Fla.’s Palm Tran celebrated the launch of its revamped bus system in a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the West Palm Beach Intermodal Center.
Known as the Route Performance Maximization (RPM) project, the system redesign is the first of its kind for Palm Tran in more than two decades. With the RPM, Palm Tran “revved” up its bus network with more direct and efficient service. To honor the momentous occasion, a bus, instead of scissors, cut through a banner held by Palm Tran staff, riders, and local county officials.
“The launch of the RPM project is a huge milestone for Palm Tran, and signifies the beginning of the future,” said Palm Tran Executive Director Clinton B. Forbes. “Through identifying inefficiencies in our network, we were able to vastly enhance our system, which will continue to serve the booming population of Palm Beach County.”
The bus system redesign results in improved travel times, more direct service, and extended hours for select routes. The buses were also equipped with free onboard Wi-Fi. Palm Tran collected more than 1,400 surveys through various outreach events prior to implementing any changes. The Board of County Commissioners approved the final proposal in August 2018, and final preparations by Palm Tran staff were made to ensure the most seamless transition for riders, including more than 70 outreach events.
Palm Tran’s bus service was free from September 30th to October 3rd allowing new riders a chance to try the system and current riders an opportunity to acclimate to their new routes without cost concerns. During this period, more than 80 staff members set out to bus stops throughout Palm Beach County to help guide riders in the right direction. The ridership during the launch of the RPM project soared with a 21% ridership increase on the Sunday of the launch compared to the prior Sunday. Furthermore, the average On-Time Performance (OTP) for the new bus network for the first five days of service sustained an unprecedented 82%.
In 2017, Palm Tran reported more than nine million rides a year. With these new enhancements, the goal is for Palm Tran’s ridership will skyrocket to more than 10 million.