Staff Report #6
August 25, 2021
To All Commissioners
Re: 2021 Conventional Service Plan Update
The report be NOTED and FILED.
At the January 27, 2021 meeting, the Commission approved the 2021 Conventional Transit Service Plan which called for the addition of approximately 18,000 annual service hours. The approval was subject to the pending approval of the Assessment Growth Business Case by Municipal Council, which was confirmed on March 23, 2021.
At the May 26, 2021 meeting, administration provided an update to the Commission (see Staff Report #2) with regards to modifying the 2021 service plan implementation as a result of lower than required Operator complement for September. Recruitment and onboarding of new Operators began in April; however, due to pandemic-related restrictions and protocols, class sizes were limited to four (traditionally classes of six to eight have been held during onboarding). The limitation of class size, coupled with the approximate five weeks of training for each class has resulted in the total Operator complement falling below requirements for implementation of the planned and approved service improvements, which had been scheduled to be implemented in early September. As such, a revised implementation schedule for the transition back to full service levels and the introduction of the 2021 service improvements has been established.
2021 Service Plan Phased Implementation
|September 5, 2021
|90% of fall service levels with a re-introduction of Routes 90, 91 94, 102, 104 & 106 which were not operating during the Spring/Summer periods
|November 28, 2021
|Full 2019 fall service levels with the addition of frequency improvements on Routes 31 and 34 as per the 2021 Service Plan
|February 6, 2022
|Implement the remaining service improvements as per the 2021 Service Plan
The revised implementation plan allows for service improvements to be added as Operator complement increases and continues to prioritize service changes that were deferred from the 2020 Service Plan (Routes 31 and 34) to be implemented as early as operationally feasible. Administration will continue to closely monitor Operator complement levels and adjust the 2021 service plan implementation as needed over the coming months.
Given the approach of a phased implementation of service improvements is a significant departure from what has traditionally occurred a communication strategy has started to roll out to ensure that riders are aware of the timing and details of each of the phases. Information on each of the phases is available on the London Transit website and onboard posters will be utilized as appropriate. The annual Ride Guide has been distributed, and includes all of the 2021 changes, with notations referring to the effective dates (e.g. the new Route 95 will be included on the map, but will be denoted to indicate it will not take effect until February 6, 2022).
The continued growth in regular ridership (see Staff Report #7, dated August 25, 2021), coupled with the return of post-secondary students and the planned return of many employees to the workplace beginning in September, is likely to result in crowding on the service. In preparation for this, a “welcome back” communication campaign has been launched that will encourage riders to allow themselves more time, utilize the real-time system for up to date service information, and to consider alternative routes when possible. In addition, the campaign will continue to touch on the various measures that continue to be in place in an effort to protect both riders and Operators from COVID as well as the measures that riders can take themselves to increase their level of protection.
Western University has advised that they will be proceeding with traditional O-Week festivities and as such, the conventional service will be detoured off campus during this week. Additionally, the first few weeks of September are considered a settling-in period as students become accustomed to their schedules. During this period, routes will be closely monitored and tripper buses will be utilized where resources permit. While the conventional service will not return to 100% of fall service levels until November 28, 2021, the Operator complement will be increasing during the period September through November, which will provide for greater resources for tripper buses to be utilized to address crowding issues should they continue to occur.
Alternative Service Delivery Plan
Progress continues with the Alternative Service Delivery plan for Industrial service areas which Dillon Consulting is undertaking. It was initially anticipated that the finalized plan would be presented to the Commission at the August 2021 meeting, however due to unforeseen circumstances the report has been delayed until September 2021. The delay in the final report is not anticipated to have a significant impact on the implementation date of any recommended alternative service delivery initiatives.
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager