CyRide is undergoing an Alternatives Analysis study of the #23 Orange route beginning in January 2013. The route is the busiest route in the State of Iowa, carrying 12,000 to 14,000 rides each weekday (i.e 1.8 million riders each year). To meet the ridership demand, bus leave the Ann Campbell Park & Ride every 2-3 minutes when ISU is in full session. The Federal Transit Administration recognizes that a traditional bus route is challenged to efficiently provide service after it reaches 3,000 rides per day. As a result, CyRide received a federal grant to study how to better operate this route. CyRide hired a consultant, URS Corporation, to help us with this analysis which will be ongoing through the Fall 2015.
The scope of work for this project is centered around seven questions that have been asked within the community regarding the Orange Route service. These questions are as follows:
- What percentage of the Orange Route ridership comes from in-town rides that could have taken another CyRide route? Are there CyRide and Ames community benefits (congestion, environmental, reduced transit expenses, etc.) to dispersing ridership throughout the community on multiple routes as opposed to having customers travel to a central location at the ISC?
- What amenities/technology should be planned at each bus stop along the route to provide CyRide customers with a better quality ride – real-time bus signage, covered bus stops, etc.
- With ridership increasing an average of 3.2% each year on this route, how does CyRide continue to provide a quality level of service when buses are currently at standing room capacity and two minutes apart during peak times?
- How can CyRide reduce bus congestion on campus (Osborn Dr.) when enrollment and demand for CyRide continues to increase?
- How do the two articulated buses work on the Orange route and would additional articulated buses provide more benefit or should the buses be eliminated from the route?
- Are there benefits (financial or other) to the Ames-ISU community for an enhanced BRT route as opposed to incremental route improvements as budgets allow?
- Should parking incentives or disincentives be used to cap growth on this route or address parking lot financing at the ISC lots?
Based on these questions, a preferred alternative for this bus corridor will be developed, which could include no change to the existing route, Bus Rapid Transit route, light rail or other options such as route changes, bus stop improvements, better signage, more articulated (larger) buses, etc.