City Council Meeting: September
Agenda Item: 8-B
To: Mayor and City Council
From: Edward F. King, Director of Transit
Subject: Adoption of Big Blue Bus Service Design,
Performance & Evaluation Guidelines
Staff recommends that the City Council adopt the attached Big Blue Bus
Service Design, Performance & Evaluation Guidelines.
Staff has developed planning
standards and guidelines for Big Blue Bus (BBB) service, using industry
standards and existing BBB policy. These guidelines recommend bus route and
service performance metrics, a reporting calendar and structure, and
standardized methods of evaluating bus service and bus service proposals to
ensure that all services will be evaluated regularly for efficiency and cost
effectiveness and the overall viability of new service proposed. The guidelines
cover three key topic areas:
Blue Bus has not had an adopted comprehensive set of service planning
guidelines or industry standards to evaluate system and route performance. In
order to present a more cogent and understandable planning process, and to
assist Council and BBB staff in making decisions, staff is recommending that
comprehensive planning service design standards and route performance metrics
contained in the attached document be adopted by Council. These standards and guidelines
also meet recent federal Department of Transportation Civil Rights guidance
which requires transit agencies to adopt and publicize a transparent set of
guidelines regarding resource allocation.
The attached document was assembled by
examining industry standards, current performance levels, and by taking
existing sound policy that staff has utilized over the last two-year period to
evaluate BBB service levels and service productivity. The attached document
recommends using new technologies to collect and evaluate performance data, and
the communication of that data on a regular basis. This evaluation process replaces the every
three-year Line by Line Analysis with a new quarterly reporting structure. This new structure provides more frequent
updates to Council and the information needed to evaluate and take action on
evolving problems. Additionally, this
document codifies how new routes are evaluated, how resources are allocated,
and creates a fair and transparent process in which to engage the public.
The Service Design,
Performance, & Evaluation Guidelines are meant to be a living document that
can change as the City evolves and as conditions warrant. Changes within the document would respond to
external factors such as labor and fuel costs, as well as the evolving wants
and needs of the community in such areas as permissible levels of overcrowding,
stop spacing, and allocation of shelters and benches. Recommended changes to the document, if any,
would be brought to the Council annually.
The Service Design section
of the document includes following areas of focus: route design, service area
coverage, span of service, service frequency, stop spacing and placement,
combining multiple service types, vehicle assignment, bus stop amenities, and
The Service Performance
section of the document contains seven performance measures that will be used
to judge different attributes of system performance as follows:
Passengers per revenue hour – A route-by-route analysis of the average number
of passengers carried for each hour of service delivered.
Passengers per revenue mile – A route-by-route analysis of the average
number of passengers carried for each mile of service delivered.
Farebox Recovery – A route-by-route
analysis of the amount of cost recovered through the farebox,
expressed as a percentage of total costs for that route.
Cost per passenger boarding – A route-by-route analysis of the average
net cost of carrying each passenger on that route.
Composite Index – An index of the above four efficiency and effectiveness
measures that presents a blended overall picture of route performance.
Passenger Load Factor – A route-by-route analysis of the average number of seats occupied, expressed as a percentage of all seats
available. A 100% load factor represents
a route that averages having all seats occupied at all times.
On time performance – A route-by-route analysis of the amount of time that buses on
that route remain on time, expressed as a percentage.
this section defines low performing service, average performing service and
high performing service, and the steps that should be taken when routes fall
short of acceptable performance, including corrective action plans, and
timelines for required improvement.
final section of the document, Service Evaluation, includes the public input
process, data collection needs, a service evaluation schedule, and the process
for new service evaluation. This section also details the contents of a
quarterly reporting system, which includes all of the measures noted above in
the Service Performance section.
Financial Impacts & Budget Actions
There is no immediate financial impact or budget action necessary
as a result of the recommended action.
Prepared by: Timothy McCormick, Transit
Forwarded to Council:
Director, Big Blue Bus
Attachment: Big Blue Bus Standards