Service deployment

Residents of Durham Region can access transit services throughout the entire area from early mornings to late night, seven days a week. How the service is delivered to an area varies by time of day and day of the week, to ensure that services are sustainable and implemented in an efficient and fair manner.

The Demand Response delivery model provides base coverage in rural Durham Region and in urban areas when customer demand does not meet minimum ridership productivity for scheduled bus service. The following framework is used when considering transitioning an area to scheduled service from Demand Response:

  • Scheduled routes will operate on roads conducive to transit use, such as arterial and collector roads. Service on local roads will be discouraged.
  • Ridership projections indicate that the scheduled route will achieve the minimum ridership target (passenger boardings per hour), as outlined in the ridership productivity guideline.
  • Newly deployed scheduled service must meet minimum ridership targets within six months.
  • Scheduled routes will not operate at headways longer than 30 minutes, nor for periods of the day shorter than three hours.
  • Route performance will be regularly evaluated for modification; expansion into new service areas or service periods; or service reduction or transition to or from demand response. The span of service and level of service will be adjusted, based on the customer demand for each route.
 Ridership productivity
The ridership productivity guideline provides a measure of the effectiveness of a transit route. As a base service, Demand Response service is provided when scheduled routes are unable to meet minimum ridership productivity targets. Ridership productivity targets are not applicable to the overnight network, because the service provides mobility to groups of customers who may have no other travel option available. Each service type (PULSE, Base, GO Transit Connector and rural) contribute differently to the DRT transit network and each have unique minimum productivity targets. Route productivity varies based on the varying built environments in which each route operates. The following are used for each service type:
  • Route Classification average: the average boardings per revenue hour among all routes within the service type and operating period.
  • Route Ridership minimum: based on the average boardings per revenue vehicle hour for each individual route within the service type. 

Table 1 provides ridership productivity minimums for each route type/classification.

Table 1: Ridership productivity minimums for each scheduled service route type (boardings per hour)

Ridership productivity minimums
Operating PeriodPULSEBaseGO
Connector
Rural
Weekday Peak - Class Average  40 25 25
Weekday Peak - Minimum   30 20  20 
Weekday Midday - Class Average   40 20  N/A 
Weekday Midday - Minimum   30 15  N/A 
Weekday Evenings - Class Average   30 20  N/A 
Weekday Evenings - Minimum   20 15  N/A 
Saturday - Class Average  35  20  N/A 
Saturday - Minimum  25  15  N/A 
Sunday - Class Average  30  20  N/A 
Sunday - Minimum  20  15  N/A 

 

 Service frequency and span of service
DRT provides 24-hour transit service seven days a week in urban areas, and service from 06:00 to 24:00 on weekdays and 07:00 to 21:00 on weekends in rural areas. The span of service and service levels varies for each of the Demand Response zones and scheduled routes, based on customer demand. A scheduled route must meet the minimum ridership productivity guideline, which is based on the minimum service frequency at which it is required to operate.

Table 2 presents the minimum service levels for each scheduled route type. In many cases, routes may need to operate more frequently than the minimum frequencies to accommodate higher ridership levels. In these cases, vehicle capacity guidelines are used to determine the service frequency.

Tables 2-4: Minimum service levels for each route type 

Weekday minimum service levels
Time of DayTimesPULSEBaseGO 
Connector
RuralOvernight
Morning peak 05:00 - 08:59 15 30 15 90 N/A
Midday 09:00 - 15:59 15 30 N/A 90 N/A
Afternoon peak 16:00 - 18:59 15 30 15 90 N/A
Early evening 19:00 - 18:59 30 30 N/A 90 N/A
Late evening 22:00 - 24:00 30 30 N/A 90 N/A
Overnight 00:00 - 04:59 N/A N/A N/A N/A 30
Saturday minimum service levels
Time of DayTimesPULSEBaseGO
Connector
RuralOvernight
Early morning 05:00 - 08:59 15 30 N/A 90 N/A
Morning 09:00 - 11:59 15 30 N/A 90 N/A
Afternoon 12:00 - 18:59 15 30 N/A 90 N/A
Early evening 19:00 - 21:59 30 30 N/A 90 N/A
Late evening 22:00 - 24:00 30 30 N/A 90 N/A
Overnight 00:00 - 04:59 N/A N/A N/A N/A 30
Sunday minimum service levels
Time of DayTimesPULSEBaseGO 
Connector
RuralOvernight
Early morning 05:00 - 08:59 15 30 N/A 90 N/A
Morning 09:00 - 11:59 15 30 N/A 90 N/A
Afternoon 12:00 - 18:59 15 30 N/A 90 N/A
Early evening 19:00 - 21:59 30 30 N/A 90 N/A
Late evening 22:00 - 24:00  30 30 N/A 90 N/A
Overnight 00:00 - 04:59 N/A N/A N/A N/A 30

On the scheduled service network, the minimum service frequency is 30 minutes on urban routes and 90 minutes on rural routes. This results in a customer waiting up to 15 minutes for a bus in the urban area, and 45 minutes in the rural area.

To ensure equity to scheduled service wait times, DRT deploys vehicles to ensure the time between a customer requesting a Demand Response trip and pick up, achieves the following objectives:

  • Urban areas: Customers will not wait more than 30 minutes for a pick up, with an average overall wait time less than 15 minutes.
  • Rural areas: Customers will not wait more than 45 minutes for a pick up, with an average overall wait time less than 20 minutes.

By 2025, all Demand Response customers, including current Specialized Services customers, will experience similar average trip wait times, including pre-booked trips or trips scheduled in real time. The accommodated rate for trip requests made by eligible persons with disabilities will exceed 99.6 per cent.

 Vehicle capacity

The vehicle capacity guidelines provide a level of customer comfort when travelling on DRT. The guideline is used when designing services; however the customer experience may vary due to unplanned operational issues and day-to-day variability in travel demand. These guidelines do not apply to the current vehicle loads implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following guidelines are used when designing the service:

Vehicle Capacity Guidelines
Vehicle typeOff-peak design maximum capacity
(100 per cent of seated load)
Peak period design maximum capacity
(150 per cent of seated load)
PULSE 60-foot
(articulated)
52 78
PULSE 40-foot 36 54
Base 40-foot  36 54
Demand response sedan,
van, minibus
4 to 18 4 to 18

 Vehicle capacity considers the average number of passengers that can be accommodated on a bus during its busiest hour, and most popular point on the route.

Service proximity

Service proximity means the walking distance between dwellings and the nearest bus stop.

In the urban area, DRT aims to have: 

  • Dwellings within a 500-metre walk of a bus stop: 80 per cent.
  • Dwellings within an 800-metre walk of a bus stop: 95 per cent.

In the rural area, 100 per cent of dwellings will be served by Demand Response at the curb (such as the entrance to a property).

Customers who are eligible for Specialized Services are provided an accessible door-to-accessible-door trip, based on their eligibility. Customers with unconditional eligibility will receive trips using only Demand Response service. Customers with conditional eligibility may receive trips that include travel on a combination of Demand Response and scheduled service.

 PULSE rapid bus considerations

Scheduled services will be considered to transition to the PULSE service type when the following criteria are met:

  • The corridor is identified in the Durham Region Transportation Master Plan and/or Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan as future rapid transit or rapid bus/priority bus.
  • Analysis indicates that the service could sustain minimum service headways and meet ridership productivity as defined under the PULSE service type.