Staff Report #2 – Re: Draft 2019 Conventional Service Plan

Staff Report #2

October 31, 2018

To All Commissioners

Re: Draft 2019 Conventional Service Plan


That the Commission:

i) APPROVE, in principle, the draft 2019 conventional service plan;

ii) DIRECT administration to finalize the 2019 service plan, including, where appropriate, meeting with affected communities regarding the potential changes and forward a copy of the draft service plan report to Members of Council; and

iii) PRESENT the final 2019 service plan report and recommendations at the Commission’s January 30, 2019 meeting.


At the April 29, 2015 meeting, the Commission approved the Route Structure and Service Guidelines Review as a framework document for service changes over the five year period covering 2015-2019. When a multi-year plan is prepared, a number of assumptions have to be made with respect to how the various recommended changes in any one year will impact service and ridership. Additionally, the current on-road experience is relied upon as the basis for the recommendations. As each year’s plan is implemented, service realities change, both in response to the service changes as well as conditions outside of the Commission’s control (i.e. traffic congestion, extended periods of construction, ridership response to changes, etc.). 2019 represents the fifth and final year of the five year plan, and as such, variances from the changes originally contemplated for 2019 are expected.

Consistent with past practice, the 2019 draft service planning process takes direction from the recommendations in the report, but also includes assessments pertaining to:

  • existing service performance issues and demands
  • 12 month assessment of the 2017 service plan changes
  • early assessment of the 2018 service plan changes
  • new growth areas
  • customer requests
  • Operator, Inspector and Dispatcher feedback

This report sets out the proposed 2019 service plan recommendations, including discussion related to changes from the Route Structure and Service Guidelines document. Additionally, discussion is provided on the 12 month and two month assessments of the 2017 and 2018 Service plans respectively.

Draft 2019 Service Plan Changes

As 2019 is the fifth and final year of the five year plan, priorities have changed or been adjusted based on previous years changes, current service realities as well as public and Operator feedback. The 2019 draft service plan generally follows the recommendations set out in the five year plan with some additional proposals which are considered priorities based on the current service realities. Similar to the 2018 process, a number of frequency, running time and routing changes were identified as high priority to address current on road concerns. In addition, the 2019 plan builds on the guiding principle of the five year plan of ‘right sizing’ the system by proposing a number of routing modifications to streamline the overall network. The majority of the proposed routing modifications aim to have arterial routes remain along major arteries, while providing local service to the surrounding subdivisions with feeder routes. This will allow for frequencies to better match with the type of service being provided.

The draft 2019 Service Plan sets out the changes that are the highest priority, totalling approximately 24,700 hours on an annual basis and six additional peak period bus requirements. Noting the approved 2019 budget allows for the addition of 17,700 annualized hours and one additional peak period bus, further assessment will be completed to prioritize changes and evaluate tripper vehicle requirements based upon proposed service improvements.

In light of the significant number and scope of changes as well as the interdependency of many of the changes, a table below has been created to assist in the assessment. The right-most column indicates the other routes with changes that are associated with the route being discussed. In cases where there are routes listed in this column, the proposed change can only occur in conjunction with the proposed changes for all routes listed.

Table I – 2019 Draft Service Plan

Route Description of Service Change Annual Service Hours 2019 Service Hours Peak Buses Rationale Dependant On/Related to Recommended Change for Route(s)
1, 2,3, 4, 5, 6, 7/11, 9, 10/14, 12, 13, 15/21, 16, 17, 20, 25 Extend service until 1am, weekdays and Saturdays 8,820 2,940 0 Extend Span of Service
Extend service earlier on Sunday to start at 7 am instead of 9 am 1,120 370 0 Extend Span of Service
4, 10/14, 12, 13, 15/21, 16, 25, 29, 33, 35, 90, 91, 102, 104, 106 Reduced frequency and/ or reduced span of service -5,540 -1,600 -1 Right-Size the System
2, 4, 13, 91 Additional buses to improve schedule adherence 3,600 1,200 1 Reduce Late Buses
2, 6, 10, 29, 102, 106 Routing Modification- eliminate service along Oxford Drive at Western University after 7 pm to provide consistent service along Western Road 0 0 0 Simplify the Network
1 Routing modifications to operate along Colborne instead of Richmond, modify routing around South St and Grey St, remove service from the Bond and Raywood area.

