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The Frequent Bus Network: 
A Model for Improving Bus Services in Indian Cities 
A Webinar via The Hub 
Ashwin Prabhu 
Mana...
The Frequent Bus Network: 
Rationale & Concept
The Direct Services Model 
This is the model for bus 
services operated by all Indian 
Cities: 
Every location in the city...
Issue 1: Exponential Growth in Number of Routes 
3 Hubs 
3 Locations 
9 Routes
Issue 1: Exponential Growth in Number of Routes 
3 Hubs 
6 Destinations 
18 Routes
Issue 1: Exponential Growth in Number of Routes 
3 Hubs 
9 Destinations 
27 Routes
As a result of the direct services model, 4 
routes are required to provide services 
along a single, relatively short str...
Issue 2: Low Frequencies on Individual Routes 
As fiscal capacities are generally constrained, fleet size 
cannot keep up ...
Route 356-B 
KR Market 
To 
Karpur 
Route Length: 
34.3 KM 
Buses: 
1 
Wait Time till next 
bus: 
~120 Min
Issue 3: Excessive Complexity for Users 
Large number of routes increases system complexity and 
acts as a barrier to entr...
Issue 3: Excessive Complexity for Users 
An example of a complicated bus route map: 
Tracing a single bus route is difficu...
The Alternative: 
An example of a simpler, structural bus route map 
Plotting journey route is much simpler 
This is only ...
The Frequent Bus Network 
Direct Services Integrated Services
The Frequent Bus Network 
Principle #1: 
Individual Routes along Major Roads are rationalised into a 
small number of Very...
The Frequent Bus Network 
Principle #2: 
Travel Patterns that require moving beyond the major road are 
served by routes c...
The Frequent Bus Network 
Principle # 3: 
Specific Travel Patterns are served not by direct routes, but by 
a collection o...
Benefits of The Frequent Bus Network 
Improves: 
System Simplicity 
fewer routes, easier to navigate 
Quality of Service 
...
Implementing 
The Frequent Bus Network 
in 
Bangalore (BMTC)
The Frequent Bus Network in Bangalore 
BMTC is implementing Two Major Route & Network 
Structure Reforms: 
1. The BIG Bus ...
1. BIG Bus Network 
The BIG Bus Network is a Connective Grid of 
High Frequency, Direction-Oriented services along 
Major ...
1. BIG Bus Network
1. BIG Bus Network
1. BIG Bus Network
1. BIG Bus Network
1. BIG Bus Network – Full Network
2. Feeder Services for Peripheral Destinations 
Peripheral Destinations - which lie beyond ORR and off 
arterial roads - w...
2. Feeder Services for Peripheral Destinations
2. Feeder Services for Peripheral Destinations
BIG Bus Network + Feeders: An Example
BIG Bus Network + Feeders: An Example
BIG Bus Network + Feeders: An Example
An Example: 
Hosur Road Corridor
Hosur Road Corridor 
Existing Services: 
From City Centre to 
Electronics City and 
Beyond 
63 Routes 
262 Buses
BIG Bus Network + Feeders: Hosur Road
Hosur Road 
Corridor 
BigTrunk 
BigConnect 
Feeder
Routes 
existing proposed 
Trunk Service 
Direct Service 
TOTAL 
BigTrunk 6 
BigConnect 3 
Feeder Services 21 
30 
15 
48 ...
Improving Service Quality (1) – Wait Times 
Shorter length of feeder routes means that waiting times 
away from the main r...
Existing Service 
Route 356-B 
KR Market 
To 
Karpur 
Route Length: 
34.3 KM 
Buses: 
1 
Wait Time till next 
bus: 
~120 M...
Proposed Service 
Feeder Route: 
Route Length: 
10.1 KM 
Round Trip Time: 
72 Min 
Average Wait: 
36 Min 
BigTrunk Route: ...
Improving Service Quality – Wait Times 
existing proposed 
TRUNK 
FEEDER 
TOTAL 
0 
120 
120 
3 
36 
39 
wait 
time 
67.5%...
Improving Service Quality – Wait Times 
For all bus stops in the proposed system: 
Waiting times reduce by an average of 
...
Fleet Requirement 
existing proposed 
Trunk Service 
Direct Service 
TOTAL 
BigTrunk 187 
BigConnect 35 
Feeder Services 4...
