Staff Report #3
September 26, 2018
To All Commissioners
Re: Fall Service Update – Conventional Transit
The report be NOTED and FILED.
The following report provides an update regarding the status of fall service for the conventional system including the implementation of the 2018 service changes.
With the end of the traditional vacation period and the return of students, the beginning of September always brings heightened activity on the conventional system resulting in issues of congestion and overcrowding. There is generally a three to four week settling down period as travel patterns become more routine and customers familiarize themselves with the system. In addition, this year there are a number of construction projects which started or were in progress the first week of September resulting in detours and stop closures which significantly impacted schedule adherence and added to the regular September confusion.
For the past number of years, London Transit personnel have attended student orientation sessions at both Fanshawe College and Western University to assist students with the new service changes and to ensure that students are aware of the most appropriate routes to take to complete their trips. This year, Fanshawe College had two locations for orientation week information (London Campus and the Downtown Campus). Changes were also made at Western due to the limited number of students that are required to pick up bus passes with the switch to smart cards, an information area was set-up in the Atrium at the University Community Centre. This set-up allowed LTC staff to talk to more students as it was not limited to just those picking up bus passes.
In addition to attending the student orientation sessions, London Transit had staff located at key nodes during the first week of September, including Fanshawe College, Western University, Downtown, Argyle Mall, Masonville Mall and Westmount Mall, to assist passengers with finding the correct bus and answering any questions regarding the service changes. The presence of staff in these areas was well received with a number of compliments being received through Twitter and Customer Service.
London Transit also utilized Twitter this year to provide real-time updates with regard to service changes and any schedule adherence issues related to construction or increased traffic congestion. Communications staff sent out time-stamped tweets on a regular basis to help keep passengers informed of any current issues a practice that is set to continue for the remainder of the construction season. Customer Service staff was also available to answer questions during its new operating hours of 6am until 10pm Monday to Friday.
Overall, the 2018 service changes have been well received. The number of customer contacts logged related to the changes is slightly up over 2017 (89 vs. 40 respectively) however significantly lower than past contacts i.e. 195 contacts were received in 2016. The majority of the complaints received relate to routing modifications in the west-end, especially with respect to confusion with the new 3/5 interlined route and where to catch buses in the downtown core. In response to this, new signage has been posted at the bus stops along Route 5 and in the core to help passengers familiarize themselves with the changes. A significant number of complaints over the first three weeks of service have also been related to schedule adherence. Due to the significant amount of construction throughout the city, combined with increased traffic and passenger volume, schedule adherence has been difficult to maintain. Administration is working to mitigate these issues with ongoing monitoring of all routes as well as the addition of tripper buses as resources allow.
Over the next few weeks, Planning staff will be undertaking additional counts and assessments of the service changes including the impact on customers with respect to service quality issues. A more detailed assessment of the impact of the 2018 service plan changes will be included in the final 2019 Annual Service Plan report scheduled to be presented at the January 2019 meeting.
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager