June 29--More buses are needed on Palm Beach County's most popular bus route to clamp down on chronically late buses.
That's the conclusion of a transportation consultant Palm Tran hired to fix its problem in recent years of buses running late as more people have gravitated to the county's bus system.
Route 1, which runs from Boca Raton to Palm Beach Gardens on Federal Highway, has had the most pronounced problems. The buses on Route 1 reach their destinations on time about 73 percent of the time. Countywide, the average is 83 percent.
Buses need more time to run the long route considering all the traffic, frequent stops and passengers getting on and off buses with strollers, bikes and shopping carts, according to a report by the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research.
Adding that extra time to the route will require adding two more buses. And that requires cash that the bus system doesn't have right now, said Lili Finke, Palm Tran's spokeswoman.
"This solution would require additional funding from the county, and will be reviewed through the county's budget process," Finke wrote in an email.
For the last two years, the county's bus service has tried to tweak the busy route, which averages 8,600 passengers a day. It brought in longer buses to solve the problem of overcrowding. It also created a bus service with limited stops within the route between Boca Raton and West Palm Beach that runs during rush hour.
Those tactics have helped somewhat, Palm Tran officials said. But a permanent fix remains elusive.
"There is not a single solution that will get it to the service level we are looking to provide," Finke said. "It may take several different strategies, including but not limited to removing stops, modifying schedules and/or modifying the route."
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