This article is a companion to Red Lanes for Jane Street? with a review of the behaviour of local and express service both in travel time and in headway reliability. The area covered is that of the proposed RapidTO Red Lane implementation between Eglinton and Steeles, and the time period is late 2019 to February 2023.
This is a long read with many charts. My intent is to establish how the route operated over the past three years with a detailed look at recent data. This will provide a base level to compare with any changes when and if transit priority measures are implemented. More importantly, the data show how headway reliability, the uneven and unpredictable spacing of buses, is a severe problem contributing at least as much variation in total travel times as the in-vehicle portion of a rider’s experience.
The high points are:
- Travel times on Jane between Eglinton and Steeles dropped by about 10 minutes in peak periods at the beginning of the covid pandemic in 2020, and by lesser amounts at other times. That saving gradually disappeared over three years and travel times grew beyond pre-pandemic levels thanks to construction projects on the route most recently in the second half of 2022.
- The covid drop likely represents the greatest saving possible through red lanes that would eliminate or at least reduce traffic delays to transit.
- Buses on the 935 Jane Express take about 5 minutes less to make the trip than the 35 Jane locals, but the amount varies day-to-day and during different time periods with the greatest saving during the pm peak and the smallest during the early evening.
- The median values of headways generally lie near the scheduled service level for 35 Jane local service indicating that most trips do operate. This is not true for 935 Jane express where the statistics indicate that, especially in the afternoon and pm peak, service is very erratic and some of the service does not operate.
- During some periods, the 85th percentile of headways is very high, especially for the 935 express, showing that riders can encounter long waits for their bus to appear.
- Service leaving terminals is not well spaced with pairs, or worse, departing together particularly later in the day. As buses progress along the route, gaps become wider and bunching tightens up, a common behaviour on transit routes.
- Examples of service details in February 2023 show a generally laissez-faire approach to service management with little intervention to regulate bus spacing and break up bunching.