Family of Services

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This report in the Transit Strategies Series explains the concept of a transit family of services.  A family of services approach provides a structure around which service can be designed, and it provides the ability to better tailor services to the needs of different markets. A family of services approach can help transit agencies more explicitly consider the types of services that should be provided in different markets, and the tools to provide those services. Families of services can be developed in different ways and tailored to the services provided by individual transit systems and the areas that they serve.

What do you think? How should our family of services be developed? How should Nashville MTA/RTA’s family of services be structured? 


  1. Kellie McCain says

    Shouldn’t Paratransit/AccessRide be added to the Family of Services plan?
    Paratransit services are a vital source of independence for people with disabilities to have access to medical appointments, groceries, employment and a valued life.

  2. Diane says

    Has any thought been given to using the waterways? Could a ferry system be added? Some boats could just carry people if not vehicles. Many years ago there were ferry’s used in the middle TN region. (many roadways carry the name Ferry because of those ferries).

  3. Rebecca Shaw says

    I’m strongly in favor of improving/expanding public transit–both by more frequent bus service (possibly delivered by smaller vehicles?) and more cross-town service.

    At some point, we are going to have to recognize that:

    (1) Many people do not want to go to downtown Nashville to get anywhere else, nor do they have the time to do so.
    (2) Many people who could take public transit don’t because service is not dependable and covered stops too few.
    (3) The ability to get off and back on a bus along a route–for example, stopping to shop at a grocery on the way home from work–shouldn’t require the purchase of 2 bus tickets. Can we have a system where a passenger can get on and off a bus unlimited times over a 2-hour period?
    (4) Simply increasing the frequency of buses would encourage more people–including me–to take transit more often.
    (5) The transit industry needs to “think outside the box” regarding the size of vehicles. Some routes might be better served by the kinds of buses used by rental car companies than enormous buses.
    (6) Routes where use is high deserve more service, not less.

  4. says

    Our greatest weaknesses seem to me to be in the areas of local networks and lifeline services. We need to have a true network of buses, not just lots of routes to the center and a few straggling cross-town routes. Our current transit map looks like a spider web that was stopped half-finished. We need to fill in the web.

    Closely connected to these is the issue of transfers. Good local networks with easy/cheap (or free) transfers between buses are what will make transit attractive to people who have the option of driving and make it usable for people who don’t have the option. As it is, even people who live near a cross-town route are going to be reluctant to take the bus because of the need to pay an additional fare (not to mention the waits between buses).

    Another challenge to MTA is that lightly used routes might be essential to the few who do use it. The two most recent public meetings I’ve attended both had people complaining about changes to the #10 bus route; on paper, these don’t look like big changes, but the loss of service is a major reduction in ability to live independently to people (particularly elderly people) who used to use the bus service to get to NES and other stops along the old route. We as citizens need to put pressure on Metro to provide funding to keep these lifelines going.

    • Frederick Smith says

      I fully concur with comments from Elizabeth Dachowski in reference to transit-dependent people (particularly the elderly) who have relied on bus service to get to NES and other stops along the former Nº 10 route via Church Street viaduct from downtown. The MTA would best conceive an extended circulator between downtown and midtown, to help eliminate fragmented connections to the medical district (including the more distant portions of the Vanderbilt campus along Blakemore Ave – 31st street). This could be served by some frequent continuous loop operation, with units traveling in both directions along a logical and publicly shared-input planned path. Transit-dependent riders should not be subjected to increased hardship with upgraded service implementations such as the Nº 50 BRT-lite, at the expense of downgrading pre-existing service (e.g. Nº 10 along Church Street). In the case of the Charlotte Ave service routes, Church Street / Elliston Pl. is just as important, in terms of corridor provisions.

      Along with incorporating such service (along with portions of certain existing routes), the MTA service planning needs to be better coordinated and funded to integrate with Public Works, Traffic Mgmt., etc. and any other municipal agency of governance. This collaborative planning approach for surface transit service can better address street-sidewalk modification which would facilitate mixed-traffic movements, far better than what the current, independent approach affords.

    • says

      Thank you Elizabeth for the comment. We have heard other comments about the inconvenience of transfers and we are looking at strategies to enhance the current network and supplement it to increase connectivity in the system. We also recognize that there are other challenges that transit alone won’t be able to solve when it comes to mobility and accessibility and we’ll need the support from other Metro agencies to make it better.

  5. Christine Watt says

    Yes, this is exactly the thing Nashville needs. No single type of service will work in every area of the region. A coordinated family of services will provide the right level at each area.

  6. Joanna says

    I think we need to offer more late night and even overnight service. We are building so much downtown. All the hospitality workers need the buses to run later and more often. Restaurant workers, hotel personnel, and people working the tourist areas, not to mention all the people who have been drinking at bars all need a ride home well after the last buses run.

    • says

      Thank you Joanna. You make a good point. We are looking at running transit service for longer hours as part of the nMotion process. A report in the Transit Strategies Series focused on expanding spans of service will be released in the coming weeks.

  7. Janice McDonald says

    I also think long distance commuter service would be great to more area’s like Ashland City and White Bluff and more surrounding counties that do not have it already. I also think that more trips other than to and from is not enough. I think this is why a lot of people choose not to utilize these so much, because if you need to get home you could not.

  8. Stephen McClure says

    I believe that the Nashville MSA desperately needs more long-distance commuter transportation opportunities. I am fortunate to live in East Nashville and work downtown. I would use transit more often if it came more frequently and included more crosstown routes.