Staff Report #2 – Re: Five Year Conventional Service Plan Framework- 2020-2024

Staff Report #2

February 27, 2019

To All Commissioners

Re: Five Year Conventional Service Plan Framework- 2020-2024


That the Commission:

i) APPROVE IN PRINCIPLE the Conventional Service Plan – 2020-2024;

ii) DIRECT administration to utilize the Plan as a framework for future Service Plans; and

iii) DIRECT administration to utilize the Plan as input into the preparation of multi-year Operating and Capital budgets which will include the identification of sources of funding.


The Post-2019 Rapid Transit Integration Framework was presented and approved at the October 31, 2018 meeting. Since then work has been continuing to develop London Transit’s second Five Year Service Plan Framework, covering the period of 2020-2024. The recommended service plan was developed assuming no Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors would be in place over the next five years. The focus of the Five Year Service Plan was to address immediate concerns identified by customers, transit staff, including bus operators, and identifies opportunities to enhance service, grow ridership and prepare for the introduction of BRT corridors.

The review of existing services and consultation revealed a number of key issues and opportunities to be addressed. These were translated into six strategic directions which formed the basis of the plan.

  • Enhance Overall Levels of Service– Moving toward the transit mode share targets identified in the London Transportation Master Plan will require continued investment in service. There are three key factors that drive ridership growth; frequency, reliability and travel time. This strategic direction will promote continued improvements to service levels as a method of making the service more attractive to London residents and therefore increasing ridership.
  • Explore Alternative Service Delivery Models in New Communities– Alternative Service Delivery (ASD) models are another way municipalities can provide public transportation service. A key strategic direction in this plan is to begin to explore the use of ASD’s in areas of the city that are currently un-served due to low ridership potential. These include large low-density industrial areas and business parks. Existing routes with poor productivity were also explored as a potential to convert from a traditional fixed-route to an on-demand ASD area.
  • Improve Direct Connections– A key strategic direction will be to continue to expand on the grid network, identifying opportunities to provide more direct routes connected to key destinations. Providing a direct and frequent level of service will help improve ridership.
  • Build on the Express Route NetworkA key strategic direction for this Five Year Service Plan will continue to identify opportunities to expand the express route network. This will help build ridership through improved service levels and enhanced connectivity to other routes.
  • Eliminate 60 Minute Headways– Hourly service is not considered an attractive level of service and will do little to attract new customers. A key strategic direction in this plan will be to continue to improve the frequency of routes that operate every 60 minutes (during certain periods).
  • Minimize Impacts on Existing Passengers– Changes to route alignments can be difficult and have an impact on existing passengers. Many passengers have established travel routines using the existing system which can be disrupted with even a small change in the service. This direction is intended to minimize impacts on existing customers when modifications occur. This involved weighing the positive impacts of the proposed modifications against any customer that may not view the change favourably.

Based on the above strategic directions, the Five Year Service Plan has been broken into five areas of improvement;

  • Modifications to Route Structure– Over the next five years the modifications to route structure will be smaller in scale compared to the more significant restructuring undertaken in the 2015-2019 Service Plan Framework. The 2020-2024 Plan builds on the work completed in the previous plan, identifying further opportunities to grow ridership through minor route adjustments to improve connectivity.
  • 60 Minute Frequency Improvements– Over the next five years it is recommended that all headways of 60 minutes be improve to every 30 minutes as a minimum standard.
  • Demand Based Frequency Improvements– Growing ridership will also require an increase in service levels on existing routes. This will help make the service more convenient and (where crowding occurs) more comfortable.
  • Alternative Service Delivery Strategy– Municipalities continue to seek solutions to reduce costs and improve productivity of services. Fixed-route transit solutions do not always meet these two goals, particularly in low demand areas characterized by low density neighbourhoods, employment areas designed around the private automobile and large tracts of open or greenfield space. This combination of factors makes it difficult to provide fixed-route service cost-effectively and in a manner that meets rising customer expectations. To address these circumstances it is recommended that new ASD models be implemented in select low demand areas of the city.
  • Hours of Service Extensions– The 2015-2019 Service Plan Framework recommended an extension of the existing hours of service. Early service was extended to 11 routes on Sunday morning in September 2018 and the same 11 routes will have extended evening service until 1 am Monday to Saturday as part of the 2019 Service Plan changes. The extension of the days will provide added convenience and flexibility for passengers. The remaining routes that currently start operating at 9 am on Sunday and finish at midnight weekdays and Saturdays have been deferred for consideration as part of the 2020-2024 Framework.

Public Consultation

Public information sessions were held on January 29, 2019 and were well attended with approximately 45 attendees. Additionally, an online survey was available to allow for further public input. 278 completed responses to the online survey were received. Overall there were 329 unique responses through the public engagement process including input at the public meeting, comment forms and the online survey. The overall feedback for the proposed changes over the next five years was generally positive. Review of the feedback received through the public consultation process resulted in a minor modification from the original recommendations including; adjusting some headways to achieve clock-face headway when they resulted in minimal impacts on operating cost and efficiency (e.g. moving from a 28 minute headway to a 30 minute headway). This helped to promote the simplicity of the schedule for customers.

Next Steps

The Five Year Service Plan Framework set out in Enclosure I provides the overall framework for the service improvements and monitoring of same between 2020 and 2024.

On an annual basis, administration will use this framework along with input from the public and employees as the basis for the annual service plans noting that extensive community consultation will be required annually for each of the areas where service changes are proposed.

Once approved, this framework will also be utilized as a key input into the next multi-year budget cycle with respect to both the planned service hour additions as well as bus expansion requirements. In terms of the operating budget, the service hour additions set out in the framework are similar to those in the previous Five Year Plan (approximately 18,000 hours per year). Given a number of the planned improvements affect peak period service, implementation of the plan will require the addition of 22 buses over the five year period. The Commission’s existing capital plan identified the need for seven expansion buses over the same period. As set out in the recommendation, Administration will include the revised capital requirements in the next multi-year budget submissions, which will include possible sources of funding.


I – Five Year Service Plan

Recommended by:

Katie Burns, Director of Planning

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager