Here is an excerpt from the report on the Los Angeles Metro Rapid bus program. Lrt proponents are fond of talking about such programs as just express bus service.
>> The Metro Rapid Demonstration Program has been a success, meeting all 7 of the program's original objectives. Objective 1: Reduce Passenger Travel Times - The Metro Rapid program introduced several attributes specifically to reduce passenger travel times, including bus signal priority, level boarding/alighting with low-floor buses, headway rather than timetable-based schedules, fewer stops, far-side intersection location of stations, and joint active management of the service operation from the Transit Operations Supervisors (TOS) in the field and the MTA Bus Operations Control Center (BOCC). Since the initial date of service, Metro Rapid operation has achieved the following improvements in operating speeds: o Wilshire/Whittier Corridor - operating speeds increased by 29%. o Ventura Corridor - operating speeds increased by 23%. Objective 2: Increase Ridership - The increase in ridership has come from three principal sources: (1) 1/3 of the increase is from brand new riders (riders from households making over $50,000 per year rose to over 13% of total line ridership); (2) 1/3 are current riders riding more often (a higher percentage now ride 5 or more days a week); and (3) 1/3 are current MTA riders who changed routes (diversion). o Wilshire/Whittier Corridor - ridership has increased by 42%. o Ventura Corridor - ridership has increased by 27%. Objective 3: Attract New Riders - As noted above, approximately 1/3 of the ridership increase are new riders based on a survey conducted in September 2000, prior to the work stoppage. Objective 4: Increase Service Reliability - Metro Rapid was designed to improve service reliability by addressing bus bunching and the incidence of vehicle overcrowding. To date, service reliability has been excellent on the Ventura Metro Rapid, out-performing the time-point based local service in terms of achieving lower bus bunching and improved reliability. Service reliability has been mixed on the Wilshire/Whittier Metro Rapid, largely due to heavily loaded trips during much of the day. Scheduled service was increased in September and December 2000, and will again be increased this coming June 2001 in order to match service levels with demand. Service reliability has been improving with the increase in service and with the introduction of a new module in LADOT's bus signal priority system that helps maintain headway intervals. It is further anticipated that service reliability will continue to improve with the next round of improvements in June 2001. Objective 5: Improve Fleet and Facility Appearance - Fleet appearance has been excellent with both Divisions 7 and 8 turning in strong ongoing performances. The improvement in fleet cleanliness was very obvious to customers as they indicated in the on-board before and after surveys. Facility appearance has not yet been measured; the Stations have been only recently constructed along Ventura and Wilshire-Whittier Boulevards. Objective 6: Improve Service Effectiveness - Service effectiveness (passengers per revenue hour or mile) has been mixed: Wilshire/ Whittier is up, while Ventura is not. The Wilshire/ Whittier corridor shows significant improvement in effectiveness (productivity is up 17% and subsidy per passenger improved 18%) despite increased service (service hours are up 20% but resulted in a 42% ridership gain). The Ventura corridor has showed a marked decline in service effectiveness that is the result of large increases in local service concurrent with the initiation of Metro Rapid (the local service was operating twice as often as Metro Rapid in peak periods). This increase in local service has not generated a significant change in ridership and may be addressed by Operations in the June 2001 Shake-Up. It is anticipated that the effectiveness of the Ventura corridor will improve dramatically with better matching of local service levels with local service demand. Objective 7: Build Positive Relations with Communities - As part of the development of the Metro Rapid Station concept and design, staff worked closely with the individual communities to implement the Metro Rapid program. Staff have developed a uniform station design that meets the "image-linkage with the vehicle" requirement, while simultaneously meeting community preferences. Staff has worked with the local jurisdictions to address any concerns identified by adjacent property owners without hampering the Metro Rapid program. Next Steps o Build on the success of the Metro Rapid Demonstration Program with input from the Municipal Operators, cities, and County. o Complete the Phase I attributes still in implementation, including expansion of the bus signal priority system outside the City of Los Angeles, and upgrading of Metro Rapid bollard gate stations to canopy gates stations where feasible. o Implement the Phase II Metro Rapid System Expansion Program and remaining Phase II Metro Rapid attributes, including: o High capacity vehicles o Exclusive lanes/by-pass lanes o Multiple door boarding and alighting with off-vehicle fare collection o Feeder network ... o An analysis of customer ratings and importance of all service attributes clearly shows that Metro Rapid riders perceive a quantum leap in service performance and quality. Changes of this magnitude in performance ratings are rare, particularly over a relatively short time frame (90 days). MTA has essentially raised the bar significantly in terms of service quality for its riders through the Metro Rapid Demonstration Program. ... One of the principal objectives of the Metro Rapid program is to provide high quality rail emulation service with significantly lower capital investment. The Metro Rapid capital program involved three areas: station development, bus signal priority, and vehicle acquisition. The station program was designed, fabricated and installed at a cost of approximately $100,000 per mile. The bus signal priority system cost was approximately $20,000 per intersection. Buses used to operate the Metro Rapid Program were NABI 40-foot CNG low-floor vehicles from current fleet procurement orders. >> Bruce Gaarder Highland Park Saint Paul MN [EMAIL PROTECTED] Visit www.EffectiveTransit.org The Independent Unsubsidized Voice of Citizens for Effective Transit in the Twin Cities * lrt isn't a potato chip, you can stop at just one * REMINDERS: 1. Be civil! 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