Friday, June 13, 2008

Getting Cozy on the Bus

We know personal space on some of the bus routes is getting...tight. Ridership has been increasing steadily since January. We don’t yet have the final ridership numbers tallied for May, but bus drivers and riders are reporting fuller-than-usual buses, some standing-room-only. Particularly on the Express routes, personal space is becoming a premium.

We’re working hard to provide some relief, and expect to have a number of supplementary services in place within a week. As of today, we have restored certain trips on Express routes 982 and 983 that were removed when UT's spring semester concluded. These routes typically go to a reduced frequency for the summer, when fewer people tend to ride. However, we have moved them back into a full-service schedule because of demand.

Wherever feasible, we’ve also made best use of our bus fleet to alleviate crowding. For example, if a 35-foot bus is assigned normally to a route, and that route is near capacity, but another route is not very crowded and uses a 40-foot bus, sometimes we can swap the buses.

By next week we expect to have additional buses assigned to provide some additional capacity on the busiest express routes.

Capital Metro is in a fairly good position to handle a large increase in ridership during the summer, because some routes are not in service while school and college are out. (Ergo, we have more resources available to deal with crowding on other routes). It becomes more problematic in the fall, when the majority of our buses and bus drivers are scheduled. And that doesn’t take into consideration the costs involved with adding frequency to a route… it’s expensive. I’ll post more about that in a few days.