On June 3rd of 2019 we published a new schedule that made adjustments to the timetables of several routes in response to data collected from our new intelligent transportation systems. Using new GPS data, we identified several locations where specific routes were consistently running early or late and made tweaks to those schedules to more accurately reflect the actual times of buses on those routes, which in turn makes our schedules more reliable and decreases perceived wait time. The system’s on-time performance has increased significantly as a result.
SMTD buses are also now outfitted with automated passenger counters that - when combined with GPS - can help us determine exactly when and where passengers are getting on or off the bus. This data informs decisions like where to put shelters (you need them when you’re waiting for the bus, not when you get off the bus) and where to increase or cut service. Several changes going live in the Fall 2019 schedule (going into effect on August 19th), are based on this information.
Route 1 - North 5th
After finding enough extra time in the route we opted to add a segment to Route 1 that travels to Walmart on North Dirksen. This is by far the most utilized bus stop in the entire SMTD system outside of those at the Transfer Center, and adding this segment to Route 1 has the following benefits:
Less wait time at other time checks along the route
Quick two-way travel from Walmart to the Sand Hill area and everything between
Spreads passenger load and thus increases on-time performance for other routes that utilize that stop (Routes 2 & 3)
Route 4 - W. Jefferson / W. Lawrence
A small segment was added to Route 4 outbound that detours from E. Cook onto 7th, looping back to E. Cook but stopping by SMTD’s home office along the way. Previously Route 11 was the only daytime route servicing this stop - and only inbound - but this new segment provides direct travel from the Transfer Center to SMTD’s offices.
Route 5 - N. Grand / Medical
Due to low ridership, travel to the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport was cut from Route 5. The time surplus from this cut will be used to add a segment to the inbound portion of Route 5 that goes from 11th to Carpenter, to MLK, to E. Cook, and then back to the Transfer Center.
Route 8 - South Grand / MacArthur
Further timetable adjustments were made to Route 8 to correct errors in the June 2019 schedule. Additionally, modifications to destination signs will make it easier for those in the Scarritt/Pasfield/Allen loop to determine whether the next bus is headed inbound (“to Transfer Center”) or outbound (“to North Street”).
Route 903 - West Side Night Service
To avoid trains on the 3rd Street rail, Route 903 will no longer take 2nd Street to Washington inbound. Instead, buses will take 2nd Street to Capitol to 4th Street and then to Washington.
All Night Service Routes
All night service buses will start 15 minutes later to facilitate better interaction with the day service routes. The first trips out of the Transfer Center will leave at 6:00 PM while the last will depart at 10:00 PM.
Moving Forward Together
We understand that even minor changes to the system can have huge effects on the lives of our passengers and that a system in constant flux is not a bus system you can rely on. The adjustments made in June and those going into effect in August were designed with this in mind, optimizing the current system so that buses arrive when expected and get you to your destination as quickly and as safely as possible.