On August 29, 2011 LANta implemented the new LANtaBus route structure. This service restructure affected all LANta fixed routes by introducing a new route designation system, consolidating day and evening routes, introducing evening and Sunday service to new areas and implementing LANta’s first general public flexible feeder service, LANtaFlex. The restructure increased the amount of service hours operated by LANta by 4% and increased LANta’s peak vehicle need (that is, the number of buses LANta needs to operate at the maximum service level during a day) from 65 to 67.
Significant preparation preceded the August 29 implementation. LANta began distributing printed timetables for each of the new routes two weeks prior to the implementation but schedule and route information was available at lantabus.com on August 1. Also, more than a week prior to the launch, LANta began distributing LANtaBus Route Guide booklets which included information about all routes. The week of the implementation, LANta extended the hours of it customer service call center and had staff persons present at the main transit centers to answer rider’s questions. Call volume into LANta’s customer service telephone line was more than double the normal rate for the first week and a half after the implementation. Many calls were simply riders looking for new route information. The call volume was also affected by the severe weather experienced during that two week period. Between Hurricane Irene and the heavy rain the following week, LANta service was disrupted in many areas leading to many calls into customer service. Also, some riders did find that under the new route structure their trip was disrupted, either they now have to make a transfer to complete their trip or they missed a bus due to a change in the boarding location at one of LANta’s transit centers.
LANta regrets any inconvenience to current riders but believes the improvements implemented on August 29 provide greater benefits to riders overall. LANta will introduce some minor adjustments to the new service over the next few weeks to address some issues identified by riders and LANta bus drivers. Also, LANta will continue to monitor the new service structure to determine if other fixes need to be implemented.
There is nothing more constant in life than change. LANTA hopes that this one provides more convenience for existing customers and attracts new riders to the system.