View Full Version : Edmonton has outgrown the timed transfer

16-11-2006, 08:22 AM
The timed transfer system, where every bus at a transit centre meets up and leave together (every 15 minutes around here) is a great way to run a bus system that cant support higher frequency. Nobody misses a transfer. When I was a St. Albert-University Commuter I learned to love the timed tranfer. Now I'm not so sure.

The timed tranfer breaks down in two situations. The first is when some routes to a station have different frequencies than others. The second case is when Two routes follow the same road for a significant part of their Route.

My Transit centre, Coloseum, is an example of both.
The LRT arrives every 6 minutes at peak times. The #8 has a short peak at 7 minutes, and all other routes are 15 minutes. This means that when a commuter arrives on the fas and frequent LRT he must wait for the next sheduled bus. If a bus going the right direction is already at the station, it will wait 5 minutes or more until the next time to leave. When it does leave the station, it will leave as part of a convoy. In my case, there is an #8, #141, and #142 all within a minute or 2, and then nothing for 13 mins. All three busses run parallel for 20 blocks before they diverge.

While the bunching effect does noone any good, it is the waiting times that really hurt. If we cut down on the waiting we could have the busses on the road more often with no increase in labour or capital costs.
So, I propose that all trunk routes be taken off the timed transfer system and instead run at 5 minute frequencies. Other routes would no longer be constrained to be designed so that the length is a little less than a multiple of 15 minutes, possibly allowing more logical routes.

Not needing to wait in a bus bay could also save additional time by allowing some busses to stop at curbside.

16-11-2006, 08:55 AM
Hmmmm...interesting. Yes, the timed transfer system is good, especially when you look at a set staging point removed from traffic for ALL busses at that route to either sit and wait until they need to leave again, drivers take their coffee/bio breaks, or gives the system a chance to reset iteslf should you run early.

Set 5 minute frequencies on trunk routes will ensure tha a bus of SOME kind is there every 5 minutes. However, what happens to this set up when a bus runs late? How about when you have some busses on 5 minutes and others on times transfers, do we run the risk of not having a place for a bus to park? Just questions as I am unsure of how stations like Coliseum were designed. That transfer point is a simple loop with about 10 bays, correct?

This is an idea worth exploring...capacity is now an issue on ETS - something I never thought would happen in my lifetime back when I was in the U of A...but that was a different Edmonton.

16-11-2006, 09:20 AM
I agree something needs to be done, right now there is problem on the #8 that seems to happen everyday...buses are supposed to be every 7-8mins, but then there will be a 15-20 min gap and 2 #8 buses arrive one directly behind the other.

16-11-2006, 12:14 PM
The bus bays would stay, but in some cases, like Coliseum, they could lose a few when (if) reno time comes around. Timed Schedule Routes - the minor ones- would still need to wait at every station, although ideally not as long as now.

Major Routes would wait in bus bays at terminal stations, and possibly one Half way point, if they are less than 5 minutes behind the one ahead. Doing this correctly would need some management system to time the busses.

I started thinking about this because Coliseum station has at least 85% of it's transfering riders doing at least one leg on the untimed LRT, or on the #8, which is busy enough to be 5min headway.
As the LRT expands and more busses are added to other busy routes, there will be more and more stations where the change might make sense. Right now, there's not too many.