This is a companion post to the article on the 86/986 Scarborough bus services and the effect of the Eglinton-Kingston-Morningside BRT corridor on them. It follows the same general layout and readers will be able to compare charts for the two routes.
116 Morningside shares with 86 Scarborough the portion of the BRT corridor from Brimley & Eglinton east to Guildwood & Kingston Road. From that point, route 116 turns south and then east through the Guildwood neighbourhoods, then north via Morningside. The route extends to north of Finch, but the BRT corridor ends at Ellesmere.
As with the 86 Scarborough bus, the travel time savings occur at locations where stops have been removed. The routes share this effect on Eglinton Avenue. Only one minor stop was removed on Morningside.
Unlike the Scarborough route, 116 Morningside has no express service, and so the speeds for all vehicles both pre and post-Covid are for local services.
The travel time savings on 116 Morningside are smaller than those on 86 Scarborough because it spends less time on the portion of the BRT segment where stops have been removed.
Travel Time Savings Between Kennedy Station and Ellesmere
In the historical data for travel times over the BRT-affected section of the 116 Morningside route, there are classic “peaks” in the AM and PM for April 2018 (red below) as well as for January (yellow) and February 2020 (light brown).
The AM peak does not return in the era from March 2020 onward which bottoms out in May (light blue), but the PM peak builds up gradually to September (green). In October, which includes three weeks with the BRT operation in place, travel times have fallen on average to early summer values. The average will fall again slightly for November because it will be all BRT-era data.
The differences shown here, however, are not substantial, only a few minutes. The real benefit, when it comes, would be to prevent a return to pre-Covid peak travel times.
For the month of October, the change from the first two weeks is evident, although again not substanial for some periods in the day.
Westbound data are similar with the pre-Covid months showing clear peaks, especially in the AM, and a gradual return (except for the peaks) to pre-covid travel times through the summer of 2020. October 2020 brought a drop in travel times, but as with the eastbound operation,of only a few minutes most of the time.
Within the month of October, weeks 3 to 5 show a drop in travel times with week 3 being transitional.
Plotted day-by-day, the overall pattern of travel times shows a few effects:
- Pre-Covid travel times are generally higher than post-covid although as seen in the summary charts above the values are pushing back up again particularly starting in September 2020.
- The variation in the median value (blue) and of the 85th percentile (orange) is small and the two lines lie close together most of the time. There is no problem with day-to-day variability to be solved as there was on King Street.
- Longer term, the issue will be whether travel times stay below the pre-Covid values, and by how much.
(Note that the downward spikes correspond to periods when there was no VISION data for the days and times in question.)
As on the 86/986 Scarborough routes, the weak spot in service is headway reliability. Bunching is common as are gaps well above the average headway with much of the service spread over a 15-minute wide range.
Eastbound from Kennedy Station
As on the Scarborough route, service eastbound measured east of the overpass over the GO line is marshalled by the traffic signal. This is a clear case of a signal impeding rather than helping transit. Even though the stop at this location was removed, service is still held.
There is little difference between September and October data.
Saturday shows the same problem, but with a wider range of headways. The problem evident in September is also obvious in October.
Sundays are a bit better than Saturdays, but show a similar pattern of scattered headways.
Southbound at Ellesmere
Although Ellesmere is not the terminus for 116 Morningside, it is the north end of the BRT lanes. The charts here show the condition service is in before if even reaches a point of transit priority.
The charts are quite similar to those for buses leaving Kennedy but with less marshaling of the service by the traffic signals. Many buses run close together, and many are in gaps well above the average headway.
Saturdays are no different with bunching and gapping that are just as bad in October as in September.
Sundays are only marginally better than Saturdays.
Travel Speeds in Detail
These charts compare the average speed of vehicles along the 116 Morningside route between Kennedy Station and Ellesmere for weekdays from October 1-9 (pre-PRT) and October 19-30 (post BRT). In the chars the data are green and purple respectively for the two periods.
The trend lines (dotted) through the charts show the overall spread, if any, between the two groups of data.
All stops are shown along the horizontal axis. Stops with a single asterisk (*) were removed post-BRT. Stops with a double asterisk (**) were removed and then reinstated.
As a general observation there is little difference in the data values from Guildwood Parkway east and north. This is not surprising because there was no physical change through the Guildwood area, and only one minor stop was removed (south of West Hill Collegiate) on the Morningside BRT leg.
As with the 86 Scarborough route, the travel speeds for the “before” period are lower mainly where stops have been removed.
For Eastbound service the charts should be read left to right as that is the direction of travel. Speeds typically spike downward at places where buses are stationary (stops or traffic signals) rise between them.
Westbound charts work the same way as eastbound, but should be read from right to left.
As with the eastbound service, the difference between pre- and post-BRT data lies mainly where stops have been removed.
To view the evolution of travel times over the full day, download the full set of charts from 6 am to midnight below.