Thompsons Bus Services School Network Survey

Conducted a complete survey of all school special services

Client: Trans Link

Project Description


As part of the Thompsons Bus Services (TBS) schools review, Phillip Boyle & Associates conducted a complete survey of all school special services. All trips were surveyed twice, on different days and at different times during the school term.

Data collected on-board was to a stop level. At every stop, we identified which school each passenger attended.

Phillip Boyle & Associates’ survey team was supported by TransLink Customer Liaison staff.


Survey Type: On-board count

Survey Approach: Automated collection using iPads; an advanced GIS tool was developed, as the bus stops were not known and we had to track who got on where

Scope of Works


Outputs provided to TransLink included:

  • Detailed maps in our specialised format, showing patronage data
  • Detailed database providing boardings by trip, location and school, in a queryable format
  • Matrix containing comprehensive information about student transfers (from hubs where buses connect and students swap between buses)
  • GIS outputs
  • Matrix of stop boardings and transfers by school
  • Maps showing expected route paths compared to observed route alignments.

Key Challenges

School service surveys are extremely sensitive and the process required extensive daily liaison with schools, TBS and TransLink. The set-up required a large amount of data for existing school runs on a very complex route network. The high number of transfers also made tracking difficult.

The process of managing survey staff and getting them to remote locations and schools was also challenging. For example, on some days over 15 trips were being simultaneously surveyed.