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New Downtown DASH Contract Looks to Space Out Bunched Up Buses

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, October 31, 2008, at 12:11PM
City Hall Shuttle Eric Richardson [Flickr]

The City Hall Shuttle was eliminated in August and one of the freed buses was used to create a new Central City East route.

Most transit riders have experienced some variation of this scenario: You're waiting for a bus and it just won't come. Then, finally, two or three buses show up all at once.

The riders have experienced bunching, something that's just as troubling to transit agencies looking to provide consistent and balanced service as it is to those stuck waiting at a bus stop. The city is getting set to award a new contract for the Downtown DASH routes, and a solution to reduce bunching was a required part of the response provided by potential operators.

While the City owns the buses used for DASH service, it does not operate the lines itself. That's contracted out, with different operators running different DASH packages. Downtown DASH is the largest of those, and the current contract with First Transit expires on December 31. The city put out a Request for Proposals and received responses from four transit providers.

While a proposal was received from the current provider, LADOT is recommending that the contract be given to Veolia Transportation. The international transit operator, which locally operates service for a number of agencies, recently came to the public's attention when a Veolia-contracted Metrolink train collided with a freight train in September.

In its report to the Chief Administrator's Office, LADOT praised the thought given to bunching in Veolia's response. While all respondents were required to include a GPS-based route management solution in their responses, the department wrote that Veolia "has included additional field supervision and dispatch hours in their proposed cost model and has detailed how these key positions would function with the route management systern to proactively address this on-going issue."

The Downtown DASH contract next goes to the City Council's Transportation committee.

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