Limited Stop Bus Service: An Evaluation Of An Implementation Strategy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - performance, operations - scheduling


Running time, On-time Performance, Travel Time, Limited-Stop Bus Service, Express Service, Transit Planning, Transit Operations


Transit agencies implement limited-stop (express) bus services as a mean to provide an attractive and competitive transit service. The Société de transport de Montréal (STM), the transit agency providing service on the Island of Montréal, Canada, implemented a limited-stop service to run parallel to route 67 Saint-Michel, a heavily used bus route. The design process regarding which stops to include in the new service involved an evaluation of several scenarios and an estimation of running time savings. In this paper, we use archived vehicle location and passenger count data to measure changes in on-time performance and running times, and to compare these changes to previous estimates through a before-and-after study. In addition, an on-site survey is conducted to measure the riders' perception of time savings. Implementing a limited-stop service yielded to 4.6 minutes savings in running time for the new limited service; meanwhile, the existing regular service experienced an increase of 0.8 minute in average running time, an increase that could be due to a new smart card system introduced in the same period. The running time savings for the limited-stop service fall in the expected estimates made by the research team, which strengthens our trust in the methodology used to select stops and to estimate savings. Finally, the study shows that riders are generally satisfied with the new service. They also tend to overestimate the savings associated with the implementation of the new limited-stop service by 4 to 7 minutes more than the actual savings.


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