Staff Report #3
October 28, 2020
To All Commissioners
Re: COVID-19 Service and Ridership Impacts
The report be NOTED and FILED.
The pandemic declaration in March of 2020 and associated lockdown measures that followed resulted in a significant decline in transit ridership across the country. In response to the decline in demand and decreased availability of employee resources relating to COVID-19, transit systems reduced service levels to better match ridership being experienced.
Specifically to London Transit, over the period a number of service level changes and reductions have taken place on both the conventional and specialized services. On September 6, 2020 the conventional service increased service levels on the majority of routes, resulting in the overall service operating at approximately 10% less service than what would normally be in place at this time of year. Further details with respect to specific routes follows:
- Regular fall weekday level of service on Routes 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 13, 17, 20, 25, 27, 28, 31, 33, 34, 37, 90, 91, 93, 94, 102, 104, and 106
- Regular fall weekday level of service on Routes 30 and 36 with the exception that late evening trips will not operate
- Modified Saturday level of service on Routes 1, 3, 5, 7, 12, 15, 16, 19, 24, and 35
- Route 92 is not currently operating
- Community Bus Routes 51, 52, 53, 54, 55 and 56 operating as normal effective October 5, 2020
The chart below provides an overview of the ridership levels on the conventional service since mid-March as a percentage of what would normally be expected at this time noting the numbers are based on actual boardings as counted by the automatic passenger counters on buses.
Conventional Transit Boardings as a Percent of Normal
As indicated in the table above, ridership levelled off and remained somewhat consistent in July and August, notwithstanding the return to front door boarding and fare collection effective August 19, 2020. While the ridership numbers to date for September and October appear to drop off, it is important to note they are being compared to average ridership during a normal fall period when students return. To date, the anticipated increases in ridership associated with the tuition pass program participants at both Western and Fanshawe have not materialized. All routes continue to be monitored in an effort to determine where and when ridership is occurring so resources can be allocated accordingly.
On the specialized service, ridership has also begun to rise with the opening of the economy; however, not to the same extent that has occurred on the conventional service. The table below provides the ridership on the specialized service since mid-March shown as a percentage of what would normally be expected during this time period.
Specialized Transit Ridership as a Percent of Normal
Fall Service Changes
As indicated earlier in the report, the increase in service levels on the conventional service took effect on September 6, 2020. As indicated above, the anticipated increases in ridership associated with tuition pass program participants at both Western and Fanshawe have not materialized. Crowding conditions have been experienced on Routes 2, 10, 15, 16 and 36 during the weekday PM Peak period. Crowding conditions are also being experienced on Routes 3, 10, 16, and 20 on Saturday afternoons. Trippers have been added during the specific periods where crowding is a concern to help alleviate the issue. All routes continue to be monitored on a daily basis to ensure that Tripper buses are being used most effectively and schedules will be adjusted as warranted and resources allow.
The next scheduled service period begins November 29, 2020. LTC Operators have signed three different levels of service in an effort to provide the opportunity to implement the service level that best meets current and anticipated ridership levels and that can be provided given available employee resources. At this time, it is anticipated that the same level of service (approximate 10% reduction from normal) will remain in place for the next service period, subject to some minor adjustments as may be deemed appropriate, including frequency adjustments to Routes 19, 24 and 35 bringing them back to regular fall service levels.
The Community Bus routes began operating again on October 5, 2020. Given COVID-19 restrictions and protocols in place in an effort to protect employees and passengers, the following safety related changes to the Community Bus Service are now in effect:
- Riders are now required to:
- be at the designated pick up point five minutes before departure time to guarantee service. Operators will not wait past departure times and will no longer enter buildings or stores to notify riders that they are departing.
- be able to safely board the bus themselves or with the help of their a support person (at both pick up and drop off locations).
- manage their own parcels.
- Operators will continue to secure mobility devices once the rider is on-board and seated.
Other than some minor scheduling issues relating to revised mall opening times, the resumption of service and changes to the operating protocols have been well received.
With respect to the specialized service, service levels will be increased to coincide with increased demand for service. Given the pre-booked nature of this service, demand by day of week and time of day is easily assessed, and as such, service can be added to the days/times most in demand.
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager