Service Changes & Process
Metro is building a world-class regional transportation service that is safe, reliable, convenient, user-friendly, and focused on long-term sustainability.
Every six months, typically in June and December, Metro Operations undergoes a service change program. We adjust existing services to accommodate patron ridership demands and to help ensure better connections between Metro Bus, Metro Rail and other transit services throughout the region, including Metrolink, based on funding fluctuations. We also update Metro’s trip planning info online via Metro Trip Planner, Google Transit and Bing Maps.
Each service change program at Metro is developed and evaluated by the Service Planning, Scheduling & Development staff, based on service improvement concepts recommended by the Blue Ribbon Committee and public input from customers, employees, service design studies, requests from other local operators, and performance monitoring results.
The evaluation process includes a formal public review of the proposals, a technical evaluation of ridership and resource impacts based on established service guidelines and standards, environmental considerations, and coordination with key stakeholders in the regional bus system.
Federal guidelines and Metro policy require that a public hearing be held when major service changes to the bus and rail system are considered, based on specific measures. Before each proposed service program is approved, the public is notified of the upcoming changes. Metro conducts public hearings, public outreach, ride-a-longs on impacted lines, and rider surveys for public comments. We also make the proposed service change information easily available onboard Metro buses and trains and on metro.net .
Once a program is reviewed and approved by the Service Councils and/or Board of Directors , the proposed service changes go into effect, and new public timetables and bus operator work assignments are developed.
Service Change Timeline
Required Lead Time
(Months Prior to Implementation)
|Initiate Planning Process||12|
|Develop Preliminary Recommendations||7-8|
|Public Review and Input||4-7|
|Impact Analysis for Proposed Changes||4-7|
|Develop New Service Schedules||3-5|
|Print Public Time Tables and Operator Assignments||1-2|
II. Additional Information
- Service Change Measures
- Public Hearing Process
- Notice of Public Hearing
- Public Outreach
- Title VI Review Process
Designing a regional transit network takes into account both the needs of our passengers and operators, as well as the practical ability to manage, operate, and sustain the service – all within the constraints of a fixed operating budget.
To maximize the benefits of our transit services and to ensure that service delivery is efficient and cost effective, we established policy guidance and service standards that are designed to target levels of productivity, efficiency, and quality.
Metro established a Blue Ribbon Committee to identify and prioritize the needs of the customer and operator. Based on recommendations from the BRC, critical factors to consider in network design should be reliability, network simplicity, speed, and safety, followed by vehicle cleanliness and timely, relevant, accurate customer information.
I. Key Principles – Four key principles to building an efficient and effective transit network.
- Develop a network of services
- Integrate services: Minimize transfer penalties, coordinate services, reduce duplication, better trip info
- Simple and easy-to-use service
- Ensure high quality services: Reliability, higher network speeds, passenger capacity, safe routing & stops, cleanliness & courtesy
II. Markets Served – Transit service to focus on areas where high density population, employment, and activity centers exist.
III. Service Design – Metro’s transit network should be well integrated, coordinated, and designed to be simple and easy to use.
- Transit Centers /Bus Terminals
- Minimum Turning Radius
- Street Lane Widths for Bus
- Bus Stop Curb Lengths and Zone
- Corridor/ Route Duplication
- Frequency of Service
- Metro Policy Headway
- Limited-Stop Service
- Load Ratio
- Network Spacing
- Route Alignment
- Route Length
- Span of Service
Prior to approval, proposed service changes undergo a technical evaluation conducted by the Metro Service Planning, Scheduling & Development staff. The purpose of the evaluation is two-fold: 1) to define and evaluate the impact on riders; and 2) to develop appropriate mitigation measures if needed.
Metro uses a comprehensive bus performance analysis process that focuses on mobility, the customer’s experience, and resource utilization. Historically Metro used a Route Performance Index (RPI) to determine a route’s performance relative to other like services. Metro now uses an additional process that complements the RPI.
This process contains four core attributes using 10 performance indicators, with detailed analytical reports produced quarterly. Lines are analyzed according to their service type, nine specific time periods, and days of operations (weekday, Saturday, and Sunday). This analysis allows the analyst to focus on the performance of a line by time period.
I. Route Performance Index Measure used to ensure Metro services are effective and a reasonable return on investment. The RPI consists of three variables:
- Utilization of Resources: Passenger boardings per revenue service hour helps determine how effectively resources are used on a given line.
- Utilization of Capacity: Passenger miles per seat mile is used to evaluate the seating capacity of the system.
- Fiscal Responsibility: Subsidy per passenger is the measure for fiscal responsibility.
II. Service Performance Indicators A comprehensive internal monitoring process that focuses on four core service attributes using 10 performance indicators:
- In-Service On-Time Performance
- Customer Complaints
- Average Load Factor
- Boardings per Service Hour
- Cost per Passenger Mile
- Passenger Miles per Seat Mile
- Route Performance Index