The King Street Pilot will celebrate its anniversary in mid-November after a year of some controversy but unquestionable success in the improvement of transit service downtown. The results for October 2018 continue the pattern shown through the pilot period of a substantially more reliable service on King Street. This reliability is the heart of the King Street project.
October 7 brought a permanent change in the route’s structure to merge the former 514 Cherry operation into 504 King with two separate branches overlapping from Sumach Street to Dufferin Street.
- 504A operates from Dundas West Station to Distillery Loop on Cherry Street.
- 504B operates from Broadview Station to Dufferin Loop.
The intent of this change is to give each branch a terminus where operators can have a rest break without blocking following service, something that the former 504 King from Dundas West to Broadview could not manage with the route’s conversion to the longer Flexity vehicles.
This change has also reduced the level of service between Dufferin Street and Dundas West Station, and from Sumach Street to Broadview Station, although this is partly offset by the increase of capacity with the new larger vehicles. However, service reliability on the outer parts of the route is an issue because any bunching or short turns produces a larger gap than would occur with the old service design.
Route 503 Kingston Road Tripper continues to operate to Charlotte Loop at Spadina rather than via Wellington to York Street due to construction on Wellington. This is expected to continue until mid-2019. Service on the 503 is provided by CLRVs and, with rare exceptions, these are the only old cars now seen on King Street.
In this article, the format of some charts has been adjusted to provide more information while maintaining continuity with previous articles in this series.
Part I of this review covers travel times and route capacity. In Part II, I will turn to headway reliability.