In a recent article, I reviewed the scheduled service for several routes and the potential problems associated with uneven headways and crowding. As noted in that article, several routes had their schedules modified in recent months to reduce or eliminate these problems.
In my review, I only looked at a subset of routes across the system. The TTC has provided a full list of the routes with new schedules and their plans for coming months.
We have been actively working to reduce uneven headways created by the cancellation of crews in the May 2020 board period.
In most cases, we utilized the built-in recovery time at the end of the route, and by shifting departure times, we were able to minimize significant gaps in the schedule. This approach allowed us to improve on most of the last-minute changes implemented in the spring while continuing to develop multiple service level scenarios through the summer and fall. Unfortunately, due to time constraints (working well past normal deadlines), full schedule re-writes were not possible and we continued to provide suboptimal headways on some routes across the system.
The shifting of schedules was implemented on the following routes in the September board: 7, 11, 25, 29, 32, 34, 51, 61, 63, 68 (gaps remain), 72 (southbound only), 74, 75, 79, 86, 88, 89 , 90, 98, 102 (northbound only), 105, 116, 124, 160 and 163.
We are currently working on the January boards. Most routes will return to pre-pandemic levels and scheduling anomalies resulting from cancelled crews and extra trippers will be eliminated.
Head, Service Planning & Scheduling
When the January updates are announced, I will publish the details as usual. Stay tuned.
Service and Planning are but one part of the problem and do their best to implement solutions, They have owned up to scheduling weaknesses. “The best laid plans of mice and men (and women) often go awry.”
How well schedules are executed is beyond their control. Traffic conditions and unusual demand patterns will throw a schedule off.
Steve’s studies have shown that a bus operator, who behaves badly and tail gates the bus in front, screws up service for the whole route for many hours.
Buses are not departing terminals properly spaced. The operators who behave badly, leave early to catch up to the bus in front. Also there is proof that there are buses that depart much later, creating a large gap.
The TTC has no procedures to untangle a group of bunched buses. I have waited at an Eglinton East stop and watched a caravan of 6 buses approach (mix of 86, 116, 21 and express buses). The two express buses wiz by (one was nearly empty). The bus at the end of the train, let off a passenger and moved on. Of the remaining buses two were fully packed (known as soakers). A half empty 186 bus didn’t stop to pick me up. I had a long wait.
The TTC does not make the route supervisors accountable to the public. This is where the rubber meets the road. Passengers who experience poor service should be able to get an explanation from the person directly responsible, the route supervisor. Failing that, accountability is TTC management, then the Mayor and City Council. Service and Planning are only one link in the chain.
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You have mentioned before that the TTC normally has far more schedule changes in a year than most transit systems.. I realise that adjusting schedules (for both vehicles and staff) is complicated (and connected) but maybe the TTC should work on having fewer schedule changes per year so that when they need to make adjustments they can more easily do so before the next one starts?
Looks like the 24 is not on the list, so I assume the packs of 2-3 buses I see going along Consumers Rd to and from Don Mills Stn will continue well into January and beyond?
Steve: To January. Not necessarily beyond. We shall see in due course. But yes right now it’s a mess, and that is built into the schedule.
Off-topic, my apologies. The majority of TTC drivers are not wearing masks and I see them walking around inside stations with no masks. If TTC drivers won’t wear masks, why should we? I had my mask while getting on the 129 this morning but when I saw that the driver was not wearing a mask, I removed mine too leading to a huge fight with other riders. My argument was simple: I will put on my mask when the driver does which the driver did not. I have made many complaints to the TTC about drivers not wearing masks but nothing happens. We need more people to complain against drivers who are putting public safety at risk. My policy is simple: I am willing to wear a mask but if employees won’t wear a mask, then I won’t either.
Steve: So because you are pissed off with the drivers, you are prepared to expose yourself to whatever other riders might be breathing out and donating whatever is in your body to them.
You are a complete idiot.
Don: The majority of TTC drivers are not wearing masks and I see them walking around inside stations with no masks. If TTC drivers won’t wear masks, why should we? My argument is simple: I will put on my mask when the driver does which the driver did not. I have made many complaints to the TTC about drivers not wearing masks but nothing happens. We need more people to complain against drivers who are putting public safety at risk. My policy is simple: I am willing to wear a mask but if employees won’t wear a mask, then I won’t either.
Steve called this person an idiot but it is not idiotic at all. As a matter of fact, I have the same policy. I always remove my mask if I see any TTC employee not wearing a mask which is very often. I am young and healthy and I live alone in a skyscraper. I don’t need a mask to protect myself but I am willing to wear one to protect others and if the TTC is hypocritical enough to ask paying riders to wear masks but turning a blind eye to its paid drivers not wearing masks, then I won’t put a mask either, plain and simple.
Steve: You have so little understanding of how COVID-19 works! What the TTC operators do or don’t do about masking does not entitle you to endanger other riders. You too are an idiot, and it would not bother me in the least if other riders banded together to throw you off the bus or streetcar (but we Canadians are so polite).
This is the last comment on this subject I will publish.
It’s 2020. The TTC just installed a brand-new state-of-the-art vehicle management and communications system. Why is the TTC seemingly so oblivious to the glaringly obvious solution to route management? It takes 2 or 3 guys on an iPad or PC watching all the routes in real time. Have built in alerts that tell the people watching when a vehicle is late or early or there is bunching. I’m sure that’s possible. It would solve so many issues. There is no excuse for the kinds of horrendous route performance riders see daily. You might as well have no supervision because that’s what it seems like.
Steve: I would argue that it takes more than “2 or 3 guys” to run a network with over 150 routes, especially during periods of bad weather or any other events that disrupt service. That said, a basic question must be whether the ability to monitor for problems like bunches and gaps and raise alerts on an exception basis is built into the system. If so, it is either no used or is ignored based on the evidence of actual service.