Challenges in Implementing 
The Frequent Bus Network
Will this work? Potential Concerns 
3 Major Concerns 
1. Transfers: 
A. “People do not want/like to make transfers” 
B. “P...
Mitigating Concern 1: Transfers 
A. “People do not want/like to make transfers” 
Bus Stop Access Mode - Chandapura 
53% 
4...
Mitigating Concern 1: Transfers 
A. “People do not want/like to make transfers” 
The main complaint about making transfers...
Mitigating Concern 1: Transfers 
A. “People do not want/like to make transfers” 
The second major complaint about making t...
Mitigating Concern 1: Transfers 
B. “People making direct trips will be forced to transfer” 
Chandapura – Morning 
(n=11,6...
Mitigating Concern 2: Fares 
A. “People will have to pay a transfer penalty” 
Attibele Direct Trips – Ticket Type 
60% 
40...
Mitigating Concern 2: Fares 
A. “People will have to pay a transfer penalty” 
And developing an integrated fare system is ...
Mitigating Concern 3: User Education 
A. “People will not understand the new system” 
Unified Branding 
Unified and consis...
Mitigating Concern 3: User Education 
A. “Explaining the new system will be difficult” 
User Information at Bus Stops 
Sim...
Mitigating Concern 3: User Education 
A. “Explaining the new system will be difficult” 
User education is, however, a sign...
Mitigating Concerns: Summary 
The ultimate aim is to make the experience of transferring 
akin to that of a rail-based met...
Implementing the 
BIG Bus Network in 
Bangalore: 
Progress and Impacts
Implementation Progress 
Old 
Airport 
Road 
Sarjapur 
Road 
Hosur 
Banerghatta Road 
Road 
Kanakpura 
Road 
Old 
Madras 
...
BIG Bus Network launched by CM Siddaramiah
BigTrunk Bus on Road
Impact: Performance Evaluation Survey 
Conducted in August, 2014 
Sample Size: 2,500 
Population: 
Existing BigTrunk & Fee...
BigTrunk: How did you make this trip before? 
Other Bus, 38% 
Car, 9% 
No Response, 11% More than one 
Didn’t make this 
2...
BigTrunk: Why did you switch? 
Better Frequency, 
41% 
Other, 0% 
Cheaper, 15% 
Good Bus Quality, 
25% 
Easier to 
underst...
BigTrunk: Would you recommend this service? 
Yes, 68% 
Maybe, 17% 
No, 14% 
No Response, 
1% 
More than one 
response, 0% ...
BigTrunk: Would you support expansion? 
Maybe, 23% 
No Response, 1% 
More than one 
response, 0% 
No, 13% Yes, 63% 
Majori...
Feeder: How did you make this trip before? 
Other Bus, 55% 
Other, 0% Didn’t make 
Auto, 15% 
Car, 
7% 
2W, 16% 
Van, 2% 
...
Feeder: Why did you switch? 
Other, 0% No Response, 4% More than one 
Better Frequency, 
34% 
Good Bus Quality, 
20% 
Chea...
Feeder: Would you recommend this service? 
No Response, 2% More than one 
Yes, 65% 
Maybe, 21% 
No, 12% 
response, 0% 
Maj...
Feeder: Would you support expansion? 
No Response, 2% More than one 
Yes, 48% 
No, 4% 
Maybe, 46% 
response, 0% 
Majority ...
Feeder: Do you know about Samparka Sarige? 
(Potential users waiting at major junctions) 
yes, 57% 
no, 42% 
none, 1% 
mor...
Next Steps for BIG Bus Network 
Expand Structural Services: 
BigTrunk (on additional Arterial Corridors) 
BigCircle (on OR...
Conclusions 
The Frequent Bus Network promises a step-change 
improvement in the quality of urban bus services, 
particula...
Thank You!
Webinar - The Frequent Bus Network
Webinar - The Frequent Bus Network
Webinar - The Frequent Bus Network
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Webinar - The Frequent Bus Network

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Bangalore is currently in the process of implementing a wide-ranging set of reforms to its urban bus service, one of the largest in India and Asia. At the center of this effort, is a pioneering re-design of the route and network structure of bus services in the city. Together with other aspects such as integrated fares, improved physical infrastructure and unified branding, these reforms promise a step-change improvement in the quality of bus services for Bangalore's 10 million residents.

This webinar will provide details of the reforms being undertaken in Bangalore, discuss impacts from the initial phases of its implementation, and address whether this model can be replicated in other Indian and Asian megacities.

The webinar recording can be accessed here - http://embarqindiahub.org/webinars/frequent-bus-network-model-improving-bus-services-indian-cities

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Webinar - The Frequent Bus Network

  1. 1. The Frequent Bus Network: A Model for Improving Bus Services in Indian Cities A Webinar via The Hub Ashwin Prabhu Manager – Urban Transport , EMBARQ India Email: aprabhu@embarqindia.org
  2. 2. The Frequent Bus Network: Rationale & Concept
  3. 3. The Direct Services Model This is the model for bus services operated by all Indian Cities: Every location in the city is provided with a direct route to the city centre and other major hubs + Any pair of locations with a certain level of demand is provided with a direct route between them
  4. 4. Issue 1: Exponential Growth in Number of Routes 3 Hubs 3 Locations 9 Routes
  5. 5. Issue 1: Exponential Growth in Number of Routes 3 Hubs 6 Destinations 18 Routes
  6. 6. Issue 1: Exponential Growth in Number of Routes 3 Hubs 9 Destinations 27 Routes
  7. 7. As a result of the direct services model, 4 routes are required to provide services along a single, relatively short stretch of road
  8. 8. Issue 2: Low Frequencies on Individual Routes As fiscal capacities are generally constrained, fleet size cannot keep up with the exponential increase in number of routes Eventually, this system ends up with a large number of routes with only 1 or 2 buses If these routes are long – as routes serving the city periphery tend to be – this results in long wait times on individual routes
  9. 9. Route 356-B KR Market To Karpur Route Length: 34.3 KM Buses: 1 Wait Time till next bus: ~120 Min
  10. 10. Issue 3: Excessive Complexity for Users Large number of routes increases system complexity and acts as a barrier to entry for new users System complexity means developing user information systems - like maps at bus stops - becomes very difficult
  11. 11. Issue 3: Excessive Complexity for Users An example of a complicated bus route map: Tracing a single bus route is difficult and confusing In the direct services model with excessive routes, this is the only type of map possible
  12. 12. The Alternative: An example of a simpler, structural bus route map Plotting journey route is much simpler This is only possible with a rationalised, transfer based network
  13. 13. The Frequent Bus Network Direct Services Integrated Services
  14. 14. The Frequent Bus Network Principle #1: Individual Routes along Major Roads are rationalised into a small number of Very High Frequency Routes
  15. 15. The Frequent Bus Network Principle #2: Travel Patterns that require moving beyond the major road are served by routes connecting to the Frequent Bus Network at interchange points
  16. 16. The Frequent Bus Network Principle # 3: Specific Travel Patterns are served not by direct routes, but by a collection of ‘direction-oriented’ services connected by transfers
  17. 17. Benefits of The Frequent Bus Network Improves: System Simplicity fewer routes, easier to navigate Quality of Service more buses per route, higher frequency System Capacity higher frequency on specific ‘links’ Flexibility easier to match supply to demand
  18. 18. Implementing The Frequent Bus Network in Bangalore (BMTC)
  19. 19. The Frequent Bus Network in Bangalore BMTC is implementing Two Major Route & Network Structure Reforms: 1. The BIG Bus Network 2. Feeder Services for Peripheral Destinations
  20. 20. 1. BIG Bus Network The BIG Bus Network is a Connective Grid of High Frequency, Direction-Oriented services along Major Roads BIG = Bangalore Integrated Grid
  21. 21. 1. BIG Bus Network
  22. 22. 1. BIG Bus Network
  23. 23. 1. BIG Bus Network
  24. 24. 1. BIG Bus Network
  25. 25. 1. BIG Bus Network – Full Network
  26. 26. 2. Feeder Services for Peripheral Destinations Peripheral Destinations - which lie beyond ORR and off arterial roads - will be served with high frequency feeder services connecting them to the main road
  27. 27. 2. Feeder Services for Peripheral Destinations
  28. 28. 2. Feeder Services for Peripheral Destinations
  29. 29. BIG Bus Network + Feeders: An Example
  30. 30. BIG Bus Network + Feeders: An Example
  31. 31. BIG Bus Network + Feeders: An Example
  32. 32. An Example: Hosur Road Corridor
  33. 33. Hosur Road Corridor Existing Services: From City Centre to Electronics City and Beyond 63 Routes 262 Buses
  34. 34. BIG Bus Network + Feeders: Hosur Road
  35. 35. Hosur Road Corridor BigTrunk BigConnect Feeder
  36. 36. Routes existing proposed Trunk Service Direct Service TOTAL BigTrunk 6 BigConnect 3 Feeder Services 21 30 15 48 63 52.4% reduction in number of routes while maintaining same geographic service coverage
  37. 37. Improving Service Quality (1) – Wait Times Shorter length of feeder routes means that waiting times away from the main road are reduced However, there is an additional component of waiting time now: waiting for the trunk service But the trunk service is run at a very high frequency (~3 min) So the reduction in wait time is still very significant
  38. 38. Existing Service Route 356-B KR Market To Karpur Route Length: 34.3 KM Buses: 1 Wait Time till next bus: ~120 Min
  39. 39. Proposed Service Feeder Route: Route Length: 10.1 KM Round Trip Time: 72 Min Average Wait: 36 Min BigTrunk Route: Average Wait: 3 Min Total Wait Time: 39 Min d
  40. 40. Improving Service Quality – Wait Times existing proposed TRUNK FEEDER TOTAL 0 120 120 3 36 39 wait time 67.5% reduction in wait time for bus service
  41. 41. Improving Service Quality – Wait Times For all bus stops in the proposed system: Waiting times reduce by an average of 56%* *weighted by passenger volume
  42. 42. Fleet Requirement existing proposed Trunk Service Direct Service TOTAL BigTrunk 187 BigConnect 35 Feeder Services 40 262 167 95 262 Service Quality improvements are achieved without any additional fleet requirement
  43. 43. Challenges in Implementing The Frequent Bus Network
  44. 44. Will this work? Potential Concerns 3 Major Concerns 1. Transfers: A. “People do not want/like to make transfers” B. “People making direct trips will be forced to transfer” 2. Fares A. “People will have to pay a transfer penalty” 3. User Education A. “People will not understand the new system”
  45. 45. Mitigating Concern 1: Transfers A. “People do not want/like to make transfers” Bus Stop Access Mode - Chandapura 53% 4% 4% 10% 4% 12% 13% [n=1650] BMTC KSRTC Private Bus Auto 2W Car Walk Majority of people accessing bus services at major junctions are already making transfers
  46. 46. Mitigating Concern 1: Transfers A. “People do not want/like to make transfers” The main complaint about making transfers is that the waiting time for the next bus is high However, in this case, we will be significantly improving frequencies, resulting in low waiting times for connecting services
  47. 47. Mitigating Concern 1: Transfers A. “People do not want/like to make transfers” The second major complaint about making transfers is that the physical process of making transfers is uncomfortable However this can be mitigated by providing high-quality yet small footprint, single-facility transfer hubs at major junctions
  48. 48. Mitigating Concern 1: Transfers B. “People making direct trips will be forced to transfer” Chandapura – Morning (n=11,614) 29% 25% 46% Direct Trips Feeder Trips Trunk Trips Chandapura – Evening (n=7,243) 27% 46% 27% Direct Trips Trunk Trips Feeder Trips Majority already treat existing bus service like a trunk-and-feeder system, making Feeder Trips (i.e. village to major junction only and vice versa) or Trunk Trips (i.e. major junction to city centre and vice versa)
  49. 49. Mitigating Concern 2: Fares A. “People will have to pay a transfer penalty” Attibele Direct Trips – Ticket Type 60% 40% (n=1,374) Bus Pass Ticket Transfer Penalty is only a concern for those making direct trips – a minority of total bus passengers Moreover, the majority of those making direct trips use bus passes and will face no transfer penalty
  50. 50. Mitigating Concern 2: Fares A. “People will have to pay a transfer penalty” And developing an integrated fare system is an established goal which is already under implementation in Bangalore
  51. 51. Mitigating Concern 3: User Education A. “People will not understand the new system” Unified Branding Unified and consistent branding will make the system easier to understand and use
  52. 52. Mitigating Concern 3: User Education A. “Explaining the new system will be difficult” User Information at Bus Stops Simplified network structure allows for the creation of legible user information systems
  53. 53. Mitigating Concern 3: User Education A. “Explaining the new system will be difficult” User education is, however, a significant challenge Appropriate resources must be deployed for intensive marketing, communications and outreach efforts In the end, the benefits (improvements in service quality) far outweigh the short-term costs of user education
  54. 54. Mitigating Concerns: Summary The ultimate aim is to make the experience of transferring akin to that of a rail-based metro system No one complains about making transfer in a metro system because: -The next train arrives quickly -The physical environment while waiting is comfortable -High quality user information makes the system easy to understand and navigate
  55. 55. Implementing the BIG Bus Network in Bangalore: Progress and Impacts
  56. 56. Implementation Progress Old Airport Road Sarjapur Road Hosur Banerghatta Road Road Kanakpura Road Old Madras Road Tumkur Road Magadi Road Mysore Road Bellary Road Tannery Road Hennur Road The BIG Bus Network has already been implemented on 3 of 12 major arterial corridors in the city. serving ~1,50,000 people daily
  57. 57. BIG Bus Network launched by CM Siddaramiah
  58. 58. BigTrunk Bus on Road
  59. 59. Impact: Performance Evaluation Survey Conducted in August, 2014 Sample Size: 2,500 Population: Existing BigTrunk & Feeder service users across all 3 corridors
  60. 60. BigTrunk: How did you make this trip before? Other Bus, 38% Car, 9% No Response, 11% More than one Didn’t make this 2W, 18% trip, 1% Other, 0% Van, 9% Auto, 14% response, 1% BigTrunk services are very successful in attracting users to Public Transport
  61. 61. BigTrunk: Why did you switch? Better Frequency, 41% Other, 0% Cheaper, 15% Good Bus Quality, 25% Easier to understand new service, 15% No Response, 3% More than one response, 1% High frequency and ease of understanding new service are major attracting factors
  62. 62. BigTrunk: Would you recommend this service? Yes, 68% Maybe, 17% No, 14% No Response, 1% More than one response, 0% Majority of users would recommend the service to people they know
  63. 63. BigTrunk: Would you support expansion? Maybe, 23% No Response, 1% More than one response, 0% No, 13% Yes, 63% Majority of users support expansion
  64. 64. Feeder: How did you make this trip before? Other Bus, 55% Other, 0% Didn’t make Auto, 15% Car, 7% 2W, 16% Van, 2% this trip, 0% No Response, 4% More than one response, 1% Feeder services are also very successful in attracting non-bus users, though not as much as BigTrunk
  65. 65. Feeder: Why did you switch? Other, 0% No Response, 4% More than one Better Frequency, 34% Good Bus Quality, 20% Cheaper, 7% Easier to understand new service, 35% response, 0% High frequency and ease of understanding new service are, again, major attracting factors
  66. 66. Feeder: Would you recommend this service? No Response, 2% More than one Yes, 65% Maybe, 21% No, 12% response, 0% Majority of users would recommend the service to people they know
  67. 67. Feeder: Would you support expansion? No Response, 2% More than one Yes, 48% No, 4% Maybe, 46% response, 0% Majority of users support expansion
  68. 68. Feeder: Do you know about Samparka Sarige? (Potential users waiting at major junctions) yes, 57% no, 42% none, 1% more than 1, 0% However, there is a significant lack of awareness of the feeder service amongst existing bus users
  69. 69. Next Steps for BIG Bus Network Expand Structural Services: BigTrunk (on additional Arterial Corridors) BigCircle (on ORR) BigConnect (connecting Arterial Corridors beyond ORR) BigCity (High demand inner city routes) Complete implementation of complimentary initiatives (i.e. Integrated Fares + Transfer Facilities) before full scale expansion of Feeder Services
  70. 70. Conclusions The Frequent Bus Network promises a step-change improvement in the quality of urban bus services, particularly for large cities In principle this concept can be extended to any city with a well defined road network with a hierarchy of public transport demand There are some significant challenges, but the ‘how’ of overcoming these is known, and the long-term benefits significantly outweigh the short term costs
  71. 71. Thank You!

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