Along with new buses and better on-time performances, AC Transit registered a remarkable increase in ridership over the past year. New figures show that, from June 2012 to June 2013, the agency’s average daily bus ridership jumped by six percent from 171, 438 to 181, 519 passengers a day.
The increase in ridership coincides with a string of new performance initiatives that have been put in place to maximize resources and improve operational efficiencies.
Improving service reliability likely has been a key factor leading to the growth in riders. The improvements include a reduction in missed trips and out-late buses, enhanced on-time performances, and better maintenance procedures to reduce the number breakdowns while vehicles are on the road.
“We are proud of the efforts by our employees — especially the operators and maintenance staff. It seems we are starting to reap some benefits as indicated by the surge in ridership,’’ said David Armijo, AC Transit’s general manager. “Our aim is to attract more riders, and we will keep putting plans in place to do that.”
The plans include more dependable vehicles. To that end, there has been an influx of new buses that are visually appealing while requiring far less maintenance, which means more vehicles in operation. During the past year, nearly 100 new buses have phased out older, less-reliable coaches. By the end of next year, AC Transit’s fleet will include more than 210 new, low-floor buses with a host of passenger conveniences for greater accessibility.
Meanwhile, the agency has embarked on a cleanliness program to ensure that all of its vehicles are sparkling like new inside and out. Also several employee task forces are now focused specifically on areas such as:
• on-time performance with teams of street supervisors to ensure adherence to schedules
• reducing the number of accidents for both passengers and employees
• decreasing road calls so that buses are not pulled out of service for repairs.
As a result, for example, the miles between road calls for repairs has jumped from 4,403 miles to 5,082 miles over the past year, representing an improvement of 15.4 percent.
During the same period, based on ten-point rating system, bus cleanliness went from 4.5 points to 7.1 points, an improvement of 36.2 percent.
The task forces and new initiatives are all part of “A Better Ride” campaign that is establishing new policies and practices to upgrade bus services.