Connector services, also called feeder services, provide transportation to and from another transit system or mode of transit (for example, a public transit bus stop). Connector services can access particular destinations, such as health centers, that might be located beyond a transit system's service area. Connector services are frequently used to provide riders with a connection to long-distance transportation services like intercity buses or airports.
Examples of Programs using Connector Services
- Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) uses a variety of transportation modes including demand-response, fixed route, and vanpools to provide ground transportation to a nine-county area around Austin, Texas. CARTS connects rural areas with metropolitan centers, and provides non-emergency medical transportation as well as commuter transportation on weekdays.
- Panhandle Trails Intercity Public Transit provides transportation throughout 8 counties in the Nebraska Panhandle. The Panhandle Trails bus schedules coordinate with other service providers, which allows riders to access other modes of transportation and facilitates travel across the state of Nebraska and into surrounding states.
Considerations for Implementation
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that between 2005 and 2010, more than 3 million rural residents lost access to intercity transportation. Of the millions of rural residents who retained access in 2010, 3.7 million lost access to at least 1 mode of intercity transportation during the same 5 year period. With intercity bus service in decline, the demand for connector services has similarly decreased.
An important consideration for ensuring the success of connector services is effective marketing and advertising. The public needs to be well aware of the routes available to them and the destinations to which connector services can connect riders.
Resources to Learn More
Bus/Transit Feeder Services that Work
These presentation slides from the 2016 National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation cover pre-planning, planning, and community outreach efforts for starting new rural feeder services.
Author(s): Blatti, J.
Organization(s): Lee-Ogle Transportation System
Reconnecting Small-Town America by Bus: New Federal Transit Rules Spur Investment
This document discusses the importance of connecting small towns using intercity bus service, particularly for older adults.
Author(s): Lynott, J.
Organization(s): AARP Public Policy Institute