Comparison of Streetcar and Bus Operations on 501 Queen (Part III, Updated)

Updated June 17, 2017 at 7:30 pm: A new set of charts has been added at the end of this article to display the service capacity actually operated at various points and times on Queen in a manner that more clearly slows what is going on. The original charts have been left for reference.

This article continues the comparison of bus and streetcar operations on 501 Queen by reviewing the capacity of service actually provided on the route.

The chart below shows the hourly scheduled capacity of the route for its basic service in the central part of the route. This does not include the contribution of any trippers, only the regular service passing Yonge Street in each direction.

For all but the last two entries (May and June 2017) service is scheduled to be provided by ALRVs which have a design capacity for planning purposes of 108. For the last two months, service is provided by buses with a design capacity of 51.

There are minor variations from fall 2013 to February 2017 that are mainly caused by schedule changes related to whether or not the route operates as one continuous Neville to Long Branch line, or if it is broken at Humber. For the through service, headways are slightly different because of the need to blend service on the two branches.

In March 2017, running time was added to the route to accommodate a construction diversion that was not actually implemented. This was done only by stretching the headway, not by adding cars to the route thanks to the overall shortage of streetcars. The result was a drop in both the cars/hour value and the scheduled capacity.

In May 2017, streetcars were replaced by buses, but thanks to the shortage of buses, the capacity of the scheduled service was well below the level that streetcars had been providing. Although there were many more vehicles/hour, their much lower capacity meant that the scheduled capacity was below that of the streetcar service (especially when February 2017 or earlier is used as a base). The reduction was 17% in the AM peak and 27% in the PM peak, and this on a route that (a) the TTC knows is running over capacity and (b) has not had a service increase for many years thanks to the shortage of streetcars.

Providing equal capacity would require that buses operate more frequently than they are now scheduled to do.

This type of scheduling has been used in many places across the TTC system where requirements for extra running time have  been achieved by running vehicles less frequently.

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