TARC launches Operational Schedule Adherence Program to improve service and on-time performance

Jan. 31, 2024
The pilot program will affect TARC’s four most popular routes, which make up TARC’s “frequency” network; the program was tested on the agency’s most popular line, the #23 Broadway, in fall 2023.

The Transit Authority of River City (TARC) launched the Operational Schedule Adherence Program to provide more reliable and predictable service on the region’s four most popular bus routes – the #4 4th Street, the #10 Dixie Rapid, the #23 Broadway and the #28 Preston Highway. The four lines make up TARC’s core “frequency” network, where buses are scheduled to arrive every 15 minutes or less during the majority of the week. 

The Operational Schedule Adherence Program is a focused effort, where TARC staff will closely monitor and adjust bus positioning in real-time to better maintain reliable service and being on time. The agency notes 45 percent of its boardings since last June have been on one of the four key bus routes. 

“TARC customers say that reliable and on time buses are their most important priority,” said TARC Interim Executive Director Ozzy Gibson. “This effort will be a big step toward improving our results in this key area.” 

TARC says a 2023 survey of its fixed route customers showed on time performance is the most important element of service on TARC buses. Under the Operational Schedule Adherence Program, when one bus is running late and another bus is close behind, the TARC control center will tell the late bus to switch to “Drop Off Only,” meaning the bus will only drop off passengers for a short period of time. The switch will allow customers already on the bus to get to their destination much more quickly. Waiting customers will also be able to board the trailing bus that will be less than five minutes behind.   

TARC first tested the Operational Schedule Adherence Program as a pilot program on the #23 Broadway – TARC’s most popular bus route – in fall 2023. The agency says the results were promising, with a four percent improvement in on time performance on the #23 Broadway between August and December 2023. The success of the pilot convinced TARC leadership to expand the program to the other three frequency routes and make it permanent on the #23 Broadway.