Today, the Tallahassee City Commission will considers changes to StarMetro operations in an effort to improve timeliness.
StarMetro management reports that since bus routes were changed from a centralized “hub-and-spoke” model to a decentralized, grid-like system in 2011, on-time performance has decreased.
StarMetro’s bus service is currently on-time 79 percent of all instances, multiple points below the national average of 85 percent. Timeliness of bus routes has a direct impact on customer satisfaction, which StarMetro recently affirmed through a survey of customers.
On December 19, 2018 during peak travel hours, a 12-question, voluntary survey was given to riders at the C.K. Steele Plaza. The survey generated a high response rate with a total of 186 participants. The survey consisted of open-ended questions regarding satisfaction with routes, and on-time performance.
Using this data, staff was able to create simple solutions related to route optimization, and improved bus frequency, both of which were identified as hindering on-time performance. Other proposals include:
- splitting longer routes that cross the city into separate routes connecting at C.K. Steele Plaza;
- adding more buses to certain routes;
- merging routes that already align;
- and moving routes from higher traffic roads to parallel lower traffic roads.
As a result of this effort, StarMetro is planning multiple changes to improve on-time performance and overall customer experience.
Four of the current 15 weekday fixed routes (not-including Seminole Express) will have no changes. The Canopy route will be discontinued, as service is already provided by two other routes along the West Tennessee Street corridor. The two buses from Canopy will be reallocated to improve on-time performance on the Big Bend and Azalea routes.
Staff projects these changes will increase service frequency from 60 minutes to 30 minutes, especially during peak travel, which will improve customer satisfaction. The changes also address specific citizens’ requests, such as better service to the Macon Community and additional stops on John Knox Road.
Following the 30-day feedback period, StarMetro will reevaluate proposed service improvements, and will then finalize service changes prior to implementation for the start of the new school year (Saturday, August 3, 2019) in alignment with industry standards.