Grand River Transit (GRT) strives to provide the best service possible to its customers.  With this in mind, the following provides a snapshot of our performance on a month-to-month basis. These performance measurements help us identify trends and evaluate our efficiency and effectiveness. 

For alternate formats of this information, please contact grtinfo@regionofwaterloo.ca

 Ridership

 GRT tracks ridership on a regular basis. If a rider takes two buses to get to their destination, this counts as one revenue ride. 

Graph of ridership on GRT over the previous 12 months

Ridership and electronic fare systems

In the past, ridership was calculated manually based on sales of fare products multiplied by an average trip rate. At the end of 2018, GRT began to transition customers to the electronic fare system. With electronic fare systems, ridership is counted when a customer takes a trip, instead of being estimated when a fare product is purchased.

This means that GRT’s ridership numbers will show larger peaks and valleys compared to the manual method of calculating ridership. For example, in February 2019, as shown in the graph, ridership was affected by the high number of weather-related school closures and because students didn’t travel as much during reading week.

This does not mean ridership is declining. More people are riding GRT buses every month.

For context, the green line on the graph above shows boardings. Boarding data is calculated separately from ridership by sensors on the buses which count customers as they get on and off buses. The number of boardings isn’t affected by the move to electronic fares. Boardings and revenue both show steady growth over the previous year.

It is common for transit agencies to experience a decrease in calculated ridership when introducing electronic fares. We expect the dip to disappear as the transition to electronic fares is complete.

Q: Is ridership on GRT dropping?

No, the number of customers using GRT continues to grow. Boardings and revenue both show steady growth over the past year. 

Q: What’s the difference between boardings and ridership?

A ride is a paid trip, including any transfers. Boardings are how many people stepped onto a bus and a boarding doesn’t separate out who paid a fare and who boarded with a transfer. For example, a rider who pays a cash fare for their trip and then transfers to a second bus to complete their journey is counted as one trip, but two boardings.

Q: Does this mean people aren’t riding transit because of the electronic fare system?

No. The decline shown on the graph above is due to a change in how ridership is calculated with the move from manual calculations to real-time ridership data. More people are riding GRT buses every month.

 Service reliability

 A GRT bus is considered on-time if it departs a scheduled timepoint no more than 3 minutes late. 

Graph of GRT's on-time performance over the previous 12 months.

On-Time performance by month and percentage
Time Period Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug.
Sep 2017 - Aug 2018 71.4 73.8 75.1 77.2 77.5 79.4 81.3 79.8 76.3 74.2 75.6 77.7
Sep 2018 - Aug 2019 73.1 76.1 72.0 76.1 75.3 73.9 77.9 76.4 72.7 70.6 70.3 68.5

GRT's on-time performance is affected by construction on roads around Waterloo Region. On-time performance improves as detours end and buses return to regular routing.

 Passenger crowding

A crowded bus negatively affects the comfort and safety of passengers. It could also result in the bypassing of customers waiting at bus stops.

A bus is identified as overcrowded when it is carrying:

  • More than 45 passengers during weekday peak periods; or
  • More than seated capacity (36 passengers) during midday, evenings or weekends.

Routes are regularly monitored to identify bus trips that are consistently overcrowded. Subject to availability of staff, buses and budget, GRT responds to overcrowding by adding bus trips during busy hours. Long-term measures include increasing service frequency for overcrowded routes.

Graph of the top 5 overcrowded routes during the morning peak period.

Graph of the top 5 overcrowded routes during the midday period.

Graph of the top 5 overcrowded routes during the afternoon peak period.

Top 5 overcrowded routes and percentage of trips which are overcrowded:
Morning Peak (7:00AM – 9:00AM) Midday (9:00AM – 2:30PM) Afternoon Peak (2:30PM – 6:00pm)
Route 61 11.9% Overcrowded Trips Route 19 6.6% Overcrowded Trips Route 7 1.2% Overcrowded Trips
Route 19 3.3% Overcrowded Trips Route 61 3.2% Overcrowded Trips Route 16 0.9% Overcrowded Trips
Route 201 2.1% Overcrowded Trips Route 7 0.7% Overcrowded Trips Route 19 0.9% Overcrowded Trips
Route 16 2.0% Overcrowded Trips Route 12 0.5% Overcrowded Trips Route 12 0.7% Overcrowded Trips
Route 29 1.9% Overcrowded Trips Route 13 0.5% Overcrowded Trips Route 10 0.2% Overcrowded Trips

