AC Transit’s new website (www.actransit.org) is an improvement. However to make AC Transit’s 158 line network of bus lines more useful to riders and would-be riders, additional work is needed:
Under “About Us”, “Facts and Figures”, there is an easy-to-understand set of graphics showing six measurable indicators of system efficiency and operating effectiveness. Included are On-time Performance, Mean time between Road Calls, Customer Complaints, Weekday Ridership, Annual Ridership and Fare box Recovery. Also needed are Weekday Transbay Ridership, Average 24-hour bus speed, and Operating and Maintenance Cost per Transit Trip.
Unfortunately these charts only go back a few months. It should be possible to see the trends in at least the 7 key indicators shown below for the last one year, five years, ten years and twenty years. Performance measures help gauge the effectiveness of any organization and should be easily accessible from website Home Pages.
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AC Transit route maps are shown under “Maps and Schedules”, “Plan-my-Trip” and “Real Time Departures”. Each map is different from the other two. Why? All maps should use the same format * and all should show bus line numbers, street names, bus stop and transit node locations, direction arrows when necessary, and return routes when appropriate. BART stations should be clearly shown and identified on all maps. * The Google format works well.
Under “Line Descriptions”, also in “Maps and Schedules”, AC Transit’s 158 bus lines are carefully divided into five categories; namely, Local, Transbay, All Nighter, School and Early Bird. A “Trunk Line” category should be added, with “trunk line” defined as a line with relatively few detours and turns that operates at a higher than average speed and attracts a higher than average daily ridership.
Tempo. “Tempo” is AC’s new somewhat speeded-up T1 line along East 14th Street and International Blvd. It is important that the location of this unique and uniquely expensive line be shown on the Home Page. (Unfortunately there are 31 T1 stops between downtown Oakland and downtown San Leandro. A limited service (that skips some stops) as well as a local service would significantly increase the appeal and usefulness of the T1 line).
In updating its website, AC Transit has done some good work. Addressing the above inconsistencies and information lapses would improve the usefulness of the website, and perhaps of the operation itself.