Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

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kellonathan
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby kellonathan » July 27th, 2016, 10:07 am

There are ups-and-downs when it comes to organizing bus services w/ branches---I am often leaning against branches, and generally with the Metro Transit's practice of "over-saturating" the schedules/maps by designating routes with different terminus points with different suffixes (even if the route doesn't go 'off the branch'.)

The only example I can think of that might be similar to our practices in the Twin Cities would be Toronto's TTC. They also have a quite complex system of using route branches and suffixes in their signs and maps.
Jonathan Ahn | hello@jonathanahn.com
Drawing lines on maps and dreaming really hard for living.

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kellonathan
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby kellonathan » August 5th, 2016, 12:43 pm

August 20th - Route 2 joins Hi-Frequency network!

Check out the PDF version of the updated schedule, and compare it with the current version.
http://www.metrotransit.org/Data/Sites/ ... 34/002.pdf
http://www.metrotransit.org/Data/Sites/ ... 33/002.pdf

Metro Transit did a good job updating the style of the printed schedule, including the new logo for the "High Frequency" network, albeit I still see some references to the "Hi-Frequency" branding here and there. As a fan of the old logo, I am not sure how I feel about the rebranding...
Jonathan Ahn | hello@jonathanahn.com
Drawing lines on maps and dreaming really hard for living.

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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby SkyScraperKid » August 5th, 2016, 11:37 pm

yea, they should have kept the old logo. The new one looks like it's a warning the buses are slow. I do like the idea of maybe replacing one of the 3 buses with a 15min clock logo, on the old logo. That way it would be Bus, 15min clock, Bus. You should get why of course.

masstrlk67
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby masstrlk67 » November 16th, 2016, 1:50 pm

The Better Bus Stops project has a survey out about how & where to improve bus stops (shelters, lights, signs, etc.). I took the open comment box at the end as an opportunity to call for bus stop consolidation, which isn't really in scope, but hey, why not.

http://www.metrotransit.org/Data/Sites/ ... -pager.pdf

Silophant
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby Silophant » November 16th, 2016, 2:16 pm

Fewer bus stops means that there's more money to improve each remaining one!

jebr
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby jebr » November 16th, 2016, 11:54 pm

I rode the 83 bus today and noticed that, other than my wife and I, only one other person boarded during our trip this evening (which was from the 54 transfer point to the Har Mar Target.) It's not the first time that I've taken this route, at least for a segment, and noticed rather low ridership. I don't know if it gets higher ridership during the daytime (I assume it does) but it makes me wonder if there's a few things that could be done to improve ridership.

A few ideas I have:
1. Connect to Rosedale. I understand that the current schedule and route doesn't have enough padding to allow it, but I think it's critical to try and find a way to connect it. One thought: either stay on Hamline from Como to Co. Rd. B (instead of diverting back to Lexington at Larpenteur) or don't divert onto Hamline and stay on Lexington from Como to Larpenteur. I would guesstimate that this would save about 3 minutes on the route. That plus an additional minute from not having to divert onto Commerce at Hamline to get into the Har Mar Target should provide the four minutes each way needed to extend the line to Rosedale (based on the four minutes that the 65 has scheduled from Rosedale to Har Mar.)

There is some "front door" (or, more precisely, "at the end of the parking lot") access to businesses that is lost, but if the Lexington route is used most of those would be within a 5 minute or so walk. I'd wager that connecting to the numerous lines at Rosedale (not to mention having single-seat access on the 83 route to the stores at Rosedale) would more than offset the ridership lost by having a walk to Target and some of the stores around Larpenteur and Lexington.

2. If that schedule change still proves too tight to be teniable, look at adding a fourth bus (which allows the route to be an hour each way including recovery time) and then extending the 83 to Terminal 1. Going to Terminal 1 would add about 6 minutes to the route (there's 9 minutes scheduled from T1 to Albion on the 54, minus 3 minutes saved from not going to Montreal Circle.) Going all the way to MOA would be just a bit too far to be workable (it's an additional 10 minutes beyond Terminal 1, which if my internal math is correct would add too much time to be workable with 4 buses.) Again, the idea would be to connect the endpoints to existing traffic nodes, and Terminal 1 would almost certainly have more traffic than Montreal Circle.

3. Is ridership reduced by having a shuttle bus (the very small, 15-20 seat buses) running the route? I wonder if people get the impression that since it's a very small bus that it's not a "true" transit bus and so are more reluctant to use it. I know some of it is logistical (the railway bridge at Lexington is an issue) but the clearance seems to be right on the line for using a 30' bus instead (such as what the 87 uses.) If I remember correctly, those have a 10' 6" clearance per the sticker in the bus, and the lowest clearance required on Lexington is 10' 6" so long as the bus uses the left lane going northbound (which the current buses appear to do anyways.) If it's possible, would the additional cost of 30' buses on this route be at least somewhat made up by increased ridership, or is it unlikely that people avoid this bus because of the type of bus it uses?

Just some thoughts for this specific route. I wouldn't want to lose it, as it's a nice connection to have, but if ridership is as low as it seems from my anecdotal experiences I'm worried that Metro Transit may decide to reduce service or cut the route entirely.

nate
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby nate » November 17th, 2016, 9:16 am

I think extending the 83 on each end would result in a major improvement in ridership.

