Service Quality on 64 Main: Oct-Dec 2021

This article continues the series on service reliability on short routes. The common theme is that the routes in question have short trips, and recovery to scheduled times should be simply achieved. Most of them also have little traffic congestion, and that cannot be cited as the root of all problems.

On some occasions, particularly later in the year when staffing shortages hit the TTC, some buses might be missing. However, this does not explain irregular headways when all of the scheduled vehicles are in service.

When one bus is missing on a short route, this can have a big effect on the service level especially when there were only two or three to begin with.

The TTC claims that some of the gaps are actually filled by “Run as Directed” (RAD) buses, but there are problems with that explanation:

  • There are far too few RADs in service at any time to fill the missing service seen on many routes across the system.
  • If a RAD operator takes over an open, scheduled crew, then the bus should run with the proper route identification and show up in the tracking logs. “Route 600” RAD buses only make selected trips on routes and do not appear in route-specific tracking logs.
  • If all of the scheduled buses are in service, but they are running erratically, notably with two or more buses running together, this is an issue line management and service spacing.

In this mini-series, I will review the following routes:

  • 64 Main
  • 92 Woodbine South
  • 121 Esplanade-River (formerly Front-Esplanade)
  • 124 Sunnybrook

(For those who are wondering, the next group on my radar will be many of the major routes in Scarborough.)

Note that due to the cyber-attack on the TTC and the recover efforts that followed, there are no data for the following periods:

  • Friday, October 29 to Saturday, November 6
  • Sunday, November 7 data begin after 10am
  • Friday, November 12 through Monday, November 15
  • Saturday-Sunday, November 20-21.

There are also no data for:

  • Friday, October 15 to Sunday, October 17 at about 2pm.
  • Saturday, October 23 from about 10pm to 11pm.

Despite these gaps, plenty of data remains to show how the route behaves.

The short version:

  • Scheduled running times were too tight on 64 Main until mid-November. This was “fixed” by buses dropping trips to get back on time, and less service was provided than advertised.
  • Ongoing problems with missing buses and bunching compounded the schedule issue, and persisted into December.
  • Weekend service was particularly bad when only one bus was operating.
  • With very rare exceptions, there are no problems with traffic congestion as a stock excuse for irregularity in service.
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