Staff Report #2
October 25, 2023
To All Commissioners
Re: 2023 Work Program – Operations – Third Quarter Update
The report be NOTED and FILED.
The following report is provided as an update on significant projects as set out in the 2023 Work Program that were scheduled to commence and/or be completed in the third quarter, with the lead on same being the primary responsibility of the Operations Department.
2.4 Assessment of overall impacts of Cycling Infrastructure
Through 2023, Operations continues to review the impacts of Cycling infrastructure on transit services. Cycling infrastructure added to corridors where transit services operates has had multiple negative effects including but not limited to; turning movement restrictions caused by “pork chop” or “jelly bean” islands installed at intersections, removal of shelters due to space limitations, concerns from the riding public, specifically the visually impaired riders with respect to safety at integrated stops, and lane size reductions causing a more difficult operating environment for large vehicles.
While London Transit is generally consulted regarding implementation of Cycle Lanes along transit corridors, there is far less consultation when the lanes are installed along streets that do not regularly have transit operating along them. Cycling Infrastructure added to corridors where transit services do not normally operate has resulted in a reduction in detour options when they are required. Queens Avenue is an example of same as buses were detoured to Queens from Dundas due to East London Link Phase 2. Buses were temporarily operating along Queens from Quebec to Adelaide without being able to provide stops as there are no safe or accessible locations as a result of the protected bike lanes. After the Quebec construction, the detour was modified to operate along Dufferin between Quebec and English. While this allows for stops along the corridor, it moves the detour route further from the regular routing resulting in extended travel distances for passengers accessing the service.
The ongoing review identifies that when protected bike lanes are in the planning process, that consideration with respect to maintaining motor vehicle movement, for both personal passenger vehicles and buses must be maintained, and that the goal of providing a safe and protected riding environment for cyclists cannot come at the expense of other mobility modes. This information will be shared as input into the City of London’s Mobility Master Plan update which is currently underway.
4.5 – Implementation of Smart Card Readers on Specialized Service
As discussed in previous update reports, a contract for the implementation of portable smart card readers on the Specialized Service is underway with an anticipated implementation date of first quarter 2024. Administration has participated in regular update meetings with the vendor and the program continues to remain on track. This implementation will provide riders of the specialized service the ability to utilize the declining balance feature of the smart card to pay for rides with the required ticket fare. All other fare media options are currently accepted on the Specialized Service.
4.6 a) – Determine viability of Specialized Booking System going forward
As has been discussed in previous reports, the current software utilized for booking and scheduling rides on the specialized service has been sold, and users have been advised that the software will continue to be maintained; however, no further enhancements will be made. As a result of this confirmation, the determination was made that replacement software will be required.
Administration is currently in the process of assessing options associated with replacing the software, noting the requirements that the replacement software include the following features at time of implementation:
- Customer portal that allows for on-line trip management including trip booking and cancellation.
- Real-time arrival information available to customers via customer portal, text/email notification.
- Ability to ensure equal access in trip booking between customers utilizing online booking with those utilizing telephone.
- Customizable parameters for trip scheduling that align with LTC service targets (length of time on vehicle, schedule adherence, etc.).
- Detailed reporting of key service metrics (same day bookings, split between demand and subscription bookings, non-accommodated by time of day, etc.).
Administration has participated in demonstrations of potential software solutions, and is now undertaking due diligence with respect to speaking with transit systems that are currently utilizing the software options in order to confirm the systems perform in the manner in which the vendor indicated during the demonstration. It is anticipated that further information with respect to this undertaking will be available at the November meeting.
Budget associated with this software replacement has been included in the 2024 Capital Budget program, approved by the Commission at the August 30, 2023 meeting.
4.6 c) – Detailed Review of Trip Demand/Times
Collection of data with respect to completed trip times, requested trip times and common pick up and drop off locations has been ongoing for the past several months in an effort to identify the days/time periods that additional resources will be dedicated to as they become available. The review indicated that the highest demand for trips is occurring from 8am to 6pm Monday through Friday. Additionally, the Sunday morning time period has experienced increased demand. The increased resources that have become available since August have been applied to vehicle shifts for the following time periods:
- 8:00am to 6:30pm on weekdays
- 8:00am to 2:00pm Saturdays
- 8:00am to 6:00pm Sundays
Currently there are 38 vehicles scheduled per day Monday through Friday with two additional show up vehicles staffed to offset lost time and to be added to the system in addition to the scheduled vehicles if no lost time is realized. The table below sets out a high level overview of the progression to date as well as the planned full service levels by the end of 2023.
|Jan||Aug||Oct||End of 2023|
|Average Weekday Scheduled Service Hours||395||450||475||570|
|Average Weekday Rides||830||945||998||1,200|
As set out in Staff Report #4, dated August 30, 2023, the Commission approved a contract addendum which provided the opportunity to procure alternate vehicles which would be delivered and placed into service by the end of 2023. With respect to the new vehicles ordered as the result of this addendum:
- two vehicles have been delivered and are anticipated to be in service the first week of November;
- two vehicles are anticipated to be delivered by the end of October, and available for service by mid-late November;
- No details with respect to the final six vehicles have been provided; however, the contractor continues to indicate that all will be received and available for service by the end of the year.
All of these vehicles will be assigned schedules during the period of 8:00am to 6:30pm on weekdays. With these remaining vehicles in place, service levels will be reflective of all of the growth hours outstanding from the 2021 and 2022 service plans. These service levels will remain in place for 2024, noting that some adjustments to the shifts may be undertaken to better align service with demand.
The following provides an update on an initiative not explicitly identified in the annual work program.
Operator Complement Review
In addition to the Work Plan items outlined above, the Operations Department has completed an in-depth review of the Operator complement during the third quarter to determine the required hiring schedule. To ensure that the appropriate number of Operators available to provide service into the new year are at adequate levels, one final hiring class of Operators will be onboarded on November 20, 2023. Operator recruitment will resume in the new year to ensure that complement levels remain consistent with those required to deliver approved service levels.
Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager