“Bus stop balancing” shaves 5 minutes off a roundtrip ride on this route

“Bus stop balancing” shaves 5 minutes off a roundtrip ride on this route

A bus driving on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

GEICO says fifteen minutes could save you 15 per cent or more on car insurance…bus stop balancing could save you five minutes or more on travel times.

What can you do in five minutes or less? Eat an apple to keep the doctor away. Call or text a friend to check in on how they’re doing. Empty the top rack of the dishwasher. Or make a quick detour to pickup your mobile-order coffee before barely making it on time for a meeting.

Customers on the 2 Macdonald / Downtown bus route have more time to do things that matter the most to them after a successful pilot project to “balance” the bus stops along the route. Bus stop balancing is the thoughtful consolidation and removal of bus stops that are too close together to improve travel times and reliability for customers.

Our analysis found between September 2020 and April 2021, round-trip travel times (Downtown to MacDonald, and back) on the route improved by five minutes on average and up to 10 minutes during the busiest times of day. Not only that, buses also spent between 2.5 and 4 minutes less waiting at bus stops.

And the best part? Eighty-six per cent of our customers received faster and more reliable service by simply catching their bus at their usual stop. For the other customers who had to use another stop, the alternative was generally within one block away.

Before the pilot, 84 per cent of bus stops along route 2 were too close together according to our guidelines, which recommend a spacing of between 300 to 800 metres for a bus route like this one. The two closest stops on this route were less than 90 metres apart — about the length of a SkyTrain platform. Now, more than half the bus stops along the route are within our recommended spacing, while closely spaced stops were retained where needed.

You can read more about the results from the pilot at translink.ca/busstopbalancing.