Staff Report #1 – Draft 2024 Conventional Transit Service Plan

Staff Report #1

November 29, 2023

To All Commissioners

Re: Draft 2024 Conventional Transit Service Plan


That the Commission:

i) APPROVE, in principle, the Draft 2024 Conventional Transit Service Plan;

ii) DIRECT administration to finalize and table the Final 2024 Service Plan report and recommendations to the Commission at the meeting subsequent to final approval of the Multi-Year Budget by Municipal Council; and

iii) DIRECT administration to forward a copy of the draft service plan report to Members of Council for their information


At the February 27, 2019 meeting, the Commission approved the second Five-Year Service Plan Framework document for service changes over the period of 2020-2024. While 2024 should represent the final year of the second five-year service plan, due to ongoing impacts of the pandemic as well a changing ridership patterns, a number of proposals set out in the five-year framework have yet to be implemented. The 2020-2024 Framework focuses on six strategic directions to continue the momentum of improvement that was established in the first Five-Year Plan (2015-2019) including;

  1. Enhance the Overall Levels of Service – There are three key factors that drive ridership growth; frequency, reliability and travel time. This strategic direction will promote the continued improvements to service levels as a method of making the service more attractive to London residents.
  1. Explore Alternative Service Delivery Models in New Communities – This direction in the plan is to begin to explore the use of Alternative Service Delivery Models (ASDs) in areas of the City that are currently unserved due to low ridership potential.
  1. Improve Direct Connections – Continue to expand on the grid network, identifying opportunities to provide more direct routes, connected to key destinations.
  1. Build on the Express Route Network – Continue to identify opportunities to expand the express route network and build ridership through improved service levels and enhanced connectivity to other routes.
  1. Eliminate 60 Minute Headways – Continue to improve the frequency of routes that operate every 60 minutes (during certain periods), targeting 30 minute headways or better, or the implementation of an ASD where the demand does not warrant a service increase.
  1. Minimize Impacts on Existing Passengers – Minimize the impacts on existing customers when modifications occur.

Consistent with past practice, the 2024 draft service planning process takes direction from the recommendations in the 2020-2024 Five Year Service Plan Framework, but also includes assessments pertaining to:

  • existing service performance issues and demands
  • new growth areas
  • customer contacts
  • Operator, Inspector and Dispatcher feedback

This report sets out the Draft 2024 Conventional Transit Service Plan (2024 Service Plan) process and resulting recommendations.

Assessment of 2023 Ridership and Route Performance

An integral part of the annual service planning process is the assessment of current operating conditions on all routes by time of day and day of week, including an assessment of the 2023 service improvements that have been implemented to date.

The service improvements scheduled to be implemented in 2023 are a combination of those improvements that were approved in both 2021 and 2022 that were not able to be implemented due to resource availability. In 2023, the focus was to implement the outstanding approved service changes as soon as operationally feasible.

Based on available resources, outstanding service changes began to be implemented with the 2023 spring signup period in April 2023. The focus on the first service implementation was the elimination of 60 minute frequencies to ensure all of the main corridors were operating at no more than a 30 minute frequency. To date limited feedback has been received on these changes, which is not unexpected as generally passengers are more likely to provide feedback when they are not in favour of the change.

Increases to round trip time to improve reliability were implemented on Routes 2 and 20 in the summer signup period in June. Due to ongoing construction along multiple portions of both routes, the full impacts of the modifications is difficult to measure however they are anticipated to have a positive impact on maintaining schedule adherence.

Route 38 was also introduced in June 2023. Ridership on the route has been steadily increasing with an average of approximately 160 boardings per day. Of note, approximately 70% of the boardings are Fanshawe College students presumably attending the Advanced Business and Industry Solutions building east of Veterans Memorial Parkway. Again, little feedback has been received from the public with regards to this change.

While there were a number of service changes that were implemented in September including increased frequency, additional round trip time to improve reliability and the introduction of Route 36A operating between Fanshawe College and the Airport serving the industrial area north of Oxford Street, there have continued to be a significant number of complaints related to crowding conditions and schedule adherence concerns. Most notably are the concerns regarding crowding on Routes 10 and 25 and requests for increased frequency on same. There are approved service changes to increase the peak period frequency on Route 25 from 30 minutes to 20 minutes; however, these changes are still outstanding at this time due to ongoing resource issues. Frequency changes for the AM peak and early evening period will be implemented in February 2024, which is expected to help reduce crowding concerns during these time periods.

There were no frequency improvements for Route 10 approved as part of the 2021 and 2022 service plan changes; however, the new Route 95 Express, which is also still outstanding, is anticipated to help reduce some of the crowding concerns on the route between White Oaks Mall and Fanshawe College. As the addition of Route 95 requires additional peak period buses, these changes have been deferred until bus resources are available. Additionally, proposed frequency improvements on Route 10 have been included in the draft 2024 service plan.

Notwithstanding the improvements that have been made to date in 2023, growth in ridership levels has and continues to grow over that experienced in 2022, with many routes reaching levels that warrant consideration of increased frequencies based on current service standards. As the tables below set out, crowding and schedule adherence issues are being faced system wide at most times of the day and days of the week. The outstanding 2023 service improvements will have limited impact on the issues identified in the tables below, noting the many areas that require enhancements to meet service standards.

September 2023 Weekday Revenue Service Hour Boardings by Route Category

Weekday Morning Peak Base Afternoon Peak Early Evening Late Evening
Express Routes 32.6 51.7 53.5 38.3 16.3
Base Arterial Routes 36.5 53.1 55.1 44.0 22.6
Minor Arterial Routes 31.9 39.8 45.9 34.9 15.8
Local Routes 32.4 41.2 45.2 31.3 14.2
Industrial Routes 27.0 15.9 30.8 3.4 0.0

September 2023 Saturday Revenue Service Hour Boardings by Route Category

Saturday Early Morning Morning Peak Base Early Evening Late Evening
Express Routes 7.5 22.3 52.1 40.9 23.5
Base Arterial Routes 18.8 31.5 50.3 48.4 27.3
Minor Arterial Routes 13.3 24.6 39.2 36.7 18.9
Local Routes 13.1 24.8 38.1 35.6 20.3

September 2023 Sunday Revenue Service Hour Boardings by Route Category

Sunday Early Morning Morning Peak Base Late Evening
Express Routes 11.0 36.2 53.6 32.9
Base Arterial Routes 28.9 40.0 51.8 37.6
Minor Arterial Routes 16.5 30.6 39.1 26.0
Local Routes 18.7 31.0 36.4 25.9
Below the minimum boardings per revenue vehicle hour
At or above the minimum boardings per revenue vehicle hour
At or above the trigger requiring a review for the additional of frequency

The information gathered through the assessment of current route performance as set out in the tables above was utilized in part to prioritize the service enhancements that should be considered as part of the 2024 Service Plan.

In addition to route performance, administration also undertakes a review of customer and employee contacts regarding service issues and requests. For the most part, the contacts received through 2023 with respect to service performance can be tied directly to the issues outlined in the table above.

Draft 2024 Conventional Transit Service Plan Changes

The impacts of the pandemic on the 2020-2024 Five-Year Service Plan have resulted in a number of the proposed changes not being implemented based on changing ridership patterns and demand for service in new areas. The draft 2024 Service Plan sets out the changes that are considered the highest priority, totalling approximately 30,200 hours on an annual basis and requiring seven additional peak period buses. Given the 2024 budget, as approved by the Commission and forwarded to City Council for consideration, includes the addition of 25,000 annualized hours and five expansion buses, further assessment will be completed to prioritize changes consistent with final budget allocations. In addition, the draft plan requires additional peak period vehicles for a number of the proposed service changes. Should delays with receipt of the expansion bus order continue, recommended service changes may have to be modified to focus on changes during the off peak periods that do not require the addition of vehicles to the fleet to ensure service changes can be implemented by September 2024. It is anticipated that delivery dates for the expansion buses will be known prior to the tabling of the final recommended 2024 Service Plan, and as such, any changes required will be incorporated.

It should be noted that, while the 2024 operating and capital budgets have been approved by the Commission, the City of London investment shares in these budgets are not scheduled to be approved by Municipal Council until the end of February. Administration will proceed with the 2024 Service Plan development process, bringing a final recommended Plan to the Commission subsequent to final budget approval.

