Less than five months into the City of Asheville’s new Transit Operations and Maintenance Contract with RATP Dev (formerly McDonald Transit), on-time performance of ART bus service has noticeably improved.
In October 2017, the City moved to a new management model with RATP Dev to improve system reliability and on-time performance (OTP).
On-time performance refers to the relative success of the bus in meeting the published schedule, usually expressed as a percentage where higher rates mean the buses are on-time more often.
(This only applies to scheduled timepoints and not all 650+ stops in the system.) Previously, if a bus arrived at a timepoint between one minute early and six minutes late it was considered on-time. Under the new contract, the standard for what is considered on-time has been tightened: zero minutes early and no more than five minutes late.
Under the old management system, on-time performance was in the range of 50% to 60%. For the month of January 2018, on-time performance was 67%,a significant improvement, especially when considering that the standard for OTP was tightened. Having a higher OTP rate is key to providing reliable public transit and for attracting new riders. On the ground, improved on-time performance means shorter wait times at bus stops and fewer missed transfers — both of which have a significant impact on bus riders.
“Fixing on-time performance is the first step in creating a better transit system that serves the needs of bus riders,” said City Transit Planning Manager Elias Mathes. “The City’s long-term goal for OTP is 90 percent, so there is still much work to be done, but this is a major step in the right direction. With continued driver training and routing changes that will come as part of the Transit Master Plan update, we will continue to see improvements in transit service.”
How were we able to improve OTP by about 10% so quickly? The management contractor, RATP Dev, has been working diligently with their drivers and route supervisors to improve on-time performance by training drivers to follow the printed schedules. The director of operations and route supervisors are on the platform during large parts of the day to make sure buses are leaving the station on time, and drivers now check their timepoints regularly to adjust operations to better meet the posted schedule.
Asheville Redefines Transit — more than ever
The bottom line? ART transit service is increasing its reliability. So hop on a bus. It’s a sustainable practice to reduce our collective carbon footprint.
For transit planning and mapping, you can use either of the following applications:
- NextBus: Use this site to get real-time transit data to see when the bus is going to arrive. This will be important because currently the Google information is based on the schedules and not what the bus is actually doing.
- Google Maps Transit: Simply enter your starting location and final destination, and the time that you are leaving, and this app will generate your trip schedule, including transfers to different routes.
And thank you for your ridership!