A Toronto transit advocate has identified the TTC’s 70 O’Connor as the slowest and most poorly managed bus route in the city — an analysis that comes as little surprise to riders who depend on the service.
Steve Munro first identified the issue after seeing complaints about poor service on Saturday, Oct. 5.
After crunching raw data provided by the TTC, he found that buses on the route were frequently bunching together in groups of three or four, and that riders were forced to wait more than an hour for service during particularly slow periods.
“This is not the only route this happens on, it’s just the absolute worst example I have ever seen,” said Munro, who has been analyzing bus data since 2007.
He posted a widely shared Twitter thread after looking into the numbers:
The 70 O’Connor includes two primary routes that run from Coxwell Station to either Warden Station or the Eglinton Avenue East and Pharmacy Avenue area. Around 8,000 people ride the bus on weekdays, according to ridership data from 2014.
The buses are scheduled to arrive approximately every 10 minutes during both weekday and weekend service.
Riders who frequent the route say, in reality, the vehicles arrive far more infrequently.
“This is ridiculous, to tell you the truth. I’m waiting so long for it,” said Mary Stowe, who had been waiting 30 minutes for a bus toward Coxwell Station earlier this week. She expected to be late to her job in downtown Toronto because of the delay.
Another rider who takes the 70 O’Connor around three times per week said he sometimes waits 45 minutes at a stop near St. Clair Avenue East and O’Connor Drive while groups of bunched-up buses travel in the opposite direction.
“It’s the way they route them,” Tony Distasio said. “And the supervisors, I don’t know what they’re doing.”
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In his analysis of real-time tracking data and more detailed vehicle logs, Munro said the TTC does not appear to be taking proactive measures to keep the buses spaced out during the day.
He said service typically runs smoothly in the mornings, but that buses get bunched together by the afternoon rush.
“There was no attempt made by TTC route management to space the service out, and basically put the buses back on time,” Munro told CBC Toronto.
The TTC has acknowledged issues on the 70 O’Connor, but spokesperson Stuart Green pointed to construction and road closures as a factor.
“This particular route will have revised schedules in the spring, but until then we will do better in managing any delays or gaps when they occur as a result of construction on Eglinton Crosstown,” Green said in an email.
On Oct. 5, Green said the TTC “likely filled some of the gaps with unscheduled buses,” though he did not confirm if that definitively took place. He also added that no riders filed complaints about service that day.
Munro rebuffed Green’s account of the problems, and said bunching and delays happen frequently across many TTC bus routes, especially on smaller volume routes like the 70 O’Connor.
“This is not construction congestion, this is simply an abdication of the TTC’s responsibility to manage the service and space the vehicles,” he said.
Another frequent rider called on the TTC to provide more answers and accountability for service on the line.
Arisa Arro said she recently missed a dental appointment due to a late bus. She also recalled an hour-long delay that caused her and a friend to miss an event hosted at a museum.
“Generally it works, but sometimes it’s just terribly frustrating,” she said.