TTC Surface Route Statistics 2011-2014

The TTC recently published statistics for its surface routes for 2014, adding to the online collection including 2011 and 2012.

For convenience in comparing figures from the three sets, I have consolidated them into a pair of tables.

Stats20112014

This table is ordered by route number and contains the following fields:

  • Route number
  • Route name
  • Weekday ridership
  • AM Peak vehicles
  • PM Peak vehicles
  • Vehicle Hours per day
  • Vehicle Kilometres per day

Notes:

  • In 2011 and 2012, some route statistics were consolidated whereas in 2014 they are shown separately.
  • Data were published for weekends, night and downtown express routes only in 2014.
  • Riding counts are not updated every year on every route. Where the same value appears in two years, most likely there has been no new count.

Stats20112014Summary

This table consolidates the information by type of route.

  • The “14x” routes are the downtown express buses for which data were only published in 2014.
  • The “19x” routes are the “rocket” express buses.
  • “Riders” are unlinked trips or “boardings”. One continuous trip can produce multiple boardings depending on the number of transfers.

The total number of riders by type of service can be subject to error if a considerable proportion of the routes do not have new riding counts (e.g. streetcars in 2012). Note that some of the 2011 counts are also from previous years.

The ratio of riders to service provided is expressed relative to AM Peak vehicles, to Vehicle Hours operated, and to Vehicle Kilometres operated.

The vehicle speeds are based on the reported hours and kilometres operated. To the extent that the hours include layovers (which on some routes can be a considerable proportion of the scheduled time), the speeds could be understated although this would be more likely to show up on a route-by-route calculation. This particularly affects night routes where running times are extended to be a multiple of the 30 minute headways.

Note that despite the importance placed on “express” buses (the 14x and 19x series), the vast majority (95%) of bus trips is carried on local services. Productivity of the downtown express routes is particularly poor.

Streetcar routes operate in more congested areas with higher passenger loads and more frequent stops. Their boarding ratios per peak vehicle and per vehicle hour are about 50% higher than for the bus routes reflecting the higher capacity of streetcars.

15 thoughts on “TTC Surface Route Statistics 2011-2014

  1. Any thoughts about these just-released April 2014 numbers to the March 1, 2014 numbers that the TTC had released in September 2014.

    Some match closely (especially the streetcar), but some of the bus route numbers are very different.

    Steve: I think the September 2014 numbers are a previous year’s extract as they do not include 172 Cherry or 195 Jane Rocket, but do include 58 Malton. The streetcar matches are a function of infrequent counts. Also the numbers in the table on the Service Planning page are rounded to the nearest hundred while those in the other extract are not. The “close” values are generally “equal”.

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  2. How does the TTC deal with the counts? I assume they are done by people but how do they select a day or week to actually do them? I ask because some routes are probably quite ‘regular’ while others have huge peaks and valleys depending on ‘attractions’ served by the route. (A count on the Bathurst streetcar or the 172 bus would probably be very high if done at the time of the CNE, a large concert or the Christmas Market.)

    Steve: They are typically one day counts, and it’s pot luck how representative they are route to route, season to season, year to year.

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  3. Based on your comment about how the counts are performed, I would think Presto will be revolutionary as to how the TTC collects data. I wonder if they will make this data “open” to the public for their own analysis.

    Steve: Automatic passenger counters are included as part of the new centralized vehicle monitoring system which is now in the procurement stage. Presto will give some info, but not everything.

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  4. And Dufferin’s already got tracks for a whole block!😛 (In all seriousness, riding that bus at rush hour north from Queen to Bloor is horrifying, and I don’t even want to know what it’s like after I get off based on the line spilling out into the street)

    Random questions on a few numbers – Eglinton West *dropped* almost 10 thousand riders – evidence of construction for the crosstown, I suspect? Jane also dropped over 10k, or ~a quarter of it’s ridership…is there a construction project there I didn’t know about?

    Far more weirdly – Finch east got cut *in half* …!? (Maybe the Sheppard subway works after all!😉 )…and meanwhile Lawrence West has almost doubled! Now, if this was a low volume doubling, i.e. two thousand to four thousand, it might make more sense. But Finch went from being the single busiest bus route in 2011 and a close third in 2012, both around 45k, to less than 25k in 2014! Where do 20 thousand people a day disappear to?! Meanwhile Lawrence went from a doesn’t-even-rank 23k a year to the second busiest bus route in the system at almost 45k itself. I’m tempted to poke some fun and make a joke about some 20 thousand Scarboroughans (Scarboroughites?) trying to move closer to the only new rail line actually under construction, but this just doesn’t add up, at all.

    Steve: There have been changes in routes that caused riders to be assigned differently. For example, Jane now has the Jane Rocket as a separate route; Lawrence West now includes the former Malton route; Finch East and its overlays, especially the Rocket, are now reported separately. Of the routes you list, only the drop in Eglinton West is a real change, and that’s an effect of the construction delays.

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  5. Steve said:

    “There have been changes in routes that caused riders to be assigned differently. For example, Jane now has the Jane Rocket as a separate route; Lawrence West now includes the former Malton route; Finch East and its overlays, especially the Rocket, are now reported separately. Of the routes you list, only the drop in Eglinton West is a real change, and that’s an effect of the construction delays.”\

    On Finch East, given the extremely high bus count between the 2 routes, what kind of growth is practical as bus on these routes? How well can the Rocket route use articulated buses, to reduce the conflict at signals etc, and is that enough to offset any increase in dwell time at stops required?

    Steve: The two routes operate about 46 buses/hour between them in the AM peak, and this really pushes the limits at locations where both the express and local routes stop. Artics could space this out somewhat, although they probably would best be used on the Rocket service with its fewer stops. All door boarding really is essential to making service like this work.

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  6. Steve said:

    “The two routes operate about 46 buses/hour between them in the AM peak, and this really pushes the limits at locations where both the express and local routes stop. Artics could space this out somewhat, although they probably would best be used on the Rocket service with its fewer stops. All door boarding really is essential to making service like this work.”

    I assume that other than at terminus the Rocket service has quite low turn over – correct? A bus every 78 seconds or so at a stop, would really be moving, especially if there is reasonable turn over at some of those stops. This must make route operations a little awkward, especially as this means many situations with more than one bus in a single signal, and thus arriving virtually simultaneously at a stop. Would appear to be really close to the point where, change of vehicle type seems appropriate – although where there is a relative increase in door capacity as well as vehicle capacity – so dwell time does not need to increase.

    Does this not mean you need to be able to manage stops, and ensure there is enough room within the stop for multiple vehicles? Would this not be better if you could sustain capacity with more vehicle separation?

    Also given the very high load on Jane, how is this sustained? Does most of this not run the full length of the line? I note 36 buses between Rocket and regular, and around 44k riders. Is this a question of the route load being really well spread (all day), and a relative large amount of running only a short portion of the route?

    Steve: The nature of turnover varies from route to route. In some cases, the demand is very much an accumulation of riders either to the terminal, or to some major intermediate stop, with the result that there is little “churn” of the crowd within the vehicle. Equally, people are less uncomfortable taking seats or standing behind the rear doors if they are not worried about being trapped there on a crowded bus when it reaches their stop.

    I don’t know where you get 36 buses for Jane and its Rocket variant. You seem to be confusing assigned vehicles with buses/hour at any common stop. The peak headway is 5 minutes on the 35 local service (12 buses/hour) and 10 minutes on the 195 express (6 buses/hour) for a total of 18. That headway is easy to handle on a bus route.

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  7. There is plenty of turnover on the Finch 199 and Keele 41E buses. Assuming riders go end to end on an express route is really unwise, except for the case of the 196.

    What is more typical of express routes is that they gain riders going towards the subway, and lose riders going away from the subway. In the case of the 199, ridership at the east end is much less than at the west end, particularly between Finch station and Seneca College.

    On the other hand, the 41E has a lot of turnover at Eglinton and Rogers, possibly more (for some runs) than at Keele station.

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  8. Malcolm N says:

    I assume that other than at terminus the Rocket service has quite low turn over – correct? A bus every 78 seconds or so at a stop, would really be moving, especially if there is reasonable turn over at some of those stops. This must make route operations a little awkward, especially as this means many situations with more than one bus in a single signal, and thus arriving virtually simultaneously at a stop. Would appear to be really close to the point where, change of vehicle type seems appropriate – although where there is a relative increase in door capacity as well as vehicle capacity – so dwell time does not need to increase.

