Have you ever wonder why the Toronto subway has so many delays?

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"Back where we belong as number one in North America. A huge amount of effort has been expended and a huge amount has been achieved. The TTC is now cleaner, friendlier, more punctual, and more reliable."

-TTC CEO Andy Byford


ttc .ca

TORONTO

SUBWAY

DELAYS

I analyzed data on TTC subway delays for the last six years (from 2014 to 2019) and turned it into meaningful stats with explanations.

The city of Toronto provides all information on Toronto Subway Delays at open.toronto.ca

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Avoid these time intervals if you don't want to get stuck in the subway

It's always tricky when you have to take the subway in Toronto. You never know how long it would take to get from point A to point B. Avoiding these time periods will keep you punctual and help you stay away from annoying subway delays.

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1.Thursday - 15.77%

04:00PM - 08:00PM - 25%

06:00AM - 08:00AM - 24%

12:00PM - 04:00PM - 20%

08:00PM - 12:00AM - 18%

It seems like Thursdays are the most problematic days for the TTC subway. You have a pretty good chance to get stuck in the Toronto subway on this day of the week.

2.Friday - 15.71%

04:00PM - 08:00PM - 24%

06:00AM - 10:00AM - 23%

08:00PM - 12:00PM - 20%

10:00AM - 02:00AM - 18%

It's definitely worth avoiding evening rides on TTC, especially 4 pm to 8 pm on Fridays.

3.Tuesday - 15.7%

06:00AM - 10:00AM - 26%

04:00PM - 08:00PM - 24%

12:00PM - 04:00PM - 18%

08:00PM - 12:00PM - 18%

The difference between Fridays and Tuesdays is less than 0.1%. Morning subway rides can make you being late, so think ahead!

4.Wednesday - 15.69%

06:00AM - 10:00AM - 25%

04:00PM - 08:00PM - 24%

12:00PM - 04:00PM - 19%

08:00PM - 12:00AM - 18%

The deviation from the days above is less than 1%. I'd stay away from morning and evening subway trips on Wednesday.

5.Monday - 15.4%

06:00AM - 10:00AM - 27%

04:00PM - 08:00PM - 24%

10:00AM - 02:00PM - 18%

08:00PM - 12:00PM - 18%

On Mondays, your chances to get stuck in the subway are still high, but definitely smaller than on other days of a week.

6.Saturday - 11.4%

08:00PM - 12:00PM - 25%

04:00PM - 08:00PM - 22%

12:00PM - 04:00PM - 20%

06:00AM - 10:00AM - 16%

On weekends, "traffic" in the Toronto subway gets lighter. People are not travelling to work, so you are finally getting a fair chance to be on time for that brunch you planned.

7.Sunday - 10.33%

08:00AM - 12:00PM - 25%

08:00PM - 12:00AM - 24%

02:00PM - 06:00PM - 22%

06:00PM - 10:00PM - 22%

On Sundays, subway delay likelihood drops to 10%. Torontonians prefer short walking distances over using public transportation.

These are TOP-10 of the most problematic subway stations. All together, they are responsible for up to 31% of TTC subway delays:

Kipling

Kennedy

Finch

Yonge-University Line

Sheppard W

Eglinton

Warden

Wilson

Islington

Bloor

toronto-subway

These 10 are the least "trouble makers." Together, they cause 13% of delays:

Bayview

Osgoode

Leslie

Runnymede

Lawrence

St Andrew

Lansdowne

Castle Frank

Summerhill

High Park

Up to 30% of all TTC subway delays are caused by speed control issues

Nearly 45% of all delays are caused by the issues below. In total, there are more than 100 possible problems that can lead to a subway train halting.

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15.5%

Miscellaneous Speed Control

"Miscellaneous speed control" - is when there is an issue with the speed control system, tripping the emergency brake and requiring approval from transit control to reset and proceed.

11.3%

Operator Overspeeding

Currently, Toronto subway trains are managed by operators, and this human factor usually causes problems with speed control. Fortunately, TTC is planning to switch to automated trains in 2022.

6.7%

Alarm Activated - No Trouble Found

There are always times when somebody presses an alarm button without a big enough reason. Toronto subway has a lot of such passengers because trains are getting stopped quite often.

6.4%

Injured or ill Customer - Transported

Many travellers are not feeling well during their subway ride. Usually, these health issues are triggered by staying in a closed, stuffy, overcrowded place like a subway car.

4.2%

Other Issues

There are tons of other problems that lead to subway delays, for example, fire or smoke on tracks, stuck or blocked door, an unauthorized person on tracks, assault involving a passenger, etc.

MORE ISSUES TO COME

How long it takes to resolve an issue in the Toronto subway?

As you know, TTC subway doesn't rush to resume work after an occurred delay. It may seem like it takes forever to get to work in the morning. But according to the data provided by TTC, 97.4% of problems are being fixed in under 15 minutes.

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Do seasons affect TTC performance?

Yes, seasons can cause issues in Toronto subway work too. In this section, numbers represent all TTC subway problems that took longer than 1 minute to resolve.

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Seasons-One-0
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Average number of cases per season.

Summary

Delays in the subway create a "Domino Effect" when one issue triggers another before the previous problem is resolved. That is why it's crucial to solve all issues as fast as possible and hold trains only in exceptional cases.

There is plenty of work that has to be done by TTC to improve the Toronto subway service and justify the current fare of $3.25 that makes it one of the most expensive subways in the world.

Also, I did not include the stats about the Presto Card, which is today the only way how you can pay in the subway. Unfortunately, TTC does not provide any data on how often the Presto card wasn't working (or properly working) during 2019 (beginning of 2020). If you want to see the "great" experience provided by Presto, take a look at their rating in the App Store or Google Play.

Good Read

Great combination of the Toronto subway delays data and other resources with solid graph representation of the Toronto subway delays - https://github.com/sishola/ttc-delays

Amazing dashboard built on Tableau software about TTC Subway Delay 2018-2019 - https://github.com/jnnhuynh-web/TTC-Subway-Delay-Dashboard-2018-2019

Another beautiful project about Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Subway Delays with fresh data - https://ionnoant.github.io/2018-04-28_TTC-post-2/

One more good study "Don't be so quick to blame the TTC for delays on the subway" - https://www.lowandhigh.xyz/magazine/2019/2/7/dont-be-so-quick-to-blame-the-ttc-for-delays-on-the-subway