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Anchorage Bus Restructuring


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So a restructuring of the Anchorage bus system went into effect yesterday (10/23/17): http://www.muni.org/departments/transit/peoplemover/Pages/default.aspx

Basically, they consolidated the routes with the idea of providing 15 minute headways on their busiest routes (similar to other cities such as Houston that had a major restructuring of their bus system). The thing is that IMO, they went too far in cutting service to the lower-ridership areas.

In a report they released, they seemed to be torn between 2 options, an 80% plan and a 100% plan (referring to the percentage of resources put into higher ridership routes). The majority of people seemed to be in favor of the 80% plan, but it looks like they bumped the percentage up to 90% despite public opinion (I saw a map that said something like "90%" in he URL). The options start on page 65.

On page 38, it's mentioned that ridership of the old #60 on Old Seward is similar to the old #9 on Artic, yet the #60 was completely eliminated between Downtown & Dimond Center. 

I would personally keep the #60 once an hour north of the Dimond Center, send the #65 up Wisconsin & Northern Lights to Downtown (maybe take 1 bus per hour off the #40, since some people would be able to use that as an alternative, not to mention the #10 in some areas), Actually, come to think about it, if the #55 heads west on 36th instead of east, it could go out to Spenard Road, and provide that extra bus per hour that way. 

I like the fact that there's one reverse-peak trip out to Eagle River, but at the same time, I don't like the fact that there's 2 minibuses on certain trips instead of one large bus (I guess those buses are doing paratransit during the day). In any case, it looks like Eagle River Connect service was eliminated as well.

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On 10/24/2017 at 2:10 AM, checkmatechamp13 said:

So a restructuring of the Anchorage bus system went into effect yesterday (10/23/17): http://www.muni.org/departments/transit/peoplemover/Pages/default.aspx

Basically, they consolidated the routes with the idea of providing 15 minute headways on their busiest routes (similar to other cities such as Houston that had a major restructuring of their bus system). The thing is that IMO, they went too far in cutting service to the lower-ridership areas.

In a report they released, they seemed to be torn between 2 options, an 80% plan and a 100% plan (referring to the percentage of resources put into higher ridership routes). The majority of people seemed to be in favor of the 80% plan, but it looks like they bumped the percentage up to 90% despite public opinion (I saw a map that said something like "90%" in he URL). The options start on page 65.

On page 38, it's mentioned that ridership of the old #60 on Old Seward is similar to the old #9 on Artic, yet the #60 was completely eliminated between Downtown & Dimond Center. 

I would personally keep the #60 once an hour north of the Dimond Center, send the #65 up Wisconsin & Northern Lights to Downtown (maybe take 1 bus per hour off the #40, since some people would be able to use that as an alternative, not to mention the #10 in some areas), Actually, come to think about it, if the #55 heads west on 36th instead of east, it could go out to Spenard Road, and provide that extra bus per hour that way. 

I like the fact that there's one reverse-peak trip out to Eagle River, but at the same time, I don't like the fact that there's 2 minibuses on certain trips instead of one large bus (I guess those buses are doing paratransit during the day). In any case, it looks like Eagle River Connect service was eliminated as well.

Something funny is that on page 38 they actually mention how the 60's ridership is about the same as the 9 despite having less service, meaning it should theoretically have much more ridership than the 9 if given more service. Pretty interesting how they chose this as an example and then chose not to follow through with it.

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Haha, I clearly only half read your post because it looks like you mentioned that lol

Anyways, having gone through the whole thing and taken a look at the systems....

While the first thing that crossed my mind with the 65 was linking it up with the 55 just for simplicity sake, your idea is much better.  I wouldn't take a bus off of the 10 or 40 though because keeping all the routes at 15/30/60 makes it really easy to connect them all (although I haven't looked at the schedules so maybe they're opting not to do that)

Having said that I also find it odd they cut the 55 off where it is considering the run time is only 20 minutes. They could've easily extended it to the Alaska Pacific and the Native Medical Center.

Also odd that since they're using two buses they're not sending one to the hospital/university area and one to downtown, but instead both to downtown (in regards to the 92).

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BTW, just as a comparison, here's the old system map and schedules.