Minor frequency changes

-3,690 -1,230 -1 Directness of Travel
2 Reduce weekday peak period frequency from 10 to 15 minutes -7,308 -2,436 -4 Reduce Travel Time Route 94
5 Routing modification in Byron to provide service along Boler during all time periods 0 0 0 Simplify the Network
6 Routing modification around Western University

Eliminate interline with Route 9C

Minor frequency changes

-1,980 -660 -1 Simplify the Network Route 9
6 Frequency and Travel Time Reductions (spring/ summer only) -850 0 0 Right-Size the System
9 Routing modification in Whitehills

Eliminate interline with Route 6 Increase round trip time

3,780 1,260 1 Simplify the Network and Reduce Late Buses Route 6
10 Routing modification – operate on Wellington instead of Montgomery 0 0 0 Simplify the Network
10 Extend route to Masonville Weekdays between 9am and 2pm 1,260 420 0 Simplify the Network, Address Overcrowding
14 Routing modification to extend service to Kipps Lane 1,050 350 1 Connect Major Nodes Route 32
15/21 Reduce weekday AM Peak frequency from 15 to 16 minutes 0 0 0 Reduce Late Buses
16 Route modification – Remove deviation to Victoria Hospital, remove 16B branch through Summerside, modify the 16A branch; Significant frequency increases 2,060 690 1 Directness of Travel; Right-Size System Route 24, 92
19/38/39 Interline Route 19 with Routes 38/39

Minor span of service and frequency increases

840 280 1 Extend Span of Service; Reduce Late Buses Route 31
24 Route modification – Extend route to serve Summerside; Introduce Sunday service between 10am and 5pm 2,590 860 0 Directness of Travel; Extend Span of Service; Right-Size System Route 16, 92
25 Route modification – operate directly on Fanshawe Park Road 0 0 0 Directness of Travel Route 40
25 Increase Weekday and Sunday afternoon frequency significantly 1,010 340 1 Address overcrowding; Ridership Growth
26 Eliminate Route 26 -11,150 -3,720 -3 Rename Route Route 93
27 Introduce Sunday Service Increase Spring/ Summer Weekday frequency significantly 1,350 140 0 Extend Span of Service; Address overcrowding
27 Increase Weekday PM Peak Frequency significantly 340 170 1 Attract passengers
28 Route Modification – Connect Lambeth to White Oaks Mall via Exeter, White Oak Road 0 0 0 Industrial Service
29 Increase peak PM frequency significantly (fall/ winter only) 590 295 1 Address overcrowding
30 Introduce two weekday late night trips to accommodate shift times 340 110 0 Industrial Service
31/32 Routing modification – operating directly on Aldersbrook, Sarnia, and Huron

Minor frequency and span of service improvements

Remove interline with Route 19

-1,050 -350 0 Directness of Travel Route 9, 14, 19 & 40
31/32 Minor frequency reductions (spring/ summer only) -340 0 0 Right-Size System
33 Routing modification – 2-way service on Proudfoot during all time periods

minor frequency reductions.

