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Miscellaneous TTC Discussion & Questions


Orion V
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6 hours ago, Mike said:

Anyone else has seen such examples of careless attitude towards service during the pandemic in other routes?

Yes, the 54 Lawrence East at Eglinton station.  Especially during this board period in the evening between 8 & 10 pm.  There’s a particular run on 54B that is scheduled to leave before a 54A, but waits for the 54A to depart first and take the large number of angry (and I mean angry) passengers waiting 35 mins for the 54B.  I’ve seen it creep up behind the 54A when that bus is boarding, and then floors it and passes that 54A after Bayview with no passengers.  I’ve taken that 54B knowing it’s driver’s behaviour, and noticed it was going up Leslie at 80 km/h, slowing down right before the speed camera just south of Lawrence.

As a sort of unrelated side note, I’ve noticed there’s been at least 2 McNicoll buses on the 54 every weekday during this board period in the evening.

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11 hours ago, Mike said:

I would have thought taking the extra time at Davisville would be more useful since there are places to eat / use the facilities etc there.  Although, during the pandemic you might as well rest at Steeles where you are less likely to run into anyone.  
 

Also, I would have thought that drivers are much more likely to be supervised  as they leave out of Davisville.  Could it be the case of buses leaving on time from Davisville then racing up the street and then having long breaks at Steeles and leaving on time southbound?

Either way, this just means that they could be providing more frequent service with the same number of vehicles if they fix the schedules/allocated trip times.  This should be really easy to accomplish given the data they must gather from GPS which is on all vehicles.  It’s time for the TTC to move into 21st century and actually use all of the data that technology installed on their vehicles allows them to gather and analyze.

Bayview has a lot of recovery time at the top. Recovery = layover, but they don't like them to call it layover because it isn't break time, the time is there in case the bus falls behind schedule, it can make up time at the loop. What you are seeing is a result of pre-pandemic schedules to account for regular traffic volumes being used for a route that isn't experiencing heavy traffic. There are only so many times that you can kill 3 minutes at a stop before someone onboard starts yelling at you to do your $#$#in@ job.

 

No use to change the schedule now, since traffic is coming back to normal. It takes forever to change a schedule, the scheduling dept is always right, and refuses to change anything even though it seems like the only way you can keep schedule on a route is if you were in your own private automobile. On a route like Eglinton, where you never have enough time and the buses are late for what seems like years, you fight and fight them to add time, and when you finally get too much time, like what you see on Bayview right now, you don't want to give it back because you will never get it back.

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12 hours ago, Turtle said:

Bayview has a lot of recovery time at the top. Recovery = layover, but they don't like them to call it layover because it isn't break time, the time is there in case the bus falls behind schedule, it can make up time at the loop. What you are seeing is a result of pre-pandemic schedules to account for regular traffic volumes being used for a route that isn't experiencing heavy traffic. There are only so many times that you can kill 3 minutes at a stop before someone onboard starts yelling at you to do your $#$#in@ job.

 

No use to change the schedule now, since traffic is coming back to normal. It takes forever to change a schedule, the scheduling dept is always right, and refuses to change anything even though it seems like the only way you can keep schedule on a route is if you were in your own private automobile. On a route like Eglinton, where you never have enough time and the buses are late for what seems like years, you fight and fight them to add time, and when you finally get too much time, like what you see on Bayview right now, you don't want to give it back because you will never get it back.

Why do theoretical schedules take so long to implement? Do theoretical schedules exists anywhere except for the TTC website anymore (for viewing by passengers)? After all it is the actual arrival times that are available via text and via signs at terminal/bus stops.

 As I said before the TTC needs to change how it approaches scheduling of service and move it to 21st century,  Given that for the most part drivers don't care about schedules anyway what I would do is for a few board periods is instruct drivers to operate on each route at actual speed limit (so that they operate as fast as possible where traffic is light). Then they will get data on actual traffic patterns from GPS and can amend schedules so that they reflect reality and remove the padding of run times.  Schedules can then be amended as often as necessary provided operators/buses are available to increase service where needed.  By doing this for say a year you could get a picture of how typical traffic patterns impact service on weekdays/weekends/during summers etc...  If buses are now also equipped with passenger counters then they will also have a reasonable picture of where people get on and off and they can better design routes (i.e. branch split of routes).  All that is really required is the will to analyze the data that they likely already have, but at least thus far they haven't had interest in that.  Perhaps they need CEO of TTC who is much younger and is thus more likely to be attuned to "big data" and benefits it can provide and not a student of the old school ways of doing things.

