This article updates my ongoing compendium of TTC route performance statistics to include the first quarter of 2015.
The numbers reported by the TTC represent performance relative to the planned headways (time between vehicles), not to scheduled arrival times on routes:
The percent means that proportion of vehicles that were within +/- 3 minutes of the scheduled headway. More specifically that when each vehicle passes a ‘timing point’ it is compared to the vehicle in front of it that last crossed that same point. [From TTC Route Performance report]
In my version of the table, the TTC data are arranged in route number order with values for each quarter. Where there are blanks in the table, there was no data in the corresponding TTC quarterly report.
Also shown are the maximum, minimum, average and standard deviation values for each route’s statistics. This gives a sense of how much these values have moved around. A high standard deviation flags data that have widely varying values.
Of the 179 routes reported, 87 have higher ratings in 15Q1 than their averages for the nine quarters reported to date. To put it another way, about half of the routes did better than average for the first part of 2015, while about half did worse. If the extremely bad winter were a factor overall, one would expect a less balanced situation. On the streetcar lines, only three of eleven routes bettered their averages in 15Q1 (King, Lake Shore and St. Clair), but many of the differences are small with five of eleven falling within one standard deviation.
Headway reliability numbers are consistently bad on the 14x Downtown Express routes, and this implies that these infrequent services have a problem with running on time. What is not known is the measurements times and locations used to produce the stats for these routes and whether the service is at least on time where it collects passengers.
Similarly, headway measures for the 3xx Blue Night services are unimpressive, and what matters much more for these routes is on time performance and reliability of connections between routes, such as they exist.
The TTC claims that it will be introducing new “Journey Time Metrics” later in 2015, but there are as yet no details of what exactly these will measure. In parallel, there are moves to change the service reliability standards so that they look at routes end-to-end, not simply at their central points. (This was described in a presentation at the TTC board meeting in March 2015 (see p7 of TTC Modernization).
The TTC has yet to settle on a reporting mechanism that takes into account the difference in rider needs depending on the nature of a service. When a route is supposed to provide “frequent service”, the important point is that it be reliable. A 5 minute headway is not “frequent” if this actually means three buses every 15 minutes. When service is less frequent, then waiting times for off-schedule vehicles are a huge annoyance and on time performance is key. Short turns, of course, play havoc with both of these measures for riders who need a route beyond its common turnback points. Plans to measure the proportion of service that actually arrives at termini will highlight these problems.
Underlying all of this is the absence of a clear goal, a definition of what constitutes “good” transit service. Too often the goal has been to constrain cost increases and make the best of whatever resources the TTC has at hand.