Increase Weekday AM frequency from 17 minutes to 13 minutes (fall/winter only)

1,010 500 0 Simplify the Network

Address Overcrowding

Ridership Growth

34-40 Routing modification – Extend Route 34 to Sunningdale and Richmond via Plane Tree Drive

Extend Route 40 to Western University via Windermere & Doon

interline Routes 34 & 40 during all time periods

5,040 1,680 1 Introduce service to new growth areas Route 25, 32
56 Introduce Community Bus to Base Line/ Berkshire Village Area (one day a week, 4 hours) 210 70 0 Improve transit access
92 Reduce span of service to peak periods

minor frequency decrease

-4,540 -1,510 -1 Right-Size System Route 16, 24
93 Introduce Local/ Express Route connecting White Oaks Mall to Masonville Place via Wharncliffe Road 18,570 6,190 4 Directness of Travel; Reduce Travel Time Route 26
94 Introduce peak period express route on Dundas & Western/ Wharncliffe 7,308 2,436 4 Reduce Travel Time Route 2
106 Increase weekday AM frequency from 10 to 8 Minutes (fall/ winter only) 340 170 0 Address overcrowding
  Total 24,780  8,935 6

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.

Community Bus

Currently, London Transit operates a Community Bus route through the Cherryhill, Proudfoot and Wonderland areas which provides direct service between the residential areas and various retail locations throughout the week. This service has been highly successful and continues to grow.

London Transit has received a number of requests to provide a new community bus service in the Westmount area. Based on 2016 census data, this area has one of the largest populations which match the demographic that typically utilize a community bus service. Additionally, service changes in 2018 in this area have resulted in some areas having longer walks to access service.

The draft 2019 Service Plan proposes implementing a community bus service in this area, operating one day a week to start, as was the case in the Cherryhill area. The exact design of the route including the day to operate and the destinations have not been determined at this time as community bus service is most successful when the design is created in consultation with the residents in the area. Through the public consultation process, area residents will be consulted to determine when and where they want to travel in order to provide the most effective service.

Detailed recommendations regarding the community bus service in this area will be provided as part of the final service plan, which is scheduled to be presented to the Commission at the January 2019 meeting.

Naming Convention Changes

In addition to the proposed changes noted above, it is also proposed as part of the draft 2019 Service Plan to change the current naming conventions for interlined routes.

Historically routes were combined (interlined) in order to provide operational efficiency. If one route took slightly longer than the schedule round trip time and another took slightly less, they could be combined and both routes become more efficient. Interlining also allows passengers to complete a trip without having to transfer buses if the routes were separate. When routes would become interlined each route maintained the original route name with the name changing at the common terminus point, i.e. downtown.

While the reason behind interlining is still a valid practice for operational efficiency and limiting passenger transfers, the way interlined routes are named requires a review.

Currently there are 19 routes which are interlined either all the time or during certain periods of the day. This is increasingly causing confusion to passengers, especially in the areas where the route changes names, with regard to which bus to catch.

In order to simplify the system it is proposed that all interlined routes will have a single route number for the entire length of the route. Additionally, as part of the draft 2019 Service Plan proposals, all interlined routes will be interlined throughout all operating periods to avoid any additional confusion with regard to the routing.

Modifications from the Five Year Route Structure Framework

Set out below are recommendations from the Route Structure and Service Guidelines plan, previously scheduled for 2019 that are not being recommended.

Route 31

The Five Year plan set out recommendations to extend Route 31 to serve Tokala Trail north of Fanshawe Park Road. The construction in this area has not yet been completed and therefore London Transit is unable to serve this area at this time. The area will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis to determine when service can be introduced into this growing neighbourhood.

Route 92

The current recommendations in the five year plan, calls for an increase in weekday frequency from 20 minutes to 15 minutes in both the AM and PM Peak periods. Based on the current ridership on this route it is not recommended to improve frequency at this time. In order to better serve the Adelaide corridor, it is being recommended that Route 92 only operate during the weekday peak periods when productivity is the highest and reinvest the service hour savings into Route 16 that is experiencing high productivity throughout the day.

12 Month Assessment of the 2017 Service Plan Changes

Historically, an eight month assessment of the previous years’ service changes would be completed as part of the draft service plan report in the following year. Due to the change in timing of the service planning process to accommodate the increase in the number of service changes as well as the additional time required to implement the changes, only a four month review of the 2017 service changes was completed as part of the 2018 final service plan report presented to the Commission at the January 31, 2018 meeting.

