet insist that everyone boards through the front door on articulated buses, it has created traffic problems on a few of our streets.

    But another consideration with Presto is that on a 40ft bus on a busy route, it slows so much that OC Transpo has bought more articulated than planned because it was burning buses and operators needlessly and increasing costs. I understand my post seems focused on Presto but that’s because it will increase the demand for buses and operators, something to think about.

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  15. “Ah, to bring back “On The Rocket”. The customer relations talk show by Adam Giambrone, while a public relations stunt for the TTC, it was better than what replaced it, which was nothing.”

    My principal problem with On The Rocket, like the Josh Matlow and Ford Bros shows on 1010 etc., is that politicians should not have unintermediated access to public airwaves. If CP24 had hosted the show using a professional journalist (not a transit specialist dependent on TTC goodwill, and not inexplicably employed talking heads like Stephen LeDrew) I would have supported it, and would welcome the return of a show like it.

    The problem these days of course is the TTC having a vehicle and driver available to host it on. My first though was 4401 or 4402 on a training run as a win/win, but that isn’t likely to fall under the sort of uses Bombardier are okay with while under their ownership.

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  16. Peter wrote about the 503/504 detour that the “5 minute delay comment is being too kind”

    Some days – particularly when there was a lot of construction in the area, and Parliament was gridlocked (on more than one occasion, got off a northbound Parliament bus at King, and beat it to Gerrard by walking!). But that construction-related congestion seems to have eased, though there are still days. On the other hand, if I have the sense to arrive at work at 7:30 am instead of 8:30 am, or head home at 7 pm, it probably only adds two minutes or so.

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  17. Hi Steve. Any update on whether Presto will be on the new streetcars this month? I believe the latest plan was for them to have it sometime in November. Thanks!

    Steve: No word yet.

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  18. Steve wrote:

    “And, yes, I do get out often enough to know that there are only two Flexities on the property, and that no ALRVs have been retired.”

    My apologies, Steve. I did not mean to insult you. What I meant was that with only two new streetcars there is no reason for the TTC to retire any of the older fleet at this point. I am sorry if I caused offense.

    Steve: None taken, but the wording did seem a little odd.

    Also, hopefully the citizen members of the TTC will have an easier time with a new administration.

    Raymond wrote:

    “Service on artic buses will never improve until moron riders stop exiting by the front door (unless packed full) thus preventing waiting riders to stand back. Two large double rear doors get rusty from lack of use.”

    I have only been on an articulated bus once and I do not recall the feature, but on other buses (and I would the articulated ones too) can kneel. But this applies to the front doors only. Plus, unless you are getting off at an opposite side stop (i.e. the bus has to go through the intersection before getting to the stop), then stops located at an intersection will see the intersection at the front end of the bus – so I think it is partly just that people automatically go to the front door without thinking as it is the closest door to where they are going.

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  19. Steve, am I reading the service change report correctly? They’re going to try and interline 504 trippers with 510 cars?

    Steve: The midday service on 510 is actually more frequent than the AM peak. At the end of the peak, some cars from other routes become 510s.

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  20. Some 504s always used to switch to 510 cars after AM peak. It was quite normal around 9 AM or so to see 510 King cars heading south on Broadview, to the point that the regulars didn’t even question the driver.

    I thought this had stopped because of the new streetcars being used on 510 – but I guess this is indication that they don’t expect the line to be anywhere close to being fully converted by the end of 2014 after all. It will be interesting to see how long before we get a new, realistic, roll-out schedule. I have a hard time believing they’ll ever delivery 39 vehicles a year!

    Steve: Actually the interlining has shuffled around in past months due to changes in divisional assignments of some routes. Also, with some King Trippers becoming buses, they are no longer available for interlines.

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  21. Toronto Streetcars mentioned: kneeling buses which only kneel at the front

    It’s interesting that in many buses in Europe and the UK, the wheelchair ramp slides out from below the back doors, so the buses tilt to the side instead of kneeling to the front.

    Now that my wife and I have 2 kids (with a double stroller for use in Mississauga off-peak, and an umbrella stroller for use on mainline/peak routes in Mississauga and on the TTC), the ability to get out into and out of the bus is very important. I’ve often found it easier to just push the stroller (both of them, believe it or not) out the back door rather than trying to get around the people who stand in the space between the front wheel-wells.

    Cheers, Moaz

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  22. Moaz wrote:

    “It’s interesting that in many buses in Europe and the UK, the wheelchair ramp slides out from below the back doors, so the buses tilt to the side instead of kneeling to the front.”

    Interesting enough, the same occurs in Hamilton – the rear door on the 40 foot (non-articulated) buses, and the middle door on the articulated buses. Don’t ask my why one city does it this way, but most seem to use the front door. I think the front door, as least here in Canada, is to make it easier for the driver to assist the passenger. In Hamilton, I have noticed the driver gets up to help, so it takes a bit longer.

    Funny enough, the new streetcars do not use the front door for the ramp – and when I rode on one in service, the driver had to go back and oversee operation. I do not know if this was just because it was the first day of service and the streetcar was full (and people hit the wrong button occasionally as well) or if this is/will be normal operation or not.

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  23. Sometimes I really wonder why there is no coordination internally and externally with the TTC.

    The Six Points construction affects both the 45 Kipling and 46 Martin Grove. Yet they managed to issue a detour and added additional time on the 45 Kipling since the beginning of September but not on the 46 Martin Grove until next board period. What makes it worst is that the detour hasn’t actually begun because the affected roadways haven’t closed yet.

    The Kipling Avenue road resurfacing is another project that affects these two route. The additional time was added in May but the construction actually started late August.

    Clearly this demonstrates that the TTC still doesn’t take coordination seriously as why the two routes operate from different divisions would be treated differently. What if the construction actually started on time. Then the 46 Martin Grove would be constantly late.

    A better question is why does the additional running time and detours start months before the actual construction. It makes me think the city didn’t tell the TTC exactly when the tendered work would actually begin.

    Steve: The decision to make a schedule change is taken about three months before it goes into effect. Some planned works do not begin at the time the TTC expects when it sets the schedules, and some don’t even begin at all. A good example was the replacement of streetcars by buses on Broadview this past summer for water main repairs that were deferred to a future year fairly close to the planned start date.

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  24. Steve has the TTC started to do studies on what routes will best suite the articulated buses. Is there data on which have the lowest turns of passengers, numbers of passengers boarding at stops, and relative run vs stop servicing time?

    I would hope that the TTC is working on this, and has at least identified which routes are best to study. Figuring out where they make the most sense is going to be really important, especially in the period of waiting for a full cross the system adoption of POP.

    Previous discussion of signals is something that I think really needs to worked on. I would be willing to bet there are many examples of issues surrounding signals that create substantial delays to transit. The critical import of keeping transit running smoothly cannot be overestimated, especially where there is a high modal split and massively overloaded roads. If you add 10% to regular traffic in some areas, the city would basically grind to a halt.

    Steve: I have not seen anything like this from the TTC, and I believe that their criteria so far has been to target routes with frequent service and that are served by garages with facilities for artics. The problem with being unable to make the same schedules as the standard sized vehicles seems to have taken them by surprise.

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  25. Beginning on Sunday, November 23, 2014, streetcars make a welcome return to the “511 Bathurst” route – which has been using buses since Thanksgiving weekend, and people using this route have been patient through this period. This was especially true when the buses have been detouring via College Street, Spadina Avenue, and Adelaide/Richmond Street West. It felt kinda weird travelling along Spadina Avenue on the “511 Bathurst” buses to and from Exhibition Place (I was there for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair), but the travel time wasn’t much different than on the “511 Bathurst” streetcar. The streetscape of Spadina was quite different from that of Bathurst Street – the former is a wider arterial with fancier stores whereas the latter looks ‘a little rough around the edges’ from its industrial past. Are there more track work projects in the new year (2015). If yes, it would mean another return to buses on this route. Has there been a decrease in business (fewer sales of coffee and donuts at Tim Horton’s – fewer burgers, fries, and McCafe coffees sold at McDonald’s) in the area during this construction?

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