ttc subway delays

an overview of delays found in the Toronto subway system

illustration of ttc train

background: history of the ttc subway

Toronto’s subway system is run by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Toronto has had a subway system since the opening of the original Yonge subway in 1954. Starting from 12 stations to currently 69 plus 28 under construction, the TTC Subway has the most subway stations in Canada and is the second-busiest after the Montreal Metro. The system consists of 4 lines each named by their numbers that together they total 68.3 kilometres of track.

ttc illustration map

introduction to the lines

circle icon of line 1
Yonge-University

Originally called the Yonge Subway, this line was Canada’s first subway and opened in 1954. The line has a distinct U-Shape route that runs north and south. The longest and busiest line in the system runs on 30.2 kilometres.

circle icon of line 2
Bloor-Danforth

The Bloor-Danforth Line opened in 1966 and runs east-west. It has been extended in 1968 and 1980 and has currently 26.2 kilometres in track.

circle icon of line 3
Scarborough

The Scarborough Line is a light metro service and it opened in 1985 and is recognizable by its L-shape route of 6.4 kilometre track.

circle icon of line 4
Sheppard

Line 4 was opened in 2002 and was the third subway line opened in the system. It is the shortest line in the system, running on 5.5 kilometres of track.

type of delays by line

Hover over the graph to see the different codes of delays and their respective description, number of delays per line and number of minutes it has caused. You can zoom in by clicking and draging across the graph. You can also toggle the different lines by clicking on them in the legend.

The Toronto Subway has experienced several kinds of delays along the years and the TTC has recently released the past 3 years, January 1st 2014 to August 31st 2017, of delays from all subway lines. In the original data, every single delay recorded is categorized by date, time, day of the week, station, delay code, delay (in minutes) to subway service direction, time length (in minutes) between trains, direction of train, line and vehicle.

In the data visualization above, it shows 2016’s delays, as it is the most recent full year of delays. The data has been compressed and summarized into the types of delays, how many occurred organized by each line and how many minutes of delay in total for each type. Two codes that were describing the same situation between the Scarborough line and the rest of the subway system were grouped together in this chart.

delays by month/day

Breaking down the data even further, we can look at the typical number of delays in each month and even the weekdays of each month.

illustration of ttc subway seats

what does this data mean

The recent release of data from the City of Toronto shows that the number of an re-occuring specific delay doesn't correlate with more minutes of delay. Line 2 takes the lead of number of delays, while Line 1 follows behind at 2nd and Line 4 and 3 at 3rd and 4th.

54% of delays in 2016 were caused by passenger related incidents while 9% of the incidents were TTC employees related. The other 37% were caused by unplanned delays, such as weather or equipment.

Michael Hazlett, the TTC's acting head of subway transportation, says that "If we have mechanical issues, we are all trained to deal with them. The problems with people are the most challenging ... It's about trying to educate customers on the impact of their actions."

The TTC will have to make a plan to combat against the passenger-related incidents, as they are the most likely to happen and take up most of the minutes lost in 2016. They can target specific days of the week (the weekdays as they are most likely to have delays) and educate the public on delays in the TTC.