A good example of what can be done with analysis of passenger travel patterns is what was done to the bus network in Barcelona in the last few years.  They used to have a multitude of bus routes that traversed the city in all direction (but some were not very frequent). Instead, they created a backbone network of frequent grid routes (known as horizontals, verticals and diagonals).  The number of "local" neighborhood routes has been reduced, but remaining ones have become a bit more frequent.  Having used both systems during my trips to Barcelona, the new system is very nice as the grid routes are frequent enough that you never wait too long for them and they get you cross town easily enough - that is on top of the very extensive subway system.  They implemented the new system in steps over several years after they determined that their old system could be made more efficient. 

We essentially already have a grid system, but perhaps by analyzing data from presto cards what we could see is that there are some trip patterns that are used by many people that could be made simpler (with fewer transfers) if non linear routes also existed or if more routes like 939 (routes with 1 seat ride across Yonge) existed.

Anyway, one can dream....

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7 hours ago, Mike said:

Why do theoretical schedules take so long to implement? Do theoretical schedules exists anywhere except for the TTC website anymore (for viewing by passengers)? After all it is the actual arrival times that are available via text and via signs at terminal/bus stops.

 As I said before the TTC needs to change how it approaches scheduling of service and move it to 21st century,  Given that for the most part drivers don't care about schedules anyway what I would do is for a few board periods is instruct drivers to operate on each route at actual speed limit (so that they operate as fast as possible where traffic is light). Then they will get data on actual traffic patterns from GPS and can amend schedules so that they reflect reality and remove the padding of run times.  Schedules can then be amended as often as necessary provided operators/buses are available to increase service where needed.  By doing this for say a year you could get a picture of how typical traffic patterns impact service on weekdays/weekends/during summers etc...  If buses are now also equipped with passenger counters then they will also have a reasonable picture of where people get on and off and they can better design routes (i.e. branch split of routes).  All that is really required is the will to analyze the data that they likely already have, but at least thus far they haven't had interest in that.  Perhaps they need CEO of TTC who is much younger and is thus more likely to be attuned to "big data" and benefits it can provide and not a student of the old school ways of doing things.

A good example of what can be done with analysis of passenger travel patterns is what was done to the bus network in Barcelona in the last few years.  They used to have a multitude of bus routes that traversed the city in all direction (but some were not very frequent). Instead, they created a backbone network of frequent grid routes (known as horizontals, verticals and diagonals).  The number of "local" neighborhood routes has been reduced, but remaining ones have become a bit more frequent.  Having used both systems during my trips to Barcelona, the new system is very nice as the grid routes are frequent enough that you never wait too long for them and they get you cross town easily enough - that is on top of the very extensive subway system.  They implemented the new system in steps over several years after they determined that their old system could be made more efficient. 

We essentially already have a grid system, but perhaps by analyzing data from presto cards what we could see is that there are some trip patterns that are used by many people that could be made simpler (with fewer transfers) if non linear routes also existed or if more routes like 939 (routes with 1 seat ride across Yonge) existed.

Anyway, one can dream....

VISION has the capability to do headway management (albeit in a basic form), which is a superior method of managing service on routes where customers don’t use the schedule to plan their trips, as schedule adherence is not able to handle disruptions to service.

 

On routes where customers don’t look at schedules, vehicles with a large headway ahead of them become more crowded, as there is more time for customers to accumulate at stops. This also increases trip time, as the vehicle is spending more time serving stops. The objective of managing to headway is to reduce short-term variability in trip times by keeping passenger loads balanced across vehicles, which keeps dwell time variability low. This also has the effect of keeping crowding as low as possible given the resources available. 
 

The systems that the TTC has to manage headway aren’t perfect, but are much better than the current schedule adherence regime. Trying to set accurate running times for high frequency services months in advance is a fool’s errand. Better operating companies run according to the conditions they observe in real time instead of a predetermined schedule

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This is a weird one on the TTC status page. No explanation given

984 Sheppard West Express service cancelled. 84 Sheppard West service will continue.

Last updated 5:13 PM

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Running a route using headway instead of schedules is good for anything under 7 minute headways.  Above 10, I think scheduled service is a better system as long as the schedules are followed. The ideal place to run by headways would be a driverless subway or lrt that is completely separate from other traffic, like the Ontario line will probably be. 

 

With headways and human drivers, how do you manage relief points and scheduled breaks? I would expect labour costs to increase, and there would be a whole new set of ways for people to bend rules

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1 hour ago, Turtle said:

Running a route using headway instead of schedules is good for anything under 7 minute headways.  Above 10, I think scheduled service is a better system as long as the schedules are followed. The ideal place to run by headways would be a driverless subway or lrt that is completely separate from other traffic, like the Ontario line will probably be. 

