Deciding whether or not to have a bus deviate into a transit center/park & ride loop or simply keep the route on a main arterial can often be a thorn in the side for transit planners. On one hand, you’d eliminate transfer penalties for people connecting from route to route by turning into these transit hubs, and on the other, you’d lose any savings that you can get from keeping your buses from making all those slow turns.
There are cases when one approach will seem more advantageous than the other but sometimes there do come across opportunities for reconciliation that don’t always get taken advantage of. Other times, they do. A real simple and basic example of implementing smart deviation procedures is at Edmonds Station*, where, in the fall, CT routes 110 and 116 will pull into the station loop, but routes 131 and 416 won’t:
- Having the 110 and 116 deviate into the station is really a wash in terms of net changes to operating costs, because Edmonds Station hub is the terminus for both routes anyway, which means no increase in travel times for through travelers because there aren’t really any. The one true caveat, in this case, is that
there will no longer be service toneither route will serve the Edmonds Senior Center down the road, so anyone traveling to or from the center will either have to transfer to a 131 or walk to the station. The big benefit, of course, is that riders connecting from local service to Sounder will have but a few hundred feet to walk to catch a train.
- Having the 131 and 416 continue by the station on Railroad Avenue, on the other hand, is the better option. The 131 is a through-route that goes through Edmonds on its way to either Edmonds CC or Aurora Village, so a deviation could increase through travel times and operating costs. The trade-off is roughly a 1000-foot walk for connecting Sounder riders from the stop on Railroad to the station platform. And because the 416 is a peak-direction only commuter route, there’s no real advantage to pulling into the station bays.
While this case certainly isn’t reflective of a solution for much more complex situations in other locations, it’s encouraging to see agencies like CT move in the direction of evaluating route-specific trade-offs for this kind of thing.
*[Update 9/29 – 8:38am] In this case, I’ve learned that the Edmonds Station deviation saves time since buses won’t have to contend with the rail crossings and ferry traffic. So while the opposite is the better bet for CT in this example, the question is still one to be asked, especially of other park-and-rides were costly deviations sometimes occur.