This article completes my analysis of corridors where RapidTO “red lanes” have been installed or proposed to speed bus operations. Previous articles in the series are:
- Red Lanes, Express Buses and Service Reliability in Scarborough
- A Dashboard for Scarborough Red Lanes
- Service Reliability on 35/935 Jane
- Service Reliability of 29/929 Dufferin
- Service Reliability of 60/960 Steeles West
- Service Reliability of 39/939 Finch East
This article reviews travel times and headway reliability (the intervals between buses) primarily through the pandemic era to July 2021 with April 2018 data as a pre-pandemic reference.
The High Points
The reduction in travel times on Lawrence East from mid-March onward was smaller than on some other routes, and this was confined to certain areas and directions. This implies that red lanes would not offer much change during many periods over the route from Don Mills to Starspray as proposed.
A further problem lies in the infrequent service particularly east of the 54B Orton Park scheduled turnback beyond which only half of the scheduled service (plus peak-only express buses) operates. A fully reserved lane is hard to justify if it will not substantially affect travel times and if only a few buses per hour actually use it.
The segment west of Victoria Park includes the DVP interchange where integration of red lanes would be difficult. The time saving from March 2020 onward is small or nil for most of the day.
By far the worst problem on the 54/954 Lawrence East service is headway reliability, and unpredictable gaps in service can contribute far more to journey times than any saving that might arise from reserved lanes. Service leaving Lawrence East Station both ways is very erratic even though this would be a logical place to space service.
The route is subject to congestion and construction delays along Eglinton from Leslie to Yonge, although the schedule is supposed to include extra time to compensate.
Headways inbound from eastern Scarborough are disorganized both at the very outer end, and west of the point where the 54B service merges in. The express service operates on wide-ranging headways to the extent that waiting for the next one to show up could add more to a trip than the time saved by “express” operation.
Average headways on a daily and weekly basis generally follow scheduled values indicating that most or all service is present, and the wide gaps cannot be explained by missing or untracked vehicles.Continue reading