The nature and extent of the current issues being experienced on virtually all routes, coupled with the limited available hours of service (maximum 25,000 assuming Growth Budget is approved as recommended) and the January 1, 2024 fare increase when considered collectively have resulted in a 2024 Service Plan that focusses primarily on addressing current crowding and schedule adherence issues versus expansion to new areas. Coupling a significant fare increase with limited improvements to current riding conditions is likely to result in ridership losses that were not incorporated into the 2024 operating budget.

Table I below sets out the summary of the draft 2024 Service Plan proposals, including a brief rationale for same.

Table I – Draft 2024 Conventional Transit Service Plan

Route Description of Service Change Annual Service Hours Peak Buses Rationale Service Area Impacted
10 Weekday- Increase Early AM frequency from 30 minutes to 20 minutes between 6am – 7am 756 Overcrowding

Increasing frequency in preparation for RT

Base Arterial

Weekday Early AM

Weekday- Increase peak period frequency from 20 minutes to 16 minutes between 7am – 9am and 2pm – 6pm 4,536 3 Overcrowding

Increasing frequency in preparation for RT

Base Arterial

Weekday Peak Periods

17B Weekday- Modify route to operate along Riverbend to Oxford 0 Service Coverage Base Arterial


19 Weekday- Increase Round trip time to 150 minutes all day 5,040 1 Schedule Adherence Minor Arterial Weekday
Saturday- Increase round trip time to 140 minutes between 8 am to 2 pm, 135 minutes between 2 pm and 6 pm and 160 minutes between 8pm and 11pm 780 Schedule Adherence Minor Arterial Saturday Peak and Late Evening
20 Extend service to Oakcrossing during all operating periods 3,050 Service Coverage Minor Arterial Weekday Evening and Weekend All Day
25 Extend service to Cedarhollow and modify route to operate along Highbury between Oxford and Huron 6,098 1 Service Coverage Minor Arterial Weekdays and Weekends
30 Weekday- Introduce mid-day service between 11 am and 2:30 pm 882 Industrial Service Improvements Industrial Weekday Base
Weekday- Increase peak period frequency from 40 minutes to 20 minutes 2,268 1 Industrial Service Improvements Industrial

Weekday Peak Period

35 Sunday- Introduce service between 9 am and 12 pm on a 30 minute frequency 186 Service Span Local


91 Extend Service from Fanshawe College to Argyle Mall 6,674 1 Expansion of Express Route Network Express Routes

Weekday and Weekends

Total 30,270 7

A more detailed discussion of the proposed changes is provided in Enclosure I. The discussion includes high level consideration of budget implications, and provides what is considered to be the most effective and efficient means to resolve each issue.

Public Engagement

Following the presentation of the Draft 2024 Conventional Transit Service Plan to the Commission, a public engagement period is held for approximately two months to allow passengers and residents potentially impacted by the changes to provide feedback and comment on the proposals, noting that the majority of the proposed changes in the 2024 Service Plan have previously been consulted on through the development of the 2020-2024 Five-Year Service Plan.

The engagement period consists of in-person public information sessions targeted at neighbourhoods where new service implementation is proposed. For the 2024 Service Plan, an in-person drop-in session will be planned in the Cedarhollow neighbourhood. Following the Commission’s approval in principle of the Draft changes, administration will finalize a date and location for the meeting.

In addition to the public information sessions, an online survey will also be available beginning in December 2023 to collect feedback on all of the proposed service changes. Comments and feedback can also be made by emailing or phoning the customer service line.

Next Steps

London Transit will be promoting the draft service plan, public information drop-ins and online survey through the corporate website, social media, at public information sessions and through community associations.

Over the coming months, staff will further assess the identified priorities and refine the recommended service changes to be included in the final 2024 Service Plan.

As referenced, the final recommendations respecting the 2024 Conventional Service Plan will be presented to the Commission for approval at the meeting following final approval of the Multi-Year Budget by Municipal Council.

Consistent with the recommendations, this report will be shared with all Members of Council.


I – Draft 2024 Conventional Service Plan Changes

Recommended by:

Katie Burns, Director of Planning

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager