SRTA is evaluating its New Bedford bus route network to better meet the needs of bus riders, looking at current conditions, trends, and system usage.
In addition to better meeting customer needs, another goal of the service evaluation is to develop service and schedule options that can be implemented under a reduced-operating funds scenario if needed. Funding has not kept pace with rising costs of operating transit service. Reducing service is not SRTA’s preferred approach to balancing the budget, as it can have profound effects on the lives of the people that rely on the transit system. A close review of rider needs will ensure any future reduction of service limits the impact to riders.
See the full project description and statement of need here: New Bedford Bus Service Evaluation – Project Description.
SRTA began by conducting a market and route analysis to understand the demand and need for transit service in New Bedford and review existing service, ridership, and service performance. With this understanding, SRTA conducted public outreach to determine what was most important to riders. This included an online survey as well as in-person events at bus stops throughout New Bedford in January. Findings from this outreach can be found here with this link:
With the information gained from the first round of analysis and public engagement, SRTA developed initial proposals for route and schedule changes, which are now being brought to the public for review.
Proposed Route and Schedule Changes
The following slideshow was presented at New Bedford Bus Terminal on March 30th, giving details on proposed changes to bus routes and to schedules.
The proposed New Bedford network consists of adjusting existing transit routes based on the route design principles and the needs of transit riders:
- Providing direct and simple service by eliminating large loops, reducing the number of turns, and operating most routes on major roads.
- Improving route efficiency by discontinuing service in areas with very limited or no ridership
- Improving neighborhood connectivity by providing more options along major travel corridors and at important destinations.
The first map shows the system as it is today, and the second map shows potential route changes. Two options are shown for Dartmouth Mall and for Fairhaven.
Proposed Schedule Changes
Based on rider feedback and ridership trends, two options for new bus schedules are proposed below. Option 1 is focused on expanding the hours of operation, and Option 2 focuses more on improving how often the bus comes.
Option 1: Buses operate service earlier in the morning and later in the evening on weekdays and on Saturdays, while keeping frequencies similar to existing service.
Option 2: Buses operate more frequently and reduce wait times, while service spans are similar to existing service.