21 Comments

RTS has announced several changes, including new bus stop signs and route numbers. [IMAGE: Rochester Transit Service]

RTS on Thursday announced several changes to its bus routes and stops. Changes to routes and route numbers will be made in conjunction with the opening of the RTS Transit Center on November 28, 2014. In addition, new bus stop signage will be installed system wide in 2015. Here’s what you’ll need to know…

New RTS Transit Center opening November 28. [PHOTO: Rochester Transit Service]

First, a little background info. With the opening of the new transit center, all routes will now start and end downtown. This means if you’re used to traveling THROUGH downtown on the same bus without transferring, beginning on November 28, you will need to transfer to a second bus.

Because of this, route numbers will be changing.

For example, Lake Ave. and Park Ave. are now two separate routes. The #1 Lake Ave bus will no longer travel through to Park Ave – after arriving downtown, it will instead return back up Lake Ave. Therefore Park Ave. (and many others) will need its own route number. Below is the list of the new route numbers. West side routes are color coded blue, and east side routes are green…

These are the new RTS route numbers and colors that will go into effect on November 28.

In addition, RTS has completed a Bus Stop Optimization Study external link with the goal of reducing the overall number of stops and reduce travel time.

One RTS handout external link explains, “In Monroe County, we have about 3,400 RTS bus stops. Over time, the usage of some bus stops has changed, and some bus stop locations aren’t in ideal locations nor convenient for customers… In comparison to other communities of similar size, RTS has more stops per mile. While this may sound beneficial, too many stops can mean longer rides and delays for our customers.”

In order to decide which stops stay and which should go, RTS took inventory of all 3,393 bus stops, paying special attention to the condition of each one (is there a shelter? a concrete pad? mud/dirt? etc). They then analyzed the number of bus stops per mile on each bus route and in each direction of travel, considering key factors such as: customer use statistics; distance between stops; and if stops headed to or from the city were paired with one another.

Of 3,393 bus stops, 909 (or 26%) are being removed.

If you attended the public workshop, RTS representatives were on hand to help answer questions. But if you missed the workshop and would like to know if your stop is being removed, moved, or kept, you can either email Monroe@myRTS.com, call 585-288-1700, or download the complete list of changes external link.

UPDATE: At Reconnect Rochester’s request, RTS has published a Google map of the changes external link for you to review.

But Wait, There’s More…

An existing RTS bus stop sign at South Avenue and Court Street. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]

About three years ago some of us at Reconnect Rochester met with RTS and suggested redesigning the current bus stop signage. Rochester’s bus stop signs are, well, not always as helpful as they could be (see above). Remember this post external link on RochesterSubway.com?

Well, the folks at RTS listened! Finally, in 2015 Rochester will have much smarter looking (and more useful) bus stop signs. Take a look…

New RTS bus stop signage will be installed in 2015. [IMAGE: Rochester Transit Service]

New RTS bus stop signage will be installed in 2015. [IMAGE: Rochester Transit Service]

New RTS bus stop signage will be installed in 2015. [IMAGE: Rochester Transit Service]

Contact RTS

RTS will be accepting your comments on these changes now through October 2, 2014 October 17, 2014 at 5 p.m. Please share your thoughts and questions by emailing Monroe@myRTS.com, or calling 585-288-1700. When providing feedback, please be very specific about the location of the stop(s) on which you are commenting.

— 21 Comments —

  1. Thanks for the very useful info, but that link to “download the complete list of changes” goes to “Sorry, we can’t find the page you’re looking for.” Can that be properly linked please?

  2. As a former avid bus rider, I really would not like having to transfer to a second bus that used to travel non-stop route (Ex. 1 Lake Avenue to Park Avenue or the 10 Dewey Avenue to Portland Avenue). There were several times that it was nice not having to transfer, especially in the winter time.

  3. I like the idea of differentiating between Westbound and East-bound routes, but it probably would have been better if instead of using just color to indicate direction. The numbers were being changed so maybe either all evens for East and all odds for West, making all East bound buses larger than a number and all West less than that same number, or just making the number be followed by a W or an E.

  4. @LB, we agree. We made this suggestion early on but for some reason RTS chose this scheme. Not sure why. And it’s probably too late to change their minds, but you should contact them using the info at the end of the post.

  5. @Renee, I think they might argue that now at least your transfer will leave you off at a building where you can stay cozy inside during the winter, and cool during the height of humidity in a Rochester summer. That said, I still do sympathize with the increase in needing to transfer especially since it usually correlates to time spent on layovers.

    Unrelated to the signage change or route changes, but related to the centralized bus depot, I still take some offense to removing the stops on Main St. Not only does it give slightly less reason for people to be all along Main St, but adding a couple more blocks to walk during someone’s commute in inclement weather is discouraging.

  6. Separate issue that only JUST occurred to me. I wonder if the use of color, vs actual numbers (even v. odd) is 508 compliant. Is RTS in for another lawsuit? I don’t know, but it seems like something that should be checked into.

  7. As a rider using the system, the current stickers that cover bus stop signage, hide the bus stop number. So using the trip planner or nearest stop on the app is useless as you cannot see the stop number at the actual physical bus stop. Very frustrating! Who do I need to contact to get this info to RTS? All their phone numbers are automated.

  8. Emily, RTS relayed the following message to us…

    “Each sticker has been custom made with the bus stop ID on the sticker. Attached is a sticker where the ID # is in a different color because we had received comments that customers thought the ID was not on the sticker. In the original stickers the ID # is in the same spot, but it is “white on green” just like the “Text Stop ID” lettering in the example attached.”

    See this image…

    Let us know if this answers your question. And thanks for raising it!

  9. Right after my note above I went outside and waited for a half hour and no Park Ave Bus to downtown from 8:50am until 9:20am. They changed the schedule to pickup at 9:04am from 9:14am with the new transit center. First day back to work and no bus at the scheduled time. I called RTS and and they are looking into it. What a farce! The last time this happened and I called the operator said not to rely on public transportation, it’s not a given that buses will show up on time or at all. Great customer service! How about we get the buses running on schedule instead of an expensive transit center.

  10. This is big thing to request on my (or anyone’s) part, but buses shouldn’t be on a schedule, as such. They’re not trains. They should run frequently enough that it doesn’t matter. If major lines (Park ave being one) ran on every 10 min schedules at least for rush, and then every 15 min the rest of the day, this wouldn’t be an issue. The buses don’t run on a schedule in NYC. The times listed on signs there are just for the purposes of expressing frequency per hour.

  11. Fair enough Matthew. But I lived in New York City for six years before returning to Rochester in 2009. I have never had issues like I do here getting back and forth to work. The new schedules during peak times run only every 30 minutes on major routes like Park into downtown. So if one arrives early or late or one not at all the wait times jump to an hour or more. When we don’t have an automated subway line to fall back on why shouldn’t we expect buses to arrive on time? Why even post a schedule then? I have tailored my life to arrive at the stop 15 minutes before the scheduled time, I don’t waiver in thinking there should be at the very least one bus in thirty minutes of waiting and that’s excessive.

  12. I think we might be talking past one another here. I think the solution really is more frequent buses, not running on a schedule. There are certainly large parts of NYC that are beholden to bus service alone. Because of the way traffic works, I don’t think running buses on a schedule is a reliable thing that can be done, so the only solution really is to increase frequency, even if it comes at the expense of reach.

  13. I have lived in NYC most of my life before coming to Rochester fifteen years ago. For a big city upstate, Rochester has the worst bus service of any of the upstate cities. My main problem here is the frequency during rush hour. These buses should be running perpetually all day. This would decrease wait times at all stops and increase ridership. Second, the fact that those stops were removed on main street to force people to have to go into the transit center is only to make the transition center seem like it was worth the 50 million dollar price tag. This terminal is a smaller version of grand central terminal in New York. The problem here is that this type of terminal is good for heavy nationwide bus service. Not for city buses. Everything from the schedule change to the removal of stops downtown is designed without the rider in mind at all. Whoever drew up the final plan wanted to make the terminal seem like it was bustling like New Yorks port authority and the population who actually ride RTS does not justify a station like this. Buffalo buses run more frequently. The average wait time at any given stop is twenty minutes. In New York City, wait times at any given stop is five to ten minutes. Rochester, wait time at any given stop is 30 minutes to an hour. They should change their slogan from we’re here to take you there, should read cat us if you can and we only take you halfway.

  14. I know this is an old post, so nobody will probably ever read this, but it looks like RTS finally started to roll out these new signs along East Avenue- only not exactly as planned. They are the same size as the old ones, only with the redesigned template in this article. The strip that says “RTS Downtown” on the side is not there, neither is the schedule. Still a nice change though.

  15. Forgot to add that I saw another section of redesigned signs. These were along Portland Avenue near Clifford. They were a bit uglier. The same template as said, but since there is only one route along that street, it just had one bar that said “40 Portland” and then 3/4ths of the sign was white, empty space.

  16. You’re fast! Didn’t even see that you replied until it refreshed my page from my last comment. You are very welcome. Looking forward to hearing what you and others think.

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