TARC launches new initiative for more reliable buses 

January 29, 2024

Program to focus on TARC’s four most popular and frequent routes

Louisville, Ky. (January 29, 2024)— TARC launched an important new effort today to provide more reliable and predictable service on the region’s four most popular bus routes.

The Operational Schedule Adherence Program is a focused effort where TARC staff will closely monitor and adjust bus positioning in real-time in order to better maintain the most critical of rider priorities – on time and reliable service.

“TARC customers says that reliable and on time buses are their most important priority,” said TARC Interim Executive Director Ozzy Gibson. “This effort will be a big step toward improving our results in this key area.”

A 2023 survey of TARC fixed route customers showed that on time performance is the most important element of service on TARC buses.

The Operational Scheduled Adherence Program will improve TARC’s performance in this critical area by dynamically adjusting the positioning of TARC buses in the field when needed. 

Specifically, when one bus is running late and another bus is close behind, the TARC control center will tell the late bus to switch to “Drop Off Only.” That means the bus will only drop off passengers for a short period of time. That means customers already on the bus will get to their destination much more quickly. Waiting customers meanwhile will be able to board the trailing bus that will be less than 5 minutes behind.

Overall, this means more buses will stay on schedule or get back on schedule if they’ve started to fall behind. That means throughout the day TARC customers can have more confidence that the bus will be there on time.

The Operational Schedule Adherence Program will only effect TARC’s four most popular bus routes – the #4 4th Street, the #10 Dixie Rapid, the #23 Broadway, and the #28 Preston Highway. These four lines make up TARC’s core “frequency” network, where buses are scheduled to arrive every 15 minutes or less during the majority of the week.

45% of TARC boardings since last June have been on one of these four bus routes. That means improvements in on time performance for these primary routes will have a reverberating effect throughout the TARC system. 

TARC first tested the Operational Schedule Adherence Program as a pilot program on the #23 Broadway – TARC’s most popular bus route – in Fall 2023. The results were promising – a four percent improvement in on time performance on the #23 Broadway between August and December 2023. That success convinced TARC leadership to expand the program to the other three frequency routes and make it permanent on the #23 Broadway.