Bus services are a cornerstone of public transport in the suburbs. They have the reliability of a train, while servicing areas usually only accessible by private vehicle.
Bus services are limited however, both by their predefined route and their time table, meaning users must still travel to the bus stop and wait for the bus. This can create significant barriers for some, such as those with limited mobility, new mothers and the elderly.
1. The Demand Responsive Bus (DRB) system
The DRB system is a bus service which will deviate from its fixed route on request, picking users up and dropping them off directly at their homes. This means the bus doesn't travel any further than it needs to, reducing travel time and fuel use.
This simple concept has been very successfully trialled in the outer east suburbs of Melbourne with The Telebus (servicing Lilydale, Mooroolbark, Croydon Hills, Chirnside Park and Rowville) and rural areas with the Albury/Wodonga Flexi-Bus.
The concept is also in practice in the UK, where it has found significant success in sparsely populated areas. A detailed discussion of the DRB and it's application in the English countryside has been published by MTRU Transport Consultants and is available via this link.
2. Shared-use Buses
The City of Greater Bendigo have trialled and are now adopting an additional bus service that takes advantaged of school buses which are unused during the day.
This is an excellent example of getting the most out of transport resources. For more information, see the B-Line page on the City of Greater Bendigo website.
3. Buses colour-coded by Route
In 2004 the Seoul Metropolitan Government completely overhauled their city bus system. One of the changes they made was to colour-code their bus services by the area they serviced, as seen in the two pictures to the right.
This colour-coding by area is an interesting innovation that has greatly served to reduce confusion about bus services, especially for Seoul's tourist population. To find out more about these innovation, see this article by re:place Magazine.