Transit Improvement Trial 2011/2012

The results are in!  Click here for the transit trial evalution results.

Background

The City’s Transit system has seen a steady decrease in ridership over the last number of years which has resulted in increased costs to the City.  At the direction of Council, Staff initiated an analysis of the latest “Best Practices” of Transit Systems across the country as well as performing a thorough review of the system currently in place in the City.  This included conducting surveys, meeting with various user groups as well as conducting a town hall meeting that was very well attended and proved to be very informative.  The results of the analysis have shown that the current system does not fully meet the needs of the users with respect to the schedules, and that the information technology of the transit system is behind that currently in use by other similar sized transit systems.  Staff has since developed a one-year trial plan that will see changes made in the areas of scheduling, marketing and information technology, including the addition of an Intelligent Transport System.  While these changes do not incorporate every suggestion gathered during the review, we feel that these changes will address the majority of the issues identified, while keeping the costs associated with the upgrade at a reasonable level. Following the trial the ridership and service levels will be reviewed in preparation for the new tender for operation of the transit system.

Schedule - (20 months total, 12 month guaranteed schedule improvements)

  • Sept 1, 2011 to Aug 31, 2012 – Official Trial Period
  • September 2012 - Evaluation period and tender preparation
  • October 1, 2012 - Tender release
  • November 1, 2012 – Tender award
  • May 1, 2013 – Start new contract following delivery of new buses

Bus Routes - Unchanged (see end of document for description of current routes)

Bus Schedules - Current vs. Proposed  (to see graphic schedule click here)

Fall / Winter Current
Monday-Friday routes 1-4 on a ½ hour schedule from 7am-10am and 3pm-7pm; Monday-Friday routes 5-6 on an hour schedule from 10am-3pm.

Fall / Winter Proposed - Increase of 156 bus hrs
Monday-Friday routes 1-4 on a ½ hour schedule from 7am-9am and 4pm-6pm, Monday-Tuesday routes 5-6 on a 1 hour schedule from 9am-4pm,
Wednesday-Friday routes 5-6 on a 1 hour schedule from 9am-4pm and 6pm-10pm, Saturday routes 5-6 on a 1 hr schedule from 8am-6pm.  

Summer Current (13 week period)
Monday-Friday routes 5-6 on a 1 hour schedule from 7am-7pm.

Summer Proposed (13 week period) - Increase of 442 bus hrs
Monday-Friday routes 5-6 on a 1hour schedule from 7am-6pm
Wednesday-Friday routes 5-6 on a 1 hr schedule from 6pm-10pm
Saturday routes 5-6 on a 1 hr schedule from 8am-6pm. See attached schedule.

Information Technology Improvements

Intelligent Transport System (ITS)

An Intelligent Transport System uses satellite technology and advanced computer modeling to track vehicles on their routes. Each bus is fitted with a satellite tracking system. Taking into account the actual position of the buses, their intended stops, and the typical traffic patterns, an Intelligent Transport System can estimate vehicle arrivals with a high degree of accuracy. This estimate is updated continuously. The predictions are then made available on the Internet and to wireless devices including signs at bus stops and internet capable cell phones. This system will allow users to quickly and easily determine when the next bus will arrive at their stop.

Digital Signs

Several digital signs will be installed at key locations to provide a read-out of when the next bus is due to arrive at that location.

Automated Phone System

As part of the Intelligent Transport System discussed above, a phone-in system will be introduced whereby the caller will enter the bus stop number and the automated system will respond with the arrival time of the next bus at that stop.

Marketing Plan

School, University, College of the North Atlantic and Academy Canada

  • Promotion of the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) website and call in number
  • Advertise the ITS website address and call in number on the buses and on other Transit materials and locations
  • Promote transit on the City website – include route maps both interactive and non-interactive, and schedules
  • Post route maps and schedules in all bus shelters
  • Provide updated paper copies of the transit schedule at businesses around the City including but not limited to Murphy’s, City Hall, High
  • Customer Service Reps at City Hall to be trained on the transit system and able to answer questions when calls or walk ins come in
  • Presentation on transit system during new student orientations at Grenfell Campus, WMRH, College of the North Atlantic and Academy Canada
  • Google Transit Partner Program (http://maps.google.com/help/maps/transit/partners/)
  • Digital signs at 2 locations around the City (Hospital and University) displaying when the next bus will arrive

Budget Implications

  • The incremental cost of $10,250 plus HST per month for the schedule improvements will be allocated from other sources within the  
  • Operating Budget.
  • The capital and marketing costs of approximately $45,000 plus HST for the Intelligent Transport System will be covered by the current
  • Transit Funding agreement.

Transit Routes (No changes recommended)