 

With headways and human drivers, how do you manage relief points and scheduled breaks? I would expect labour costs to increase, and there would be a whole new set of ways for people to bend rules

Headway is superior in any situation where customers are not looking at schedules to plan their trips. Where the threshold occurs varies (TFL’s customer research showed that their customers don’t look for headways under 12 minutes), but I think it is around 10–12 minutes using my own experiences using the TTC.

 

The problem with running schedule adherence in an environment where customers don’t look at schedules is that any lateness will immediately lead to increased crowding, which will  increase the amount of time required to complete the trip.

 

A lot of agencies, including Metrobus (DC) and the private operators in London run service to headway. There is a nominal timetable that is used to plan shifts and meal breaks, but when service is actually run the emphasis is on maintaining headway as opposed to the schedule. Relief points are usually located as close to a terminal as possible to reduce the risk of a vehicle passing the point when a relief driver is unavailable.

How do you think people will game headway management? If anything, I think headway management will eliminate some of the games operators play. In London, drivers can be documented for following too close behind the bus in front, as it is considered conduct detrimental to customer experience (similar to being early in a schedule adherence environment).

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3 hours ago, TTC103 said:

Headway is superior in any situation where customers are not looking at schedules to plan their trips. Where the threshold occurs varies (TFL’s customer research showed that their customers don’t look for headways under 12 minutes), but I think it is around 10–12 minutes using my own experiences using the TTC.

 

The problem with running schedule adherence in an environment where customers don’t look at schedules is that any lateness will immediately lead to increased crowding, which will  increase the amount of time required to complete the trip.

 

A lot of agencies, including Metrobus (DC) and the private operators in London run service to headway. There is a nominal timetable that is used to plan shifts and meal breaks, but when service is actually run the emphasis is on maintaining headway as opposed to the schedule. Relief points are usually located as close to a terminal as possible to reduce the risk of a vehicle passing the point when a relief driver is unavailable.

How do you think people will game headway management? If anything, I think headway management will eliminate some of the games operators play. In London, drivers can be documented for following too close behind the bus in front, as it is considered conduct detrimental to customer experience (similar to being early in a schedule adherence environment).

Do you have any reference material regarding headway management for TFL or Washington Metro? 

 

The TFL has in-depth bus schedules (known as Working Timetables  "WTTs") which shows the working of all buses and crews available right from their website. See here for an example: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/bus.data.tfl.gov.uk/schedules/Schedule_25-MT.pdf

I'm not quite sure that at TFL the bus schedules are in fact just some nominal document. Looking at some tracking data right now for TFL route 25 and it looks awfully bunched up to me. (see attached picture)

 

To me headway management sounds like something that looks good on paper, but I'm not quite sure how easy it is to put into practice given the volatility experienced in mixed traffic operations, let alone the headaches of managing crew reliefs. 

Screenshot_20210618-125737_Chrome.jpg

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Here is a paper on the results of headway management in Washington:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332679936_Lessons_and_Evaluation_of_a_Headway_Control_Experiment_in_Washington_DC

Here is TFL's performance on bus routes. Excess Wait Time (EWT), a measure of increased journey time as a result of irregular service, is used to measure performance on high-frequency routes.

http://bus.data.tfl.gov.uk/boroughreports/current-quarter.pdf

 

Service in London is not perfect, as their headway management system only recognizes buses on a particular route, and not those on other routes (such as the 205 or 425) that may run on the same corridor. It causes issues in places where multiple routes serve the same corridor, though it is still better than schedule adherence.

 

I don’t believe that the current headway management tools are perfect. Most only work for routes with one branch, and don’t take into account other services when calculating headway. Work has been done on managing multiple high-frequency services on a shared corridor (as is common in London), but there hasn’t been a real world implementation yet. I haven’t seen any work on managing high-frequency corridors with low-frequency branches though.

 

The strength of headway management is in its ability to handle small-scale disruptions, as trip time is directly related to headway. Keeping headways consistent keeps trip times consistent, and allows for balanced loading of vehicles. This keeps crowding (as seen by passengers) at the lowest level possible given the resources available. A lot of the TTC’s service issues are the direct result of an inability to deal with small delays as the happen.
 

Crew reliefs are usually handled by putting the relief point near the terminal, to reduce the risk of passengers having to wait for a relief driver. Metrobus did this with route 70 shortly after introducing headway management.

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18 hours ago, MK78 said:

This is a weird one on the TTC status page. No explanation given

984 Sheppard West Express service cancelled. 84 Sheppard West service will continue.

Last updated 5:13 PM

There was a bad accident causing severe traffic and the 84C and 99 to divert. Assuming that the 984 buses got redirected over to the 84 to handle the delay

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11 minutes ago, TTC Guy said:

There was a bad accident causing severe traffic and the 84C and 99 to divert. Assuming that the 984 buses got redirected over to the 84 to handle the delay

Yeah that makes sense, but they usually provide an explanation, like when they cancel express buses during bad weather, etc... Seeing no explanation was the weird part.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/15/2021 at 5:35 PM, Mike said:

Inability of the TTC to provide service as per the schedules is nothing new.  However,  during the pandemic while both passenger and traffic volumes are much lower I would have expected them to be a little better at it.

I passed the bus loop at Beyview and Steeles around 1:40pm today and there were two 11 buses in there with a third turning from Bayview to Steeles to get into the loop.  The service at that time should be every 13 minutes.   So likely there hasn’t been a southbound 11 bus in about a half hour. 
 

Over the last year and a half I have driven past that loop more than usual - at different times of the day and on weekdays/weekends.  I have seen multiple 11 buses in the loop more than once.

Anyone else has seen such examples of careless attitude towards service during the pandemic in other routes?

Funny enough, on June 27 (last Sunday), I saw similar bunching on the 11 along Davisville. There were two buses following each other very closely.

Overcrowding has also been a big problem on the 504/505 replacement bus along Broadview. Every single one of these buses I see is too crowded to be safe.

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https://stevemunro.ca/2021/06/28/metrolinx-gives-toronto-the-finger-twice/

Well.. Doug Ford's double-standard and hypocrisy is just fxxxin ridiculous

It is so funny that him and his brother (who's laid in his coffin now) was ALL-IN for underground transit... and now they are going ALL-IN for overground section at Leslieville just because the riding there is an NDP riding.. 

There are very strong opposition within the community about building section of Ontario Line overground, and it seems like Metrolinx and MTO is just giving them middle fingers now. 

I know the Metrolinx usually works closely with the provincial government (regardless of which party is in power).. but the way Doug Ford is working with them is completely disastrous..

People need to wake up and vote that cancerous Doug Ford dude out. I suspect those Ford families are dreaming of dynasty similar to North Korea (Kim's family) or Cuba (Castro's family).. to sabotage more things to develop Toronto and Ontario.. 

The transit in Toronto would have been much better and more advanced if Rob Ford didn't cancel the transit city plan entirely... 

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2 hours ago, raptorjays said:

https://stevemunro.ca/2021/06/28/metrolinx-gives-toronto-the-finger-twice/

Well.. Doug Ford's double-standard and hypocrisy is just fxxxin ridiculous

It is so funny that him and his brother (who's laid in his coffin now) was ALL-IN for underground transit... and now they are going ALL-IN for overground section at Leslieville just because the riding there is an NDP riding.. 

There are very strong opposition within the community about building section of Ontario Line overground, and it seems like Metrolinx and MTO is just giving them middle fingers now. 

I know the Metrolinx usually works closely with the provincial government (regardless of which party is in power).. but the way Doug Ford is working with them is completely disastrous..

People need to wake up and vote that cancerous Doug Ford dude out. I suspect those Ford families are dreaming of dynasty similar to North Korea (Kim's family) or Cuba (Castro's family).. to sabotage more things to develop Toronto and Ontario.. 

The transit in Toronto would have been much better and more advanced if Rob Ford didn't cancel the transit city plan entirely... 

Ford definitely wanted to push for subways, but not realizing the true cost of building underground plus the amount of planning involved. Especially with the relief line now called the Ontario Line, the cost would most likely at least 1 to 2 billion dollars per mile building through the densest area of the city involving a lot of underground utilities that have to be accounted for. 

2019 dollars pegged the stretch between Pape and Osgoode via Pape and Queen with 8 stations and heavy rail at $8 billion to $9.2 billion. Of course with inflation, it would probably be closer to $10 billion dollars to build the 7.4 kilometre stretch.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Has anyone noticed that some TTC tracking sites/apps haven't been working since yesterday afternoon?

For me on iPhone, TTC watch, Busly, TTC Bus Map, Transit don't work, all display some error with connection (on Wifi & Cellular), but NextBus app works.

Pocket track website doesn't work, however Nextbus site & TransSee work.

Anyone seeing anything similar? Usually in the past when there were issues, none of the apps or sites worked.

