194 Zoo Rocket (2003-2004)

194-zoorocket-map.png

Compiled by James Bow
Map by Jelo Guiterrez Cantos

June 22, 2003 to September 1, 2003

New summer express service operated to the Toronto Zoo from Scarborough Centre Station every 20 minutes, every day, from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., departing from Scarborough Centre Station and from Toronto Zoo at :00, :20, and :40 past the hour.

Lift-equipped buses are used. Buses operate via Highway 401 and will stop only at Scarborough Centre Station, Meadowvale Road & Sheppard Avenue, and Toronto Zoo.

194

R O C K E T

 

194

R O C K E T

TO TORONTO ZOO

TO SCARBOROUGH CTR

7 days a week, while Toronto Zoo is open

February 25, 2004

At their February meeting, TTC Commissioners received a report from staff recommending that the 194 ZOO ROCKET service not be resumed. The post-implementation review said the following:

New express service from Scarborough Centre Station to the Toronto Zoo was introduced in June 2003, as directed by the Commission at its May 14, 2003 meeting. Service was operated every day from June 22 to September 1, 2003 on a new 194 Zoo Rocket route…

The new service operated every 20 minutes, every day, between approximately 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Buses stopped only at Scarborough Centre Station, Sheppard Avenue & Meadowvale Road, and the Toronto Zoo. Before this service change was made, summer service to the Toronto Zoo was operated every day on the 86A SCARBOROUGH (Kennedy Station-Toronto Zoo) local bus route, and was supplemented on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays by the 85 SHEPPARD EAST local bus route. No changes were made to service on the 86A Scarborough or 85 SHEPPARD EAST routes when the 194 ZOO ROCKET route was introduced.

Counts of passengers … show that approximately 370 customer-trips each weekday, 430 customer-trips each Saturday, and 470 customer-trips each Sunday were made to or from the Zoo on the new service. Most of these passengers previously used the 86 SCARBOROUGH route. While count information for a seasonal service such as this is subject to variation as a result of weather, events at the Zoo, and changes to the transit network, the counts show that there are few new transit customers travelling to the Zoo in 2003 compared to previous years.

Buses on the 194 ZOO ROCKET route were relatively lightly used at all times. During the busiest single hour of service on the route, the average number of customers per bus was 26. Approximately 70 per cent of the trips on the 194 Zoo Rocket route ran with fewer than 10 customers on board. This is significantly below the level of usage of most other TTC bus routes, where the average number of customers per bus is planned to be 36 customers per bus at off-peak times, and 57 customers per bus during the peak periods.

The new express service has increased direct operating costs by approximately $96,000 for the season, as two buses were required to operate the service. Few new customers were attracted to the TTC as a result of the new 194 Zoo Rocket service and, because there has been an increase in operating costs and no substantial increase in ridership, the trial service does not meet the TTC�—� standard of acceptable financial performance.

No changes have been found which would improve the financial performance of the service enough to allow it to meet the minimum financial standard. If the service were made less frequent, so that buses operated once every 40 minutes instead of once every 20 minutes, ridership would decline further, there would still be no new customers attracted to the TTC by the service, and the financial performance of the route would remain unacceptable.

Because the service has an unacceptable financial performance, and no service changes have been identified which would bring the service to an acceptable level of financial performance, the 194 Zoo Rocket service should be discontinued, and should not be operated in the summer of 2004.

With the elimination of the 194 ZOO ROCKET route, customers who used the service would travel instead on the long-established 86A SCARBOROUGH or 85 SHEPPARD EAST services to the Zoo.

TTC Commissioners rejected this recommendation, and voted to try the service again with additional publicity.

June 20, 2004 to September 6, 2004

Service on 194 ZOO ROCKET resumes. Buses operate every 20 minutes between approximately 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., running express between Scarborough Centre Station and Meadowvale Road on Highway 401 and then serving all stops to the Zoo.

During this period, the TTC promoted the route with posters at subway stations and the Toronto Zoo, an advertisement in the free Metro newspaper, and a prominent banner linking to customer information on the TTC’s website. In addition, the TTC issued two news releases over the summer, highlighting the service.

194

R O C K E T

 

194

R O C K E T

TO TORONTO ZOO

TO SCARBOROUGH CTR

Weekends and Holidays, while Toronto Zoo is open

October 20, 2004

The post-implementation review of the 2004 operation of 194 ZOO ROCKET revealed the following:

Counts of passengers taken in 2004 … show that approximately 320 customer-trips each Saturday and 310 customer-trips each Sunday were made to or from the Zoo on the new service. The overall number of customers travelling by transit to and from the Toronto Zoo has remained approximately the same since before the new route began. The number of customers using the 194 Zoo Rocket on weekends has also remained approximately the same from the summer of 2003 to the summer of 2004. While count information for a seasonal service such as this is subject to variation as a result of weather and events at the Zoo, the counts show that there are few new transit customers travelling by transit to the Zoo on weekends in 2004 or 2003 compared to previous years before the new service was introduced.

As in 2003, buses on the 194 Zoo Rocket route were relatively lightly used at all times. During the busiest single hour of service on the route, the average number of customers per bus was 21, down from 26 in 2003. Approximately 80 per cent of the trips had fewer than 10 customers on board. This is significantly below the level of usage of most other TTC bus routes, where the average number of customers per bus is planned to be 36 customers per bus at off-peak times.

The weekend operation of the 194 Zoo Rocket service increased direct operating costs by approximately $34,200 for the 2004 season, as two buses were required to operate the service. Few new customers have been attracted to the TTC by the 194 Zoo Rocket service, and weekend ridership has not increased on this route from 2003 to 2004. Because there has been an increase in operating costs and no substantial increase in ridership, the trial service does not meet the TTC�—� standard of acceptable performance.

No changes have been found which would improve the financial performance of the service enough to allow it to meet the minimum financial standard. If the service were made less frequent, so that buses operated once every 40 minutes instead of once every 20 minutes, ridership would decline further, there would still be few new customers attracted to the TTC by the service, and the financial performance of the route would remain unacceptable. Service from Monday to Friday, which was the most-lightly used service in 2003, was already eliminated for the 2004 season.

Because the service has low ridership and unacceptable financial performance, and because no service changes have been identified which would bring the service to an acceptable level of financial performance, the 194 Zoo Rocket service should be discontinued, and should not be operated in the summer of 2005.

With the elimination of the 194 ZOO ROCKET route, customers who used the service to travel to the Zoo would travel instead on the 86A SCARBOROUGH or 85 SHEPPARD EAST routes.

This time, TTC Commissioners accepted staff’s recommendation, and service on 194 ZOO ROCKET was officially cancelled.


194 Zoo Rocket Image Archive