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Bus battle: Do private shuttles affect the reliability of public transit?

Published on September 17, 2018

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons: Steve morgan: CC by SA 3.0

While many Puget Sound residents have to choose between taking public transit or personal vehicles to work, Microsoft and Seattle Children’s Hospital employees have an additional option: private commuter buses.

Last year, King County Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation started a pilot program that allowed these shuttles to pick up employees at a few public bus stops throughout the city. But some residents are concerned that sharing stops with private shuttles could make public transit less reliable.

Now a recent study from researchers at the University of Washington suggests that public buses are unaffected by private shuttles most of the time. The study, which will appear in the print edition of the Journal of the Transportation Research Board this fall, examined how well public buses adhered to their schedules both before and during the pilot period.

“There’s this huge symbolic meaning that these private buses have, and their potential impact on public transit would basically be salt in the wound,” said Don MacKenzie, a co-author of the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “Your neighborhood is gentrified, your friends and neighbors have been forced to move out and now your bus is going to be late? But we found that, by and large, the buses aren’t running behind.”

Originally posted on UW News by Sarah McQuate
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