This look at Boulder’s Bus system is pretty interesting:

Boulder boasts seven high-frequency bus lines with catchy, character-verb names like: STAMPEDE, DASH, BOUND, and BOLT, with all of the buses having their own color scheme and identity. It all started back in 1989 when Boulder endeavored to provide a real alternative to the car for its downtown commuters and as a result gave residents direct input into the process. In addition to creating comfy, frequent, pleasant buses, the city also instituted the Eco Pass, a transit card that allows residents to ride buses system-wide for free – more than doubling transit use between 1995 and 2005, from 15% to 34%.

14 Replies to “Now THIS is how bus transit should be done!”

    1. Yes! Can you imagine having a route like the 43 officially named “Vomit Comet” (as I’ve seen and heard it referred to elsewhere) with a logo of a homeless person sleeping across three seats superimposed on a Seattle skyline.

      Route naming and identity input by the public. This needs to happen.

      1. It has been said before – the 8 screams (literally) for electrically powered coaches every day. Followed by the 11, 27, and the south end of the 48 – Metro needs at least another 200 electric coaches, the sooner the better.

  1. With 275 routes, we’d run out of short clever words and have to move to sentences such as 150: “When will this ride ever end?”

  2. I could see this naming convention for the trolley buses.

    In sure in the heck wouldn’t mind a bus that ran to King Street Station throughout Downtown Seattle during the Sounder rush – That would really, really free up a lot of those whom use the bus tunnel for the transfer.

    Then again, there are a lot of buses that already go but a dedicated bus wouldn’t be so bad =D

  3. Great idea, but each bus having its own color scheme is really diametrically opposed to running an efficient system and having enough spare capacity. Are there “normal” buses that fill in for the branded ones in a pinch?

    Also what does this do to their ad revenue?

  4. Now THIS is how bus transit should be done!

    Clean, safe, friendly, frequent and FREE! That’s amazing.

    Obviously a city the size of Seattle can’t have named/themed routes for buses, but we can have color-coded routes for light rail and streetcar. Having traveled in Europe, it makes figuring a system super-easy when lines are all unique colors.

    Maybe I’m a little boring, but the whole name/theme things seems very cheesy and screams of the early 90’s.

    That is incredible that 20% of the population uses transit… and look at all the bicyclists!

  5. Yeah, when I lived in Boulder I never really took the bus much, because with the amazing bike trail system it was usually faster to pedal than drive or wait for a bus, unless there was a snowstorm out.

    As for good naming systems, I really like that the regional RTD buses are lettered, rather than numbered. They’re more intuitive and harder to confuse than numbers: the 522 and 532 are easy to mix up, but the N and B (the routes to/from Nederland and Boulder) are pretty distinct. I’m not sure such a system would be so helpful here, but it works really well there.

  6. I just saw this on Streetfilms last night. It was definitely interesting, but I thought the ridership numbers were misleading. Transit agencies can’t count numbers of riders–only numbers of boardings. So, assuming that every trip involves at least a “there and back,” they probably don’t have more than 10,000 actual riders (and probably much fewer than that).

    That said, 20,000 boarding a day in a city of 100,000 is impressive.

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