Staff Report #6 – Re: Update – New Year’s Eve Service (2018)

Staff Report #6

January 30, 2019

To All Commissioners

Re: Update – New Year’s Eve Service (2018)


That the report be NOTED and FILED.


New Year’s Eve Service- December 31, 2018

The “Ride the Bus on Us” program was first introduced in 1985 making 2018 the 34th 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 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 2015 through 2018. As indicated, 2018 ridership decreased approximately 22.8% compared to 2017. 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 and the location of the events.

Since 2016, there continues to be a downward trend in New Year’s Eve ridership with less people utilizing the service. As with 2017, the weather this year was not favourable to outdoor events at Victoria Park, potentially resulting in the continued ridership decline.

Table I

Ridership Summary- Conventional Transit Service

Year 8pm to 12 Midnight Post-Midnight Total % Change
2015 9,608 2,138 11,746
2016 8,683 2,037 10,720 -9%
2017 5,441 1,212 6,653 -37.9%
2018 4,030 1,104 5,134 -22.8%

Specialized transit service ridership for 2018 saw an increase of 16.7% over 2017; including a slight increase in the number of passengers travelling after midnight. A summary comparison of specialized services 2015 to 2018 is set out in Table II.

Table II

Ridership Summary- Specialized Transit Service

Year 8pm to 12 Midnight Post-Midnight Total % Change
2015 27 14 41
2016 39 17 56 37%
2017 46 8 54 -3.6%
2018 57 12 69 16.7%

The estimated cost of the free evening is $15,730; 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. For 2018, there were six LPS paid duty officers and three vehicles. The estimated cost is funded within the approved 2018 operating budget.

Table III

Summary of Costs – New Year’s Eve Service

Description Amount
Conventional Service
Loss of Revenue – 8pm to 12am $3,319
Incremental service delivery cost – post 12am $7,350
Specialized Service
Loss of Revenue – 8pm to 12am $ 120
Incremental service delivery cost – post 12am $ 425
Service Security (LPS) $4,516
Total Cost $ 15,730

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 as well as on London Transit’s social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook). The appropriate letter of appreciation has been sent to Corus Radio.

New Year’s Eve service for 2018 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 2018 there were no passenger issues on-board the buses or any change-offs required.

Table IV

Summary of On-Board Passenger Issues

Issue 2015 2016 2017 2018
Workplace Violence 0 0 0 0
Biohazards1 0 1 0 0
Passenger Problem (behavior) 0 0 0 0
Vandalism 0 0 0 0
Medical Emergency2 1 0 0 0
Total 1 1 0 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, Guildwood Blvd, Ferndale Ave. and Chiddington Ave.

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 in 2017 and were also in effect for 2018. As with 2017, the cost in 2018 was $3 per person.

There was a slight increase in the number of tours provided in 2018 over 2017, 25 and 20 respectively, noting 812 people took part in the 2018 Christmas Lights Tours.

The estimated net cost of the tours in 2018 was $2,953 reflecting the offset of the $3 minimum flat fee per registrant and certain of the tours (seven) being provided by volunteer Operators. The net cost is absorbed within the approved 2018 operating budget.

Recommended by:

Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager