Service Quality on 64 Main: July 2022

Updated August 24 at 11:10am with information about the sources of delays mentioned in the article.

This article is a follow-up to Service Quality on 64 Main: Oct-Dec 2021 to see how this route is behaving under summer conditions.

The 64 Main bus operates between Main Station at Danforth Avenue and Queen Street in The Beach looping at the south end via Wineva, Queen, Hambly and Williamson.

In the previous article, a major issue for the 64 Main bus was inadequacy of scheduled travel time. This was adjusted in November 2021, and the times were extended further in March 2022.

Scheduled service effective November 2021:

Scheduled service effective March 22. In general, headways are a bit wider and running times extended without the addition of vehicles to the route except during the AM peak and Sunday afternoons.

Data presented here cover the month of July 2022. Note that Friday July 1 was a holiday. and its data are included in the Sunday charts.

The overwhelming problem on 64 Main was not that schedules were impossible for operators to keep, or that buses were running in twos or threes. Quite commonly, one or two buses were missing from service, a major problem when the scheduled service is at best three buses.

How much service is lost because there is nobody to drive a vehicle, and why this is not regularly reported as a measure of service quality in the CEO’s Report?

Service Southbound from Main Station

Headways leaving Main Station on weekdays, on average lie close to the scheduled values for weeks 1 and 2, but afternoon peak averages are well above the scheduled level (9 minutes) particularly in weeks 3 and 4. This indicates that the number of trips operated was well below the scheduled level, and some vehicles were probably missing from service.

This is also reflected in the standard deviation values which are high as one would expect if there were gaps where scheduled buses should have been with no adjustment to even out the remaining service.

Unlike some routes, the day by day headway trends do not all lie in the same path on the charts, and the quality of service varies substantially over the month. Among days with badly-behaved headways are:

  • Monday, July 4
  • Monday, July 11
  • Tuesday, July 12
  • Wednesday, July 13
  • Thursday, July 14
  • Thursday, July 21
  • Friday, July 22
  • Tuesday, July 26
  • Thursday, July 28

Weekends, by contrast, show well behaved service with headways clustered around expected values except on Saturday, July 30, and on Sunday, July 31 when extra service appears late in the evening.

Note that the Beaches Jazz Festival fell on Thursday, July 21 through Saturday, July 23. However, the disruption to service began considerably earlier in the day than the hours when the south end of the route would have been affected. These days are reviewed in more detail later in the article.

Service Northbound from Queen Street

Headways northbound on 64 Main follow the same general pattern as those southbound.

Travel Times Southbound

Unlike the headways, travel times on 64 Main are quite consistent. This indicates that congestion or other service blockages are not responsible for service quality.

On the Saturday chart, note that service to the south end of the line was suspended on the evening of July 23 for the Jazz Festival. This was also done on July 21-22, but does not have the same effect on the weekday chart which contains averages rather than single day values.

Travel Times Northbound

As with the southbound trips, travel times northbound are quite consistent over the route.

Daily Service Charts

The following charts track the movement of buses over the route showing their relative spacing, layovers and locations, if any, where congestion or other delays disrupts service.

Note that the dwell times at Main Station show that drivers get a short break on each trip. There is no sign of congestion (typically indicated by lines that become more horizontal than vertical).

Updated August 24 at 11:10am The reasons for some of the missing buses noted in this article have been added thanks to a reader who supplied the details (with thanks!). In almost every case, the problem is that no operator was available to take over a bus.

Monday, July 4

July 4 begins normally with three buses in the AM peak, and two providing the midday service. The first problem appears in the PM peak when there should be three buses in service, but there are only two. In spite of this, the two buses establish a fairly regular headway without a short-long pattern typical of a route missing a vehicle. There is a long gap southbound at about 6 pm with the transition to a single bus evening service.

Late in the evening, an extra bus (turquoise) shows up on the tracking data for about one hour starting at 10:15pm. It operates in between the trips of the scheduled bus (yellow) providing a regular, if unusually good, headway.

Monday, July 11

On July 11, there was one bus missing through the peaks and midday, and a second bus (leaving only one in service was missing for over an hour between 3 and 4 pm. Reason: No operator immediately available.

