by Evan Landman
Akron METRO launched their reimagined bus network on June 4th! Jarrett Walker + Associates assisted the agency in developing the new service plan over the past 2 years.
Despite dealing with the same operator shortage as all transit agencies have faced, METRO were able to implement nearly the entire service plan on Day 1, which included the following key elements:
- 5 new high-frequency 15-minute corridors.
- 3 new 30-minute routes in addition to 5 existing 30-min routes
- New regional connections to greater Cleveland (which also implemented a JWA network redesign last year.)
- Expanded weekend services, particularly on Sundays.
Before the new network was implemented, METRO’s most frequent routes ran only every 20 minutes. The new network establishes frequent service to many key destinations and neighborhoods, including major hospitals, the University of Akron, and other important civic institutions. The Reimagined Network was designed to provide frequent and convenient service in busy places where many people need to travel to, while continuing to offer lifeline services in places where and for people for whom transit is essential.
With the new network, the median person in Summit County who lives near a bus route can access over 54% more jobs with a 45 minute transit trip; these outcomes are even larger for lower-income people and people of color, who are more likely to live in central Akron, where the new network’s most frequent routes are concentrated. This was achieved without a reduction in coverage – about 1% more people are now within a short walk to a transit than with the old network.
JWA congratulates METRO on the successful implementation of this plan. We’re proud to have assisted the agency in developing a new bus network that responds to the travel needs of today’s riders, and establishes the foundation for ridership growth in the future.