Staff Report #3 – March 12, 2018

To All Members of the Accessible Public Transit Service Advisory Committee

Re:    Update – New Year’s Eve Service (2017)



That the report be NOTED and FILED.



New Year’s Eve Service- December 31, 2017

The “Ride the Bus on Us” program was first introduced in 1985 making 2017 the 33rd consecutive year the service has been provided. The program provides complimentary service for riders on both conventional and specialized transit services on New Year’s Eve generally between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.

The program is very well received by the community.  Further, given the length of time the program has been in place, there is an expectation that London Transit will continue to provide the free service as the community has grown to rely on the service seeing it as an integral part of providing Londoners with a safe trip and an alternative to drinking and driving.

Table I provides a comparison of conventional transit ridership for 2014 through 2017. As indicated, 2017 ridership decreased approximately 37.9% compared to 2016. New Year’s Eve ridership is variable from year to year based on a number of factors including weather, number and type of events being held as well as the location of the events.

In 2017, December 31 fell on a Sunday.  The Sunday level of service including the number of routes operating and the frequency of service is less than the rest of the week and could have had an impact on ridership.  Additionally, average Sunday ridership is typically lower than the rest of the week. The extreme cold weather this year is also considered to be a main contributing factor to the significant decline in ridership in 2017.  Attendance at the Victoria Park events was down considerably having an impact on overall ridership.

Table I – Ridership Summary- Conventional Transit Service

Year 8pm to 12 Midnight Post-Midnight Total % Change
2014 8,283 1,843 10,126 -2%
2015 9,608 2,138 11,746 16%
2016 8,683 2,037 10,720 -9%
2017 5,441 1,212 6,653 -37.9%

Specialized transit service ridership for 2017 saw a marginal decrease of 3.6% over 2016; and noting significantly fewer passengers were travelling after midnight. A summary comparison of specialized services 2014 to 2016 is set out in Table II.

Table II – Ridership Summary- Specialized Transit Service

Year 8pm to 12 Midnight Post-Midnight Total % Change
2014 29 8 37
2015 27 14 41 11%
2016 39 17 56 37%
2017 46 8 54 -3.6%

The estimated cost of the free evening is $16,220; summary particulars are set out in Table III. The costs associated with New Year’s Eve are variable depending on the number of London Police Services paid duty Officers available.  The estimated cost is funded within the approved 2017 operating budget.


Table III – Summary of Costs – New Year’s Eve Service

Description Amount
Conventional Service  
  Loss of Revenue – 8pm to 12am $6,930
  Incremental service delivery cost – post 12am $5,885
Specialized Service
  Loss of Revenue – 8pm to 12am  $     75
  Incremental service delivery cost – post 12am $   360
Service Security (LPS) $2,970
Total Cost $ 16,220

In addition to the above cost, Corus Radio (FM96, AM980, and 103.1 Fresh FM) advertised extensively leading up to New Year’s Eve at no charge.  Schedule information was available to the public by way of special New Year’s Eve timetables (online only), and postings on London Transit’s website, on board the bus and a special Holiday Transit Talk.  Information regarding the free service was also available on the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.  The appropriate letter of appreciation has been sent to Corus Radio.

New Year’s Eve service for 2017 was uneventful in terms of operational issues on a night where alcohol consumption is often part of the festivities.  This is consistent with the trend over the past number of years where there has been a significant decrease in the number of incidents on-board the buses during New Year’s Eve service. As set out in Table IV below, in 2017 there were no passenger issues on-board the buses or any change-offs required.

Table IV – Summary of On-Board Passenger Issues

Issue 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Workplace Violence 0 0 0 0 0
Biohazards1 3 0 0 1 0
Passenger Problem (behavior) 1 1 0 0 0
Vandalism 1 0 0 0 0
Medical Emergency2 0 0 1 0 0
Total 5 1 1 1 0
  1. Bodily fluids on bus requiring bus change-off
  2. Situations where EMS are dispatched to bus

Christmas Light Tours

The Christmas Lights Tours program was first introduced in 1995. The program provides the opportunity for Londoners to tour the most popular Christmas lights destinations in the City.  Popular locations include Victoria Park, Jena Crescent, Speight Boulevard and Mountbatten Place.

In 2015, London Transit suspended all charters, including the Christmas Lights tours, due to operational issues.  Because of popular demand and requests from the community, the Christmas Lights tours were reintroduced in December 2017.

In order to ensure that all scheduled service as well as booked Christmas Lights tours were able to be staffed, restrictions on the number of buses used for the charters each day (four) as well as restrictions on the start time of the tours (no tours prior to 6 pm) were put in place for 2017.  Additionally, the flat fee per participant was raised from $2 to $3 to offset the cost of operating the service.

As the Christmas Lights charters did not operate in 2015 and 2016 there was a decline in the number of tours in 2017.  20 tours were provided in 2017, down from 75 in 2014.   A total of 621 people participated in the 2017 Christmas Lights tours.

The estimated net cost of the tours in 2017 was $1,910 reflecting the offset of the $3 minimum flat fee per registrant with a minimum of 25 participants per tour and certain of the tours (six) being provided by volunteer Operators. The net cost is absorbed within the approved 2017 operating budget.

Recommended by:

Shawn Wilson – Director of Operations

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny – General Manager