Management & Operations

MBTA launches 'Better Bus' program to improve service

Posted on May 25, 2018

The MBTA announced the launch of the Better Bus Project, a program focused on making improvements to the existing bus network. Photo: MBTA
The MBTA announced the launch of the Better Bus Project, a program focused on making improvements to the existing bus network. Photo: MBTA
The MBTA announced the launch of the Better Bus Project, a program focused on making improvements to the existing bus network through operational changes, targeted capital investments, and stakeholder partnerships.

Throughout 2018 and 2019, the Better Bus team will identify improvements in bus service that would have a positive impact on nearly 450,000 people in 50 communities who rely on MBTA bus service every weekday.

In early 2017, the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board adopted a set of standards and goals for bus-service delivery. The MBTA collected riders' comments and feedback for over two years, which were integrated into the policy. With the policy in place, the Better Bus Project is focused on closing the gap between current service delivery and the adopted policy standards.

As part of this initiative, the MBTA will collect feedback and comments from all stakeholders, including bus riders and non-riders, for bus service delivered out of each of the ten bus garages. The bus network consists of 175 directly-operated routes, 5 contracted bus routes, over 1,100 buses, and more than 2,500 bus operators.

Over the next year, the Better Bus Project will:

  •     Evaluate existing bus service.
  •     Identify bus service strengths, weaknesses, issues, and opportunities.
  •     Identify improvement opportunities, which may include service and operational changes, capital investments, and partnerships with municipalities.
  •     Develop, evaluate, and vet scenarios.
  •     Implement improvements throughout the bus network.

As part of its new bus service revamp, MBTA will meet with riders at bus stops to get their feedback about their experiences and suggestions for improvement. Photo: MBTA
As part of its new bus service revamp, MBTA will meet with riders at bus stops to get their feedback about their experiences and suggestions for improvement. Photo: MBTA
"For the first time in over a decade, the MBTA is taking a comprehensive look at ways to improve service along our existing bus routes," said MBTA GM Luis Manuel Ramírez. "This time, through the Better Bus Project, we’re incorporating data analytics and customer feedback into this review with the goal of making improvements that benefit the bus network, strengthen our economy, and overall, put the needs of our customers first."

The Better Bus Project includes an extensive public engagement plan. Right now, the Better Bus Project is meeting with riders at bus stops around the MBTA system to get their feedback about their experiences and suggestions for way to improve bus service. The agency will host a series of regional public meetings.

The meetings will be structured as interactive open houses. The public is encouraged to stop by anytime to learn more and share their ideas. The MBTA is collecting public input on the top three things transit should do better, transit priorities, and how best to improve bus service.

The MBTA also invites bus riders and other interested parties will be able to share their suggestions electronically through a feedback form.

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