In the AM peak, there is the short-long headway pattern that arises from a missing bus when the service is not adjusted to even out headways. This also happens in the pm peak.

Tuesday, July 12

July 12 begins with a three-bus AM peak, but loses two of these after 9am leaving only one in service. A second bus joins in just before 10am, but the two buses run as a pair until noon when a somewhat more reliable, albeit uneven, headway is established. Reason for the missing bus: Fire suppression alarm activated with light flashing. Bus operated private to Birchmount Garage for change off.

A third bus arrives for the PM peak which operates with well-spaced service, and then in the evening, one scheduled bus remains.

Wednesday, July 13

There are supposed to be three buses in the PM peak, but that third bus never shows up. Gaps in service are obvious where this bus should be because the two remaining buses do not adjust their spacing to compensate.

Thursday, July 14

Buses are missing at various times:

  • Only two buses rather than three operate in the AM peak.
  • After 1pm, there is only one bus rather than two on the route.
  • After 2pm, the service is back to two buses, but the third PM peak bus does not appear until just before 6pm. It becomes the single bus for the evening.

Reason for one of the missing buses: No Operator immediately available.

Thursday, July 21

At about 2pm, the service drops down to one bus and stays like that through much of the pm peak. A second bus appears at about 5pm (yellow), but travels close to its partner (turquoise) for several trips. This is the first night of the Jazz Festival, and the buses do not operate all the way south to Queen. However, many of their trips occur with the buses running as a pair.

Reason for one of the missing buses: No Operator immediately available.

Friday, July 22

July 22 is the second day of the Jazz Festival. The route operates with a single bus from about 10am through to the early evening when a second bus joins for a few hours.

Reason for one of the missing buses: No Operator immediately available.

Tuesday, July 26

Service runs normally until just before 1pm when the two buses on the route start to travel as a pair. By 3pm, the route is down to one bus and that is what remains for the rest of the day.

Thursday, July 28

The route operates with one bus from 10am onward. There are two in service briefly at about 2pm, but they run as a pair for one trip, and the service then drops back to a single vehicle.

Reason for both of the missing buses: No Operator immediately available.

Saturday, July 30

This route is supposed to have two buses during the daytime, but has only one from noon to about 3pm.

Reason for the missing bus:  Coolant leak of less than a litre on roadway. No catch basin. Tow and change off arranged by Birchmount Equipment.

4 thoughts on “Service Quality on 64 Main: July 2022

  1. Perhaps they should turn to Uber! I regularly see Training Bus vehicles yet there is still a problem with missing buses?

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  2. The third bus has been cancelled for the whole board period. Sometimes you might see a RAD bus replacing it. I’m an operator out of the division that serves that route.

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  3. We had a very unfortunate experience with the 64 three months to this day ironically enough.

    Coming back from Doors Open at RC Harris after spending some time walking around The Beaches on the Saturday and 2 of the 3 scheduled buses were not in service. We had missed the 1 bus that was on the line by a few minutes around 5PM which meant a nearly 30 minute wait for it to get back.

    To add insult to injury it also meant missing a GO Train by a whole 10 minutes. To add salt to the wound schedule modifications to the Lakeshore West line (for track work) meant we had a 20+ minute layover at Union before departing westbound. Despite the schedule modifications to the Lakeshore West line the 30 minute headway was maintained. With that in mind why Metrolinx would not have also adjusted the westbound Lakeshore East schedule, by instead adding that time to the layover at Oshawa, to allow for better travel times through Union is beyond me.

    Overall we had a good day out, but that commute home really was terrible.

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  4. So does anyone supervise route performance? It really seems that drivers just do whatever they want. And no corrective action is taken to make sure buses run properly spaced and on time. And clearly from you own analysis of various routes. This is far from an isolated issue. Its systemic, which begs the question. How can the TTC Board be so oblivious to this glaring operational mismanagement and resulting poor service to the public. In what reality does it make sense to run a single bus during the Jazz festival on a route that services…. wait for it…. the Jazz festival. How many people are employed to supervise routes, and what are they doing with their time.

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