I see a fair number of people transferring from the 83 to the Green Line at Lexington Station, but I have a difficult time imagining it ever having robust ridership with its current end points.

masstrlk67
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby masstrlk67 » November 17th, 2016, 9:54 am

I've only ridden the 83 once, but I agree that it's a nice connection, especially since a lot of the NS routes in that part of Saint Paul don't make it all the way to West 7th (A, 87, 63). I agree that Rosedale connection would help a lot. Another quirk is the jaunt onto 35E between Randolph and W 7th since it only stays on for one exit, and there aren't any barriers to just running on Lexington or Edgcumbe I'm aware of. I'd think there'd be some potential ridership there.

IMO, the terminal 1 extension is less warranted, if for no other reason than 54 service is already very good, and I think additional frequency on the route would be a better investment.

jebr
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby jebr » November 17th, 2016, 10:08 am

Yeah, the extension to Terminal 1 is more an "if we had to add an additional bus anyways, what would be the best use of it?" Doing the math, if we needed an extra few minutes which required a fourth bus we could go down to 25-minute frequencies, but I think the advantages of "clock-face" service plus offering a connection to the Blue Line (though I'm not tied to T1 specifically for that) would outweigh having buses 5 minutes more frequently. (20 minute frequency plus extending the line wouldn't work with only 4 buses.)

Ideally I'd rather keep it to three buses with a slightly modified route going to Rosedale, though. I'm not sold that the southern endpoint is terrible enough to warrant an additional bus on its own (but I think if we can't extend it on either side without an additional bus, then make it a Rosedale - MSP T1 route.)

I think the quirk on 35E is due to some neighborhood resistance to bus service running on that particular street. At least that's what I recall hearing somewhere, but I'm not sure where I heard it.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby DanPatchToget » August 4th, 2017, 6:45 pm

How feasible would it be to replace Route 537 (Normandale College-Southdale) with an extension of one of the Route 6 branches? Could this perhaps attract new ridership since it provides a one-seat ride from Normandale College to South Minneapolis and Uptown, especially if its every half hour with longer service hours whereas Route 537 is hourly and has short service hours.

intercomnut
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby intercomnut » May 30th, 2018, 11:05 am

Metro Transit is planning on making improvements to Route 2 including:
  • Wider stop spacing
  • Bump-outs
  • Signal priority
  • Upgraded shelters
https://twitter.com/marcyholmesmpls/sta ... 81345?s=21

PhilmerPhil
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby PhilmerPhil » May 30th, 2018, 11:30 am

Let’s stage a photo op with shovels for Peter McLaughlin when this project starts. It’s little projects like this that have a big impact, but don’t get much attention.

tmart
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby tmart » May 30th, 2018, 12:48 pm

So basically, it's aBRT minus off-board fare payment, nicer vehicles, and 3 years of planning and environmental reviews?

Silophant
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby Silophant » May 30th, 2018, 1:33 pm

Pretty much. I wonder if 'upgraded shelters' means aBRT style ones? Would be nice to make it easily convertible in the future.

MattW
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby MattW » May 31st, 2018, 8:48 am

tmart wrote:
May 30th, 2018, 12:48 pm
So basically, it's aBRT minus off-board fare payment, nicer vehicles, and 3 years of planning and environmental reviews?
So, like, why can't we just do this with all of our high frequency lines and skip the whole build-out process of aBRT that we have? :roll:

intercomnut
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby intercomnut » May 31st, 2018, 9:08 am

Off-board fare payment is a huge time-saver, and much more on routes like the 5, 19, and 21 where a lot of customers pay cash.

Also, I would imagine they’re not going to be able to give every (or even most of) the bus stops on the 2 bump-outs, probably just a select few. And the extra height from aBRT stations save time for people who have a hard time boarding the bus.

These incremental improvements on the 2 will be great, but going full aBRT would still provide better results.

mattaudio
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby mattaudio » May 31st, 2018, 10:51 am

I do think we should figure out some sort of incremental approach that gets us to ABRT.
1. Quarter mile stop spacing yesterday
2. Bumpouts and station amenities based on demand, or when streets are reconstructed.
3. Off-board farepayment

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jtoemke
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby jtoemke » June 13th, 2018, 7:35 am

Semi interesting tid bit - we all bemoan the slow roll out of aBRT but one of my coworkers was an engineer on the aBRT system that just opened in Columbus, OH (equivalent to the A-Line in terms of features) and he said that the engineering on the stations is ridiculously complicated because of the foundations. Essentially every shelter is like starting over because each has its own site conditions and utilities are never uniformly installed across the city. So if there are 15 stops, that's 30 different sites with unique engineering and utility issues.

Just thought this would be interesting to share because contrary to normal bus shelters, space isn't the only qualifier.

Silophant
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby Silophant » June 13th, 2018, 7:55 am

Yeah, as much as I hate that the "one per year" cadence has dropped to "one every three years maybe", it definitely makes sense to delay the station construction to coordinate with full street rebuilds where possible.

gpete
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Re: Improving Metro Transit's urban bus service

Postby gpete » June 13th, 2018, 9:53 am

Metro Transit is seeking input on possible service improvements for Route 2: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9D2M3MG

They're taking comments through Friday, June 15.


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