CITYWIDE — Three in 10 Big Blue Buses were not on-time last fiscal year, according to BBB data, but timeliness improved slightly over the previous year.

In fiscal year 2013-14, 70.6 percent of buses were on time compared to 67.2 in 2012-13.

“This improvement was hard won and there is much room left for continued work in this area,” Director of Transit Services Edward King said in a report to City Council. “Big Blue Bus is continuously analyzing the lowest performing routes for ways to improve their on-time performance including retiming, elimination of little used bus stops, rerouting, and signal prioritization.”

Some routes, like the 6 and 10, are missing the mark almost half the time. The three most commonly used routes, 1,3, and 7, were on-time between 61 and 65 percent of the time. The fourth most used route, the Rapid 7, was on time less than 60 percent of the time.

Ridership declined 2.6 percent last fiscal year. Overall, there were 18.8 million rides taken on Big Blue Buses in 2013-14.

“This correlates to the reduction in the total number of operating service hours programmed and the service changes implemented during the year,” King said. “These adjustments were made to offset the conditions created by inefficiencies. Efforts to balance the addition of new service hours were implemented to reduce overcrowding.”

Everything will change for BBB with the opening of the incoming Expo Light Rail. Some routes will become more valuable and others won’t be necessary.

Route 20, for example, which connects Downtown Santa Monica to Culver City, generates almost no revenue or ridership and when Expo opens its doors, the line will likely be eliminated. Currently the route costs BBB more than $20 per passenger.

Route 41, which recovers about 10 percent of its cost to run, is expected to see a dramatic increase in passenger loads because it connects Santa Monica College to the new 17th Street Expo station.

“In a typical year, service changes for poor performing routes (bottom quarter percentile) would have been recommended and implemented with some type of action or modification,” King said in his report. “However, staff resources were focused on the Expo integration planning study. When timing of changes and analysis were taken into consideration, some route and schedule modifications were not recommended due to investment in operating expenditures for the short term before Expo integration begins.”

The Rapid 12 is far and away the least subsidized route. It recovers about one-third of the money spent on it.

Overall, BBB recovers about 22 percent of its costs through farebox revenues.

dave@www.smdp.com

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