Burbank bus survey shows general satisfaction with service

Riders of the city's bus service are most dissatisfied with the system's hours of operation and bus-stop frequency, though they reported overall satisfaction with the service, according to results of a city-administered survey.

City transportation officials conducted the survey for two weeks in June to BurbankBus riders at the downtown Burbank Metrolink and North Hollywood Red Line stations — many of whom chose to fill out the survey online later — as well as onboard the buses and online.

A majority of the 172 riders who took the survey use the system to get to work, and 60% use the system four or more days a week, according to the data released by city officials this week.

"Even though it's a small survey population, it is important feedback for us," said Adam Emmer, the city's transportation service manager. "We will use the information that we receive to look at ways of continually modifying and improving our service for all of our passengers."

The bus system, which costs roughly $1.1 million annually to operate, provides 20,000 trips per month, runs Monday through Friday from 5:30 to 10:30 a.m., stops for a midday hiatus, and starts back up again for the afternoon commute from 2:30 to 8 p.m.

On a scale from one to five, with one being "poor" and five being "excellent," respondents on average rated overall hours of operation at 2.65 and frequency at 2.91.

"We are continually looking at how to respond to that break during the afternoon," Emmer said. "It does take funding. We are fiscally constrained."

Riders also asked about adding weekend hours, though that would cost more than filling the afternoon break, when staff is already on site, Emmer said.

He added that a bus stops at each station every 12 to 18 minutes, which is a "very high" frequency rate for a small urban bus system.

Nearly half of respondents reported using a Metrolink pass to pay their fares, down 10% from 2012, and 43% reportedly pay in cash, which is more than double from 2012.

Roughly 60% of the respondents were "choice riders," meaning they had access to a personal vehicle and chose to take public transit. Customers were reportedly satisfied with the cost of service, bus stop proximity, availability of seating and convenience.

Transportation officials are looking to replace six older buses out of the 17-vehicle fleet, though that won't happen this fiscal year, Emmer said.

Riders who want to share additional feedback can call the customer service at (818) 246-4258 or visit http://www.burbankbus.org.

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