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Posted on July 2, 2019 at 7:43 AM by Brooke Kochanski
There are 16 different PART Express routes serving the greater Triad region. Using each of those different routes, we’re able to connect riders from Mt. Airy to Chapel Hill, more than 100 miles apart. And within every individual route are a number of stops that make it possible for people to get to work, connect with friends and family or explore the Piedmont.
But how do we decide where to place stops or what routes to adjustment? Why do some routes get changed while others remain the same?
You might be surprised to learn that those decisions are the combination of research, data and rider feedback. Each of these three components plays a crucial role in how and why a PART Express route gets altered or updated, and we’d like to take you behind the scenes for an inside look at this complex yet crucial process.
Mark Kirstner, PART’s Director of Planning, has been helping to lead PART’s route planning efforts since 2008. And when it comes down to it, Mark emphasizes that route planning and adjustments revolve around one central idea: “We’re always striving to make PART more convenient, easier to understand, and easier to use.”
In the past 5 years, Mark and his team have turned what was an informal almost random discussion to a “scientific, data-driven process.”
This all begins by making a concerted effort to both request and follow-up on passenger and driver feedback. By listening to the concerns and suggestions of the people who ride PART on a daily basis, we’re better able to get a sense of how the routes are operating at a practical level.
Sometimes those changes are quite easy to implement and are done as quickly as possible. When a particular request takes on a more complicated challenge, it will be flagged for a closer look when we’re conducting a larger, system-wide analysis.
The technology on our buses also provides us with a great number of helpful data points. For example, we’re able to know how many daily riders a route may have, which bus stops are used by more riders, and even whether ridership is declining during certain days of the week.
And finally, data from the US Census gives us big-picture information such as how many people living in Greensboro are travelling to Winston-Salem for work every day. We combine that broad data with periodic surveys, such as surveys of local businesses, local and state governments and the Department of Labor, to capture a more specific look at where there are unmet transit needs.
One example of this planning process in motion would be the recent introduction of our Route 17, connecting Kernersville to Winston-Salem. This route was a direct result of PART’s efforts to lessen the effects of the Business 40 closure project by providing an alternative to employees affected by this extensive project.
Initially, riders looking to get from our Coble Transit Center (CTC) to downtown Winston-Salem had to take two separate routes: one from CTC to Kernersville, and then another to downtown Winston-Salem. Based on rider feedback and data, we were able to combine those two routes into one, and then extend the endpoint to Baptist Medical Center and Forsyth Medical Center.
This change has resulted in an increase of daily riders on the route, in addition to the positive feedback we’ve received from riders along the way.
So what else leads to these kinds of changes in our PART Express system? According to Mark, there are 4 key triggers:
No matter what factors lead to a route change, none of those decisions are ever made lightly. We strive to take into account information from an analytical, data-driven perspective as well as a more personal, human-focused side. In this sense our work never changes, as there are always improvements to be made and new riders to serve.
With your help—and the continued resources we pull from so many of our valued partners—we can continue to work towards our goal of connecting communities across the Triad.
If you have suggestions about PART Express bus or shuttle service, complete our Route Request form to let our planning department know.
Make sure to check out the upcoming PART Express Route Adjustments scheduled for August 5th
Posted on June 10, 2019 at 2:40 PM by Brooke Kochanski
Since November 2018, our PART Express buses have seen an average of approximately 1,800 passenger trips per day, with Vanpools reporting an additional 950. Some individual routes have even seen increases as high as 79%.
Together, these commuters have helped reduce over 18 million miles in single occupancy vehicle travel thus far—a total that is only 2 million miles fewer than the entire fiscal year of 2018!
More participation in these programs isn’t just improving commuting conditions: they’re improving our local environment. Our services reduced carbon monoxide emissions in the Triad by 2.2 tons during the month of April alone, and have also helped reduce 46 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) this fiscal year.
“PART is a very efficient way to travel throughout the Triad,” Alexcia Lane, a student at GTCC and frequent rider of Routes 1 and 2 said. “Not only is it easy and affordable, but it affords me the time to check my email and play games on my phone. I can relax and actually enjoy a usually stressful task.”
Greg Southard, a Clemmons resident who takes Route 28 to and from work in downtown Winston-Salem each day, says that in addition to the safety and convenience commuting with PART provides, he also enjoys the camaraderie of his fellow passengers.
“Our route is like its own little community,” Southard said. “We have a small group of people who ride together daily and have built an open, friendly environment filled with courteous and genuine interactions. The commute to and from work has become a highlight of my day.”
PART continues to try and enhance transportation options including bus routes, discounted Vanpool programs and rideshare matching services like ShareTheRideNC for commuters to and from areas across the Triad.
These programs are part of our efforts to reduce single occupancy vehicle travel. We believe that fewer cars on the road will result in better commuting conditions for everyone.
To learn more about our programs and services, click here.
What PART Riders Are Saying:
“The best thing about riding the PART bus is the fact that I’m not driving and having to manage the traffic.” - Sharon Gaskin, Route 1 from Greensboro to Winston-Salem
“My favorite aspect of commuting with PART is the low cost!” - Marty Jackson, Route 6 from Surry County to Winston-Salem
“If I had to describe my experience riding PART in three words, they would be: efficient, comfortable and affordable.” - Alexcia Lane, Routes 1 and 2 from Winston-Salem to High Point and Greensboro
“Riding the PART bus feels like I have my own private chauffer who knows and cares about me and my daily life outside of my commute.” - Greg Southard, Route 28 from Clemmons to Winston-Salem
Posted on May 29, 2019 at 2:15 PM by Brooke Kochanski
PART Express bus service is provided through a contract with National Express Transit
Corporation. National Express is currently
hiring for Transit Drivers, Maintenance Technicians, and Utility Workers to
help fill positions for the PART/NETS team. Transit Drivers qualify for a $500
sign-on bonus. Come work with us! Visit https://careers.nellc.com/ and search for
positions located in Greensboro to apply today.