Staff Report #3
September 25, 2019
To All Commissioners
Re: Fall Service Update – Conventional Transit
The report be NOTED and FILED.
The following report provides an update regarding the status of fall service for the conventional system including the implementation of the 2019 service changes.
With the end of the traditional vacation period and the return of students, the beginning of September brings heightened activity on the conventional service 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. In addition, this year there are a number of construction projects which started or were in progress the first week of September resulting in detours and stop closures which have significantly impacted schedule adherence and added to the regular September confusion.
For the past number of years, London Transit personnel have attended student orientation sessions at both Fanshawe College and Western University to assist students with the new service changes and to ensure that students are aware of the most appropriate routes to take to complete their trips. This year the traditional forum was still held at Fanshawe College while students were picking up their student card. At Western however, staff was available at high volume bus stops including Wharncliffe and Oxford, Sarnia and Wonderland, Natural Science and Alumni Hall as the vast majority of Western students no longer have to pick up a bus pass due to the move to smart cards. The new set up at Western provided the opportunity for staff to talk to more students given it was not just limited to those picking up bus passes.
In addition to having staff at both Fanshawe and Western, LTC staff were also located at key nodes throughout the system during the first week of September, including downtown, Argyle Mall and Masonville Mall to assist passengers with finding the correct bus and answering questions regarding the service changes. The presence of staff in these areas was well received with a number of compliments being received through Twitter and Customer Service.
London Transit also utilized Twitter during the summer months in advance of the September 1 implementation with messaging surrounding the upcoming changes and continues with the weekday real-time updates with regard to service changes and any schedule adherence issues related to construction or increased traffic congestion; a practice that was established in September 2018 and has been well received by customers.
Overall, the 2019 service changes have been well received though the number of customer contacts logged from September 1st to September 18th related to the changes is up approximately 50% over the same period in 2018 (149 vs. 89 respectively). Given the nature and extent of the changes that took effect this year, information regarding the service changes was made available to the public in more locations and earlier than in previous years which may have reduced the number of contacts administration had anticipated receiving the first few weeks of September as passengers had more time to familiarize themselves with the modifications.
The majority of the contacts are related to scheduling concerns, specifically with Routes 10 and 93 during the peak periods. Planning staff will be addressing the schedule adherence concerns with updated schedules for routes 10, 17, 20, 25, 27, 31, 36, 90 and 93 for the November signup and in the interim, tripper buses are being added to routes to improve reliability.
Over the next few weeks, Planning staff will be undertaking additional counts and assessments of the service changes including the impact on customers with respect to service quality issues. A more detailed assessment of the impact of the 2019 service plan changes will be included in the final 2020 Annual Service Plan report scheduled to be presented at the January 2020 meeting.
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager