Faster trips, better service

The FAStops project, which began in June 2018 with a system-wide evaluation of Metro’s 4,000+ regular service bus stops, aimed to not only speed up trip times, but to allow for the agency to make improvements along routes by streamlining bus stop placement. Each stop was assessed based on its location -- ensuring stops aren’t too close together -- as well as its usage, amenities, safety and accessibility.

As part of the project, Metro hosted community information sessions and collected feedback both in person and online from riders on proposed bus stop changes.

Several proposed changes to stops were tested in a pilot program that began in March 2019 along several routes. The positive results of the pilot included improvements in on-time performance and time savings.

Due to the success of the pilot, in August 2019, Metro implemented phase two of the project by expanding the FAStops project to half of its system. In December 2019, phase three of the FAStops project was implemented on the remainder of Metro's system, with the final schedule adjustments going into effect on October 2020.

How FAStops works:

Metro is dedicated to providing safe, efficient and dependable transit service in the Cincinnati region.

Trip time was listed as one of the top three improvements our riders wanted to improve their riding experience. When bus stops are spaced appropriately, or "balanced," it can make service faster and more reliable for riders, while preserving convenience and walkability to stops.

The FAStops project evaluated which stops were most used, which stops needed improvements, and which stops could be removed without significantly impacting access to service, and included potential cost savings for Metro (funds that can be further used to improve service elsewhere). 

How does balanced bus stop spacing improve bus service?

Faster Smoother More Reliable Better Bus Stop Facilities and Amenities
It can take a bus up to 20 seconds to slow down, stop and pick up a passenger, and merge back into traffic. This means that more frequent stops add up to longer travel times. For example, going from nine stops per mile to six stops per mile can save up to one minute, equating to five minutes on a five-mile trip, while still providing riders with a convenient walking distance to the bus stop. Stop-and-go service is frustrating and uncomfortable. When a bus route has stops that are very close together, it is more likely to stop frequently as riders choose to board/get off as close to their home or destination as possible. More appropriate bus stop spacing means a smoother and more predictable ride. A bus might stop at 90% of stops on some trips, but only 60% of stops on other trips. As a result, travel time varies widely from trip to trip, making service less predictable. By removing selected stops, we can more accurately predict which stops will be served. This makes travel times more consistent from trip to trip, leading to more predictable service that’s more likely to run on time. Public transit systems need to be fiscally responsible, meaning they cannot afford to provide high quality facilities and amenities at every stop. Removing stops that are inaccessible, serve few or no riders and contribute to poor service allows Metro to focus on providing high quality facilities and amenities at the stops where they are needed most.