The London Transit Commission (LTC) is looking to tackle bus lineups at its downtown stops, a common concern expressed by London transit users.
The LTC will meet on Wednesday to discuss bus stops along King Street as well as stops at Wellington and Dundas streets and Richmond Street and Queens Avenue. These downtown stops service multiple routes, meaning multiple buses are required to stop for passengers at these locations throughout the day.
According to a report from the LTC, Londoners have voiced concerns about these stops due to frequent bus lineups, complaining that buses at the end of the queue sometimes leave the stop before buses at the front of the queue.
The report also notes the number of buses at a stop, coupled with the ambient noise in the downtown core, makes it difficult to hear route announcements being played from buses.
Meanwhile, passengers with visual impairments said they had missed buses because they did not know their bus was lined up behind other vehicles rather than located directly at the stop.
Another concern cited in the report is one shared by Londoner and frequent transit user Gerry LaHay.
LaHay added that navigating crowds at a busy bus stop can be as physically taxing as it is confusing.
“You’ve got four buses that pull up … and the bus you want to get on is the third or fourth bus. What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to walk down or am I supposed to wait for it to pull up?”
LTC general manager Kelly Paleczny says this problem was exacerbated over the summer.
“With all of the construction going on in the core, we’ve had lots of difficulties with maintaining schedules in the downtown core,” Paleczny said.
To tackle the issue, a number of potential solutions are being proposed in the aforementioned report.
The first aims to split northbound stops at Queens/Richmond and Dundas/Wellington into two separate locations for different routes.
“Each of those stops will be designated for specific routes so instead of having four or five buses queued up, now there would be two,” Paleczny said.
The report also proposes adjusting announcement software on buses so that route announcements can be played louder. This is expected to be completed by the end of October.
Another potential solution seeks to order the LTC’s planning department to avoid setting up multi-route stop locations that serve more than two buses simultaneously.
A fourth suggestion would remind all LTC bus drivers of the procedures surrounding bus lineups at multi-route stops.
The LTC’s current procedures are as follows:
- It is the responsibility of the operator to pull ahead to the stop after other buses have departed and ensure that a customer has not been missed.
- Operators must not pass a bus that is stopped and loading customers without stopping to ensure whether customers wish to board their bus.
- Customers are not obligated to step forward at stops or wave at a bus to stop. In large bus bays, pull completely forward to allow other buses in behind you.
- Operators must open the doors at all multiple-route stops so that the stop announcements are audible to customers at the stop.
- If a visually impaired customer approaches the lead bus in a multiple-route stop, it is expected that the operator will assist the rider in locating the appropriate bus.
The report will be presented and discussed when the LTC meets on Wednesday afternoon.