Public bus transport is one of the essential forms of transportation in the world particularly in the United States due to the country's large population. Bus transport in the US is mainly divided into three categories, intercity buses, conventional bus systems, and bus rapid transit. Most US cities have bus services, and in the busier towns, the service is provided for 24 hours. Some of the busiest bus agencies in the US include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Chicago Transit Authority.
Busiest Public Bus Agencies
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The busiest bus agency in the US is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority which mainly serves Downstate New York and southwestern Connecticut. Apart from operating bus service, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority also operates a commuter rail. The service has more than 5,700 buses which operate across more than 300 bus routes most of which are local routes. In 2017, it was estimated that on average, more than 8 million people used the service each weekday. The service dates back to 1965 but began using its current name in 1968.
The second busiest bus agency in the US is Metro which is commonly known as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Apart from offering bus services in Los Angeles County, California, Metro also operates a subway service and a light rail service. The metro officially began its operations in 1993 after two independent services were merged. The company has approximately 170 buses that operate across 29 stations. In 2017, it was estimated that each weekday, more than 1.2 million people used the service. The most popular route served by Metro is the Orange Line which was officially opened in 2005. A board of directors leads the service and it is made up of 13 members one of whom is the Mayor of Los Angeles.
Chicago Transit Authority
Another major bus service in the US is the Chicago Transit Authority which primarily serves the city of Chicago, Illinois. The Bus service operates a fleet of more than 1,800 buses, and in 2015 it was estimated that more than 870,000 people used the service each day. The bus service is one of the unique bus operators in the US since it allows customers to pay using their mobile phones through services such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. In 2006, the authority began using technology to keep track of its buses to ensure efficient service delivery.
Muni, which is also known as the San Francisco Municipal Railway, is another major bus service operator in the US. In the first quarter of 2018, it was estimated that more than 497,000 people used the bus service each day. The service is considered one of the slowest in the US as well as one of the most expensive. Despite its slow speed and high operational costs, the service is one of the most vital in San Francisco, California as it operates throughout the year.
Challenges Facing Bus Services in the US
Although bus services provide extremely vital services to the American people, they face several challenges that affect their operations. One of the most notable challenges is traffic congestion which makes it challenging for the bus services to reach their stations on time.