In December 2023, the Afton Express bus service completed its second full-year of service. The commuter route has seen great success in this short amount of time. To ensure that we continue to meet the needs of current and prospective riders, Afton Express staff here at the CSPDC and at BRITE Transit collect and analyze different types of data throughout the year.
Route operators record performance data on their daily driver sheets, such as when and where riders are boarding and alighting, and through monthly service reports, which tell us the number of times that routes are delayed significantly or cannot operate. This information is helpful, but it cannot help us fully understand the customer experience. To get the full picture, we also collect qualitative data directly from the public.
The annual survey was first completed at the end of 2022 and asked a few basic questions to help us understand who our riders are and how they interact with the service. The roughly 30 responses collected provided context to the trends we saw in the performance data. For example, on-off counts conducted by the drivers can tell us at which stops the passengers are boarding and alighting, but they cannot tell us where they go once they step off the bus.
The information gathered through the survey was so helpful to our service planning that this type of survey will be collected each year.
The 2023 survey was available online from November 13th to December 15th, 2023, and included a mixture of structured and open-ended questions. As we continue to grow the Afton Express, we, as transit planners, are better able to identify what pieces of information will help us make decisions about the service. As such, this year’s survey will include questions about the respondent (demographics), how they interact with the service (do they ride regularly, periodically, or not at all?), and their overall customer experience.
We are pleased to report that we doubled our response rate from 2022, recording 67 legitimate responses for the one month the survey was available. We received responses from current riders, prospective riders, and individuals that had never heard of the service but were eager to learn more. CSPDC staff is in the process of reviewing the data and a full summary of the responses from both the survey and the performance metrics will be presented in the Afton Express 2023 Annual Report.
The report will be published and made available to our stakeholders and the public by the end of January 2024.