 

 Service delivery

GRT provides approximately 60,000-68,000 scheduled service hours per month. Service delivery is measured by the percentage of scheduled service hours that are operated. Missed service can occur due to traffic, weather, mechanical breakdowns, collisions and the lack of resources assigned to a route. As a result customers are negatively impacted by longer wait times and missed transfers

Graph of GRT's service delivery over the previous 12 months.

  • In Jun 2019, 99.86% of services were delivered as scheduled
  • In Jul 2019, 99.89% of services were delivered as scheduled

GRT continually evaluates service disruptions and the resulting service impacts and takes action to minimize the disruptions. Short and long term measures such as responding to on-street incidents and implementing service adjustments, modifying preventative maintenance and training programs and maximizing staffing resources are implemented to minimize disruptions and improve service delivery.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does GRT mean by "real-time" when referencing any of the systems providing this information?

A number of GRT's traveller information systems give predicted real-time departure information for buses so riders have a better idea of when their bus will be leaving their stop.

While GRT expects most predictions to be reasonably accurate,  the technology is complex and relies on multiple systems, on and off the bus to work together. Because of this complexity, riders may occasionally receive inaccurate  information when one system fails to communicate with the others.

 2. How else is real-time location information used?
Transit Control Centre staff monitor the schedule performance of each GRT route and make any necessary service adjustments. Transit schedulers analyze average bus travel times and adjust route schedules accordingly.
 3. What is a timepoint?

Each bus route has series of bus stops, usually at major intersections or landmarks, that are identified as timepoints on its schedule. For example, "King at University" is one of thirteen timepoints identified on the Route 7 public timetable. Bus operators drive to the scheduled time at these timepoints.

In addition, every bus stop between timepoints has a time associated to it but these times are subject to some variability so customers are asked to be at stops 5 minutes early.

 4. What is considered an on-time bus?
A bus is considered on time when it has departed from a timepoint at the scheduled time or no more than 3 minutes late. A bus departing more than 3 minutes after the scheduled time is considered late, while a bus departing before the scheduled time is considered early.
 5. How does GRT calculate on-time performance?
All GRT buses are equipped with an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system that uses GPS technology to monitor in real-time the location of each bus. The AVL system determines the location of each bus and then compares it to where each bus is scheduled to be. On-time performance is then calculated by determining the percent of buses that are never early and up to 3 minutes late.
 6. How does GRT account for detours or weather?

Weather or detours can affect the on-time performance of buses. In a snow storm, buses will typically run later than scheduled which will be reflected in the calculation of schedule adherence.

If a detour is known about in advance and will last for a significant length of time (such as a month or longer road construction project), GRT staff will take this into account and, when possible, adjust the schedule for the affected route(s). On-time performance is based on the adjusted schedules. In contrast, the schedule for a route is not adjusted for detours that occur with little advance notice or are only in effect for a short time. Examples of events that cause short-term detours include a water main break, traffic accident or minor road repair. For these short-term detours, a bus is recorded as running late.

Top 5 overcrowded routes and percentage of trips which are overcrowded:
Morning Peak (7:00AM – 9:00AM) Midday (9:00AM – 2:30PM) Afternoon Peak (2:30PM – 6:00pm)
Route 61 11.9% Overcrowded Trips Route 19 6.6% Overcrowded Trips Route 7 1.2% Overcrowded Trips
Route 19 3.3% Overcrowded Trips Route 61 3.2% Overcrowded Trips Route 16 0.9% Overcrowded Trips
Route 201 2.1% Overcrowded Trips Route 7 0.7% Overcrowded Trips Route 19 0.9% Overcrowded Trips
Route 16 2.0% Overcrowded Trips Route 12 0.5% Overcrowded Trips Route 12 0.7% Overcrowded Trips
Route 29 1.9% Overcrowded Trips Route 13 0.5% Overcrowded Trips Route 10 0.2% Overcrowded Trips