Notice that they actually cut the last trip on Saturdays from the #10 (formerly the #3), #20 (formerly the #45), #40 (formerly the northern part of the #7), and the last outbound trip on the #30 (formerly the #15). If they're going to go with the assertion that the resources should be directed at the busiest routes, they shouldn't be cutting the span of the busiest routes. Maybe have a little cut in frequency (maybe cut a trip earlier in the day, so there's a one hour gap in the morning). 

In any case, the original plan called for the #25 to run every 20 minutes. Now, they have it running every 30 minutes in the AM rush, but every 15 minutes in the middays and PM rush. But judging from the fact that the schedules read "Approximately every 15 minutes", it seems like they wouldn't be concerned about the exact timing. (The bus tracker and Google Transit have the exact times, but if you're planning your trip purely from the schedule, you kind of have to estimate when the bus will come). I guess they figure life is slower-paced up there compared to here, so waiting 15 minutes isn't a big deal (of course, the issue is the cold weather up there)

Linking the #55 & #65 would at least provide a crosstown route along 36th Avenue (it's kind of ironic how an area called "Midtown" has no crosstown service). But yeah, there definitely needs to be something along that corridor.

As for the #92, the reason why they run 2 minibuses is because people were worried about being left behind, so instead of spreading them out every half hour (which would boost ridership), they do the bare minimum and essentially cut one trip in each direction from the old schedule (the 4:40PM and 6:22AM trips). The original #102 ran Downtown, and was extended to the ANMC (I think originally, a couple of #36 trips were extended to Eagle River or something). Which is where Eagle River Connect service would come in handy, because then passengers would be able to take the #10 or #25 from the Muldoon Transfer Center.

 

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I remember reading an old study that suggested extending some #45G short-turns to Tikahtnu Commons. Since the #21 is basically the same thing (except it runs minibuses), perhaps it can run via Bragaw-Parsons-Lane-Mountain View Drive, then get on Glenn Highway at Boniface Parkway, and get off at Muldoon Road. This would provide a quick way to get there from Downtown (right now, the #25 takes the long way around. You can transfer to the #30 or #31, but the transfer takes time to make. Also, it's very circuitous to reach Mountain View itself (you have to either take the #20 down to the #25, or do a lot of walking to/from the #31). 

Though FWIW, at that point, you might need to start running regular-sized buses on the #21, or at the very least boost the headways to 15-20 minutes.

When I get the chance, I'll upload some reports I found.

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Here's a report from 2009 following a 2002 restructuring plan (I couldn't seem to find the 2002 report). This one is really interesting because it has the route profiles at the end (so you can see where the busiest segments are)

https://www.muni.org/Departments/transit/PeopleMover/Documents/People Mover Blueprint Restructure.pdf

An analysis of the sustainability of the bus system, with some ideas for new park-and-ride routes: 

http://faculty.cbpp.uaa.alaska.edu/afgjp/PADM628 Spring 2012/People Mover Analysis.pdf

An analysis of the bus stops around the university:

https://www.muni.org/Departments/transit/PeopleMover/Documents/Final TFA 11-17-04.compressed.pdf

An analysis of a possible rail station at the Dimond Center:

https://www.muni.org/Departments/transit/PeopleMover/Pages/DimondIntermodalStudy.aspx

https://www.westernite.org/annualmeetings/12_Santa_Barbara/Compendium/3B-Bowie.pdf

https://www.muni.org/Departments/transit/PeopleMover/Documents/Dimond Intermodal Phase I_FINAL.pdf

General strategies to boost ridership (BRT along Glenn Highway, improved service on the #45, coordinating schedules to achieve even headways, etc)

https://www.muni.org/Departments/transit/PeopleMover/Documents/High Priority Transportation Corridor Plan.pdf

2035 Metropolitan Transportation Plan:

http://kaiproject.com/system/images/650/original/Anchorage.pdf

Also, since their depot is located around Tudor & Elmore (a few blocks south of the #20 terminal at the ANMC), I think there should be a few more trips that do a short-turn trip to/from their first/last stop (so some #10 buses that only run between Providence & Elmore and either the Muldoon Transit Center or Downtown, some #25 buses that run between the ANMC and either the Muldoon Transit Center or Downtown, and try to have more of the #20 trips run on and run off from the ANMC end). 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...

They finally went back and fixed some of the gaps they created, with a new route (the #85): https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/7afd4a0583b94be2b868c518e89bd8c1

Personally, I think they would've been better off with a #65 extension to Downtown via Wisconsin, and a separate Old Seward route, but at least those areas are covered again.

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