    No, you are not correct. Especially for the Jane Rocket you are describing. In fact most of the demand is actually north of Lawrence. In midday, southbound bus actually clears out south of Eglinton. At the busiest time, I say the Jane Rocket is actually constrained by capacity, not riders favoring the local buses. Capacity is actually reduced with less buses running after the local/express reorganization in March 2014.

    35/195 Jane is actually one of the worst managed routes along with 60 Steeles West and 96/165 along Wilson. Coincidentally they all happen to be Arrow routes too. It has become a case that one shall always take whatever bus shows up first. The only riders that don’t take the rocket is if their stop is too far away from the express stop.

    The 195S or 195A Short Turn exposures are very common. It’s also strange that the 195A to Steeles (instead of York U) exposure actually exists oppose to a 195S Short Turn to Steeles.

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  9. Steve said:

    “don’t know where you get 36 buses for Jane and its Rocket variant. You seem to be confusing assigned vehicles with buses/hour at any common stop. The peak headway is 5 minutes on the 35 local service (12 buses/hour) and 10 minutes on the 195 express (6 buses/hour) for a total of 18. That headway is easy to handle on a bus route.”

    I was not suggesting vehicles per hour, but rather total buses (how few), which given the route length would result in quite wide spacing given the ridership – which is what you note, with what you are indicating for a bus every 3.33 minutes the combined ridership seems quite high (although I would have thought that the return trip would be even longer, so I was thinking the spacing would be even wider). The question I was asking, how do so few buses carry so many riders – is this a question of a high turn – where most riders are taking a relatively short trip on bus (hence the same seat/spot gets used for several riders)? I had no question as to how you would manage the buses (unlike Finch East) but rather, how do you manage the ridership – with so few. Hence the question of how the load was spread, and the rate of turn.

    Steve: This varies from route to route depending on turnover, the bidirectional (or not) nature of demand, and having good off-peak demand. Look at the stats for 2014 recently published and compare the number of peak buses to the ridership. Jane is not alone.

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  10. The daily counts for all major bus routes appear to be remarkably stable, if we take into account the 35+195 combination for Jane, 39+199 for Finch East, and the merging of 52 and 58 on Lawrence West.

    Three streetcar routes showed a spectacular growth: 504 King, 501 Queen, and 512 St Clair. One streetcar route declined a lot; that’s 510 Spadina, and the decline could be caused by the construction on Queen’s Quay.

    Other major streetcar routes: 506 Carlton, 505 Dundas, 511 Bathurst, saw little change.

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  11. Another observation: while the patronage of 14x buses remains on the scale of a rounding error, the usage of 19x is way better, and keeps growing. They were responsible for 2% of boardings in 2011, but their share grew to 6% in 2014.

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  12. Michael Forest

    “Three streetcar routes showed a spectacular growth: 504 King, 501 Queen, and 512 St Clair. One streetcar route declined a lot; that’s 510 Spadina, and the decline could be caused by the construction on Queen’s Quay.”

    Look at the numbers again. The old data included the 509 AND 510. the new data separated them. There was no loss in ridership.

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  13. Robert Wightman:

    “The old data included the 509 AND 510. the new data separated them.”

    Correct. 55,400 in 2011 and 2012. 55,500 in 2014. Looks to me like they simply didn’t put any new numbers together since construction started.

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  14. Stephen’s right, Jane and Jane Rocket are no picnic, but with that said, all day express service on the route was long overdue, and with the exception of a bus being very delayed, the buses empty out by Eglinton, if not Lawrence. Service on Wilson Avenue is, well, playing roulette, especially if you live west or north of Weston and Walsh. Once combined, the service is bunched (at times in convoys of 96A, 96B, 96C, and at least a single 165) but palatable. Once separated at Weston, there’s no excuse each branch to run bunched with the other (96A with the 96B for instance), especially given the wide headways for each branch. The changes made in October made service more inconsistent, the exact opposite of what was intended.

    As much as route analyses on streetcar routes and Dufferin are essential, I long for the day you have a chance to do one of operations on Wilson Avenue, given it has 11 total branches, 2 of which end at Wilson Station, and 3 go north of Steeles. I’m too young to know how good or bad service on the 96 was pre-165 (and when the 59 west of Weston became the 96C), but I would love any insight on it.

    Steve: I have some Wilson data and will get around to it in due course. Yes, it ain’t pretty. Neither is Lawrence West.

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