The 7 Bathurst bus is notorious for its irregular service, a rather comic situation considering it passes right by the TTC’s main shops and offices at Hillcrest including the building housing Transit Control.
During many periods, the scheduled service is every 10 minutes. Additional capacity is provided on weekdays by operating some runs with articulated buses. This has the effect that service is more frequent at times on weekends than on weekdays.
A common sight at Bathurst Station is at least one Bathurst bus taking an extended layover, or considerable periods where there is no bus to be seen. I have reviewed this route before, but a recent event triggered my return visit. On August 20, 2022, the TTC held its covid-delayed 100th anniversary public celebration at Hillcrest, and the Bathurst bus was the logical way to get there by transit for most people.
Alas, this was something of a challenge thanks to service gaps. When I left Hillcrest, I gave up waiting for a southbound bus due to crowding and walked north to Davenport and the infrequent, but also reliably uncrowded bus there. Was this a one-day problem, or was the Bathurst bus really that bad all of the time? This article reviews vehicle tracking data from August 2022 in an attempt to answer this question.
Something worth mentioning here is that if there is a very wide gap followed by multiple buses close together, the number of long headways is outnumbered by the short ones. However, most would-be riders see and are affected by that single long wait for a bus.
Stats that only count the long headways can give the erroneous impression that they don’t occur often enough to be a problem. Stats that only report average headways will not see a problem at all because all buses are present even if they are running in packs.
With a six-minute wide target for acceptable headways, a service that runs more often than every 10 minutes will only count the one very wide headway as being off-standard, while a parade of buses bunched behind it are considered to be “on time” for headway reliability. This is utter nonsense as any would-be rider will know.
These are fatal flaws in TTC service quality reporting.Continue reading