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8 hours ago, MK78 said:

Has anyone noticed that some TTC tracking sites/apps haven't been working since yesterday afternoon?

For me on iPhone, TTC watch, Busly, TTC Bus Map, Transit don't work, all display some error with connection (on Wifi & Cellular), but NextBus app works.

Pocket track website doesn't work, however Nextbus site & TransSee work.

Anyone seeing anything similar? Usually in the past when there were issues, none of the apps or sites worked.

I’ve found Rocketman said that Android was working and they were working on an update for iOS devices. Don’t know what the status on that is though. Weird that some trackers aren’t working but some are

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yeah couple apps got updated. I guess TTC changed something in their back end? or maybe nextbus, not sure where the apps get their data feed from.

Still waiting for my fav app, TTC Watch.

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7 hours ago, MK78 said:

yeah couple apps got updated. I guess TTC changed something in their back end? or maybe nextbus, not sure where the apps get their data feed from.

Still waiting for my fav app, TTC Watch.

Seems like the nextbus data pulls are being blocked or the server is down

 

Nextbus is no more and has rebranded as Umo Mobility. They changed the link to the data pull so apps need to be updated to be able to get data again.

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14 hours ago, Xtrazsteve said:

Seems like the nextbus data pulls are being blocked or the server is down

 

Nextbus is no more and has rebranded as Umo Mobility. They changed the link to the data pull so apps need to be updated to be able to get data again.

Ah, that makes sense now. I guess some apps/trackers already had the updated info, thats why a few worked. I sent an email to the developer of TTC Watch this morning, hopefully he updates it. Its the only app I know on the iPhone that shows run numbers along with the vehicle numbers.

Speaking of UMO. The NextBus app notifies about switching to UMO app, yet its unavailable to download in Canada yet.

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Dev of TTC Watch replied to my email and said the back end server information was changed without notice, apparently. He made the change and the updated app is awaiting App Store review process.

Edit: TTC Watch has been updated, appeard in the App Store this morning. works fine again.

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Forgive me for asking such a rudimentary question, but I'm trying to avoid the Lawrence-St. Clair closure tomorrow and am not sure which option would be the most reliable to get from Yonge/Eglinton to Parkdale.

Should I take the 32 to Caledonia and then transfer to the 47 all the way down; take the 32 over to the Spadina Line, subway down to Osgoode and take the 501 replacement bus, or should I take the shuttle bus to St. Clair, then the Yonge subway to Queen, and then the 501 replacement bus?

I'm leaning towards the third option, but am wondering about the reliability of the others.

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9 hours ago, blue.bird.fan said:

Forgive me for asking such a rudimentary question, but I'm trying to avoid the Lawrence-St. Clair closure tomorrow and am not sure which option would be the most reliable to get from Yonge/Eglinton to Parkdale.

Should I take the 32 to Caledonia and then transfer to the 47 all the way down; take the 32 over to the Spadina Line, subway down to Osgoode and take the 501 replacement bus, or should I take the shuttle bus to St. Clair, then the Yonge subway to Queen, and then the 501 replacement bus?

I'm leaning towards the third option, but am wondering about the reliability of the others.

The 32 would be the best because Caledonia is one (if not, the only one) of the few intersecting roads with transit service that does not have an insane amount of construction and stop relocation to transfer buses. Biggest block though... Eglinton West Station with the Allen traffic.

 

Might I suggest the 13 to St. Clair, then 512 to Lansdowne?
Or perhaps 13 to Museum, Line 1 to Osgoode and take the 501 west?
You could also do the 61 or 97A/F (pickup up the hill at Broadway if you can) instead to Lawrence and 52 across then 47B down if you don't mind enlarging your trip.

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Anyone know why TTC replaced the original rotating doors to the older subway stations in the last decade even before they made the station accessible?

Were these type of doors not user friendly or have mobility issues?

Example below the middle door:

https://www.google.com/maps/@43.6782645,-79.3522078,3a,55.1y,274.78h,84.98t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1snRHoQyFQkjVSHXEc36ARnA!2e0!5s20110801T000000!7i13312!8i6656

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1 hour ago, Orion V said:

Anyone know why TTC replaced the original rotating doors to the older subway stations in the last decade even before they made the station accessible?

Were these type of doors not user friendly or have mobility issues?

Example below the middle door:

https://www.google.com/maps/@43.6782645,-79.3522078,3a,55.1y,274.78h,84.98t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1snRHoQyFQkjVSHXEc36ARnA!2e0!5s20110801T000000!7i13312!8i6656

Accessibility is most likely why, since the goal is to have all the stations fully accessible, those doors certainly were not.

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