This is the fourth blog post in our week-long series about Connections 2025. We’ve heard your burning questions and have answers to your top questions.
Day 4 – Question: Why can’t we have more routes, all with more frequency?
Remember that old saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”? Well, we think that phrase stinks. We love cake!
Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that. (We know. Boo.) We can’t provide every type of service under the sun at the same time – it’s just not possible. Life (and transit planning) involves trade-offs and in the case of our service one of the more common trade-offs is frequency vs. coverage. Since Capital Metro doesn’t have unlimited funding, we can only provide limited amounts of either option.
- Frequency – buses running on major corridors every 10-15 minutes, riders may have to walk further to a bus stop, OR
- Coverage – buses running on many streets, with short walks to the bus stop, but typically operating every 30-60 minutes.
How did Capital Metro decide what to do?
When Capital Metro was gathering public input earlier this spring, we heard frequency was most important priority to the public, followed by coverage. We faced a bit of dilemma, since we can’t provide both. So, we went back out to our community in May and asked again, but more specifically about these tradeoffs: frequency vs. coverage. Again the public responded they wanted frequency. You can view the results at Connections2025.org
Capital Metro worked with our planning consultant to design a frequency-first focused network, increasing the number of frequent routes from 6 to 17. At the same time, we still worked hard to maximize coverage. As a result, in the Connections 2025 Draft Plan Capital Metro is proposing a revised network where 99.5% of our existing customers would be within a 10-minute walk of the new network.
Want to learn more about the frequency / coverage tradeoff in 90 seconds? Here is cool video Edmonton Transit created when they were conducting a similar study.