The February 2012 service change was massive in scope not just because it reduced our bus service by 20 percent, but also because the local service network was redesigned. With such a huge change in the system, it was inevitable that some adjustments would be needed.
A couple weeks ago, the agency made adjustments to the Route 113 schedule to improve connections between buses and ferries in Mukilteo. It took several weeks to design a change that didn’t carry too many impacts down the line, then get the change out to drivers and customers.
On April 9, several other adjustments will take place.
Route 196 afternoon and evening buses between Edmonds and Alderwood will start five minutes later to help get trips on schedule. Behind-the-scenes, some driver work will change as part of this adjustment. Our hope is that these changes will help this new route stay on schedule on trips that have been notoriously behind schedule since the new route started in February.
In Bothell, Route 435 will hold at Canyon Park for up to five minutes in the morning to allow for incoming Route 105/106 and 120 buses to make that connection to downtown Seattle. This means customers already on board will have to wait a bit longer, but this is a connection that was supposed to happen and has been hit-and-miss in reality.
On Route 120, an early afternoon adjustment in how drivers switch off will help to keep more trips on schedule. This is an example of making changes in off-service work that positively affects the in-service experience.
When these changes go into effect next week, 82 weekday trips and 31 Saturday trips will have been adjusted since the Feb. 20 service change.
Our Planning and Transportation staff continue to monitor other trips and routes to see where improvements can be made to the massive February service change. It’s likely there may be more adjustments coming in June and September.
The challenge is to allow enough time for drivers and customers to adjust to the initial changes, then track schedules over a period of time long enough to tell us that late trips or missed connections are truly a systemic problem, not something that changes from day to day.
Without money for new service hours, the next step is to find ways to adjust driver work or make minor tweaks to the schedule that can improve the customer experience. And, of course, the laws of transit dictate that every action has an unintended consequence; when you start tweaking schedules you start impacting the travel of those who have found a way to make the system work for them. We want to keep those downstream impacts to a minimum.
As more adjustments are made, we’ll discuss them here, and send out announcements through rider alerts. Sign up for our electronic alerts if you haven’t already.