In a presentation by BC Transit, options to solve this problem and improve the service were outlined to council. Having trouble with on-time performance is not an unusual problem, said Matthew Boyd, Senior Planner at BC Transit. “It is usually a symptom of growth, an increase in ridership.”
Over 50 per cent of the weekday trips are running late, usually between one and four minutes, but some are running later than that, which begins to impact the customer, said Boyd. “If the bus isn’t running on time, we run the risk of losing customers and being unable to attract new riders. It is critical that we’re delivering the service we’ve promised.”
The busiest times are during the morning and afternoon rush, said Boyd. If a bus gets behind during either of these times, it causes them to be late for the entire day. The best option, as outlined by Boyd, is to discontinue the two lowest performing trips at the end of the day, and use the time from those trips to restructure the busiest time periods. This would allow extra time for the buses to make their trips and remain on schedule.
The other options included discontinuing a number of trips and distributing that time throughout the day, or shortening a number of routes. Discontinuing only two trips at the end of the day and reallocating that time is the most cost-neutral option, according to Boyd, and it will have the lowest impact on customers.
If the City decides to go forward with this option, a new schedule would be released for the fall term, on Sept 8. Boyd recommended revisiting the schedule annually, and perhaps conduct a more detailed analysis and create a revised and improved schedule every September if the city’s growth projections continue.
Victor Shopland, the City’s General Manager of Integrated Services, said that later in the year next year, they might look a route review and expansion into areas that are currently not serviced. These new routes, if approved, would probably not become active until 2017.