This article continues comments written before the TTC Board meeting of September 24, 2020. The staff presentation had more information than in the report linked from the agenda.
The following chart was included in my first article on the TTC’s Covid response. The red and green lines in this chart marks the number of trips that accumulated more than a 30% and 50% load respectively. The 30% load has been the target for service through the summer, but this is challenging to achieve for a few reasons.
Demand on the bus network has recovered more quickly than on the rest of the system and now stands at almost 50%. This is not evenly distributed by route or time of day, and there will be trips that routinely face higher demand than can be handled.
However, on some routes, notably those that formerly had express services, the revised all-local service is well below the average of 85% of pre-covid service the TTC commonly cites. In a few cases, routes have only half of their previous service unless unscheduled extras are added to compensate.
TTC management note that both the green and red curves turned downward slightly in early September, and attribute this to the operation of more unscheduled buses than in earlier months thanks to operators who have been recalled from layoff.
The more severe challenge, however, is that there simply are not enough buses and operators even at full service to provide generous spacing with demand at 50% of pre-covid levels, let alone higher proportions.
More operators will be recalled in October 2020 and this will add to on-demand service for school travel, particularly in the midday which now will have peaks that did not previously exist as half-day attendees switch over from the morning to the afternoon panel.
The success of using demand responsive service will be seen in how these stats behave in coming weeks.Continue reading