The 2017 service plan was the second largest change in recent London Transit history, affecting over 54,000 service hour changes including the addition of 20,000 new service hours on an annualized basis. A full 12 month assessment of the 2017 service plan modifications has been completed, a summary of which is set out in Enclosure II. The summary includes a high level assessment of each change compared to its intended impact on ridership and service quality.

Two Month Assessment of the 2018 Service Plan 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. The 2018 service plan saw routing and/or scheduling changes to 33 of the 43 routes, potentially impacting travel patterns for many passengers. In addition to the service changes, there were many major construction projects that started or were continuing through the month of September, including work on Western/Wharncliffe and in the downtown core. These projects have a significant impact on schedule adherence and added to the heightened level of activity traditionally seen in the first three to four weeks of September.

At the September 26, 2018 meeting, a three week assessment of the service change impacts was presented to the Commission (see Staff Report #3, September 26, 2018). Over the past month, administration has continued to monitor the service changes and associated customer contacts.

Public contacts have risen with respect to concerns regarding schedule adherence. Due to a number of ongoing construction projects and new construction projects throughout the city, there has been a significant impact on schedule adherence on a number of routes. It is anticipated that schedule adherence will improve by mid to late November when the construction projects are completed.

Concerns with schedule adherence on Routes 26 and 38/39 have been brought to the attention of the Planning Department through both public contacts as well as Operator concerns. While these routes were not changed as part of the 2018 service plan, there have been ongoing schedule adherence issues that have been assessed. As a result, for the signup taking effect November 25, 2018 schedule changes will be made to both routes to address these concerns. Route 26 will see a slight frequency reduction in the peak periods from 30 minutes to 35 minutes in order to provide more round trip operating time, allowing the bus to operate on schedule on a more consistent basis. The changes on Route 38/39 involve a reallocation of round trip time from Route 39 which has extra time allocated in the schedule, to Route 38 which is experiencing schedule adherence issues. This change does not impact frequency on the route.

Staff will continue to monitor the impacts of the 2018 service plan changes over the next 11 months, making minor adjustments to improve scheduling, if required, and adding tripper buses as necessary and as resources permit. A detailed assessment of the 2018 service plan changes will be presented to the Commission in the fall of 2019.

Next Steps

London Transit will be promoting the draft service plan through on-board notifications, the LTC website, radio ads, public information sessions and community associations. An online survey will also be available for customers to provide feedback on the proposed changes. Social media messaging will be utilized to inform the public about the draft plan, related public information centres and the online survey.

Eight public information sessions have been scheduled in the affected communities, including two sessions held centrally downtown. Further, the Commission’s annual drop-in sessions are scheduled for November 29, 2018 at the Central Public Library. The information sessions will take place between November 8 and December 11, 2018, the details of which are set out below.

Central Public Library November 8, 2018

Masonville Place November 13, 2018

Lambeth Community Centre November 14, 2018

Pond Mills Public Library November 22, 2018

Sherwood Public Library November 27, 2018

Central Public Library November 29, 2018*

Byron Public Library December 4, 2018

Jalna Public Library December 6, 2018

Central Public Library December 11, 2018

*Annual Commission Drop-in Session

All of the information sessions will be held from 2 to 4 pm and 6 to 8 pm.

In addition to the formal public information sessions as set out above, Planning staff will be setting up “pop-up” information sessions at key terminals and bus stops throughout the city to provide information about the draft service plan proposed changes and gather feedback from passengers. Information about the sessions will be promoted through London Transit’s social media platforms and the corporate website.

Over the next three months, staff will further assess the identified priorities and refine the recommended service changes to be included in the final 2019 Service Plan.

As referenced, the final recommendations respecting the 2019 Conventional Service Plan are scheduled to be presented to the Commission for approval at its January 2019 meeting.

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


I – Draft 2019 Conventional Service Plan Changes (See attached PDF)

II – 2017 Service Plan Twelve Month Assessment

Recommended by:

Katie Burns, Director of Planning

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager