AASHTO Journal

MBTA Engages in Bus Service Improvement Effort

​The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority launched a new program on May 23 called the "Better Bus Project," which is focused on making improvements to the agency's existing bus network through operational changes, targeted capital investments, and stakeholder partnerships.

MBTA operates a fleet of over 1,100 buses served by 10 bus garages and 2,500 drivers on a network of 175 directly-operated routes and five contracted bus routes. Throughout 2018 and 2019, the agency said its "Better Bus Project" team will identify improvements in its weekday bus service that serves nearly 450,000 people in 50 communities.

The new program is the result of a new set of bus-service delivery standards and goals adopted by the MBTA's fiscal and management control board in early 2017 – a policy developed based in part on two years' worth of rider comments and feedback.

mbtalogo-inside.jpgOver the next year, the Better Bus Project will: evaluate existing MBTA bus service; identify bus service strengths, weaknesses, issues, and opportunities; identify improvement opportunities, which may include service and operational changes, capital investments, and partnerships with municipalities; develop, evaluate, and prove-out scenarios; then implement improvements throughout the bus network.

"For the first time in over a decade, the MBTA is taking a comprehensive look at ways to improve service along our existing bus routes," noted MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez in a statement.

"This time, through the Better Bus Project, we're incorporating data analytics and customer feedback into this review with the goal of making improvements that benefit the bus network, strengthen our economy, and overall, put the needs of our customers first," he said. "Our ultimate goal is to improve service throughout the communities that depend on buses as their principal choice of mobility."

MBTA is also hosting a series of regional public meetings starting in late May that will continue through early June to help it gather more input from riders, the agency said.

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

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