Metro is currently considering some pretty big bus service changes. Basically Metro is considering a cost-neutral scheme that would eliminate multiple relatively low-performing bus lines and would add more frequent service on a core network. More details below. Overall it looks like a step in a positive direction, though the devil may be in the details.
And the details are few and far between.
Though Metro has released a very basic presentation [PDF] with some maps and lists, the proposal seems to be in flux. Metro’s maps and lists don’t match. There are a lot of questions left unanswered.
How Metro’s Proposal Came About:
In March, Metro received the recommendations from an American Public Transit Association (APTA) review by a national panel of transit experts. On the operations end, the APTA review recommended more frequent bus service on a sparser network. The review also recommended more space between bus stops and a greater “load factor” (more people per bus) on somewhat crowded peak-commute-hour bus service.
The APTA recommendations dovetailed with changes that were already being considered. Metro convened a “Blue Ribbon Committee” (BRC) which reviewed Metro staff’s development of a bus service reorganization plan, called Metro’s “Draft Transit Service Policy” [PDF].
What’s In Metro’s Proposal:
To date, no full thorough documentation of Metro’s proposal has been made available, so the public has to read between the lines of Metro’s slideshow summary [PDF]. Calwatch posted a good summary of the proposal at Reddit.
On balance, the overall proposal has “no additional hours” of bus service. So where Metro would add more frequent service on many lines, it would subtract the same amount of service from other lines.
To evaluate how well bus lines are doing, Metro developed a metric it calls Route Performance Index (RPI.) The higher the RPI, the better the line is performing. RPI combines three measurements:
- how many people use a line (passengers/service hour)
- how far people travel on a line (passengers/seat mile)
- overall operational cost (net cost/passenger)
These values are normalized so that a score of 1.0 matches the overall average. Better Institutions obtained a full RPI listing for Metro’s 140 transit lines (though the list does not include rail or BRT, and buses on Wilshire Blvd are now considered BRT). Metro’s highest ridership line, the 254 on Vermont Avenue, scores an RPI of 1.69, while the agency’s worst line, the 607 in Windsor Hills-Inglewood, scores an RPI of 0.27. According to Metro, lines with an RPI less than 0.6 “are subject to remedial action.”Where Bus Service Would Be Improved:
According to Metro’s “BRC Recommended Network” map, the following bus lines would run more frequently. Read more…